This romantic palace is one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, containing a mixture of a number of architectural styles including eclectic, neo-gothic, neo-manueline, Islamic and neo-renaissance. It sits on a hilltop overlooking the town of Sintra, and is considered one of the best expressions of 19th century romanticism in the world.
This incredible ancient Baroque castle is tucked into the hills above the Moselle River between Trier and Koblenz in the west of Germany. It’s still owned by a branch of the same family that lived there in the 12th century, going back 33 generations, and is thought to have been designed before 1157.
This magnificent island castle located on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, dates back to the 12th century when it was the home to the Counts of Savoy, although the oldest parts were built even earlier. It was made popular by Lord Byron who carved his name on a pillar of the dungeon.
Located along the River Rother in East Sussex, England, Bodiam Castle was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, originally as a coastal defense. The picturesque structures is said to symbolize the movement from traditional medieval castle to comfortable manor house.
This mighty Austrian castle has stood for more than 900 years, towering above the town of Werfen in the Salzachtal valley. Its powerful fortifications are said to be some of the best preserved late medieval defenses in Europe.
This 19th century palace in Germany’s Bavarian Alps was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. It was built by his father, King Maximillian II of Bavaria, on the remains of the fortress Schuangau which dates back at least as far as the 12th century.
Of course Bran Castle, otherwise known as Dracula’s Castle, is Romania’s most famous. It’s a major tourist attraction as well as a national monument and landmark, marketed as the home of the star in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
Another spectacular Irish castle, Kilkenny Castle was built in 1195 and stands out dramatically in the medieval city of Kilkenny in Ireland. Set on a strategic height along the River Nore, over the eight centuries of its existence it’s seen many additions and alterations that have resulted in the complex, stunning structure seen today.
The largest ancient castle in the world, Prague Castle is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. It dates back to the ninth century and has been a seat of power for Holy Roman emperors and Kings of Bohemia as well as Czechoslovakian presidents.
Built in the mid-13th century as a fortified castle for Alexander II to fend off Viking attacks, Eilean Donan is one of the most iconic images of Scotland. Set along the main route to the Isle of Skye in the western highlands, it sits atop a tiny island where three sea-lochs meet, connected to the mainland by a footbridge.
Le Chateau de Chambord in Loir-et-Cher France is one of Europe’s crown jewels as one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in the country. Originally a hunting lodge for Francois I, construction began in 1547. It took over 30 years to build and features an elaborate rooftop with 800 sculpted columns, more than 440 rooms and 85 staircases.
The Alcazar, or El Alcazar de Segovia, in Spain’s old city of Segovia, also inspired Mr. Walt Disney. It was said to be the inspiration for Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle. It sits atop a craggy hill, and at some angles appears to actually be sailing toward the viewer.