There are many beautiful castles in European cities, and you will likely find a new one for whatever destination you go to. Here you will find a list of fairytale castles that you should visit. Ideal for a wannabe prince or princess, prepare your trip to the magical world where dreams are genuinely possible.
In this article, you can discover the best castles in the European continent along with many valuable suggestions on the places that can be visited in the area.
Fairytale Castle #1 – Mespelbrunn Castle
The first stop on your Germany Castle trip will be able to meet all your expectations. In hidden corners in beautiful green woodlands lies the Mespelbrunn Castle.
The Castle hasn’t been altered significantly since the German Civil War but has remained in the same family for more than 600 years and remains in its original form.
The Mespelbrunn is a beautiful castle with an iconic tower. It is available in its entirety through guided tours.
The Castle has a good location but is not suitable for using flash photography. The Castle is constructed in the Renaissance style, with two columns on the northern and eastern sides.
The central watchtower of the Castle is enclosed by charming gabled cottages and an arched bridge. The windows are built of red sandstone, and there are well-maintained sixteenth-century armors and pikes.
As the knight’s family had financial difficulties, the Mespelbrunn Castle was opened to the public in the 1930s. Mespelbrunn Castle has a history dating back over 600 years.
While the central halls of the royal palace are available to the public, the count family of Ingelheim has relocated to the chambers on the Castle’s southern flank.
History of Mespelbrunn Castle
Mespelbrunn Fairytale Castle is a late-medieval and early-Renaissance moated castle located in an Elsava river tributary valley. In 1412, Archbishop Johann of Mainz handed knight Hamann Echter land in exchange for his services as a forester.
Echter constructed the first fortress in the shape of a horseshoe and encircled it with water-filled moats. A Romanesque Revival church overlooking the Elsava valley was erected in 1875 as a burial site for the Ingelheim family.
Interesting Facts about Mespelbrunn Castle
Like most fairy castles, their names can sometimes be based on fairy tales. The water comes from the first room in which you will go, The Knights Hall. Mespelbrunn is a German verb that means “medlar trees.” During the Middle Ages, springs were symbols of life. This room features carvings of men and females to represent this.
Mespelbrunn is a town located between Frankfurt and Würzburg, Germany.
Fairytale Castle #2 – Gravensteen Castle
Gravenstein Castle in Ghent, Belgium, is an impressive castle because it is right in the city center. Ghent is the third most populous city in Belgium and is definitely worth visiting over weekends and maybe an afternoon tour of Brussels.
This historic university town offers plenty of activities and sights, but Gravensteen Castle is an exciting place to visit.
Graf Philips of Alsace built this Castle in 1180 to show his strength to the population. After dozens of years of solitary confinement and torture, Gravensteen Castle was purchased at the end of the 1870s.
The timber construction was rebuilt with stone in the 11th century, and the medieval fortress was expanded multiple times throughout the following centuries. Part of the stronghold was sold to private enterprises, and the fortress was operated as a cotton mill in 1807.
Gravensteen means “Count’s Stone” or “Count’s Stone (Castle).” Gravensteen Castle is one of Europe’s most traditional-looking castles. Gravensteen Castle has a distinct appearance as one of Europe’s most traditional castles. It also has a museum shop near the castle entrance.
The Castle’s vantage point is one of the best in the city. It also hosts various cultural events throughout the year and is a popular wedding location.
Gravensteen is well worth a visit in Ghent; it’s an impressive structure that rises dramatically from the water and looks exactly like a proper castle.
History of Gravensteen Castle
The Gravensteen is an ancient Middle Ages castle in Ghent. Count Philip of Alsace constructed it in 1180. The Castle was the residence of the Counts of Flanders until the 14th century, when they abandoned it. The Castle was, after that, utilized as a courtroom and a jail and finally fell into disrepair.
The city of Ghent purchased the Castle in 1885 and began a reconstruction effort. The freshly constructed buildings surrounding the Castle were demolished, and the walls and keep were restored to their former state.
Interesting facts about Gravensteen Castle
The current Fairytale Castle represents how architects and planners imagined Phillip I’s original Castle to look. Because of the potential influence they could have, the torture chamber is no longer open to the public.
Ghent, East Flanders in Belgium.
Fairytale Castle #3 – Château de Chambord
The French Château of Chambord is one of France’s fanciest, maybe the biggest, castles. Compared to most castles that contain defensive structures and serve as fortresses, Château Chambord is usually mainly decorative.
Instead of fortifications, castle grounds have manicured gardens, fountains, etc. Renaissance buildings were created from white limestone and are surrounded on either side by water. This beautiful garden reflects its intriguing historical past.
Chambord is regarded as more than a Castle and one of the world’s most spectacular structures. This Castle, surrounded by deep trees, offers stunning riverbank views of the Cosson River. Château de Chambord is being used as a beautiful site for tourists to come and experience what life was like centuries ago.
Exploring possibilities include gorgeous stables, a large hall, a lovely museum, and much more. The gardens that are linked to Château de Chambord are unique in this world.
History of Château de Chambord
In 1519, Francis I erected Chateau de Chambord as a royal hunting lodge. Chambord was stripped of its remaining furnishings and paintings after the French Revolution. The last Bourbon owner of the chateau was the Comte de Chambord, who owned it from 1821 until he died in 1883.
Chambord was designated as a national monument in 1930. At the onset of WWII, Chambord hosted numerous Louvre artworks, including the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo. In 1981, the Château de Chambord was included in the UNESCO World Heritage site.
Interesting facts about Château de Chambord
The iconic double helix staircase, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, connects multiple floors by two steps arranged in a massive lantern-like enclosure.
It is Europe’s biggest enclosed park, with 5,440 hectares and 32 kilometers of walls encircled. Château de Chambord’s garden has 600 trees, 200 roses, 800 bushes, and 15,250 plants.
Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France.
Fairytale Castle #4 – Barnard Castle
Barnard Castle has become a town of markets and is now used for commercial use. The Castle was built during the 12-century century and is named after its founder Bernard de Baliol. The Castle is the city’s main attraction and is often viewed by tourists during special events.
In late June, you’ll find an annual meeting on Whitsunday weekend and more popular 1940-themed events. Today the Castle is mostly destroyed, but you may still find the Richard III symbol carved into stone inside the Castle.
The Castle in Barnard Castle is easily visible when approaching the town from the river. The ruined Castle sits atop a massive rock overlooking the River Tees and is stunningly beautiful. It’s a lovely castle sprawling around the green in a heavily fortified location.
The castle towers and the 14th-century Great Hall are among the original features, and Richard III’s boar emblem can still be seen carved above the inner ward.
Barnard Castle is a great place to spend a weekend because it has many activities, shops, history, and restaurants.
History of Barnard Castle
The fortress was erected to guard a river crossing between the domain of the Bishop of Durham and the Honour of Richmond. Guy de Baliol constructed the first stone defenses at Barnard Castle in 1095.
Barnard belonged to the Bowes family in the 16th century and was taken twice by rebels. Barnard Castle had fallen into disrepair by 1626, and the land was sold to Sir Henry Vane, who used the materials from the Castle to adorn another of his castles, the neighboring Raby Castle. Barnard Castle is now managed by English Heritage and serves as a magnificent ruin for tourists to explore.
Interesting Facts about Barnard Castle
During a siege in the summer of 1216, the freshly built fortress of the early 13th century faced its first military test. Barnard Castle is now managed by English Heritage and serves as a magnificent ruin for tourists to explore.
North bank of the River Tees, in County Durham, Northern England.
Fairytale Castle #5 – Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is the ultimate fairytale castle in the UK. The shooting site has been used in the two Harry Potter films; you will see the outer Bailey in Harry and the lessons at Madam Hooch. The Courtyard and Baileys served as a backdrop to many school scenes.
Alnwick Castle offers regular, Harry Potter-style activities to enhance the Castle’s magic, thanks to famed films. This would be an enjoyable weekend for the Harry Potter fans!
There are also regular seminars and even broomstick training for aspiring Quidditch players. It was founded in the 11th century and has served as the seat of Northumberland nobility for hundreds of years.
You can purchase a ticket to the Castle, the gardens, or a combination ticket. The exterior of the Castle is stunning, and there are several other things to do around the Castle than viewing the inside.
Because Alnwick Castle is a residence, photography is not permitted within the living spaces; only the grounds and other sections of the Castle are permitted.
Alnwick offers everything you might desire from a history tour, including a majestic medieval castle in the center and noteworthy museums, archives, and collections.
History of Alnwick Castle
Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is one of England’s greatest castle complexes and has served as the historic home of the famed Percy family for 700 years. Alnwick Castle was built in 1096 by Norman lord Ivo de Vesci.
After his death, the Castle was handed in trust to Anthony Bek, Bishop of Durham, who sold it to Henry de Percy. It has not only endured the test of time but has also been involved in several schemes and rebellions.
Interesting Facts about Alnwick Castle
Henry Percy, the first Baron Percy, purchased the Castle in 1309. It has been in the Percy family for 700 years, and they currently reside in a portion of the structure.
It receives approximately 300,000 visitors annually, ranking it as England’s tenth most visited stately mansion. Alnwick Castle has appeared in several films and television shows. Blackadder, Robin of Sherwood, Star Trek, and two Harry Potter films are among them.
Alnwick, English county of Northumberland.
Fairytale Castle #7 – Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most famous fairytale castles in Germany. The Castle is often ranked as a good choice in the list of best attractions in Germany. Compared to other castles in the south, the famous German Castle of Neuschwanstein is not particularly old.
The Castle was built in a fantasy style and started in the late 19th century, to be exact and built for Ludwig II of Austria. Nestled among the mountain ranges lies the beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle, perhaps the best-recognized Castle in the world.
Mad King Ludwig XI designed the palace from Bavaria as the most spectacular retreat on this cliff-top. Fairy Tale Castle Neuschwanstein.
The fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle is a German tourist attraction with 1.4m visits a season. The Castle is situated in Hohenschwangau, on the hill overlooking the Allgäu in Germany.
It is now regarded as one of the most visited castles in the world. The Neuschwanstein Castle received 1.5 million tourists in 2017.
Allow the fantastic vistas to soak in by pausing and simply looking about. There are certain locations where you may get selfies taken specifically for social media sites such as Instagram.
This fortress has everything… mountains, waterfalls, woods, a swan lake, and gorgeous vistas. Even Disney admits that Neuschwanstein Castle patterns its castles.
History of Neuschwanstein Castle
The foundation for the Neuschwanstein castle was built by King Louis II, popularly known as the Mad King Ludwig, but the construction could not be completed during his lifetime.
Following King Ludwig’s death in 1886, the Castle was accessible to the general public. The Neuschwanstein castle dates back at least 136 years.
The land where the Castle now stands had two smaller structures that were destroyed in 1868 to make way for the construction of the present Castle. The Castle is approximately 213 feet tall and 65 000 square feet in size.
Interesting Facts about Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwig the II named this Castle Hohenschwangau’s Castle, and the building was named Neuschwanstein after a man died shortly afterward.
According to some accounts, Walt Disney also derived inspiration from Neuschwanstein Castle and used this castle base in his “Sleeping Beauty” film. The castle shares characteristics.
Schwangau, Bavaria, Germany.
Fairytale Castle #8 – Dunrobin Castle
Dunrobin Castle has a 700-year-old history, which is incredibly fascinating.
Dunrobin is built by the Sutherland families, which are very influential in Scotland. The Duke of Sutherland has been living there since 1235. The family built the house and restored it to suit the increasing wealth of their people and the land.
The family was known to have carried out the clearing of highland in which it forced settlers out of homes to make room for sheep.
Dunrobin Castle is the biggest in the Northern Highlands, with 189 rooms in total, and has provided some of the most reliable castle lodgings in Scotland.
The exquisite rooms demonstrate why Dunrobin was one of Scotland’s greatest castle stays. But, in addition to history and atmosphere, Dunrobin is also about location and gardens. The early Castle had a fortified keep with six-foot-thick walls.
The Castle is perched on a knoll, commanding the surrounding area and offering panoramic views of the Moray Firth and the North Sea. This fairytale Castle provides insight into the lives of Scottish nobles over the centuries.
History of Dunrobin Castle
Dunrobin Castle has been designated a fortress since 1410, but the Sutherland family has lived there since the 13th century. In 1870, the Castle even gained its private railway station. The Castle was later converted into a naval hospital for WWI casualties.
When the 5th Duke of Sutherland died in 1963, his niece inherited the estate. From 1965 until 1972, she converted it into a boys’ boarding school. The Castle has been available to the public since 1973.
Interesting Facts about Dunrobin Castle
The Dunrobin Fairytale Castle is Gaelic for ‘Robin’s Hill’ or ‘Robin’s Fort’ and was presumably named after Robert, the 6th Earl of Sutherland, who died in 1427. Dunrobin retains its original square keep, which serves as the Castle’s principal bastion today.
North of Golspie, Sutherland, UK.
Fairytale Castle #9 – Hohenschwangau Castle
One of the most beautiful fairytale castles that tick your bucket list when you visit Germany is Hohenschwangau Castle which is often neglected. Like Neuschwanstein, the Castle built above remnants of an earlier castle was the Summer House for Ludwig IIs father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria.
Every year, about 300,000 tourists from all around the world visit the palace. Ludwig II was the one who built Neuschwanstein Castle.
Natural eclipsed by the Castle, Hohenschwangau surely makes a visit worth it for seeing these beautiful gardens and fountains that overlook the valley below. It is a tiny castle filled with sculptures, Truly one of the best Fairytale Castles in Europe.
In similar circumstances in Neuschwanstein, walking through Hohenschwangau is free. To enter this museum, you must purchase your ticket.
You can buy tickets for only Hohenschwangau Castle or combine tickets for the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle.
This Castle is well worth your time. It is designed in the Neogothic style. It includes four corner turrets and crenelated walls, giving this neogothic Castle a medieval appearance.
It is well worth a visit if you are interested in the family’s history. The “Hall of Heroes” spans the whole width of the Castle, with paintings depicting various incidents from the Wilkins Saga and its hero, Dietrich von Bern.
History of Hohenschwangau Castle
This Fairytale Castle was erected on the ruins of the stronghold Schuangau, which was first mentioned in 12th-century historical sources.
The stronghold changed hands multiple times after the knights were defeated in the 16th century. In 1905, Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria was in charge of electrification and the building of an electric elevator. He died in 1912, and the palace became a museum the next year.
Interesting Facts about Hohenschwangau Castle
The Hohenschwangau Castle gets its name from a German phrase that translates to “High Swan Country,” and the first record of its origins dates back to the 12th century. The exquisite fairytale Hohenschwangau castle’s walls portray German and Bavarian history.
Neither WWI nor WWII could have harmed the Castle. Only guided tours are permitted inside the Castle, and photography is not authorized.
Alpsee Street, Schwangau, Germany.
Who doesn’t like fairytale castles? These magical Fairytale castles in Europe are not to miss. These are enchanting castles with turrets and moorings and with a drawbridge at their heart. Kids read fairy tales like Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty and imagine being in the quintessential fairytale castle.
You may also have a chance to visit many famous castles in which these fairy tales were built.
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