5 European Castles You Absolutely Must See in Your Lifetime

April 22, 2019
From tales of legend to the real life stories of Kings and Queens and medieval vendettas, discover the places and events that have shaped the course of European history. Whether you’re interested in architecture, history, or if you’re just plain curious about what life during the middle ages was like, these are 5 of Europe’s most spectacular castles!

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

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Enter Eilean Donan, one of Scotland’s most iconic castles that also happens to be one of the most photographed sites in the country. Once you visit, it quickly becomes apparent why tourists from all over the world flock to this Scottish landmark and why it is often featured in film and television. A picturesque castle surrounded by the breath-taking grandeur of the Kintail mountain, its location is simply magnificent. During your visit, you’ll be able to have a look inside most of the castle’s rooms and marvel at the myriad artifacts, ancient furniture as well as the impressive paintings and murals that adorn its halls.

Windsor Castle, England
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No trip to England could be complete without a visit to the impressive Windsor Castle that has been a residence of the Royal family and British Kings and Queens for over 1000 years. The size of the castle (5 hectares/13 acres) is simply astounding, officially making it the world’s largest and oldest castle. It’s the place where the Queen still spends most of her weekends so you might even bump into royalty during your time there. The Castle of Windsor truly offers something for everyone, and is definitely worth a visit during your time in England. Don’t miss the wonderful Savill Garden whose rose garden is said to be the Queen’s favorite!

Alcazar de Segovia, Spain

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You don’t have to be a big Walt Disney fan to know how much he loved his castles. Welcome to Alcazar de Segovia, a castle in the historic town of Segovia in central Spain’s Castile and Leon region that is located a little over an hour northwest of Madrid. Dating all the way back to the early 12th century, its stunning architecture was a source of inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle with similarities that are truly hard to miss. Today, it is a museum and archive open for the public to enjoy. With its interesting history and extraordinary architecture, the Alcazar de Segovia definitely deserves a spot on your bucket list during your trip to Spain.

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

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Just 15 miles from Lisbon you will find one of the seven wonders of Portugal, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that looks like it’s been ripped straight out of the pages of a fairy-tale! The Pena Palace was built in 1840 follwing the exact specifications of King Ferdinand II, who wanted the estate to be a fusion of different architectural styles and colors. Though the palace itself and its surrounding area are one of Sintra’s most commonly visited sites during the summer, if you can brave the crowds, you’ll have a chance to see one of the most unusual and architecturally unique castles in Europe.

Castelvecchio, Verona, Italy

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Built as a fortress in the 1950s by Cangrande II, Castelvecchio was severely damaged by bombings during the Second World War. Restored and repurposed into an impressive museum by architect Carlo Scarpa, today Castelvecchio hosts a diverse collection of statuaries, frescoes, medieval artefacts, jewellery and various paintings dating back to the 14th century. Scarpa’s remodeling of the interior is quite modern and stands in contrast to the more austere medieval facade. Take some time exploring the fortress, walk down to Corso Cavour at Gelateria Savoia and treat yourself to the best gelato in the area - the ideal wrap-up to your sightseeing in Verona!

To visit these castles is to embark on a journey through European civilization. If you’re looking to discover more of Europe and select destinations in the Mediterranean, our team of travel experts will work with you one on one to create a bespoke luxury experience made as you want it.