Castles are some of the most visited sites in the world. And no wonder, castles give us a glimpse of the past, and for a moment, the feeling of royalty. For this list of the best castles we have compiled fortresses of sovereignty from across the globe.
While the styles and sizes of these castles differ, one thing remains the same – all of these castles are truly wondrous. Read through our list of the best castles and before long you might just feel like royalty yourself! Planning a trip to see one of these great castles? Make sure you take advantage of our list of the best travel sites to help plan your trip.
List of the Best Castles
Prague Castle, Czech Republic
The largest castle complex in the world, Prague Castle is almost 70,000 square meters. Featuring Roman and Gothic architecture, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a gigantic feast for the senses. Other features include the crown jewels, the changing of the guards, and a beautiful garden.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
As a model for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle is a fairy tale come true. Situated amongst rolling hills and mountains, the idyllic setting of Neuschwanstein Castle perfectly complements the limestone facade.
Edinburgh Castle, Ireland
Home to Scotland’s crown jewels, the Edinburgh Castle is situated on a cliff overlooking the historic city of Edinburgh. A variety of rooms and exhibits are spread out over the castle grounds, making it easy to spend the whole day at the castle. And, with the castle located at one end of the popular Royal Mile, visitors can easily walk from the castle to other popular Edinburgh sites.
Crac des Chevaliers, Syria
Located on a hill top with sweeping views of the surrounding area, the Crac des Chevaliers Castle is one of the best known and best-preserved Crusader castles. Finished in the 13th century, the castle was once described by Lawrence of Arabia as one of the most admirable castles in the world.
Blarney Castle, Ireland
A medieval castle located close to Cork, Ireland, Blarney is perhaps best known for the Blarney Stone, a stone that is reputed to bestow eloquence on all who kiss her. However, the Blarney Stone is not all the castle offers – the gardens and rock close of the castle are equally impressive and well worth the time to explore.
Schwerin Castle, Germany
With 653 opulent and exquisite rooms, the Schwerin Castle is pure luxury. Add in the idyllic island setting and baroque gardens that surround the castle and you will quickly forget that you are not royalty.
Bran Castle, Romania
While both a medieval fortress and a royal residence, Bran Castle is perhaps best known as the setting for Bran Stoker’s Dracula, despite Stoker never having visited the castle. This misty mountain-top castle commands supreme views of the surrounding countryside, and the myth of Count Dracula lends an air of intrigue to the castle.
Himeji Castle, Japan
Recently reopened after an extensive roofing renovation, the Himeji Castle is just a short drive from Kobe. Nicknamed the White Heron because of its white plaster walls, the 400 plus year old Himeji Castle is a must see while in Japan.
Windsor Castle, England
Home to the Queen of England, Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. The castle complex also features the well-known St. George’s Chapel (the burial place of ten monarchs) and the Drawings Gallery which features changing exhibitions from the Royal Collection.
San Felipe Castle, Columbia
Although more fortress than castle, the San Felipe Castle is still an impressive building. Finished in the 18th century, the castle features a maze of tunnels – some tunnels are even lit for tourists to explore.
Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
Probably a wooden structure to begin with, the current stone structure of the Kilkenny Castle was completed in the 13th century. Today, three of the castle’s original four towers survived and the castle is a popular tourist attraction in the summer time.
Hearst Castle, California
Built by media magnate William Hearst, the Hearst Castle is located on the California coast and showcases sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. Boasting a 127 acre hilltop complex of buildings, the main building, AKA Hearst Castle, is part museum, part opulent luxury.
Kronberg Castle, Denmark
The setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Kronberg Castle is located in the idyllic town of Helsingor, Denmark. Although the interior and grounds are open for exploration, perhaps the best part of Kronberg is the labyrinth of casemates the castle boasts.
Best Castles Conclusion
Castles are some of the most amazing man made things on the planet, and the fact that some of them are hundreds of years old and still around today make them even that much more awesome.
Our hope is that this list of the best castles will help to get your interest perked and hopefully inspire you to add a few more must see places to your bucket list!