27 Best Castles In Europe (That You Should Visit This Year)

Are you looking for the best castles in Europe to visit? Then you’re in the right place because this list brings together the twenty-seven best European castles, which you should see at least once in your life. Scattered across Europe’s most touristy cities and countries, these castles and fortresses are sure to impress anyone!

Europe is a continent with an unparalleled artistic, historical, and cultural past. And these most beautiful castles in Europe are perfect for art lovers, history buffs, and cultural travelers. From medieval fortresses to romantic masterpieces, discover some of the most famous castles in Europe!

So, do you want to know more about the 27 Best Castles In Europe (That You Should Visit This Year)? Keep reading!

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Best Castles in Europe
Best Castles in Europe

Best Castles in Europe

1. Neuschwanstein Castle (Schwangau, Germany)

Neuschwanstein Castle (in German, Schloss Neuschwanstein) is a Neo-Romanesque and Neo-Gothic style castle located in the village of Schwangau, Germany. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Neuschwanstein Castle is the most visited castle in Germany!

Germany is one of the countries with the most impressive castles and Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most famous castles ever built. Neuschwanstein Castle is considered one of the most beautiful castles not only in Europe but also in the world. Not to mention that it’s the real-life location of Sleeping Beauty Castle and Cinderella Castle (both in the homonymous movies and the Disney parks)!

2. Bran Castle (Romania)

Bran Castle (in Romanian, Castelul Bran) is a neo-Gothic castle situated in the village of Bran, Romania. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Bran Castle is the most visited castle in Romania. And why? Because it was the residence of Count Dracula, the mythical protagonist of the novel “Dracula” (1897) by Bram Stoker!

Also called “Dracula’s Castle”, Bran Castle is often associated with Vlad Țepeș or Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia – better known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula, and the true historical inspiration for the most famous vampire in the world! Does this mean that Bran Castle is haunted…?

3. Alcázar of Segovia (Spain)

The Alcázar of Segovia (in Spanish, Alcázar de Segovia) is a Gothic and Herrerian Renaissance castle located in the city of Segovia, Spain. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that the Alcázar of Segovia is the most visited castle in Spain!

Did you know that the Alcázar of Segovia is a World Heritage Site? The monument was added to the highly regarded UNESCO list in 1985, in an inscription designated “Old Town of Segovia and its Aqueduct”. Another curiosity about one of the best medieval castles in Europe is that the Alcázar of Segovia served as a model for Walt Disney when he was designing Snow White’s Castle for the movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937)!

4. Chambord Castle (France)

Chambord Castle (in French, Château de Chambord) is a French Renaissance and Classical Renaissance castle situated in the town of Chambord, France. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Chambord Castle is the largest castle in the Loire Valley!

France is one of the countries with the most castles – it has around 45,000 “châteaux” (including fortresses, palaces, and mansions) – and many are in the Loire Valley, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. One of them is Chambord Castle, another of the most famous castles ever built. Also considered one of the most beautiful castles in the world, Chambord Castle inspired Beauty and the Beast Castle, in the movie of the same name!

5. Hohenzollern Castle (Hechingen, Germany)

Hohenzollern Castle (in German, Burg Hohenzollern) is a neo-Gothic castle located in the town of Hechingen, Germany. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Hohenzollern Castle is the official residence of the House of Hohenzollern!

The House of Hohenzollern is one of the most important European noble families and still one of the oldest since its foundation dates back to the mid-11th century. Over almost a millennium of history, the influential German dynasty was responsible for ruling the Kingdom of Prussia (between 1701 and 1918) and the German Empire (between 1871 and 1918)!

6. Chenonceau Castle (France)

Chenonceau Castle (in French, Château de Chenonceau) is a Gothic and Renaissance castle situated in the village of Chenonceaux, France. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Chenonceau Castle is the most visited castle in France!

Installed in the touristy Loire Valley, Chenonceau Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Europe and is popularly known as the “Ladies’ Castle” (in French, Château des Dames), as it had several noble women as its managers. Among them, seven stand out: Katherine Briçonnet, Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medici, Luísa de Lorraine-Vaudémont, Gabrielle d’Estrées, Louise Dupin, and Marguerite Pelouze!

7. Chillon Castle (Veytaux, Switzerland)

Chillon Castle (in French, Château de Chillon) is a Romanesque-style castle located in the village of Veytaux, Switzerland. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Chillon Castle is the most visited castle in Switzerland!

If you’re a fan of the movie “The Little Mermaid” (1989), you’ve probably noticed that Prince Eric’s Castle was based on Chillon Castle, as there are so many similarities between the two. But Chillon Castle was already the inspiring muse of many writers and poets in the 18th century. Some of them were Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Lord Byron, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Gustave Flaubert, and Ernest Hemingway!

8. Hohenwerfen Castle (Werfen, Austria)

Hohenwerfen Castle (in German, Festung Hohenwerfen) is a Romanesque and Gothic castle situated in the town of Werfen, Austria. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Hohenwerfen Castle is the most visited castle in Austria!

Perched on a cliff over 600 meters high, Hohenwerfen Castle has breathtaking panoramic views of the town of Werfen, the Salzach Valley, the Berchtesgaden Alps, and the Tennen Mountains. If you follow the Salzach River for about 40 km to the city of Salzburg, you can also visit the Hohensalzburg Fortress (in German, Festung Hohensalzburg), one of the largest medieval castles in Europe!

9. Edinburgh Castle (Scotland, the United Kingdom)

Edinburgh Castle (in Scottish Gaelic, Caisteal Dhùn Èideann) is a Gothic and Scottish Baronial Neo-Gothic castle located in the city of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, the United Kingdom. And among the many reasons for being considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Edinburgh Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Scotland!

Visible from various points of the Scottish capital, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, Edinburgh Castle stands on top of the monumental Castle Rock (in Scottish Gaelic, Creag a’ Chaisteil). And not everyone knows, but Castle Rock is a volcanic plug (also called a volcanic neck or lava neck)!

10. Bodiam Castle (England, the United Kingdom)

Bodiam Castle is a Gothic-style castle situated in the village of Bodiam in England, the United Kingdom. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Bodiam Castle is one of the most picturesque castles in England!

Although Bodiam Castle is in ruins these days, that doesn’t deter the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come here every year. Not least because these ruins are surrounded by a medieval well and breathtaking countryside, which makes Bodiam Castle one of the most sought-after abandoned castles in England!

11. Corvin Castle (Hunedoara, Romania)

Corvin Castle (in Romanian, Castelul Corvinilor) is a Gothic and Renaissance castle located in the city of Hunedoara, Romania. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Corvin Castle is the largest castle in Romania!

Also known as Hunyadi Castle or Hunedoara Castle (in Romanian, Castelul Huniazilor or Castelul Hunedoarei), Corvin Castle is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful castles in Europe. And some say that Vlad the Impaler was held prisoner here for several years!

12. Eilean Donan Castle (Dornie, Scotland, the United Kingdom)

Eilean Donan Castle (in Scottish Gaelic, Eilean Donnain Chaisteal) is a Gothic and Edwardian Baronial Neogothic castle situated in the village of Dornie, Scotland, the United Kingdom. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most picturesque castles in Scotland!

I swear this is not a list about “Real-Life Castles That Inspired Disney Movies”, but the truth is that after Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, and Ariel (The Little Mermaid), it’s Merida’s turn. Yes, the castle of the protagonist of the movie “Brave” (2012) was conceived after Eilean Donan Castle and Dunnottar Castle!

13. Leeds Castle (Broomfield, England, the United Kingdom)

Leeds Castle is a Norman Romanesque castle located in the village of Broomfield in England, the United Kingdom. And among the many reasons for being considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Leeds Castle was once owned by King Henry VIII!

King Henry VIII was a member of the renowned House of Tudor and distinguished himself as the founder of the Anglican Church – even though today he’s best known for his six marriages to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Joan Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr!

14. Peleș Castle (Sinaia, Romania)

Peleș Castle (in Romanian, Castelul Peleș) is a Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance castle situated in the city of Sinaia, Romania. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Peleș Castle was the first castle in the world to have electricity!

Peleș Castle is one of the most recent buildings on this list of the best castles in Europe, as it was only completed in 1914. Built to serve as a summer residence for the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (currently, House of Romania), it’s still today owned by the Romanian Royal Family!

15. Warwick Castle (England, the United Kingdom)

Warwick Castle is a Gothic and Neo-Gothic style castle located in the town of Warwick, England, the United Kingdom. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Warwick Castle is home to the greatest siege weapon in the world: a Trebuchet called Ursa!

Founded in the year 1068, Warwick Castle is one of the oldest castles not only in Europe but also in the world. And even with almost a millennium of existence, Warwick Castle is still one of the best-preserved castles in England and the United Kingdom!

16. Windsor Castle (England, the United Kingdom)

Windsor Castle is a Gothic, Georgian Neoclassical, and Victorian Revival-style castle situated in Windsor, England, the United Kingdom. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Windsor Castle is one of the official residences of the British Royal Family!

As you would expect, Windsor Castle holds impressive records. I mean, it’s the home of Queen Elizabeth II – herself a multiple record holder. For example, did you know that Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world? Or what is the castle with the most rooms (around 1000)?!

17. Conwy Castle (Wales, the United Kingdom)

Conwy Castle (in Welsh, Castell Conwy) is a Norman Romanesque castle located in the town of Conwy, Wales, the United Kingdom. And among the many reasons for being considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Conwy Castle is one of the most picturesque castles in Wales!

Conwy Castle and Town Walls were classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, in a joint inscription with Harlech Castle, Beaumaris Castle, and Caernarfon Castle and Town Walls, and named “Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd”!

18. Frederiksborg Castle (Hillerød, Denmark)

Frederiksborg Castle (in Danish, Frederiksborg Slot) is a Renaissance-style castle situated in the city of Hillerød, Denmark. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Frederiksborg Castle is the biggest and most visited castle in Denmark, as well as the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia!

Designed as a sumptuous residence for King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway, Frederiksborg Castle stands out from the rest for two main reasons: the first is because the palatial complex sits on three islets in the Slotssøen (or Castle Lake, in English); and the second is because it houses the National History Museum of Denmark!

19. Miramare Castle (Trieste, Italy)

Miramare Castle (in Italian, Castello di Miramare) is a neo-Gothic castle located in the city of Trieste, Italy. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Miramare Castle is one of the most picturesque castles in Italy!

Miramare Castle was the official home of Maximilian of Habsburg-Lorraine, Archduke of Austria and Emperor of Mexico. With unobstructed views of the Gulf of Trieste, this immaculately white castle is surrounded by a park full of exotic species, which the Archduke himself collected during his expeditions as Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Austrian Navy!

20. Trakai Island Castle (Lithuania)

Trakai Island Castle (in Lithuanian, Trakų Salos Pilis) is a Gothic-style castle situated in the city of Trakai, Lithuania. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Trakai Island Castle is one of the most picturesque castles in Lithuania!

Trakai Island Castle is one of the most stunning island castles in Europe, looking straight out of a fairy tale. And during the existence of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (ie, from around 1236 to 1795), Trakai Island Castle was one of the most important and strategic fortresses!

21. Caernarfon Castle (Wales, the United Kingdom)

Caernarfon Castle (in Welsh, Castell Caernarfon) is a Norman Romanesque and Edwardian Baroque castle located in the city of Caernarfon, Wales, the United Kingdom. And among the many reasons for being considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Caernarfon Castle is the most visited castle in Wales!

Conwy Castle and Town Walls were classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, in a joint inscription with Harlech Castle, Beaumaris Castle, and Caernarfon Castle and Town Walls, and named “Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd”!

22. De Haar Castle (Haarzuilens, the Netherlands)

De Haar Castle (in Dutch, Kasteel de Haar) is a neo-Gothic castle situated in the town of Haarzuilens in the Netherlands. And among the many reasons for being considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that De Haar Castle is the biggest and most visited castle in the Netherlands!

The architect responsible for De Haar Castle was Petrus Cuypers, the author of two other iconic buildings in the Netherlands: the Rijksmuseum and the Amsterdam Centraal railway station (both in Amsterdam). However, De Haar Castle has become one of the best castles in Europe thanks to its lavish parties with stars of the international jet-set (such as Coco Chanel, Gregory Peck, Maria Callas, Brigitte Bardot, and Yves Saint Laurent)!

23. Eltz Castle (Wierschem, Germany)

Eltz Castle (in German, Burg Eltz) is a Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque-style castle located in the town of Wierschem, Germany. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Eltz Castle is one of the most picturesque castles in Germany!

Owned by the House of Eltz since the mid-twelfth century, Eltz Castle continues to be managed by the same German noble family, which is now in its thirty-fourth generation. Therefore, more than one of the best castles in Europe, Eltz Castle is living proof of dedication of almost nine centuries to the preservation of the history and cultural heritage of this region!

24. Kilkenny Castle (Ireland)

Kilkenny Castle (in Irish Gaelic, Caisleán Chill Chainnigh) is a Norman Romanesque, Gothic, and Baronial Scottish Neo-Gothic castle situated in the city of Kilkenny, Ireland. And among the many reasons for being considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Kilkenny Castle is the most visited castle in Ireland!

Of medieval origins, Kilkenny Castle belonged to Richard de Clare, the 2nd Earl of Pembroke. As the original building was made of wood, the fortress was rebuilt and reinforced shortly after the Norman conquest of Ireland in the second half of the 12th century. For that reason, Kilkenny Castle is one of the oldest and best-preserved castles in the country!

25. Moszna Castle (Poland)

Moszna Castle (in Polish, Pałac w Mosznej) is a neo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissance, and Neo-Baroque style castle located in the village of Moszna, Poland. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Moszna Castle is one of the most picturesque castles in Poland!

If you’re specifically looking for the best castles in Eastern Europe, you can include Moszna Castle and Malbork Castle (both in Poland) in your travel plans – in addition to Bran Castle, Corvin Castle, and Peleș Castle (the three in Romania). The hard part is choosing which of these five is the best of the best castles in Europe!

26. Predjama Castle (Slovenia)

Predjama Castle (in Slovenian, Grad Predjama) is a Renaissance-style castle situated in the village of Predjama, Slovenia. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Predjama Castle is one of the most picturesque castles in Slovenia!

Predjama Castle is a monument unlike any other on this list of the best castles in Europe, as it looks like it was carved straight out of the cliff on which it stands. It was even elected as the “Largest Cave Castle” by the Guinness World Records!

27. Malbork Castle (Poland)

Malbork Castle (in Polish, Zamek w Malborku) is a Gothic-style castle located in the city of Malbork, Poland. And among the many reasons to be considered one of the best castles in Europe is the fact that Malbork Castle is the largest Gothic castle in the world and the largest and most visited castle in Poland!

Malbork Castle was the largest brick castle in the world when it was completed in 1406. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, the official name of its inscription is “Castle of the Teutonic Order at Malbork”. The fortress founded by the Order of the Teutonic Knights of Saint Mary of Jerusalem has a surface area of 143,000 m2, which for many grants it the enviable title of “Largest Castle in the World”!

Map of the Best Castles in Europe

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