When we asked our Facebook fans last week what the best thing about Europe was, many people mentioned the castles - Europe has an abundance of incredible castles that are so well kept you feel like you’ve instantly stepped back a few hundred years in time.
Here are five castles in Europe, they all stand out in their own way, are all very different from each other and are unique for different reasons…
The Most Beautiful Castle – Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Choosing the most beautiful castle in Europe is probably the toughest one as we all have different tastes, and our judgements are all based on many different things.
Personally, the biggest is not the most beautiful in my eyes. Maybe I should blame it all on the hundreds of fairy tale picture books that brainwashed me as a kid, or the picturesque Walt Disney castle I saw every time I watched a movie, but to me a beautiful castle has to have tall spires, and be perched on top of a hill.
While traveling by train in the gorgeous Graubunden area of Switzerland, I saw many beautiful castles perched on top of mountains, but the one that best describes a beautiful castle for me is Neuschwanstein in Germany.
The Neuschwanstein Castle is breathtaking with the beautiful snowy mountain peaks in the background, two lakes and the many spires in different sizes.
Not surprisingly, the Walt Disney castle is said to be inspired by this one, which might be why it to me represents everything a castle should be.
‘Fishing at Windermere. Image by Cumbrian-Cottages.co.uk’
The Prison Castle – Burg Hohenwerfen, Austria
What is today nicknamed the “adventure castle”, wasn’t always such a happy place.
This castle has mainly been used as a prison throughout its long history dating back to 1078, and many historical rulers were held captive here throughout the years.
Many prisoners spent their last days alive in the dungeons of this castle, but today they hold concerts, tours and different kinds of shows in the castle. The most famous shows are the “bird of prey” show and the falconry show.
The Largest Castle – Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Ok, this one is really hard to define, as many castles call themselves the largest based on different terms and measurements, but I won’t get all nerdy about how it’s measured, instead I will just refer to Guinness Book Of Records.
So, according to Guinness, the largest castle in the world is Prague Castle, in the Czech Republic. It dates back to the 9th century and is situated with a beautiful view over the city.
The castle district also houses the beautiful St. Georges Basilica and St Vithus Cathedral, with the most beautiful stained glass windows I’ve seen.
The Haunted Castle – Chillingham Castle, England
There are heaps of castles in England, all famous for different things. This one is known to be perhaps one of England’s most haunted places – the castle is said to be home to at least 60 different ghosts, and people have reported hearing voices and strange sounds, despite being all alone.
While the Northumberland cottages are really cute and cozy, if you’re looking to go all out in scaring yourself as much as possible, you could stay at one of the most haunted hotels in Great Britain – The Schooner Hotel, which is nearby.
Personally I would choose a safer option and find some Hexham accommodation instead and just go along for a ghost tour instead, but it’s up to you – do you dare!?
The Most Expensive Castle – Bran Castle, Romania
Many castles in Europe are cultural icons and have a long history, which make them priceless.
Putting a price tag on some of the castles in Europe like the Windsor castle in England would be unthinkable, nobody would simply be able to afford it.
However, this is not the case with Bran Castle in Romania.
Archduke Dominic von Habsburg, grandson of King Ferdinand of Romania (and also a New York architect), put the castle up for sale in 2007.
The Bran Castle has been the home of many royalties in Romanian history, most importantly, the home of Vlad Dracula III, nicknamed the ”blood thirsty prince” and Vlad The Impaler, the figure of whom the famous vampire Dracula was based.
They expected to sell it for $135 million, which would have made it the most expensive castle in the world. However, nobody bought it, so the castle was instead turned into a museum, which personally I think is a much better idea.
What are some of your favorite castles in Europe that you would like to add to the list?