Did you know Europe is home to over 10,000 medieval castles? Most of which were built in the Middle Ages for many purposes including protecting the nobility. Germany is the country that has the most castles with over 25,000 and has some of the most famous castles that many Disney movies took inspiration from including Neuschwanstein Castle which inspired Cinderella.
If you love fairytale castles and want to visit them in real life this is as good as it gets. Here is a list of the most beautiful fairytale castles in Europe!
Be sure to visit the bottom of this post to see all the castles mapped.
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Helpful advice to prepare for castle hopping!
🚗 Most castles are located in hard to get to areas. Therefore, you will want to hire a car. My go-to is Discover Cars which will help you compare and find the best rates.
😅 Unfortunately some of the more famous castles are becoming highly touristy. To avoid crowds be sure to arrive early!
🕒 Check opening times because many of these castles are closed for entry in the winter time.
📹 Drones are not allowed in every place so be sure to check the rules ahead of time.
🏥 It is best to get SafetyWing travel insurance – for a small fee you are protected from theft, accidents, and more.
1. Eltz Castle
Located in Germany between Koblenz and Trier
Explored by Jackie of Jou Jou Travels
Eltz Castle (German: Burg Eltz) is one of the most stunning fairytale castles in Europe and possibly even the world! It is located in the hills above the Moselle between Koblenz and Trier, Germany. This medieval castle was built over 800 years ago in 1157. The castle has never been destroyed! It was attacked only one time, between 1331 and 1336. Since built, it has been owned by the same family to this day. The owner is Dr. Karl Graf von und zu Eltz-Kempenich. When you visit the inside of the castle, you will be guided through the different halls which are decorated as they were 100 years ago. Towering eight floors high the castle has 8 towers and 100 rooms.
It is very difficult to get to the castle without a car so it’s recommended to drive. You can rent a car with Discover Cars from one of the major cities like Frankfurt.
However, if you really want to visit and don’t have access to a car, you can either take a tour from Frankfurt like this or you can stay at Landhotel Ringelsteiner Mühle. The hotel is located a 30-minute walk from Moselkern train station but you can arrange to be picked up by car from the hotel. From the hotel, there is a direct walking path to the castle and you will reach it in only 30 minutes. Even if you don’t stay here, you can grab some lunch or dinner here and have a nice German homemade traditional meal. The service is also very good – the hosts are incredibly nice and welcoming.
Pro-tip: This castle is very instagrammable so be sure to visit early if you want to avoid the crowds and get the best shot without people around. The best photo spots are right in front of the entrance to the castle and also on the walking trail in front of the castle as pictured above.
📍Location: 56294 Wierschem, Germany
🕒 Opening Hours: April to October yearly from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm (last guided tour). Note: the castle is closed during winter but you can still visit the outside and take wonderful photos.
🎟️ Entry: Adults €12 Students/Children €6
2. Craigievar Castle
Located in Cragievar, Scotland
Explored by Krystianna of Volumes & Voyages
Cragievar Castle is one of the best fairytale castles in Europe and is truly one of the top places to visit in Scotland. It’s located in Cragievar, Scotland, and is not that far from nearby Balmoral Castle, either, where the Queen of England vacations in the summer months.
The castle began construction in 1576 though it wasn’t officially completed until 1626. It served as a home for a local family until the mid-1900s, and now it’s open to the public for a visit. It quickly blew up in popularity because of its distinct pink color. Many people also say that it was the inspiration for Walt Disney when creating his fairytale castles for his movies.
When visiting, be sure to take the time to go inside the castle and actually explore all that you’re allowed to. There are a lot of quirky and unique pieces of furniture and art throughout that you won’t want to miss. In addition, even though the castle is definitely the main part of visiting, take the time to check out the area’s surrounding trails. They will bring you through some breathtaking nature that you wouldn’t see otherwise!
The best way to experience Cragievar Castle is to go on tour. This will truly take you back in time, and you’ll be able to learn so much about the castle and its rich history in a lot more depth.
In order to avoid the crowds that came often come during peak times, try to get to the castle right when it opens in the morning. This will allow you to experience the castle with a bit more tranquility than you would have at other times of the day. It can also be helpful to come during the offseason, like in the spring.
📍Location: Craigievar, Alford AB33 8JF, United Kingdom
🕒 Opening Hours: Cragievar Castle is open between April and the end of September. Hours change throughout the year but are generally between 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
🎟️ Entry: Adults £14.50, Family £33.00
3. Neuschwanstein Castle
Located near Füssen, Germany
Explored by Nadine Maffre of Le Long Weekend
One of, if not the most famous castles in Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is located in the southern state of Bavaria. It’s one of the youngest castles in the area, but that doesn’t take away from its attraction.
As you’ll notice when you visit, it doesn’t lack anything when it comes to grandeur, and it even holds the lofty reputation of being the castle that inspired Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” Palace. Commissioned in the late 19th century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, it was near completion when the young king moved in, but he was only able to enjoy it for 4 years before his untimely death in 1886 (of which the cause is still surrounded by mystery).
Today, the castle is one of the most popular day trips from Munich, and a whopping 1.4 million people visit it each year, despite it being closed for the winter months.
To get there, either take the train or your car – there are plenty of (paid) car parks once you arrive. You can buy tickets to enter the castle, which you can only do as part of a guided tour, and you can combine your ticket with a visit to Hohenschwangau Castle next door, where King Ludwig spent some of his childhood.
Photographers will appreciate the view up to the castle from below, especially if visiting Bavaria in late Autumn or early winter when the surrounding hills are dusted in snow. And don’t forget to walk up to Mary’s Bridge for the most famous viewpoint of them all.
📍Location: Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
🕒 Opening Hours: Between April and mid-October, the castle is open 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. From mid-October to end-December the castle is open 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
🎟️ Entry: €15, Child (under 18) go free (when accompanied by an adult)
🏰 Tour from Munich (Tickets Here)
4. Bled Castle
Located in Lake Bled, Slovenia
Explored by Leandro of Safari Nomad
Bled Castle, or Blejski Grad in Slovene, is Slovenia’s oldest castle, perched on a cliff over Lake Bled in northwestern Slovenia, with a view of the gorgeous Lake Bled.
Castellum Veldes was the name given to the castle when it was first documented in 1011. Veldes is the name in German of Bled. After two earthquakes, it was destroyed, plundered during a peasant revolt, and restored to its former glory in the 1950s.
It is now one of Slovenia’s most popular tourist destinations. The Gothic arches and drawbridge all over a now-filled-in moat at the entrance to Bled Castle are notably interesting. When you enter the castle, you’ll be amazed at how much there is to do. There’s a magnificent chapel, a lovely café overlooking the lake (you can taste here some desserts from traditional Slovenian cuisine like Gibanica or Kremsnita), two courtyards, a fascinating museum, a wine cellar with wine tasting, a blacksmith store, a print shop, and a souvenir shop, to name a few.
The castle conducts various exciting activities year-round, particularly during the summer months. Every year, there is a medieval day where people can experience life in the Middle Ages, and many medieval and Renaissance events occur throughout the year. With its magnificent medieval castle wedding site, Bled Castle is also a preferred spot for many newlyweds for their fairytale wedding.
The castle may be accessed by car, there parking is available at the top, or by bus, but if the weather is pleasant, it is recommended to take a 15-minute walk along a lovely path to the castle.
📍Location: Grajska Cesta 61, 4260 Bled
🕒 Opening Hours: The Bled Castle is open all year round
November to March: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
April to June 14: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
June 15 to September 15: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
September 16 – October 31: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
🎟️ Entry: Adults €9, Students €7, Child €4.50
🏰 Tour: Day trip from Ljubljana
5. Pena Palace
Located in Sintra, Portugal
Explored by Paula of the Portugal Travel Hub
Looking more like it belongs in Disneyland than Portugal, the Pena Palace (Palacio Nacional da Pena) is a 19th century romanticist-inspired castle in Sintra, 90 minutes south of the capital, Lisbon. It is undoubtedly the most popular castles to see in Sintra.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven wonders of Portugal it was built for King Ferdinand II and completed in 1854. From the gargoyle carved above the entry, to its brightly colored exterior, Pena Palace demands attention.
Upon entry, you find a mix of Moorish and Gothic styles within its opulent interior. The ceiling in the smoking room is reminiscent of the Alhambra in Spain and the enormous palace kitchen rivals those of Hampton Court.
Don’t miss the Queen’s Terrace, known as the Relógio de Sol, where you will find an unparalleled panorama of the Serra de Sintra and the surrounding region.
💡Tip: This is one of the most popular spots in Sintra, so make it your first stop to beat the crowds. Allow at least an hour for your visit, preferably two.
If you decide not to visit inside the palace, you will still want to spend some time exploring the terraces and gardens. The 200 hectares of gardens surrounding the palace feature plants from around the world including Australian ferns, Chinese Ginkgo and American Sequoia.
Be sure to look for the Valley of the Lakes that is located in the lower part of the garden near the exit. The landscape here comprises 5 small ponds representing lakes and features mini towers that double as homes for the local ducks!
For the best view of the palace from afar make your way to the top gardens and find the path to St Catherine’s Heights.
📍Location: Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal
🕒 Opening Hours: 10am-6pm daily
🎟️ Entry: Adults €13.30, Kids €11.88 (less to visit just the outside)
🏰 Tour: Day trip from Lisbon
6. Scaligero Castle
Located in Lake Garda (Sirmione), Italy
Castello Scaligero, or Scaliger Castle, is one of the prettiest and best-preserved castles in Italy. Built-in the late 1300s by the Della Scala family, known as Scaliger, who ruled in and around Verona in the 13th and 14th centuries, Castello Scaligero is the main attraction of Sirmione, one of the best towns to visit on Lake Garda.
The town of Sirmione is a peninsula that stretches out into Lake Garda and what makes it so unique is that the castle is the gateway to the historical town center. You truly feel like you’re walking back in time as you cross over the castle’s moat on its drawbridge and enter the charming square of Piazza Castello.
The castle is especially beautiful because it is surrounded by water and uniquely situated in the center of the narrow peninsula. It also features the only remaining example of a 14th-century fortified port, where the fleets would dock.
You can tour and explore the castle – just keep in mind there are lots of stairs to climb. And if you really want to enjoy Castello Scaligero to the fullest, wake up early to avoid crowds and join one of the earliest tours.
Getting the best pictures of Castello Scaligero requires either a wide-angle lens, a drone, or actually getting out on the lake by boat and passing by the castle. It is harder to capture the entire castle in a photo if you are beside it because the Sirmione peninsula is so narrow. Nonetheless, the castle is captivating from every angle and a must-visit on any northern Italy itinerary.
📍Location: P.za Castello, 34, 25019 Sirmione BS, Italy
🕒 Opening Hours: The Castello Scaligero is open from 8:30-7:15 Tuesday-Saturday; 8:30-1:30 Sunday and closed on Mondays. (Hours may vary based on the season.)
🎟️ Entry: Adults €6
7. Lichtenstein Castle
Located in Lichtenstein, Germany
Explored by Soujanya Rai of The Spicy Journey
Lichtenstein Castle or Schloss Lichtenstein in Germany is a beautiful photo-worthy castle located in the state of Baden-Württemberg in South-West Germany. The castle, perched on a tall steep cliff, looks like something straight out of a storybook.
The surrounding palatial gardens, lush greenery, and small German villages in the background add to the storybook feel of Lichtenstein castle. The castle itself is a short 1-hour drive from Stuttgart which is the closest major city. Thus it makes the perfect day trip from Stuttgart.
The castle has a long history. There stood, near the current castle, an older castle that was destroyed in 1377. In 1390, the lordship of Württemberg had a new castle built near the ruined one. This castle was also sadly destroyed approximately 200 years later and was replaced by a humble hunting lodge.
However, inspired by the novel “Lichtenstein” by Wilhelm Hauff, the Count Wilhelm of Württemberg had the castle that we see today built-in 1837. Given the long and complicated history of the castle, it’s worth taking a tour of the interiors.
To visit the castle itself, entry costs €4 for adults and €2 for children. This includes a visit to the castle grounds, the garden, viewpoints of the castle, and ruins of the old Lichtenstein castle. To see the interiors, one has to take a guided tour of the Lichtenstein Castle which costs an additional €12 per person for adults and €6 for children. This 30-minute guided tour is conducted in German and English.
📍Location: Schloss Lichtenstein 1, 72805 Lichtenstein
🕒 Opening Hours: 9am to 5:30pm daily
🎟️ Entry: Adults €4 and Children €2, To see the interiors on a guided tour it’s an additional €12 per person for adults and €6 for children.
8. Alcazar Castle
Located in Segovia, Spain
Explored by Em of That Travelista
Once in a while, you come across a place that looks straight out of a fairytale. Well, the Alcázar of Segovia is one of those places. Located in Spain’s Castile and León region, Segovia has experienced much history, from the Celtics to the Romans, to abandonment during Moorish times, and finally resettlement after the Spanish reconquest.
The Alcázar, or castle of Segovia follows a similar history. Its fortifications existed since Roman times, but it was first made into an alcázar by one of the Berber dynasties during Moorish rule. After Segovia’s reconquest from the Moors by the Spanish in the 12th century, the alcázar would eventually become a favorite residence for Spanish royalty.
Today, the alcázar is no longer used as a residence by Spanish royalty but is instead a museum that tourists can enjoy. It stands out as one of the most beautiful medieval castles in Spain and in Europe, due to its unique location at the edge of the city and its Disney-like conical roofs. Unlike many other stunning castles in Europe, Segovia’s castle is located in a city that is worth visiting for more than just one attraction.
An equally famous attraction in Segovia is its Roman aqueduct, which is one of the best-preserved of its kind. It’s very easy to visit to make a day trip to Segovia from Madrid to enjoy both these sites and more. Any time of year is a fine time to visit Segovia due to its mild weather. But if you are looking to capture stunning photographs of the entire Alcázar de Segovia, aim for a time of year when tree leaves are not bare. There are many picture-perfect viewpoints of the alcázar along the hill to the south of the city walls, as well as to the west of the alcázar itself.
📍Location: Pl. Reina Victoria Eugenia, s/n, 40003 Segovia
🕒 Opening Hours: The Alcázar is open from November to March from 10am to 6pm daily and from April to October from 10am to 8pm daily.
🎟️ Entry: Adults €9, Children €7
🏰 Tour: Alcazar day trip from Madrid
9. Corvin Castle
Located in Romania
Explored by RJ of RJ On Tour
Corvin Castle is a fairytale castle in Hunedoara in the Transylvania region in the north of Romania. The nearest railway station is in the city of Deva. From Deva, there is a regular bus service to the castle for visitors.
Corvin Castle in Romania was constructed in the Gothic-Renaissance style and it’s one of the largest castles in Europe. They built it in the 15th century between 1440 and 1446 on the site of an older fortification. They constructed Corvin Castle on a rock overlooking the Zlaști River, which forms part of its moat. To enter the castle, there is a bridge that crosses the river from an outer courtyard.
The castle was built under instruction by Hunyadi, then subsequently taken over by Matthias Corvinus, the king of Hungary and Croatia. Corvin Castle is a large and pretty castle with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard, and has many decorative features.
You can visit every room inside Corvin Castle and it’s a great tourist attraction. Inside there are many interesting rooms to see, including an impressive chapel, the golden room and a grand council hall, which they used for ceremonies. They also have displays in each room to highlight how the castle was used in the medieval era.
The dungeon is fascinating and highlights the torture methods and devices used in Transylvania in the 15th century. In the outer courtyard, which is free to enter, there are many nice shops, a place for refreshments and the views of the building are fantastic.
If you want to photograph Corvin Castle, a great time to visit is in the winter when it is rather quiet.
📍Location: Curtea Corvineștilor nr. 1-3, Hunedoara 331141
🕒 Opening Hours: Corvin Castle is open Mondays from 12pm until 8pm, other days it is open from 9am until 8pm.
🎟️ Entry: Adults 36 Lei, Concessions 7 Lei.
10. Hohenzollern Castle
Located in Bisingen, Germany
Explored by Caroline Muller of Veggie Wayfarer
The Hohenzollern Castle is without a doubt a quintessential Medieval castle: Turrets, sturdy walls built atop an impressive mountain (the aptly named Mount Hohenzollern), and plenty of dazzling ballrooms. The Hohenzollern Castle is the third castle to be built on this majestic location, the version we see today dates back to the 19th century and was built according to the prevailing style of German Romanticism. This is also the style of architecture used for the famous Neuschwanstein castles.
Hohenzollern Castle is still privately owned by the very family who commissioned its building – the Prussian Royal Family. It was built as a summer home for the family and to this day the Prince still comes down to enjoy holidays now and then, at which time the castle is closed for visitors.
As it was built for peace, tranquility (and hunting) it is very much in the heart of verdant Baden Wurrtemberg, far removed from any large city yet a comfortable 30-minute drive from the fairy-tale Liechtenstein Castle.
This area of Germany is great for a weekend trip filled with castle hopping. Fly into Karlsruhe, rent a car for a day (prices start at €28) and embark on a scenic drive to both Liechtenstein Castle and Hohenzollern Castle (both can be visited within the same day). Park the car on one of the 2 official parking lots and take the shuttle bus up (included in the entrance ticket). Alternatively hike up from the parking to the castle entrance ( a 20-minute walk uphill, not accessible for wheelchair users).
📍Location: Hohenzollern Castle, 72379 Burg Hohenzollern, Germany
🕒 Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10.00 AM to 06.30 PM
🎟️ Entry: Adults €22
11. Veves Castle
Located near Dinant, Belgium
Explored by Jackie of Jou Jou Travels
Veves Castle is one of Belgium’s prettiest medieval castles in the Village of Celles. You can base yourself in Dinant, a picturesque Wallonian town that is only 10 minutes by car from Veves. The perfect day trip would also include visiting the nearby castles of Walzin and Freÿr too.
Veves Castle is open to the public and you can see the stunning interiors which include galleries, an outdoor terrace, beautifully decorated rooms, and a chapel. There is even a treasure hunt for children and princess or knight gear they can dress up in!
The foundations of the castle date back to 670-714 during the time of Pepin de Herstal. The castle was destroyed in 1200 and remained a fortress through the end of the Middle Ages. It was restored between the years 1969 and 1979. During the Renaissance period, Louis XV made changes mainly to the interior of the structure. The castle has been owned by one family (the Beaufort family) from the 12th century on.
📍Location: Rue de Furfooz 3, 5561 Houyet, Belgium
🕒 Opening Hours: Open Daily from 11am to 7pm
🎟️ Entry: Adults €5
Read my other blog post on Things to do in Dinant, Belgium
12. Predjama Castle
Located in Predjama, Slovenia
Explored by Heather of Conversant Traveller
Predjama is the biggest cave castle in the world. Built into an imposing cliff face in the Inner Carniola region of central Slovenia, the castle is one of the most beautiful sights in the country. Visiting Predjama Castle is often coupled with the nearby Postojna Caves to make a great day out exploring the local area.
Constructed in the 12th Century, Predjama Castle was originally owned by a baron named Erazam, who was a bit of a ‘Robin Hood’ figure according to local lore. After killing a marshal to defend a friend, Erazam holed up in the castle to escape justice.
The unique position of the fortress meant he was untouchable, and the castle was under siege for a year. Food was secretly brought in through a network of hidden underground tunnels, and the baron would tease his enemies by brandishing fresh fruit for them all to see. Unfortunately, Erazam was eventually betrayed and died sitting on the toilet as a well-placed cannonball crashed through the tower.
Today you can explore several of the residential halls and bedrooms, as well as the armory which has magnificent views out across the Slovenian countryside. Don’t miss ringing the old bell which was once used to warn residents of an impending attack. Up at the top of the castle, you can climb inside the cave itself, which provided the ultimate refuge for the people of Predjama.
In the summer, medieval tournaments are held on the grounds which are pretty spectacular against the backdrop of the cave and its castle. The best views of the castle are from this tournament field, which you’ll pass on your way up.
📍Location: Predjama 1, 6230 Predjama, Slovenia
🕒 Opening Hours: Predjama Castle is open daily from 10 AM – 4 PM in winter, and 10 AM – 5/6 PM during summer.
🎟️ Entry: Adults €16.90, Children €10.10, Infants €1
13. Peles Castle
Located in Sinaia, Romania
Explored by Laura of Travelers Universe
Peles Castle is located in Sinaia, Romania. Surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains, this Neo-Renaissance castle was built on a medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, two ancient countries that in 1918 united and together with Moldova to the northeast, became present-day Romania. However, Peles Castle was built and inaugurated some years before modern Romania came into existence, back in 1883. This makes Peles Castle quite a young one, yet its charms are unparalleled.
In truth, this is not only one of the most beautiful places to visit in Romania, it’s one of the most lavish castles in Europe as well. Peles was built under the supervision of King Carol I and it is surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery.
In winter, the snowy landscape can be quite mythical (which is probably why it was featured in several Netflix and Hallmark Christmas movies), but the castle looks just as magnificent in summer when it’s surrounded by tall lush trees.
Peles was built after the designs of German architect Johannes Schultz after several less original plans had been rejected. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that while German influences can be spotted throughout, the castle is also quite unique.
Another thing that stands out is that Peles was the world’s first castle fully powered by electricity. If time permits, wandering around the courtyards and the grounds can also be a pleasant experience. However, the main attraction lies in its 170 rooms.
📍Location: Aleea Peleșului 2, Sinaia 106100, Romania
🕒 Opening Hours: Monday: Closed; Tuesday: 9:15 – 18:00; Wednesday: 10:00 – 18:00; Thursday-Sunday: 9:15 – 18:00
🎟️ Entry: Adults: 50 lei; Children, students: 12.5 lei
14. Malbork Castle
Located near Malbork, Poland
Explored by Audry of That Backpacker
For anyone traveling through Poland, one castle worth visiting is Malbork Castle. This 13th-century castle is situated in the town of Malbork, which is not too far from the port city of Gdansk on the Baltic coast.
Malbork Castle was originally built as a fortress by the Teutonic Knights, a German Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders. When the castle was completed in 1406, it was the world’s largest brick castle. The purpose of the fortress was to strengthen the Teutonic Knights’ control in the area, plus the castle’s favorable position on the banks of the River Nogat, providing easy access to both the Vistula and the Baltic Sea. That’s right, the Teutonic Knights collected river tolls from passing ships to fund their ventures!
Today, Malbork Castle is considered the largest castle in the world measured by land area. It occupies a whopping 143,591 square meters, and that means there’s a lot of walking to do, so wear your comfortable shoes!
Inside the castle, you have exhibitions showcasing the castle’s collection of amber, furniture, paintings, ceramics, and religious artwork, plus you can also see performances in full medieval costume. There is even a medieval-themed restaurant on site where you can enjoy bigos, a traditional Polish stew made with meat and cabbage.
The best way to reach Malbork Castle is by train. There are frequent departures from Gdańsk Główny Railway Station and once you arrive in Malbork, it’s about a 15-20 minute walk to the castle.
📍Location: Starościńska 1, 82-200 Malbork, Poland
🕒 Opening Hours: Malbork Castle Museum is open from Monday to Sunday: 9.00 am – 8.00 pm, however, hours can vary during holidays.
🎟️ Entry: Adult 70 PLN, children under 7 have free entry.
15. Carcassonne Castle & Ramparts
Located in Carcassonne, France
Explored by Laura of Gallivanting Laura
Full of medieval magic and perched high on top of a hill in the Occitanie region in southwest France lies the fortified city of Carcassonne. This UNESCO world heritage site is approximately one hour away from Toulouse, France’s fourth-largest city, and the perfect region to enjoy fairytale villages and castles.
The walled city and its castle, Château Comtal de Carcassonne, are rich in history and some of the best-preserved in Europe. Structures date back as early as the 5th century, with the castle originating in the 12th century. With thick fortified walls, drawbridges, a moat, and 52 towers and turrets, Carcassonne is the quintessential fairytale castle.
Exploring much of the medieval city is free, however, there is a fee for the castle. Take a stroll through the cobbled streets, walk the 2-mile-long ramparts, and admire the breathtaking views from above.
Popular points of interest are the Carcassonne Cathedral, Château Comtal, and museum, and the medieval water wells that once serviced the entire city.
Carcassonne is a photographer’s dream. There are ample photography opportunities around the whole site.
For the least crowds, it’s best to visit early morning or late evening. For a luxury experience, head to the Hotel de la Cité for lunch or a beverage and take in the vineyard views from the terrace.
📍Location: Cité de Carcassonne, Rue Viollet le Duc, Carcassonne, France
🕒 Opening Hours: Carcassonne Castle is open April to September from 10-6.30pm, and October to March from 9.30-5pm.
🎟️ Entry: 18 years+ €9.50, EU citizens up to the age of 26 years, and under 18 years enjoy free admission.
16. Mont Orgueil Castle
Located in Jersey
Explored by Coralie of Grey Globetrotters
Mont Orgueil Castle, or Gorey Castle as it is also known, is a 13th-century granite fortress located in the island of Jersey, one of the British Channel Islands. The castle was built to protect Jersey against the ever-present threat of invasion from neighboring France, which is only 9 miles away.
Hewn from towering granite cliffs, Mont Orgueil is positioned high above the pretty harbor village of Gorey. For almost four centuries Mont Orgueil was the base for Jersey’s English garrison, until warfare changed in the 16th century, with the introduction of gunpowder and cannons.
Centuries later, Mont Orgueil was used again to defend Jersey – this time by the German forces who occupied the island during the Second World War. Today, Mont Orgueil is one of the best places to visit in Jersey, with plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, including the “Witches in Hell”, the “Wheel of Urine, and the dark and gloomy tower where prisoners were held.
One of the most popular places to visit is the highest level of the castle where you can see the modifications made to the castle by the German forces. Make sure to pack sturdy shoes, as the castle is built on multiple levels, and there are lots of uneven granite steps to negotiate.
And don’t forget your camera as Mont Orgueil is incredible to photograph, with the most stunning views across Jersey’s southeast coast.
There’s no car park at the castle and parking spaces in Gorey Village are scarce, so the easiest way to visit the castle is to take a bus from St Helier – it takes about half an hour.
📍Location: Castle Green, Gorey, JE3 6ET, Jersey
🕒 Opening Hours: Mont Orgueil is open from mid-March to the end of October yearly from 10-6 pm daily.
🎟️ Entry: £13.95 (adults), £9.05 (children and students), £12.55 (Over 65s) £41.40 (family – 2 adults and up to 2 children)
17. Prague Castle
Located in Prague, Czech Republic
Explored by Veronika Primm of Travel Geekery
Prague Castle belongs among the most magical castles in the world. It’s the world’s largest castle complex and a UNESCO site. Located in the Castle District of Prague, Prague Castle is made up of several buildings and structures of different styles and eras.
What people usually associate the Prague Castle silhouette with is in fact the St. Vitus Cathedral, which sits at the heart of the Prague Castle complex. The oldest remains found on the Prague Castle site come from the 8th century, but the main base was built in the 10th century when it became the seat of the local rulers, as well as the Bishop. The Prague Castle was worked on for many centuries – its most active construction development happened in the 14th century under King Charles IV. and during the 16th century under the Habsburg rule. The Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral was started in the 14th century but was fully finished only in 1929.
The Castle is truly like no other. The majestic St. Vitus Cathedral looms above, there are old palaces that seep history, churches, and basilicas with old tombs and just about every historical architecture style from Gothic to Baroque to Renaissance.
If you’re physically fit, make sure to climb to the top of the Great South Tower of the St. Vitus Cathedral (an extra 150 CZK or €6 fee) for a clear overview of the Prague Castle Complex and for magnificent views of Prague including the picturesque Charles Bridge.
While visiting the interiors of the Prague Castle buildings comes highly recommended, if you’re pressed for time, you can simply enter the Prague Castle complex for free and stroll around. The revered Golden Lane is free for a stroll only after the close-off time of the visitor objects (4 pm in winter, 5 pm in summer).
Please note there are security frames installed and often long lines may form. If you can, visit during the workweek and preferably early in the morning or later in the day.
📍 Location: Hradčany, 119 08 Prague 1
🕐 Opening Hours: In the high season (April – October), Prague Castle is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. In the off-season, from 9 am to 4 pm. These times apply to the buildings and tourist sites within the Prague Castle complex. If you wish to stroll through the Prague Castle complex without going inside any of the buildings, you can do so from 6 am to 10 pm year-round.
🎟️ Entry: Adults Adults 250 CZK (€10), Child 125 CZK(€5)
18. Chillon Castle
Located on Lake Geneva in Switzerland
Explored by Kriszti from She Wanders Abroad
Chillon Castle is one of the most beautiful fairytale castles in Europe. It is located on the shore of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) and has a very long and rich history.
The castle was first built in the 12th century and has been through many changes over the centuries. During these eras, the castle was used for a variety of things, including an aristocratic mansion, a military fortification, and a penal institution.
Today, it is a top-rated tourist destination, and people from all over the world flock to the castle every year to see it in person.
The castle is very picturesque and has a lot of beautiful features. It has a large courtyard, numerous towers, and a drawbridge. The inside of the castle is just as beautiful as the outside and there are many things to see such as the Great Hall, the Chapel, and the Dungeon.
If you’re interested in photography, you’ll be pleased to hear that the castle can be captured from many angles. One of the most popular ones is to photograph it from the shores right next to the ferry terminal.
If you don’t mind a little walking, you can visit Snack Cafe on the other side of the train station which provides an interesting angle of the castle.
The castle can be easily reached by taking the train to Veytaux-Chillon or you can visit the castle as part of a wider Switzerland road trip. The castle can be visited on a self-guided tour, as well as a guided tour led by one of the appointed guides, who can offer additional information about the structure.
If you are ever in Switzerland, you should definitely visit Chillon Castle as it is a truly magical place.
📍Location: Av. de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux, Switzerland
🕒 Opening Hours: Chillon Castle is open between 9 am – 6 pm from April to October and between 10 am – 5 pm from November to March.
🎟️ Entry: Adults 13.5 CHF, Child 7 CHF, Family 35 CHF (2 adults + 2 to 5 children 6 to 15 years old)
19. Chateaux Chenonceau
Located in Chenonceaux, France
Explored by XYUandBEYOND
Chenonceau is one of the most important castles in France and the most visited after Versailles. The Chateau Chenonceau is located in the Loire Valley and dates back to 1513. This is a fairytale castle, surrounded by exquisite gardens, forests, and stunning views of the Cher.
In the 16th century, it was given by King Henri II to his mistress Diane de Poitiers against his wife Catherine de Medici’s wishes. Diane fell in love with the Castle and spent huge amounts of money ensuring it would rival Versailles. Diane commissioned a bridge to be built over the Cher to link the Castle to the opposite side of the river. She also designed a French formal garden. When the King died his wife took Chenonceau from Diane and began to turn it into her grand summer residence. She commissioned a stunning garden to sit opposite Diane’s and the castle quickly became her favorite.
In 1560 Mary, Queen of Scots married Catherine’s son Francis II at Chenonceau. During WWII the French Resistance used the castle and its bridge to escape the Nazi-occupied zone to the free zone but eventually, the Chateau was occupied by the Germans and was heavily bombed by the Allies in 1944. During the bombing, the chapel was hit and its glorious stained glass windows were destroyed.
There are 20 rooms to visit within the Chateau and the interior is filled with impressive tapestries, fine furnishings, fireplaces, and decorative highlights. You can visit the main salon, the royal chambers, galleries, the library, and the chapel with its now replaced stained glass windows. All of the rooms are furnished as they would have been centuries ago.
The best time to visit Chenonceau is during the summer months when the gardens are at their finest. Make sure you get there first thing in the morning as the crowds are somewhat thinner then.
📍 Location: 37150 Chenonceaux, France
🕐 Opening Hours: open all year 9am until 6pm
🎟️ Entry: Adults €15 Child €12
20. Castillo de Colomares
Located in Benalmadena, Spain
Explored by Cristina Reina of My Little World Of Travelling
Castillo de Colomares (Colomares Castle), located in the beautiful town of Benalmadena in Malaga, is one of the most beautiful castles in Costa del Sol.
Although it looks like a castle, it is actually a monument in the shape of a castle that was built between 1987 and 1994 to commemorate Christopher Columbus and the discovery of America, and it is actually the largest monument dedicated to this famous explorer.
It is a very interesting place to visit as you can explore the different parts of the castle while learning about Christopher Columbus’s discoveries and adventures with the guide that you are provided at the ticket office.
In addition to this, if you love architecture, this is one of the must-see attractions in Benalmadena for you.
What makes it unique is the combination of different styles of architecture like Neo-Roman and Neo-Gothic.
If you are staying in Malaga, you can easily visit this monument by taking the Renfe C1 train line to Fuengirola, which stops in Benalmadena, in Malaga Maria Zambrano train station.
Once in Benalmadena, stop at Torremuelle and walk approximately 30 minutes towards Benalmadena Pueblo or take the M-121 to Mijas bus.
To avoid crowds, make sure to arrive as soon as they open or at lunchtime (2 pm).
Another alternative is to visit it during the summer months since people rather be at the beach than visit the castle, and you can have it almost to yourself.
If you are planning to take photos in Colomares Castle, play with different angles and spots to get the perfect shot.
📍Location: Finca la Carraca, Ctra. Costa del Sol, s/n, 29639 Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain
🕒 Opening Hours: Open Wednesday to Sunday. The opening hours change from season to season. Winter and autumn times: 10 am to 6 pm. Spring time: 10 am to 8 pm. Summer time: 10 am to 2 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm.
🎟️ Entry: Adults €3, Child €2
21. Hluboka Castle
Located in Hluboká nad Vltavou, Czech Republic
Explored by Martina of PlacesofJuma
If you’re looking for a beautiful fairytale castle, then the gorgeous neo-Gothic Hluboká Castle is a must-see on a trip to the Czech Republic. Located in Southern Bohemia, about 30 kilometers from the famous medieval town of Cesky Krumlov, this stunning, snow-white castle is a true highlight of the country. Visitors from all over the world come here just to take some of their best photos!
Particularly impressive is the detailed, snow-white facade as well as the many turrets that give Hluboka Castle a dreamlike ambiance. For sure you will be amazed about it!
During a tour of the complex, one walks through the picturesque rose gardens and almost feels like a princess from a fairytale. But not just the garden and the outside is wonderful. The castle is also interesting from the inside, where you can visit the magnificent 140 interior rooms. The oldest part of the castle dates back to the Middle Ages in the 13th century, but the castle got its current form only in the middle of the 19th century when Johann Adolf II of Schwarzenberg and his wife Eleonore had the castle completely rebuilt.
Today it’s open to the public. The garden can be visited for free, only if you are going to explore the interior you will have to pay an entrance fee.
Hluboká Castle is best visited via a day trip from Prague or Cesky Krumlov! There are also various guided tours of the castle, which can be booked online. It is best to take 2 hours for your visit.
📍 Location: 373 41 Hluboká nad Vltavou, Tschechien
🕐 Opening Hours: The opening hours are from 09:00-17:00 daily
🎟️ Entry: Adults €8, Child €4, Child under 6 years free
22. Bratislava Castle
Located in Bratislava, Slovakia
Explored by Pashmina of The Gone Goat
The simplistic Bratislava Castle that stands tall over the Danube River is one of the most interesting landmarks in Slovakia. The castle bears prominence during an interesting time in history, tracing back to the Stone and Bronze Ages.
At first glance, the castle may look like a child’s painting because of its simple structure and it may not appear traditional compared to the Viennese architecture available in other parts of Europe. However, what stands apart from all the other castles is its geographical importance in the period of the Great Moravian Empire.
The silhouette of the castle is separated by four wings with each owning a corner tower. For two centuries the southwest tower, the main jewel’s tower housed the Hungarian coronation jewels. With Vienna being around the corner, the castle served as a protection for the city, especially during the Ottoman expansion in the 16th century.
For the best views, at the front of the castle, pause to take in the view of Bratislava, and also, don’t forget to view the Yard of Honor. It is bordered by two triumphal gates and guardhouses of the imperial guard.
The best way to view the castle is to explore the city on foot especially if you’re on a day trip to Bratislava. Spend time walking from the beautiful St. Martin’s Dome which is under the New Bridge to the other side of the busy road and up the stairs to the castle’s gate. The city is fairly walkable and the castle is almost visible from some of the main streets and even bars and cafes perched high above some buildings.
📍Location: Hrad, 811 06 Bratislava, Slovakia
🕒 Opening Hours: Open daily from 9am to 5pm. In the summer season, from April 1 to October 31: open daily from 10am to 6pm, last entry at 5pm.
🎟️ Entry: Free and open to the public daily
23. Leeds Castle
Located in Kent, England
Explored by Laura of Travelers Universe
Leeds Castle is located in southeast England, in the county of Kent. The castle is built on an island in the middle of a lake and has been around since 857. The present-day structure however is quite new, as most of it dates back to the 19th century.
In the 15th century, Leeds Castle was the residence of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII, after he divorced her and turned the country away from Catholicism to Protestantism. While Catherine of Aragon was one of the castle’s most prominent residents, she wasn’t the only resident queen. In fact, Leeds Castle is regarded as the castle of women for the many queens who have lived here throughout the centuries.
During World War II the castle was used as a hospital. Nowadays, the castle has been converted into a tourist attraction and the only remaining resident is the ghost of a big black dog. The rooms of the castle are lavishly decorated in a rather feminine style. While the moat offers great photographic opportunities — the castle reflected in the water looks quite gorgeous. Besides the castles, the surrounding gardens and grounds are also worth a good look around.
Leeds Castle is one of the best day trips from London and I’d definitely recommend you give yourself plenty of time to wander around and explore it. On the castle grounds, you’ll also find an aviary, a maze, a shell grotto, and a curious attraction in the form of the world’s only museum of dog collars.
📍Location: Broomfield, Maidstone ME17 1PL, United Kingdom
🕒 Opening Hours: Leeds Castle is open from April to September from 10.30am – 4.30pm and from October to March from 10.30am – 3.30pm
🎟️ Entry: Adults: £32, Child: £24
24. Trakai Castle
Located in Trakai, Lithuania
Explored by Becki Rendell of Meet Me In Departures
Trakai Castle is located in the Baltics on an island in the town with the same name. Trakai is about 30km to the west of Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius. This iconic Lithuanian landmark was built at the start of the 15th century on an island in the middle of Lake Galvė.
Being situated on an island makes it quite an unusual castle, seeing as most are located on top of hills. The castle is connected to the main town of Trakai by a long wooden bridge.
During the summer months, you can hire boats and kayaks and row around the lake. In winter, the lake freezes so you can walk across it, you’ll find locals using a kick-sled on it. It’s open all year round, although the opening times vary throughout the year.
Once inside the medieval castle walls, you’ll find beautifully restored galleries, keeps, and a chapel. It contains lots of interesting artifacts dating from different times in Lituania’s past and with lots of information detailing the history of the country.
The best photos of the Trakai are taken either from the lake (by kayak in the summer, or on the frozen lake in winter).
You can visit Trakai easily from the capital of Vilnius. If you’re driving, it takes about 40 minutes. If you’re catching a bus, then it takes a little longer, and you’ll also be dropped off at the far end of the town, so allow about 20-30 minutes to walk to the castle entry.
📍Location: Trakai 21142, Lithuania
🕒 Opening Hours:
Between May – September: Monday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Closed for lunchtime: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
From October – April, Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m, closed for lunchtime: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. and on Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m closed for lunch between 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.)
🎟️ Entry: 8 € for adults, 4 € for students, 4 € for seniors
25. Cesis Castle
Located in Cesis, Latvia
Explored by Ellis of Backpack Adventures
Cesis Castle is one of the best-preserved castles in Latvia. It is located in the Gauja National Park northeast of Riga. This is one of the most scenic areas of the country with lush and green forests, canyons, rivers, and several medieval castles.
Cesis stands out because of its long and turbulent history. It was built by the Livonian order in 1214 and became one of their most important castles in this region. Later the Teutonic knights took over and the castle was further strengthened. For years the castle flourished and many important events in the history of Latvia took place.
And then in 1577, the Russians came. The army of Ivan the Great bombarded the castle for 5 days. At that time there were around 300 people inside. Once they realized they could not fight the large Russian Army they all committed mass suicide by blowing themselves up rather than surrendering. The tragedy of the siege still lingers. Inscriptions were found in the south tower of Cesis castle that archeologists think were made during this time.
The castle was left severely damaged and fell into disrepair after further wars. By the time the Von Sievers family owned the castle estate in the 19th century they left the castle ruins the way they were and built a completely new castle next to it.
Now it is state property and renovations have been made to make it safe for visitors. The castle is easy to reach. Trains run frequently from Riga to Cesis and the castle is an easy walk from the train station through the small and charming historic center.
📍Location: Pils laukums 11, Cēsis, Cēsu pilsēta, LV-4101, Latvia
🕒 Opening Hours: Between February and August the castle is open daily between 10:00 – 18:00. In winter it will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
🎟️ Entry: Adults €6, students €3.50
26. Conwy Castle
Located in Conwy, Wales
Explored by Paulina of Ukeveryday
Conwy Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in North Wales with over 200,000 visitors every year. It is located 1 hour 15 minutes drive from Liverpool which makes it one of the best castles to visit in Europe due to its convenient location. The best way to get there is to rent a car and drive. The North Wales Expressway offers a scenic drive by the Welsh coast where you can admire sandy beaches on one side of the road and green hills on the other.
Conwy Castle was built between 1283-1290 and it is one of the best-preserved military examples from the 13th-14th century. It is set in a beautiful location by River Conwy and Snowdonia National Park. The views from the castle towers are incredible, especially on a sunny day. 21 meters tall towers allow you to admire the castle and take beautiful pictures of Conwy town. There are 8 towers within Conwy Castle and 21 towers in total including Conwy town walls which are free to visit.
Walking the walls of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is an amazing experience to see not only one of the best medieval architecture towns in Europe but also enjoy breathtaking views of Snowdonia.
The best time to visit Conwy Castle is early morning on a sunny day. During harsh weather, the castle might be closed as sightseeing includes climbing spiral stairs and a lot of outdoor walking. Make sure to check the weather before your trip as you will not want to miss the opportunity to visit this fairytale castle.
📍Location: Rose Hill St, Conwy LL32 8AY, Wales
🕒 Opening Hours: Conwy Castle is open every day from 9:30 am-5 pm between 1st March – 30th June and 1st September – 1st October, 9:30 am-6 pm between 1st July – 31st August, 10:00 am-4 pm between 1st November – 28th February with last entry 30 minutes before closing.
🎟️ Entry: Adults £11.10, Family (2 adults with max 3 children) £36.60, Child £7.80, Seniors £10.60, Disabled and Cadw members – Free
Hope you enjoyed reading this post on the prettiest fairytale castles in Europe!
Map of the most beautiful fairytale castles in Europe
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