Many people enjoy visiting European Castles. Standing everywhere, these once powerful strongholds pepper the countryside of nearly every European country. Castles represent a time in history that is often romanticized in books and cinema. Many have been renovated and made into museums which are clean, well lit and free of disease, a far cry from the way things once were. Castles can offer a hands on experience and historical insight. Here is a list of my top five favorite castles in Europe.
Top 5 European Castles
Karlstien Castle is a famous castle easily accessible by a car rental in Prague, located just north of the city. Having been built in 1348, it has undergone several renovations over the past 700 years and is now open for guided tours.
The Alhambra located in Granada, Spain is one of Spain’s largest tourist attractions. The majestic beauty of this large castle attracts millions each year and is stunningly beautiful.
It was built by Muslim kings in the 1300’s, however was taken by Christian forces in 1492. This massive structure is filled with intricate art work, relaxing fountains, and large stables. The Alhambra can be reached easily with a rental car in Granada and is a must see for anyone in the region.
Hohensalzburg Castle in Salzburg, Austria is a large fortress that dates back over 900 years. It only came under attack once, and that was during the 14th century. During World War I it was used as a military prison, but now is visited by people every year who wish to see this well preserved piece of history. There is a cable car that will take you from the valley below or you can walk up and pay less for admission.
Chateau de Blois located in France’s Loire Valley has been the residence of French kings. Joan of Arc also received a blessing here from the Archbishop of Reims before fighting the English in 1429. Since 1841, it has been a historic monument and is open and available to the public. People who want to learn more about French History will enjoy this castle tour. If you have a car rental in Blois, you will want to find parking near the castle in the morning as it gets very busy during the day.
Of course you can’t mention castles in Europe without talking about Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. One of the most scenic castles in the world, this marvelous creation was commissioned to be built by Ludwig the Second of Bavaria in 1868. After his death in 1886, the castle was completed by the state, and is now open to the public, although no photos are allowed inside the castle. Despite that fact, it still remains one of the most photographed castles in the world! Neuschwanstein castle is truly a must see on your next Bavarian vacation and it is easily accessible with a rental car in Munich.
(Above:Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany)
Do you have a favorite castle in Europe? Leave a comment!