Scattered all throughout Europe are some of the most stunning castles of yesteryear. Just about everyone knows Buckingham Palace, but there are some hidden gems that are just waiting to be discovered by the rest of the world at large. There’s even one that served as inspiration for the home of a famous Walt Disney princess! So before you plan your next trip, take a look at the beautiful European castles that you just have to see!
1. Karlstejn Castle, Czech Republic
Karlstejn Castle in Czechia will have you feeling like you’ve somehow been transported back to the medieval era. It’s not just because of its Gothic architecture and sleek black roof or the flat farmlands that surround it from every angle, it’s also the tourist setup: sausages and other delicious sample food, the amazing artifacts on display, the blacksmiths hard at work as well as the ancient courtyard and battlements. As of 2019, Karlstejn was the 5th most visited castle in the Czech Republic with over 200,00 visitors every year.
2. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
In the 19th century, King Ludgwig of Bavaria commissioned a palace on the rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau, near Füssen, which he paid for out of his own personal wealth rather than Bavarian public funds. Neuschwanstein is one of Europe’s most famous castles and served as inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. The meteorite that crashed on April 6, 2002, at the Austrian border near Hohenschwangau was named Neuschwanstein after the palace.
3. Peles Castle, Romania
High up in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania is the stunning Peles Castle and it looks like something straight out of a movie. What makes it better is that this ornate beauty is located in remote woods, far away from any large settlements. In 1873, Romanian king Carol I fell in love with the area and ordered a castle to be built right there. Construction lasted ten long years, along with some additional work that was done in 1914. The castle is still beautifully preserved and there are always tours being offered.
4. Cesky Krumlov Castle, Czech Republic
In the charming town of Cesky Krumlov in the south of the Czech Republic, lies the Cesky Krumlov Castle, which stands at the center of the well-preserved medieval village. It has been featured in a couple of films including Hostel (2005), The Illusionist (2006) and the 1973 German movie Traumstadt or Dream City. The castle’s main attraction is its distinct pink tower that acts like a sort of beacon, indicating the castle’s location. If you plan on visiting, just make sure to keep an eye out for the bears near the moat.
5. Bled Castle, Slovenia
Ever heard of a castle in a lake? That’s Slovenia’s Bled Castle for you. It’s located on a small island on Lake Bled where it stands near the edge of a cliff. It is said to be Slovenia’s oldest castle, going all the way back to the year 1011. There’s a restaurant, museum, wine cellar and let’s not forget about the nearby island church. However, the real showstopper is the breathtaking view of the lake’s crystal blue waters. To this day, the castle continues to remain an integral part in the lives of the locals who hold special events there such as weddings and important political meetings.
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