There are few things in life more magical and more beautiful than the idea of a fairy-tale castle. Throughout our childhoods (and for many of us, even further beyond!), we have been dreaming of what happens behind their turrets and tall walls. Thankfully, the world has plenty of them on offer and when international travel finally opens up more freely, you can travel to some of the finest bucket-list worthy castles listed below.
Liechtenstein Castle, Germany
The south of Germany is home to an impressive number of castles, one of which is Liechtenstein Castle. Built between 1840 and 1842, it was built in the style of Gothic Revival. This castle is perched on an escarpment some 250 metres above the Echaz River. The ruins of its medieval predecessor, Burg Alt-Lichtenstein, sit immediately next to it.
Ljubljana Castle, Slovenia
Few travellers are actually aware of the delights on offer in Slovenia’s capital city. This castle is a medieval masterpiece that was initially built during the 11th and 12th Centuries. It was later remodelled in the 15th Century and now shapes the city’s skyline. Ljubljana Castle has lost some of its fortress demeanour, but visitors will be pleased to know that they can enjoy a hot cup of coffee in one of the castle’s beautiful courtyards.
Chateau de Chinon, France
France’s Loire Valley is a must-see spot in Europe and is well known for its glittering collection of beautiful castles – the legacy left behind from the country’s royal history during the 15th and 16th Centuries. During this period of time, the Gallic nobility was known for constructing their mansions as close to the throne as was possible.
Chateau de Chinon pre-dates that period, with records placing it as early as the 10th Century. The castle looks over the Vienne River, a tributary of the Loire. It also holds a very significant space in French history – this castle is where Joan of Arc met Charles VII in 1429, ultimately leading to the country’s liberation from English rule.
Kronborg Castle, Denmark
In Denmark’s town of Helsinger, pitched on the eastern edge of the country and a stone’s throw away from Sweden, is the Kronborg Castle. Founded in 1420, it was converted into a Renaissance masterpiece by Kind Frederick II between 1574 and 1585. It was also the setting for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and every year as part of the Hamletscenen Festival, actors and actresses descend upon the castle’s cavernous interior, playing the lead character and his doomed love interest Ophelia.
The Alcazar of Segovia, Spain
Spain’s fairy-tale fortresses all seem to be placed on unassailable hilltops and you’ll feel like you’ve landed bonus round wins if you get to the top of them. In the northern town of Segovia, you will be able to find the incomparable Alcazar of Segovia. With ancient origins, this castle has a sophisticated outline that is believed to have been formed in the 16th Century under King Philip II.
The castle’s broad, impressive gardens were designed by the famed architect Francisco de Morar. It is said that the building is representative of a ship’s bow and is believed to be the inspiration behind Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World, Florida.