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46 Magical Castles in Europe You Need to Visit

Many of the most stunning castles in the world are in Europe. European castles have been famous for their magnificence and often beauty for centuries.

The primary purpose of a castle in Europe was to protect its owners – normally members of the local royal family. The difference between a European castle and a European palace is about its intent.

Was the building designed to protect its inhabitants or was it to demonstrate the power and wealth of its inhabitants? If the latter, the structure is deemed to be a palace.

A key differentiator of a castle and a palace is that castles are fortified. Castles are also far more likely to have moats and super thick walls. Both castles and palaces can feature turrets, high towers and slits in the walls.

Generally, but not always, palaces tend to be more ornate than castles. As they are displays of wealth the materials with which they are built tend to be more about decadence and beauty versus the more functional purpose of a castle.

Confusingly, in France, many palaces and castles are called Chateaux. These tend to be large country houses that in other countries could be called palaces or castles. They are often some of the most famous landmarks in Europe.

So, for the purposes of this post if the primary purpose of a French Chateau appears to have been to protect its inhabitants I have considered it to be a castle.

Now that we are clear here are 46 gorgeous castles in Europe.

Corvin Castle against blue skies
Corvin Castle

46 Castles in Europe Not to Miss

1. Windsor Castle England

Lovely Windsor Castle is The Queen’s home away from home in the United Kingdom and was also where Harry and Meghan were married.

Windsor is just over 25 miles west of London and easily reached by train on a 35-minute journey.

windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The chapel is open to visitors Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

⇒ As Windsor Castle is a working palace it is subject to last-minute closures. It is generally open most days between 10 am and 4 pm and closes at 3 pm in the Winter. Buy your Windsor Castle tickets ahead online to skip the queues.

2. Neuschwanstein Castle Germany

This 19th-century castle sits above the village of Hohenschwangau in the southwest Bavarian area of Germany. This German castle is perhaps best known as being the inspiration for the castle in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.

Neuschwanstein Castle exterior against forest
Neuschwanstein Castle

King Ludwig II commissioned Neuschwanstein castle as a retreat and in honour of the German musician Richard Wagner. The King personally funded the castle and intended for it to be his home. The town of Hohenschwangau was his childhood home.

I am not sure exactly what it was that Wagner got out of the deal!

Ludwig commissioned a stage designer rather than an architect to bring to life his vision. Alas, Ludwig only spent 11 nights in the castle before he died and the castle was opened to the public just seven weeks after his death.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter
Neuschwanstein Castle

Today Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany receives over 1.3 million visitors per annum. It is open virtually every day of the year (exceptions are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day) with changes in opening hours depending on the season.

As always I highly recommend booking your ticket online before you go and receiving a confirmed time slot for your visit.

3. Saint Fargeau Castle France

This 17 century Renaissance chateau is in Yonne in the Burgundy region of France. Saint Fargeau Castle’s origins can be traced back to the 10th century when it was used as a hunting lodge. The castle was built on the remains of that lodge in the 15th century and it became a royal residence.

Chateau-de-saint-fargeau exterior
Chateau de saint fargeau

In 1809 an English-style garden was added to this castle in France which is intact to this day and in 1949 it was classified as a Monument Historique. In 1977, the Saint Fargeau Castle got new owners who decided to restore it with the help of local government.

chateau de saint fargeau with partial reflection in moat france
chateau de saint fargeau

The restored areas of Saint Fargeau Castle France are open to the public. A highlight is a two hour sound and light show which runs on Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer.

4. Edinburgh Castle Scotland

There can be few castles in the world as magnificent as Edinburgh castle! It perches literally on the top of Edinburgh on Castle Rock. Don’t leave Edinburgh without visiting Edinburgh castle. 

view over edinburgh
Edinburgh Castle sits on the top of Edinburgh

Human occupation of Castle Rock in Edinburgh Scotland can be traced back to the Iron Age. A royal castle first appeared in the 12th century and by the 17th century, this Scottish castle had become a military barracks.

Edinburgh Castle a fantastic castle in europe
Edinburgh Castle

Today Edinburgh Castle is the most popular paid tourist attraction in Scotland and the second most popular paid attraction in the United Kingdom with over 2.2 million visitors.

Entrance to Edinburgh Castle
Entrance to Edinburgh Castle

Highlights of a trip to Edinburgh Castle are seeing the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Royal Apartments and the gorgeous little St Margaret’s Chapel. Edinburgh Castle also provides stunning views over Edinburgh.

And at 1pm every day Mons Meg, the cannon at Edinburgh Castle, takes fire.

⇒ Heading to Scotland? Check out my Scotland Itinerary 10 Days, Scotland Itinerary 7 Days, Glasgow Tours, Edinburgh vaults tour, things to do in Dumfries and Galloway, things to do in Ayrshire, my guide to Climbing Ben Nevis, 11 Places to Experience the Sunset Edinburgh style, 11 Best Spots to See the Sunset in Glasgow, 18 Beautiful Places in Scotland and 9 great Spa Breaks Scotland.

5. Warwick Castle England

This medieval English castle was developed from a wooden fort built by William the Conqueror in 1068. Today Warwick Castle England and its grounds cover 64 acres.

warwick castle exterior one of the castles in europe
Warwick castle

In 2007 Warwick Castle was purchased by the Tussauds Group and is now operated as an entertainment venue. There are a big range of activities and events on offer.

There are live shows, it is possible to stay overnight at this castle in England, afternoon tea is on offer and for those who prefer more gruesome activities, there is a Castle dungeon.

warwick castle exterior
Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is in the town of Warwick which is about a 2-hour drive from London. The castle is open every day of the year apart from Christmas.

Closing times vary depending on the time of year. There are different types of tickets with entrance to the Dungeon requiring a different ticket type.

⇒ Heading to London? Check out my posts on 13 Unusual Experiences in London, the best London Food Tours, my virtual London Travel Blog, some great Earlsfield restaurants, 14 Things to do in Notting Hill, restaurants near Clapham Junction and Victoria Station restaurants, 16 Famous Landmarks in Europe, a mad hatter afternoon tea party and a day trip to Brighton, 67 Fascinating Facts about London, 18 Landmarks of London from a local, 15 Places to see Sunsets in London, 9 Places to watch the Sunrise in London, 10 Bridges in London Not to Miss and Cotswolds tour from London options.

6. Cardiff Castle Wales

Did you know that Wales has more castles than any other country in Europe? I was very surprised to read that.

places of interest cardiff
Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is very impressive and one of Cardiff’s top attractions. I probably shouldn’t write this but I didn’t find the inside of the castle itself that interesting.

But the Welsh capital’s castle is beautiful as are the grounds and very photogenic – especially with that moat around the castle.

The part I most enjoyed was walking the tunnels that were used during WW2 for raids – one of the fun things to do in Cardiff. The city asked the owner of the castle to open it up to the city’s residents for protection.

things to do in cardiff wales
WW2 tunnels under Cardiff Castle

Today the spirit and feel are kept going with the use of WW2 era music and posters.

The cost of a ticket to Cardiff Castle includes a free audio guide and map. The castle offers a range of specialist tours which I didn’t have time to do.

The most popular is the House Tour which takes you inside Cardiff Castle’s decadent rooms. These tours run every day on the hour and last just under one hour.

Cardiff Castle

There is also a tour that covers parts of the Castle that have been used in tv shows.

Save TimeBook your Cardiff Castle Tickets

7. The Palace of Pena Sintra Portugal

Beautiful Sintra is a hilltop town only 45 minutes from Lisbon. The Pena Palace of Sintra is a stunning romanticist castle. The castle sits at the top of the town and looks down over Sintra.

A UNESCO World heritage site, Pena Palace’s history starts in the Middle Ages. For many centuries the site was a quiet monastery and after a fire in the 18th century it was left a wreck.

Palace of Pena Sintra Portugal
Palace of Pena Sintra Portugal

In 1838 the site was acquired by King consort Ferdinand II. He decided to transform the former monastery into a summer palace for the Royal Family of Portugal. This was then the transformation to a Romantic style castle took place.

In 1889 the castle was purchased by the Portuguese state and it was transformed into a museum after 1910.

Pena Palace is at the top of a hill so luckily a bus runs from the train station for those not keen to walk. There are two types of tickets: one for the park and one for both the park and the inside of Pena Palace.

Palace of Pena Sintra Portugal purple and yellow
Palace of Pena Sintra Portugal

If you are just keen to see the colourful buildings and terraces these can be seen with the cheaper Park ticket. However, the interiors are quite fantastic and worth a look.

8. Alcazar of Segovia Castle Spain

Alcázar de Segovia is one of the most fascinating Spain famous landmarks. Located in the city of Segovia, this stunning medieval castle is perched high on a rocky crag. The location provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Alcazar Castle Spain exterior
Alcazar Castle Spain

The layout is unique, as it adapts to the hill on which it’s set. The design is so magical it’s said to have inspired Walt Disney in his castle construction.

Alcazar Castle Spain towers
Alcazar Castle Spain

Tours of the Alcázar are open to the public. Visit the beautifully restored interior and admire the ornate ceilings, beautiful tapestries and impressive armoury.

9. Hohenzollern Castle Germany

Located in south-west Germany, just south of Stuttgart, Hohenzollern is a hill top castle. The first castle on this mountain was built in the 11th century. The current version of the castle was built between 1846 and 1867.

Hohenzollern Castle aerial shot
Hohenzollern Castle

Today over 350,000 visitors head to Hohenzollern Castle annually and it is one of the most visited castles in Germany.

Hohenzollern Castle is open all year round and closes only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (there is also a Christmas market at the castle during December).

Hohenzollern Castle Germany exterior
Hohenzollern Castle Germany

The castle is outside of Stuttgart so you will need some form of transport to get there. It is possible to buy a ticket for just the grounds and the catacombs or to pay extra for a guided tour of the interior.

10. Conwy Castle Wales

Conwy Castle was built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289. It was part of a project to convert Conwy into a walled town. Conwy Castle was involved in quite a few battles over the next few centuries.

Conwy Castle Wales seen from before suspension bridge
Conwy Castle Wales

Once Parliamentary armies conquered the area, the castle was stripped for iron and other elements to prevent it being used again in any further revolutionary activities.

Now a UNESCO world heritage site, restoration work was carried out the in second half of the 19th century to turn the castle into a tourist attraction.

Conwy Castle Interior
Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle has a spectacular setting at the entrance to the town of Conwy via the Conwy suspension bridge. Its spiral staircases have been restored so you can walk around the castle and enjoy the views.

11. Culzean Castle Scotland

Culzean Castle is big. The size of the grounds of this castle is quite staggering. The castle was built between 1777 and 1792. It overlooks the Firth of Clyde on the Ayrshire Coast of Scotland – a stunning location.

Culzean Castle

The castle went through a major refurbishment and re-opened in 2011. The refurbishment was funded by William Lindsay, an American millionaire. He was fascinated by the fact that Dwight Eisenhower had spent holidays at Culzean Castle.

It will take several minutes to drive through from the castle entrance to the parking area. Once out of the parking area there is a large complex with the Home Farm Restaurant. There are 40 buildings across the Culzean Castle estate.

The Knife Room

There are then a couple of paths you can follow to Culzean castle itself. There are castle tours – don’t miss the knife collection.

culzeancastlescotland a beautiful place to visit in scotland

A great Instagram opportunity is the little boat launch. There are also several other walks etc throughout the grounds of Culzean Castle.

12. Eilean Donan Castle Scotland

The stunning Eilean Donan Castle is literally on the A87 road not far before it heads over to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The castle is on a small tidal island that is located where three different lochs meet and it is extremely photogenic.

tour scottish highlands
Eilean Donan Castle

The area where the castle lies was first inhabited in the 6th century. It became a fortified castle for the first time in the 13th century. Four different versions of the castle have been built since then.

After lying in ruin for a couple of hundred years, the Eilean Donan Castle was restored and re-opened in 1932. The castle is open all year round, apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the month of January.

It is possible to visit the castle inside with a paid ticket. However, the castle itself is just stunning from all angles and can be enjoyed – and photographed – without entry.

eilean donan castle scotland
eilean donan castle scotland

If you’re visiting the Isle of Skye you will pass Eilean Donan Castle on your way to Skye and on your way back. As the weather in Scotland can vary so much it is quite good to have two opportunities to see this beautiful castle in Europe.

13. Corvin Castle Romania

Dracula was said to have been imprisoned in this beautiful castle in Romania. One of the largest European castles, Corvin Castle was built on a hill in the 15th century.

Corvin Castle Romania exterior
Corvin Castle Romania

The current castle has been somewhat “updated” to what modern architects think of when it comes to 15th-century gothic castles. This Romanian castle has been featured in several movies and tv shows and is associated with several legends, mostly concerning Dracula or Vlad the Impaler.

Castle of the Corvin Romania
Castle of the Corvin Romania

Corvin Castle is located in Transylvania, which is a 6-hour drive from the Romanian capital of Bucharest. The castle is open most days of the year, although on Mondays only in the afternoon. Tickets can be purchased on arrival.

14. Chenonceau Castle France

Chateau de Chenonceau is located in the Loire Valley in France on the River Cher. Whilst the first mention of the estate was in the 11th century, the current version was built between 1514 and 1522.

Chenonceau Castle and moat
Chenonceau Castle

The stunning bridge over the River Cher was built between 1556 and 1559. Catherine de Medici took control of this French castle in 1559 and it became her favourite residence. The first-ever display of fireworks in France took place here in 1560.

Chenonceau Castle was taken over by the Germans during World War 2 and bombed by both sides of the war. Its restoration began in 1951.

Chenonceau Castle exterior
Chenonceau Castle

Today this European castle is open every day of the year – opening and closing times vary with the seasons.

15. Castle of Gravensteen Belgium

This European medieval castle in Ghent Belgium dates back to 1180. Over the centuries, this location has held a prison, court, mint and cotton factory. It was restored between 1893 and 1903.

Castle of Gravensteen with moat and people in canoe
Castle of Gravensteen

The name translates to Castle of the Counts. Castle Gravensteen features quite the collection of torture equipment if that is your thing. The castle has had a turbulent past which makes for an entertaining audio tour. Gravensteen Castle is open most days of the year.

Castle of Gravensteen exterior
Castle of Gravensteen

16. Lake Bled Castle Slovenia

Few castles in Europe can beat Bled Castle in Slovenia when it comes to both location and view. This medieval castle in Slovenia sits on a hill top above the town of Bled and the beautiful Lake Bled.

Lake Bled Castle interior steps
Lake Bled Castle

First mention of the castle was 1011. The towers came in the Middle Ages and the chapel in the 16th century. It is the oldest castle in Slovenia.

Lake Bled Castle atop hill above Lake Bled
Lake Bled Castle

Grab a skip the line ticket for Bled Castle to beat the queues. Your ticket will grant you access to the castle and the top tower and its stunning views.

17. Carcassone Castle France

I have left my personal favourite castle in Europe for last. When I was in my early 20s backpacking (ugh) around Europe I visited Carcassone Castle and was absolutely blown away by its size and scale.

carcassonne castle france exterior
Carcassonne cCstle

Carcassone is a fully fortified city in France – it is a walled city – in the South of France 80 kilometres east of Toulouse. It is one of the oldest surviving medieval walled cities in Europe. Only just as it was nearly destroyed in 1849 when fortifications went out of fashion.

This caste in France joined the UNESCO list in 1997. It is possible to visit the walled city at no charge but there is an entry fee for Carcassone Castle.

carcassone castle entrance
Carcassone Castle

18. Heidelberg Castle Germany

It is believed that the first foundations for what is now Heidelberg Castle were laid in the 11th century. Alas, Heidelberg Castle was to suffer from dreadful bad luck for centuries, from war and defeat to being struck by lightning. It appeared that it was Heidelberg Castle’s fate to always end up in ruin.

Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle

The beautiful city of Heidelberg has long attracted artists, writers and poets. During the 1800s, the ruins of Heidelberg Castle were idealized by the Romantic movement. Victor Hugo often wrote of its beauty.

Today Heidelberg Castle can be reached via a funicular or a relatively steep footpath of 315 steps.

19. Eltz Castle Germany

The first mentions of Eltz Castle date back to 1157. The castle was built strategically along the lower Eltz River, a tributary of the Mosel River. This fairy tale German castle was built on a 70 metre high rock providing views of both the Elzbach Valley and the River Eltz.

Eltz Castle Germany
Eltz Castle

In 1268, the Eltz family split into three branches and each had its own home in the castle. Today, the last brand of the Eltz family is the sole owner of the castle. The castle now consists of eight towers with living quarters around an inner courtyard.

Visitors can take a tour of Eltz Castle, which includes Knights Hall. After the tour, visit the Eltz family’s riches at the Treasure Chamber. Burg Eltz also has two restaurants and a gift shop.

20. Cochem Castle Germany

This beautiful castle on the Moselle River was originally constructed in the 12th century. However, it was destroyed by French King Louise XIV in 1689. Cochem Castle as seen today was rebuilt in 1868. The new owner Louis Ravene decided to create a neo-Gothic castle that would be a holiday home for his family.

cochem castle
cochem castle

In World War Two, the family was forced to sell the family castle to the Prussian Ministry of Justice and the Nazi government turned it into a law school. At the end of the war, the castle became the property of the state. In 1978 the city of Cochem sold the castle to a private company.

cochem castle germany
cochem castle

Today visitors can see Cochem Castle on a 40 minute tour after a steep 20 minute walk up the narrow paved road to its entrance. A shuttle bus is also available. Cochem Castle also has a restaurant called Sonnenterrasse or sun terrace.

21. Castel Sant’Angelo Italy

Built in 123 AD by Emperor Hadrian as a tomb for himself and his family, Castel Sant’Angelo has towered over Rome for nearly 2,000 years. The land on which Castel Sant’Angelo was built had been used for burial purposes since ancient times and this was seen as an excellent position because it was next to the Tiber River.

The building takes its name from the large statue of the archangel Michael on its terrace.

castel sant-angelo rome
castel sant-angelo rome

The castle was connected to the land by a bridge called “Helius”. Alas, Hadrian died before the tomb was finished so it was Emperor Antoninus Pius who completed the construction and used it as a sepulcher for the members of his family.

In the Middle Ages, the mausoleum was transformed into a fortress. Over the next ten centuries, it was modified many times as part of the city walls and today it is one of the must-see tourist attractions of Rome.

22. St. Michael’s Mount England

This iconic Cornwall castle is easily recognized for its grand and dramatic appearance. Situated on an island in Mount’s Bay, you can’t miss a visit to this architectural masterpiece.

It is estimated that the first structure was built on the site in the 12th Century. The impressive structure has since been built up over time to be the size it is today.

St. Michael’s Mount cornwall england
St. Michael’s Mount

The castle is open to the public and you’ll be in awe as you learn about its history. It has endured and survived military action in several wars, including two sieges.

St Michaels Mount Castle

The castle isn’t the only thing you’ll enjoy about visiting the tidal island. It is also home to charming winding streets, quaint shops and wonderful restaurants. A trip to St Michael’s Mount makes for a magical day of sightseeing.

Book a day trip including St Michael’s Mount

Cornwall’s Coastal Path

23. Caerhays Castle and Gardens England

This lavish castle and its gardens are exceptionally beautiful. This impressive building was built as a private residence and is not a royal castle with ancient history. Dating back to the early middle ages the home was owned by the noble Arundell family.

It was later inherited by the Trevanion family who commissioned famous architect John Nash to add to the castellated mansion. The debt incurred by the Trevanion family caused them to flee to Paris and the castle was bought by a local member of Parliament, Micheal Williams.

Caerhays Castle
Caerhays Castle

The castle is tucked within a Cornish Cove surrounded by beautiful wooded land and never-ending views of Porthluney beach. The gardens and castle are open to the public during the summer months and also make for a dreamy wedding venue.

caerhays Castle from behind.
Caerhays Castle

24. Dunluce Castle, Ireland

One of the most picturesque and romantic of the Irish Castles, Dunluce has a spectacular location on the dramatic cliffs of north County Antrim. The castle was built by the MacQuillan family around 1500. It was seized by the MacDonnell clan in the 1550s and became the seat of the earls of Antrim in the 17th century.

Dunluce Castle Northern Ireland
Dunluce Castle

Today it is a key tourist attraction in the area. Don’t miss Magheracross Viewing Point for some great views of Dunluce Castle in its amazing location.

25. Carrickfergus Castle, Ireland

Another spectacular castle in County Antrim with a great location, Carrickfergus Castle sits on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. The castle played an important military role until 1928. It was besieged by Scots, Irish, English and even the French.

Carrickfergus Castle northern ireland
Carrickfergus Castle

The castle is 800 years old and one of the best-preserved medieval structures in Ireland. Don’t miss the Great Hall at the top of the Great Tower.

26. The Castle of Saint George, Portugal

Castelo de Sao Jorge sits atop Lisbon and was the seat of power in Portugal for over 400 years. The Crusaders defeated the Moors here in 1147. The castle contains some impressive fortifications and the citadel’s tower offers fantastic views over the city. The castle is located in the atmospheric Alfama district of Lisbon.

Castle of Saint George
Castle of Saint George

27. Stirling Castle, Scotland

Stirling Castle was once the favourite residence of the Steward kings and queens who enjoyed elaborate celebrations at the castle. Today Stirling Castle is open to visitors and features costumed characters in the various roles that would have been in place in the castle in the 16th century.

stirling castle scotland
stirling castle

The castle also has many fantastic sculptures and beautiful gardens. The restaurant at Stirling Castle, the Unicorn Cafe, has some fantastic views and there are three gift stores for some serious souvenir shopping.

28. Urquhart Castle, Scotland

Beautiful Loch Ness is of course home to the Loch Ness monster as well as the beautiful 1000-year-old Urguhart Castle, said to be the greatest castle in the Scottish highlands.

urquhart castle and lochness
urquhart castle and lochness

Today it is possible to visit the castle and to climb Grant Tower in the ruins. In addition to seeing a gloomy old prison cell there are some fantastic views over Loch Ness. For a great view of the castle head to the comfortable cafe.

29. Caerphilly Castle, Wales

Caerphilly is the largest castle in Wales and the second largest castle in Britain after Windsor Castle. It is built on a 30-acre site with towers, a maze, a dragon’s den, a Great Hall and much more. The design of the castle is based on a concentric ring of walls and it also has an extensive moat.

Caerphilly Castle wales
Caerphilly Castle

It was built between 1268 and 1271 by Gilbert de Clare. Caerphilly has received many attacks over the years but none broke its boundaries. An attack from Oliver Cromwell’s roundheads did manage to to hit one of the towers which still leans as a result.

The castle is open to the public – do book your tickets online ahead of your visit.

30. Castle of the Moors, Portugal

Castelo dos Mouros is a hilltop medieval castle that looks over Sintra. The castle was built between the 8th and 9th century. It served as a watch out for Lisbon and today offers fantastic views over Sintra. The Castle of the Moors sits on the top of a hill and is 412 metres above sea level.

Castle of the Moors, Sintra
Castle of the Moors, Sintra

31. Caernarfon Castle, Wales

This UNESCO world heritage site sits on the River Seiont in the North of Wales and is recognised as one of the great buildings of the Middle Ages. Caernarfon Castle was one of the castles built by Edward I as part of his “ring of iron” to intimidate other Welsh princes. The current stone structure was built in 1283.

Caernarfon Castle wales
Caernarfon Castle

Today Caernarfon Castle receives over 200,000 visitors a year. It is also where Prince Charles was given his title of the Prince of Wales.

32. Blarney Castle, Ireland

The Blarney Castle is located in County Cork and is one of Ireland’s most revered historical landmarks. The medieval castle was constructed in 1446 by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster.

blarney castle

The iconic attraction here is the Blarney Stone, which, according to the legend, can grant you the gift of eloquence if you kiss it. The 600-year-old castle looks like a mystic building from one side and a war-torn hero from the other.

Other highlights here are the stunning, well-manicured gardens of Blarney Castle. While you’re exploring this remarkable green space, be sure to check out the Poison Garden, The Seven Sisters, the Fern Garden, and more.

blarney castle 1

Tourists come from far and wide to give this stone a smooch in the hope of some Irish luck. So, I highly recommend booking a tour to learn about the grounds’ thrilling history and its legends.  

Admission to the Blarney Castle is $21 for adults and $10 for children. Opening times are from 9 am to 5 pm every day.

33. Obidos Castle, Portugal

Obidos Castle can be traced all the way back to the Romans. Today it is a mix of a whole range of architectural styles including Moorish and Gothic. Its 13-metre-high walls take in the whole town of Obidos and allow for some great photos over its 1.5 kilometres. And don’t miss the beautiful Manueline windows.

Obidos Castle
Obidos Castle

34. Dublin Castle, Ireland

Nestled in the heart of Dublin city is the 600-year-old castle that served a range of possessors, from the Danish Vikings to the British Empire. The historic building served as a residence for the Viceroy of Ireland (the British monarch’s Irish representative) and a ceremonial and administrative centre.

dublin castle

The Dublin Castle was originally developed as a medieval fortress by orders of King John of England in 1230 in defence against Norman invaders.

Today, the last remaining building from the original medieval structure is the Record Tower. Other noteworthy areas in the castle include a Viking excavation area, a Medieval Tower, the State Apartments, the Chapel Royal (a church), and the gardens.

dublin castle 1

Admission into the castle costs $10, and it’s open Monday to Sunday from 9.45 am – 5.45 pm. You can take a self-guided tour using the Dublin Castle app. Alternatively, there are plenty of tours following the sites and happenings behind this castle’s history.

35. Dunluce Castle, Ireland

One of the most picturesque and romantic of the Irish Castles, Dunluce has a spectacular location on the dramatic cliffs of north County Antrim. The castle was built by the MacQuillan family around 1500. It was seized by the MacDonnell clan in the 1550s and became the seat of the earls of Antrim in the 17th century.

Dunluce Castle Northern Ireland
Dunluce Castle

Today it is a key tourist attraction in the area. Don’t miss Magheracross Viewing Point for some great views of Dunluce Castle in its amazing location.

36. Castelo de Guimaraes, Portugal

Portugal’s first King, Dom Afonso Henriques, was born at Castelo de Guimaraes in 1110 and Guimaraes was once Portugal’s capital city. There are several historic buildings in the town of Guimaraes, which is recognized as a World Heritage Site. However, it the castle is the most famous as it appears on the Portugese coat of arms.


Castelo de Guimaraes was built in the 10th century and extended two centuries later. Dom Afonso was baptized in the chapel of Sao Miguel, which is just outside the walls of the castle. Experience the castle by walking the ramparts and head to the keep for a fantastic view.

37. Royal Alcázar of Seville, Spain

The Royal Alcázar of Seville is one of the most famous Spanish landmarks and a beautiful piece of history. The origin of the complex dates back to 712, but the primary construction process started in the 14th century.

Alcazar of Seville

It continued for hundreds of years with many different architectural styles added, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Romanesque.

royal alcazar of seville one of the spain famous landmarks
royal alcazar of seville

A fun fact about the palace is that the Spanish royal family still use it as their residence when they visit Seville. You can tour the Alcázar and discover all of its wonders. The lavish tile decorations, richly decorated rooms and scenic gardens will enchant you.

38. Carrickfergus Castle, Ireland

Another spectacular castle in County Antrim with a great location, Carrickfergus Castle sits on the northern shore of Belfast Lough. The castle played an important military role until 1928. It was besieged by Scots, Irish, English and even the French.

Carrickfergus Castle northern ireland
Carrickfergus Castle

The castle is 800 years old and one of the best preserved medieval structures in Ireland. Don’t miss the Great Hall at the top of the Great Tower.

39. Leap Castle, Ireland

Built in the 12th century, Leap Castle’s claim to fame is that it is reputed to be the most haunted castle in Ireland. The castle’s history is full of violence and it is believed that the ghosts of those involved in these battles still haunt the castle today. Ghost tours are available.

Leap Castle
Leap Castle

40. Marvao Castle, Portugal

This medieval castle was built in the late 13th century and is only 15 kilometres from the border with Spain. The castle wall partially encloses the city. Don’t miss the huge cistern in Marvao Castle, the bent entrances and the triple gate system.

Marvao Castle
Marvao Castle

41. Kilkenny Castle, Ireland

Built at the end of the 12th century, this castle is located in the town of Kilkenny. The interior of the castle is Victoria in style due to when it was redecorated and the grounds of the castle are just lovely and cover 21 hectares.

Kilkenny Castle
Kilkenny Castle

42. Alcázar de Toledo, Spain

Alcázar de Toledo is a large stone fortification that resides on the highest point in the city. The original construction of the palace began in 1531.

Old town of Toledo, with alcasar on a hilltop, former capital of Spain.
Old town of Toledo, with alcasar on a hilltop, former capital of Spain.

However, much of the building had to be rebuilt. This was following the destruction caused to it following the Spanish Civil War that took place from 1936 to 1939.

The fortress’ ideal positioning allows you to capture beautiful pictures of Toledo and the surrounding area effortlessly. The interior has been wonderfully restored and houses a Spanish army museum.

Toledo, Spain old town skyline at the Alcazar on the River.
Toledo, Spain old town skyline at the Alcazar on the River.

If you want an easy option for sightseeing Toledo and visiting the Alcázar de Toledo, book a Silver Ticket for the city’s hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

43. King John’s Castle, Ireland

Located in Limerick, this 13th century castle sits next to the River Shannon. Today the castle is home to 3D models and animations that bring medieval times to life. Don’t miss the views of the River Shannon.

King John's Castle
King John’s Castle

44. Castillo de Colomares, Spain

This stunning castle in Benalmadena on the Costa del Sol was built to honor Spanish-born explorer Christopher Columbus. It is one of the world’s largest monuments to Christopher Columbus, covering an area of 1500 metres. Despite its appearance, it is one of the youngest Spanish landmarks in this article, having been built between 1987 and 1994.

Castillo de Colomares
Castillo de Colomares

45. Veveri Castle

Veveri Castle in the Czech Republic dates back to at least the 13th century and has one of the largest castle grounds in the country. It was the seat to various noble families over the centuries until it was damaged in World War Two.

Veveri castle
Veveri castle

This castle in South Moravia has only recently been partially reconstructed. It is one of the 11 stops along a Brno Reservoir cruise and there are some fantastic photo opportunities of the castle from the river. Once the boat docks, it is about a 10-minute walk up to the castle. It is very photogenic and it has its own wine bar on the castle grounds.

Veveri castle
Veveri castle

46. Spilberk Castle

It is impossible to miss Spilberk Castle when you arrive in Brno, Czech Republic, as it sits on top of Spilberk hill. Dating back to the 13th century, the castle was rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries as a military fortress. It then became a prison for the worst criminals and political enemies in the Czech Republic.

sculpture at brno castle
sculpture at brno castle

Today it is home to the Brno City Museum and concerts, festivals and theatrical performances are all held at the castle regularly. It also provides amazing views over Brno.

brno city roof tops
brno city roof tops

Related Posts about Castles you might enjoy:

Castles in Cornwall England

Castles in Florida

Castles in Ohio

This beautiful castles in europe post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

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Saper Aude

Thursday 17th of March 2022

It’s a shame that the country with the most castle in Europe (Italy) is only imentioned once with Castel St. Angelo, a fortress more than a castle. If you are interested in beautiful castle have a look at Bracciano’s castle, a beautiful 5 towers castle built in the 15th century.


Sunday 1st of May 2022

@The Boutique Adventurer, yes please inform yourself better there is also many impressive castles in Italy, romania, France (just to mention french anger's castle and many others), not counting you badly misspelled st fargeau, and why not to mention the "mont st Michel". I don't think you can call your article " magical places of Europe" when you mostly stay focused on Scotland. Thanks for your work anyway.

The Boutique Adventurer

Sunday 3rd of April 2022

Thanks for sharing - we will review castles in Italy for the next draft.

Truth Seeker

Monday 19th of July 2021

If you like to visit a castle that actually’looks’ like a castle you should visit Bracciano’s Castle in the Lazio region in Italy.

The Boutique Adventurer

Tuesday 20th of July 2021

thanks for the tip! I will add it to my list!

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