Welcome to our main castles page where we feature the 300 best castles to visit in the world. Below you can scroll through our many dedicated articles showcasing many castles in a variety of countries including Germany, England, France, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Scotland, Ireland, Poland and Russia. Structure types include castles, chateaus, palaces and manor houses – all with historical significance.
I’ve been a castle fan for years, since childhood. I love history. Every castle has many stories to tell. They were often seats of power, but also served as government houses, vacation homes for the rich and monarchs and proved to be pivotal locations for significant historical events.
Our selections are based on popularity, personal preference, visitor data, design and historical importance. When we set out to create this epic castle series, we had no idea there were so many incredible structures throughout Europe. Enjoy our galleries and articles. Check back as we continually add new countries to our collection.
Table of Contents
- 1. 9 Types of Castles Built Throughout History
- 2. 73 Fabulous Historic Homes & Mansions in the USA
- 3. 13 of the Best Newport, Rhode Island Mansions
- 4. 37 of the Best Spanish Castles and Palaces (Photos)
- 5. 14 of the Best Danish Castles, Palaces and Manor Houses (Photos)
- 6. 13 of the Best Castles in Romania (Photos)
- 7. 44 Best Italian Castles, Villas and Palaces (Photos)
- 8. 15 of the Best Castles in Japan (Photos)
- 9. 29 Best Castles in Switzerland (Photos)
- 10. 15 of the Best Castles in Portugal (Photos)
- 11. 25 Best Palaces in India (plus Castles and Forts – Photos)
- 12. 16 Jaw-Dropping Mountain Top Castles (Photos)
- 13. 37 Best Austrian Castles, Palaces and Manor Houses (Photos)
- 14. 41 Best Swedish Castles, Palaces and Manor Homes (Photos)
- 15. 25 Best Hungarian Castles, Palaces and Manor Houses (Photos)
- 16. 41 Best Belgian Castles and Chateaus (Photos)
- 17. 49 Best Czech Republic Castles, Chateaus and Palaces
- 18. 60 Best Polish Castles, Palaces and Manor Houses (Photos)
- 19. 50 Best Scottish Castles and Manor Houses (Photos)
- 20. 33 Best Irish Castles and Manor Houses (Photos A to Z)
- 21. 33 Best Castles in the Netherlands
- 22. 70 Magnificent Russian Palaces and Mansions (Photos)
- 23. 50 Best Castles in Germany (Photos)
- 24. 73 Best Castles and Manor Houses in England (Photos)
- 25. 44 Most Beautiful French Chateaus (Photos)
1. 9 Types of Castles Built Throughout History
Step back in time and learn about the different types of castles built throughout history from the Medieval castles to the Stone Keep and from the Concentric Castle to the Royal Pace. Get past through the interior rooms built within the castles and see photo examples for each castle type as well as their blueprint designs and layouts.
2. 73 Fabulous Historic Homes & Mansions in the USA
Get a slice of America’s history through this collection of America’s greatest historic houses once called home by the likes of none other than Mark Twain, the Rockefeller Family, Henry Ford, and former US Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington.
3. 13 of the Best Newport, Rhode Island Mansions
Take a tour through the best Newport, Rhode Island Mansions, including the Marble House, The Breakers, Rosecliff, and Chataue-sur-Mer. Discover the who’s who of the time who vacationed in these lavish homes in total luxury during the summer and learn more interesting trivia about the mansions.
4. 37 of the Best Spanish Castles and Palaces (Photos)
Get to know Spain a little better by learning about its many historic castles, fortresses, and palaces. The country is incredibly rich in history dotted by surviving centuries-old structures that existed long before the Romans made their mark.
5. 14 of the Best Danish Castles, Palaces and Manor Houses (Photos)
Denmark is one of the world’s oldest monarchs and one of its most popular castles is not just open for the public to enjoy, but it’s also still inhabited by?the count of Ahlenfeldt-Laurvig-Bille and his family. Known as the?Egeskov Slot, the Renaissance castle that sits on the island Funen (Fyn) near Odense got its name Egeskov which is Danish for “oak wood” because it is believed that an entire oak forest was felled just to build it.
Intended as a manor around 1405, it was built by Frands Brockenhuss and his wife Anne Tinhus to be the castle as we know it today. Its owners changed hands 31 times before it was finally opened to the public in 1989 by its current owner.
6. 13 of the Best Castles in Romania (Photos)
Romania is home to many impressive castles, palaces, and manor homes but the Peles Castle stands out as a primarypiece of German new-Renaissance architecture and is celebrated as one of the finest castles not just in the country but throughout Europe.
It also holds the prestige of being a former home of the Romanian royal family. Enchanted by the picturesque town of Sinaia, King Charles I (the first Romanian king) commissioned the construction of the castle in 1873 and was completed in 1883. The architects were?Johannes Schultz and Karel Liman and the designers?JD Heymann from Hamburg, August Bembe from Mainz and Berhard Ludwig from Vienna.
Peles Castle was the first electrified castle in Europe because its electricity was produced by its own plant. It was also one the most modern of its time.
Fortunately, the castle was saved and remained unchanged during the Communist era. It was returned to the Romanian government after the 1989 revolution and declared as a museum in 1953.
7. 44 Best Italian Castles, Villas and Palaces (Photos)
Italy is known for its stunning villas, castles, and palaces. One of its gems is a majestic white castle that stands on the Gulf of Trieste. Castello di Miramare (Castle of Miramare) was?built in the 1850s by Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Hapsburg for his wife Charlotte of Belgium. It was designed by Austrian architect Carl Junker and was completed in 1860.
The lovebirds only got to enjoy their love nest for about four years before they left for Mexico where they were crowned Emperor Maximilian and Empress Carlota of Mexico. In 1867, Maximilian was executed by a firing squad. It is believed that Charlotte went insane and lived in seclusion afterward.
The Castle continued to be inhabited on and off by the Habsburgs until it was opened to the public as a museum in 1955.
8. 15 of the Best Castles in Japan (Photos)
Japanese structures easily stand out because of their unique architecture. If there’s only one castle to visit in Japan, it’s hands down the?Himeji Castle, also known as White Heron Castle because of its elegant white appearance. It’s widely regarded as the country’s most spectacular castle and also registered as a UNESCO?world heritage site.
Himeji Castle is one of Japan’s 12 original castles. The finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture has never been destroyed by war, earthquake, or fire. First erected 400 years ago during the Shogun period, it was constantly fortified and was only completed in 1609.
Located in the former capital city of Kyoto, feudal primarys of the castle kept it in good order from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Now under the protection of the national and local governments, the castle was reopened to the public in 2015 after extensive renovations.
9. 29 Best Castles in Switzerland (Photos)
While Switzerland is better known for its political neutrality and banking system, it would be remiss to ignore its share of amazing castles and manor houses. The most famous is the?Aarburg Castle located on a steep rocky hillside in the town of Aarburg.
With its impressive architecture, the castle complex is classified as a Swiss heritage site of national importance. It’s believed to have been built around 1200 by the Lords of?Büron. It fell through a change of ownership many times over the centuries until the Canton of Argau took over in 1804. It now serves as a juvenile detention center.
10. 15 of the Best Castles in Portugal (Photos)
Portugal is bathed in culture and although many of its magnificent castles and palaces were destroyed during the Lisbon earthquake, it still boasts some incredible ones such as The Palacio Nacional da Pena or Pena Palace. Standing on a hilltop in the Sintra Mountains, it’s a prime example of 19th century Romanticism architecture. It’s also one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and classified as a world heritage site.
Ferdinand August Franz Anton from Austria who later became?King Ferdinand II ordered the construction of the palace which took place between 1842 and 1854. German architect Baron Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege created the primarypiece.
The Portuguese State classified Pena Palace as?a national monument and transformed into a museum in 1889.
11. 25 Best Palaces in India (plus Castles and Forts – Photos)
Next only to Taj Mahal, Mysore Palace or Amba Vilas Palace is the most famous tourist attraction in India receiving more than six million visitors in a year. It’s a historical palace located at the heart of Mysore city and was the royal residence of its erstwhile rulers, the Wadiyar Dynasty of Mysore Kingdom (1399-1950).
The original Mysore Palace was built in the 14th century by Yaduraya Wodeyar. It was reconstructed and renovated several times until it was rebuilt in its modern form in 1897 during the regime of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III after the former wooden palace was destroyed by fire. British architect Lord Henry Irwin was commissioned to build the new palace. It was completed in 1912 at a cost of?Rs. 4147913.
12. 16 Jaw-Dropping Mountain Top Castles (Photos)
Don’t miss out on this jaw-dropping mind-boggling collection of mountain top castles. These castles are a sight to behold including the?Hohenzollern Castle in Germany. Perched 855 meters above sea level and on a conical mount Zoller, the castle stands proud as a thousand old fortress?in the heart of Baden-Württemberg between Lake Constance, the Black Forest and Stuttgart.
The first?Hohenzollern House dates back to 1061. In the 11th century, it was deemed?“Crown of all Castles in Swabia” and?“the most fortified House in Germany” only to be destroyed in 1423. It was reconstructed as a more massive fortress but was turned into ruins again until?King Frederick William IV of Prussia reconstructed it in the 19th century.
Though still privately owned by the?Prussian line and the Swabian Royal House of the Hohenzollern, it’s one of the most visited castles in Germany with over 350,000 visitors a year.
13. 37 Best Austrian Castles, Palaces and Manor Houses (Photos)
Burg Kreuzenstein or?Kreuzenstein Castle is a medieval hilltop castle overlooking the village of?Leobendorf. What’s interesting about the castle is that it’s constructed on the remains of an old medieval castle that fell into ruins during the Thirty Years’ War and it was made to look like an authentic medieval castle using sections of medieval structures the Wilczek family purchased throughout Europe.
The castle dates back to the 12th century and was built by the Counts of Fombach. It was passed down to various owners until it fell to the hands of the?Count Johann Nepomuk Wilczek who began reconstruction on the castle in 1874. Architect Carl Gangolf Kayser oversaw the reconstruction until his death and was replaced by Ritter Humbert Walcher of Molthein and the artist Egon Rheinberger. It took 30 years to be completely reconstructed and was reopened to the public on June 6, 1906 as a tourist destination and museum.
14. 41 Best Swedish Castles, Palaces and Manor Homes (Photos)
Trolle Ljungby Castle is a Renaissance style castle in Sweden with a history that stretches back to the 14th and 15th centuries. Back then it was just called Ljungby and was home to the Bille family for generations until it was sold in the 1460s and has since been passed down to various owners.
The various owners of the estate oversaw the reconstruction and extension of the property during their possession.?Hans Gabriel Trolle-Wachtmeister inherited the Ljungby estate but granted in 1830 the transfer of entailment from Trolleburg to Ljungby, which led to its current name?Trolle Ljungby.
The castle has been privately owned by?Wachtmeister family since 1804 and is closed to the public although visitors are welcome to visit the gardens.
15. 25 Best Hungarian Castles, Palaces and Manor Houses (Photos)
The?Schossberger Manor is only one of the many historic castles, palaces, mansions, and manor houses praised as architectural primarypieces in Hungary. Sitting at the highest point in a sleepy town called Tura, the manor was built from 1873 to 1883.?Baron Sigismund Schossberger was the initial owner who commissioned the famous architect?Miklós Ybl to design the castle.
Designed to resemble French Renaissance castles, Schossberger wanted an estate befitting his knighted status and his growing family. The estate was passed down to?Schossberger’s son Victor and to Victor’s two children who failed to maintain the castle.
It was used for shelter by the Germans in 1944, as a war hospital in 1945, a primary school in 1946, a national monument in 1958, a primary school again until 1973, and has been sold several times since the 1980s. The current owner is said to be?Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law, István Tiborcz, who plans to transform the castle into a 5-star hotel.
16. 41 Best Belgian Castles and Chateaus (Photos)
Belgium is a small country but full of fabulous castles, chateaus, palaces, and manor houses. One of them is Marnix de Sainte Aldegonde Castle or locally known as Kasteel Marnix van Sint-Aldegonde or Bornem Castle. Located in the town of Bornem, it was first fortified during the 10th or 11th century as a defense against Viking raids.
Spanish nobleman, Pedro Coloma, Lord of Bobadilla, bought the Bornem Lands in 1587 and became Lord of Bornem. He was succeeded by his son Alexandre and Pedro’s grandson Jean-Fran?ois Coloma became the first Count of Bornem after the Bornem Lands was elevated to a county in 1658.
The De Marnix family leased the castle and bought it in 1773. In 1880,?Count Ferdinand de Marnix ordered the 16th-century Bornem Castle to be demolished and replaced it with a Renaissance Revival style castle built by the architects Henri Beyaert and E. Janlet. In 1884, Count Ferdinand added?“de Sainte Aldegonde” to his family name so the castle became known as?Marnix de Sainte Aldegonde Castle.
It’s still privately owned and inhabited but a part of the castle is used as a museum and can be visited.
17. 49 Best Czech Republic Castles, Chateaus and Palaces
The ?leby Castle goes way back before 1289 as a Gothic fortress built by the?Lichtenburg family. Charles IV, Roman Emperor and the King of Bohemia bought the castle in 1356. It was rebuilt in the Renaissance style after the Hussite Wars in the late 15th century and in the Baroque style again in the late 16th century.
The ancient Tyrolean house of Auersperg owned the castle from 1754 to 1945 when it was confiscated by the state. It’s now managed by the National Heritage Institute and open to the public.
18. 60 Best Polish Castles, Palaces and Manor Houses (Photos)
Poland is home to incredible historic palaces, estates, manor houses, and castles in all shapes and sizes. The Moszna Castle is a fairytale castle located in a small village of the same name in Opole, Poland. “Moszna” comes from the family name “Moschin,” the family who bought a large estate in the village in the 14th century. Legend has it that the castle was built as a monastery and shelter for the Knights of the Temple of Solomon.
The von Skall family owned the castle from 1679 to 1771 when Heinrich Leopold von Seherr-Thoss purchased it at auction. It was sold in 1866 to Hubert von Tiele-Winckler from Miechowice. The castle belonged to the Tiele-Wincklers until the end of the war.
In 1972, the castle was used as a hospital for treating neuroses and is now an exclusive hotel.
19. 50 Best Scottish Castles and Manor Houses (Photos)
Scotland is well-known for its castles with the Glamis Castle one of the oldest and most stunning. Located in the heart of Angus, the Glamis Castle goes way back to ancient times and started as a fortified royal hunting house owned by the Scottish Crown.
Sir John Lyon of Glamis began transforming the old royal hunting house into Glamis Castle in 1404 and was completed in 1484 after his death. The Castle is a witness to over 1,000 years of history and has been the ancestral seat to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne since 1372. It also served as an inspiration to Shakespeare’s Macbeth as well as the childhood home of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth and the birthplace of Princess Margaret.
Simon Bowes-Lyon, 19th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne currently resides in the castle and is also open to the public for guided tours.
20. 33 Best Irish Castles and Manor Houses (Photos A to Z)
There are many incredible castles and manor houses in Ireland, including the Ashford Castle in County Mayo. Its long history begins in 1228 as a?primary stronghold of the Anglo-Norman de Burgo dynasty until 1589 and saw a change of ownership several times.
Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness acquired it in 1852 and added buildings in the neo-gothic style. Guinness managed the property until 1915 when his son died. The castle then went to the Iveagh Trust before it was sold in 1939 to Noel Huggard who transformed the castle into a private country hotel.
21. 33 Best Castles in the Netherlands
Castle de Haar or locally known as Kasteel de Haar is located in Utrecht, Netherlands. It’s the largest castle in the country and considered one of the most luxurious castles in Europe. Its history dates back to 1931 when the De Haar family inherited it from?Hendrik van Woerden. It remained with them until 1440 when the last male heir died without any children.
The Van Zuylen family lived in the castle until it burned down in 1482. It was rebuilt in the 16th century but fell into ruins again in the mid-1600s. The Rothschild family inherited the castle and hired?architect Pierre Cuypers to rebuild it in 1892 which was only completed 15 years later.
The castle is now open to the general public through guided tours.
22. 70 Magnificent Russian Palaces and Mansions (Photos)
The Wooden Palace of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Moscow. It was built in 1667 without the use of any fasteners, nails or hooks. Each of the 26 buildings is connected by passages and halls and the entire complex divided into male and female parts. The Tsar and his sons occupied the male parts including the ceremonial chambers while the Tsarina and their daughters occupied the female parts.
Contemporaries referred to the Wooden Palace as?the “Eighth Wonder of the Word.” It served as the favorite summer residence of the royal family and fell into gradual decay in the 18th century during the time of?Catherine the Great.
Catherine initially planned to restore the palace before changing her mind and ordered to demolish it. Detailed plans of the palace still exist so the Moscow Government built a full-size replica in 2010 and relocated it?to the far end of Kolomenskiy park. It’s now open to the public as a museum.
23. 50 Best Castles in Germany (Photos)
Home to the world’s most popular castle, Germany has many more spectacular castles such as the?Stolzenfels Castle located in the district of the same name. Regarded as the epitome of Rhine Romanticism, it was built between 1242-1259 by?the Prince-Bishop of Trier?Arnold von Isenburg, who used it for levying the Rhine toll until 1412.
It was destroyed by the French during the Nine Years’ War and the site gifted in 1823 by the city of Koblenz to?King Frederick William IV of Prussia, who used it as his summer home and commissioned the famous architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel to rebuild the castle in the?Neo-Gothic style beginning 1836.
The Stolzenfels Castle was inaugurated in 1842 and has since been open to the public.
24. 73 Best Castles and Manor Houses in England (Photos)
England is one of the top places that pops into mind when it comes to historic and magnificent castles and manor houses. Its collection includes some of the world’s finest, most famous, and loaded with culture and history. Topmost of the list is Warwick Castle which dates back to the 10th century and now serves as a tourist attraction.
25. 44 Most Beautiful French Chateaus (Photos)
You’d be hard put to run out of beautiful and popular chateaus, palaces, and castles to visit in France. There’s just so many of these mesmerizing and lavish homes including the Chateau Pichon?in the?Pauillac?appellation?of the?Bordeaux?region of?France.?Baron Joseph de Pichon Longueville divided his estate to his two children, Raoul and Virginie. Raoul got the?Chateau Pichon Longueville while Virginie got the?Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande.
Vineyard owners?Edouard and Louis Miailhe bought the Chateau in 1925. It later gained international renown as a winery before it was sold in 2007 to ?the Louis Roederer Champagne house, another family firm.