10 Most Beautiful Castles in Europe
Château de Chambord
Built between 1519 and 1547, the most lovely Classical Renaissance structures in the Loire Valley in Chambord. This majestic castle was built to serve as a hunting lodge for King Francis I of France. It is believed that Leonardo da Vinci may have contributed in the design. The château features 426 rooms, 365 chimneys, 128 meters of façade, and 800 sculpted columns. The Count of Chambord Museum, which displays royal carriages, and a double-helix staircase are highlights inside the building.
Trakai Island Castle
Located on an island in Lake Galvė, the Trakai Castle is one of the most beautiful Gothic castles in Europe. Completed by 1409, its construction was commissioned by Duke Kęstutis, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and his son Vytautas the Great. The Trakai History Museum housed in the island castle features significant historical artifacts. One of the most beautiful views of the castle can be seen during sunrise and sunset, its reflections in the lake are awe-inspiring.
Perched atop a rugged hill in the Bavarian Alps, Neuschwanstein Castle is a breathtaking example of Romanesque Revival architecture. Constructed between 1869 and 1886 under the instructions of Ludwig II of Bavaria, the castle is one of the most recognizable castles in Europe. Around 1.3 million tourists visit the castle each year. The castle has been the setting for many movies such as The Great Escape and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It is also the inspiration behind the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Castle in Disneyland.
Open for guided public tours, the castle is home of the Lyon family since the 14th century and currently the home of 19th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne. A living reminder of Scottish heritage, the castle served as the setting for Shakespeare’s famous play ‘Macbeth’. The castle was also the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth. Over a million visitors come to Glamis annually.
Standing atop Buda Hills in Budapest, Buda Castle is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This castle was originally designed in Baroque Revival architecture in the 13th century and after the World War II it was rebuilt in modern style. The Hungarian National Gallery, Grand Throne Room, labyrinth of caves and cellars of this castle are its major highlights. The seven towers of Fisherman’s Bastion terrace offer dazzling panoramas of the city.
Stroll through the woods of the Pena Park and marvel at the variegated Pena Palace which is often shrouded in mist. One can clearly see why Lord Byron romanticized about its paradisaical beauty. Located on a precipice rising above the town of Sintra, it features Romanesque Revival architecture. The 19th-century palace is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located in northern Poland, this capital castle was a stronghold of the Knights of Teutonic Order. On its completion in 1406, it was the largest brick castle in the world and it still remains the world’s largest castle by surface area. In 1997, UNESCO declared the castle and its museum as a World Heritage Site. Featuring Medieval architecture, it sits along the banks of the Nogat River. Guided tours are on offer.
The castle was forged by the fourth Duke of Milan Francesco Sforza in the 15th century. It was renovated by Luca Beltrami between 1891 and 1905. It is one of the two crown jewels in the moral capital of Italy, the other being Milan Cathedral. Built in an exemplary Renaissance architecture, the complex now houses several Italian masterpieces in civic museums and art galleries.
A national monument, this Medieval fortress lies on the border between two regions: Transylvania and Wallachia. Visitors can see the interior and a museum exhibiting art and furniture collected by Queen Marie. It is commonly referred to as “Dracula’s Castle” for being the fictional home of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’. Its original structure was built in 1212 by the Teutonic Knights.
This magnificent 18th-century castle is the ancestral home of the Duke of Argyll and is one of the most iconic attractions in Scotland. Designed by renowned architects Roger Morris and William Adam, its architecture is a perfect blend of Baroque, Palladian, and Gothic styles. It featured as the fictional “Duneagle Castle” in Downton Abbey. Sprawling along the shores of Loch Fyne, its gardens feature daffodils, azaleas, and other beautiful flowers.