What is it about beautiful castles that capture our hearts and imaginations?
With soaring ramparts, larger than life structures, and a feeling of romance and nostalgia for a long-lost time, these regal mansion homes draw us all in. Visiting castles is like traveling back in time as we explore history and see structures created by powerful families that inspired nations while protecting against and instigating wars. Some of our favorite fairy tales involve beautiful castles and palaces and we’ve all dreamed of living in one of these magnificent buildings at some point in our lives.
When you hear “beautiful castles” the first place that comes to mind is probably England. That’s because of stories such as King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, and Camelot permeate our collective culture. There are beautiful castles all over the world and they vary in size and appearance. Each place has a character of its own and some are not entirely intact. In fact, some are simply ruins of once magnificent buildings which we have to use our imaginations to fill in the gaps. You can find beautiful castles across the globe from England to France and most of Europe, the Middle East, Japan and other parts of Asia, Latin America, Canada, and even the United States. Of course, some of the most beautiful castles in the world have very long history and some have a much shorter history but they are all equally fascinating.
The Most Beautiful Castles In The World
With so many castles to choose from, it’s difficult to make a definitive list of the most beautiful castles in the world . Instead, I’ve asked some of my fellow travel writers and influencers to give me there picks. These are people who’ve traveled the world over and I asked them to give me their number one top pick for most beautiful castle in the world. Here’s a list of the most beautiful castles in the world, according to travel professionals. You definitely shouldn’t miss these as you traverse the globe!
Nina, of Where in the World is Nina?, invites us to a frightful castle!
You don’t know it by its real name, Bran Castle, you know it as Dracula’s Castle! Yes, this is Dracula’s Castle… But is it? While this beautiful castle is known to be the home of a grumpy bloodsucker, it’s actually not. The castle simply resembled the description of a castle in Bram Stoker’s book, Dracula. But by all means, feel free to live out your dreams and visit “Dracula’s home.” Dracula or not, Bran Castle is beautiful and in my opinion, it’s even more magical in winter!
Check out all these awesome things to do in Transylvania, Romania…it’s not just about Dracula.
Daniel, of Blorg.org, wants you to visit the world’s largest castle!
Located in Poland and completed in 1406, Malbork castle is the largest castle in the world by land size and by the amount of bricks used to build this behemoth. It was damaged in World War II but repairs were completed in April 2016. The best part, you can wander around this beautiful castle unsupervised. Enjoy touring the castle and grounds as well as medieval themed activities and foods.
Read all about the castle, on Daniel’s blog!
Paige, of For The Love Of Wanderlust, loves this colorful palace!
Pena Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Sintra, Portugal. This 19th century palace stands out because of its mountaintop location, brightly colored exterior and gorgeous grounds. This palace sits on the location of a 12th century monastery that was severely damaged by fire and the infamous 1755 earthquake. Almost 100 years afterward, though, a prince acquired the monastery and built a palace up around the chapel. Visiting this castle is very popular because you can tour its beautifully restored interior. Many people really love to take in the incredible views from the beautiful castle. Apparently, on a clear day, you can see all the way to the ocean. We visited it on a dreary, foggy day, but that gave it a much more mysterious, fairy tale look. Pena Palace is just one of four castles in Sintra, Portugal and visiting these castles are what makes a visit to Sintra so special and so unique.
Learn more about the castles of Portugal on her blog!
Ryazam, of Everything Zany, loves this Scottish castle!
Edinburgh Castle is located at the heart of Edinburgh and sits majestically atop castle rock overlooking the city. this beautiful castle has been a witness of great Scottish history and the great transition of power throughout the British monarchy. Inside the castle, you can see and visit the Royal Palace, crown jewels, various guns, war museums and memorials rich with great details of Scottish history. At its doorstop is the famous Royal Mile street of Edinburgh where you can find the Tartan weaving mill, whisky shops and other Scottish local shops and attractions. At the end of the Royal Mile you can glimpse and visit the Queen’s Palace in Edinburgh – Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament.
Looking for more beautiful castles in the UK? Check out this article!
Karak Castle- Jordan
Ketki, of Dotted Globe, takes us to the Middle East!
While Jordan has many Crusader castles, Karak Castle in the al-Karak province is the largest and most well-preserved among them. The castle was built in 1142 in typical Crusader architecture style with large arched halls, soldiers barracks, and watchtowers. The castle was the site of the famous siege of Karak which transferred the control of the castle from Crusader hands to the Muslim army led by Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt. In the hands of the Mamluk Sultanate, the castle was further fortified till it became a majestic fortress. Located on the top of a mountain, the castle has great views over the city of Karak. On a clear day, visitors can easily see as far as the Dead Sea and Amman. The castle’s size and masonry is impressive and we had fun exploring the partially restored buildings including the stables, lookout points, dry moat, and the kitchen with its traditional oven. It was a great experience to see the beautiful castle and understand its significance since biblical times.
Looking for more suggestions for exploring Jordan, check out the Jordan road trip itinerary.
Lena, of the Social Travel Experiment, thinks you should visit a castle in Japan!
Hiroshima Castle, also called Carp Castle, is not like many other castles built on top of a hill, but it is situated close to the city center of Hiroshima. Surrounded by high stone walls, the castle area is easily walkable on foot and features not only the beautiful wooden castle itself but also a Shinto Shrine, Hiroshima Gokoku Jinja. The inside of Hiroshima Castle is open to the public and serves as a museum of the history before 1945. The entrance fee is 370 Yen (3.70 USD) and opening hours are from 9 to 6 in summer and 9 to 5 in winter. By the way, the original castle constructed in 1589 was unfortunately destroyed by the atomic bomb, so the castle you can visit today is a replica from 1958. But it is still one of the most beautiful castles I have ever seen and should be on every Hiroshima visitors itinerary.
Sandy, of Tray Tables Away, loves Malta!
A visit to Gozo is a must do when visiting Malta and the Citadella in Victoria is one of the most popular attractions. Perched high above the city It has been at the centre of activity on the island since Neolithic times, and was fortified during the Bronze Age around 1500 BC. It was later developed by the Phoenicians and in Roman times it became a complex Acropolis. As Malta has been invaded and occupied by many countries through the centuries the Citadella has served as a fortress and a garrison and has been the source of refuge for many. Today the Citadella – also known as the Castello, contains a number of churches and historic buildings, including the magnificent Cathedral of the Assumption, which was built between 1697 and 1711. The Citadel has been included on Malta’s tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1998. Having undergone a massive 5 year restoration process we were very impressed to discover what is effectively a small ancient town in perfect condition and were stunned by the beauty and workmanship that has been involved in creating her.
Jem, of the Kiwi Hiker, introduces the ghosts of the castle!
Nestled in a small pocket of England lies an abandoned castle where several of the previous occupants refuse to give up residence. Berry Pomeroy Castle is hailed as ‘the most haunted castle in England’, a romantic ruin that takes you back to the 15th Century. A sight of hope, eventual disappointment and intrigue. Berry Pomeroy Castle is now a mere shell. Once one of the grandest mansions in its time, it was abandoned and left to ruin. While nature has managed to claim back much of the land, the castle still holds ground. Desperately clinging on to some semblance of dignity. Many of the residents refuse to leave their home. The castle is rumored to house The White Lady, The Blue Lady, The Smiling Cavalier and Isabella – the 9-year-old illegitimate child of a Pomeroy Nobel and servant. Berry Pomeroy Castle is an intriguing piece of English history. From the romantic remains to the ghostly legends to the rolling picturesque landscape surrounding the castle. There is something sad about the castle. Maybe it is because it never reached its peak? It is a castle of hope and eventual disappointment.
Read more about the beautiful castle ruin!
Cindy, of Free Two Roam, takes us back to Japan!
Himeji Castle, also known as Heron Castle, is the most impressive and best preserved castle in Japan. After extensive renovations, it reopened it’s doors in 2015. Most other castles in Japan were damaged or destroyed by years of wars, fires or earthquakes, but not Himeji. This beautiful castle even miraculously survived the 767 tons of bombs that were dropped on the surrounding city during WWII. Himeji castle looks magnificent from the outside, with its elegant architecture and its wooden walls that are covered completely with white plaster. Make sure to visit the Main Keep, the most impressive of its buildings. As you climb up the narrow wooden staircase to the top, you’ll have spectacular views of the city. The interior of the castle is pretty bare, so don’t expect to see much furniture there. If you arrive in cherry blossom season, you’ll find the castle gardens all in bloom. It’s a very busy time to visit but it’s so pretty that it’s worth facing the crowds. Himeji Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site, given this title in 1993.
Learn more about Himeji Castle and what it’s all about!
Karen, of Wanderlustingk, suggests the Dutch countryside!
This beautiful Dutch castle is straight of a fairy tale and is still owned by the original family. This Neo-Gothic castle was built upon the original medieval castle although it mostly was built in 1892. If you visit, be sure to enjoy the French-inspired gardens as well as the stunning grand entrance hall, which some of Hollywood’s most elite walked through. As you pull up to the castle, you’ll see the distinctive red and white coat of arms on the various buildings around the nearby village, which was moved and rebuilt in a style to match the castle. Most people don’t realize that this castle is only about an hour from Amsterdam, you can easily visit on a day trip and pretend to be a royal for a day. Take a hint from the Dutch and bring a picnic with you to have in the scenic gardens with a view of the castle. And be sure to take a guided tour of the castle with its knowledgeable staff. My favorite room includes a fully functional hair salon built for the previous owner!
Looking for more castles to explore in Holland? Check out these four beautiful castles!
Dave, of Dave’s Travel Page, suggests exploring this Greek castle!
This enigmatic fortress is among the largest castles in the Mediterranean, and along with nearby Koroni castle, was one of the ‘eyes of Venice’ in Greece. The thing that sets Methoni Castle apart from other castles in Greece, is the area known as the Bourtzi. This mini-keep has served as a last line of defense, early warning post, and even a prison. Approaching it, you could easily imagine this having been a model for castles in Lord of the Rings! When visiting Greece, of course go and see the famous ancient sites, but try to squeeze in a beautiful castle or two.
Make sure to check out the best historical places in Greece!
Campbell & Alya, of Stingy Nomads, tells us about some ancient walls!
Lugo is the only city in the world that is surrounded by completely intact Roman Walls. The Walls of Lugo were built between 263 and 276 AD by the Romans to protect the town, Lucus Augusti that time, from attacks of locals tribes and Germanic invaders. The size of the construction is impressive; its length is 2120 m, the width – around 4m, the height between 8m and 12m. The Walls have ten gates, five of them are original, built in the Roman times and five were added centuries later – in 19th century. There are 88 watch-towers, all dating back to the 3rd AD, 49 of them are completely intact. It’s difficult to believe that these walls were constructed more than 23 centuries ago. Inside the walls are located the Old Town of Lugo with a beautiful cathedral, narrow cobblestone streets and many bars that serve great pinchos. It’s possible to walk on the Walls all way around and admire this incredible construction.
Lugo is located along the Camino de Santiago route. Get all the information you need to traverse this original route!
James, of the Portugalist, gives us the info we need about Silves Castle.
Everything you need to know about Silves Castle is waiting for you here!
Jolene & Andrzej, of Wanderlust Storytellers, adore this French palace!
This 16th century castle has been declared as a UNESCO heritage site for its stunning Renaissance architecture and interior decor. The castle is located only a 2-hour drive South of Paris in the picturesque surroundings of the Loire Valley. In its glory days, Chambord served as a hunting lodge to the kings. Hunting parties had over 400 rooms to choose from, so there was quite enough room for everyone. On another note, It has been told that the castle was once a home to the famous Mona Lisa. I guess, even Leonardo Da Vinci was a frequent visitor to this amazing castle. Looking at this place, it is easy to say why even the brightest talents in our history would be drawn to this place. It is a truly one of the most beautiful castles in the world!
Check out these other amazing French castles!
Rashmi & Chalukya, of Go Beyond Bounds, want you to explore this Swiss castle!
Hoping to explore Montreux? Well, Rashmi has you covered with these top things to do!
Shobha, of Just Go Places, tells us why she loves this castle in Austria!
The Hohensalzburg Fortress looms over the beautiful Austrian city of Salzburg, a symbol of its former wealth and power, during the middle ages. Building started in 1077 and through the next few hundred years, successive Prince-Archbishops kept adding to it Needless to say it is one of the biggest fortresses in Europe. The Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg were enormously wealthy thanks to their control of the lucrative salt mines in the area. Salt at the time was in great demand as a preservative for food and so expensive, it was referred to as “white gold”. The huge Hohensalzburg Castle not only proclaimed the wealth of the Prince-Archbishops but also acted as a deterrent to jealous would-be conquerors. Much of the interior furnishings of the Hohensalzburg Fortress has long ago vanished. My kids thought that was perfect because they weren’t forced to troop through room after room with gilded interiors they couldn’t touch. There is a small museum and a couple of restaurants. There are stupendous views of Salzburg and the surrounding countryside from the top of this beautiful castle which is worth visiting for these vistas alone.
Wondering if your kids will love Hohensalzburgh Fortress?
Claire, of Claire’s Footsteps, wants you to know about this amazing castle!
If you’re looking for an enchanting place to visit on a day trip from London, look no further than Hever Castle. It’s famous as being Anne Boleyn’s childhood home. A famous character in UK history (ie. literally every school child learns about her at least twice!), Anne Boleyn was the second wife of Henry VIII (the king who beheaded everyone). She was largely thought of as Henry VIII’s favourite wife, even though she did grossly fall out of his favour, to the point of her head being chopped off. She was also the mother of Elizabeth I, who was one of Britain’s most pivotal and controversial monarchs. You’ll learn all about this history and more at the Boleyn residence, where you can explore the Tudor life, see books that Anne herself wrote in and stand in Henry VIII’s bedroom. The castle is beautiful and exudes history and tales long forgotten. In the grounds are beautiful gardens designed by William Waldorf Astor in Victorian England, while the disrepaired castle was being restored. And if you’re visiting Hever Castle with kids, there’s a maze, a fantastic children’s playground and in the summer months, a water maze.
Find out more about other castles near London here!
Want to see even more beautiful castles? Check out my road trip itinerary for the UK!
For beautiful castle photos and more, check out my Instagram account!
So tell me about your favorite beautiful castle of the world!
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