10 Castles in Europe You HAVE to See
The thought of living in a castle may evoke feelings of romance and love. Some were indeed built by kings for their queens or by lords for the woman whom they were betrothed to. History says that once upon a time, they were built for military purposes—to protect wealth and defend the kingdom from invasion. But it all boils down to one thought: kings, lords, dukes and the other noble men wanted to protect what they love most, their family.
Castles are also the sites of drama by the rich and powerful. Visiting such magnificent places paints us a picture of the past, and satisfies our curiosity for how people lived centuries ago. Succinctly, these are the top 10 castles you must visit in Europe
1. Castle Neuschwanstein in Germany – Does it look familiar? Some say the Disney castle in Florida was based from this one. Based in Schwangau in the Bavarian Alps, this is built to fulfill King Ludwig’s idea of being a king. With its mock-medievalism and towers, and its interior styles ranging from Romanesque, Byzantine to Gothic, this is indeed a real fairytale fantasy come to life.
2. Bran Castle in Romania – The faint at heart might want to avoid visiting this castle. Originally put up the Knights of the Teutonic Order in 1212, this one is commonly referred to as Dracula’s Castle. On 1920, the castle became a royal residence until the expulsion of the royal family in 1948. Today, it functions as a museum and displays Queen Marie’s collections of art and furniture pieces, and Romanian peasant structures.
3. Windsor Castle in England – Largest and oldest occupied castle in the world, it is home to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This castle and its complex is a haven and fortress for the British royalty for over 900 years. The popular guards who don’t move a finger are also present here.
4. Chateau de Versailles in France – Popularly known as Louis XIV’s masterpiece, this structure so magnificent that the state treasury was almost bankrupted during its construction. It was built primarily to be a hunting lodge, it was soon upgraded to a castle and became the official residence of the Court of France.
5. Prague Castle in Czech Republic - The Guinness Book of Records refers to Prague Castle as one of the biggest castles in the world. This citadel is the pride of the country’s capital. It was built during the 9th century and still stands majestic up till today.
6. Brodick Castle in Scotland – Situated in the Isle of Arran in Scotland, it roots can be traced back to the time of the Vikings and, in fact, was built as protection against them. It was built and inhabited by the English Dukes of Hamilton, and in 1957 was given up by the last heir. Aside from the art collections, tourists can also marvel at the famous rhododendron collection in the garden.
7. Ksiaz Castle in Poland - Also known as the Pearl of Lower Silesia, it was constructed in the 13th century by Bolko I the Strict. It was once confiscated by the Nazis and then occupied by the Red Army. Today, guided tours of the castle for groups and individual tourists are available during the spring and summer holidays.
8. Castle Frankenstein in Germany – With only two towers, a restaurant and a chapel remaining, this structure is now in ruins. Perhaps the mythical connection to Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” keeps it a popular destination, especially during Hallow’s Eve.
9. Castle of Eger in Hungary – They say this castle is one of the most romantic in the countryside of Hungary. It stands above the town and it is actually not like a typical medieval fortress although it was completed in the 15th century. There is also a festival where people dressed in period clothing, arts and crafts sellers, and entertainment acts.
10. Predjama Castle in Slovenia - Built into a natural rock formation, this palace is a popular destination for visitors of the area. Today, it is a museum featuring the life of various medieval lords. It has also been rebuilt twice, after suffering war and natural disasters.
Is there a castle we missed? Have you been to any of these? Tell us below in the comments!
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