The impenetrable walls of a fortress exert an irremediable attraction towards those who have a certain taste for the medieval. The walls of the European castles protected their inhabitants and enclosed in their walls conspiracies and often romantic loves that literature and cinema have been commissioned to portray. And history has always had them in mind, that’s why, today we allow ourselves to show you nine European castles to visit to transport yourself to other eras.
From loves to struggles among almost brothers. From insurmountable forts with moats to fairytale European castles that inspired Disney. Of course there are many more, we would not stop finding walls and towers to talk about, but today we are going to take a walk among stones from Ireland, Spain, Scotland, Denmark, Germany and Romania among other places. Today we are going to visit nine European castles.
Peleş Castle – Romania
Let’s be honest, if we speak of European castles in Romania our mind the only thing you think is in the Carpathians and Vlad the Impaler, but if we give it a second round I would advise you to visit Peleş Castle in Sinaia while in the area, pure Neo-Renaissance architecture and which is one of the most important buildings in Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century. It was commissioned by King Charles I to be used as a summer residence, when that period came to be something like six months a year.
Of the first buildings in the country to have electricity and since 1888 also had an elevator to go up to the upper floors, it remained a royal residence until the communist invasion of 1948. Open to visitors since 1990 it is perfectly preserved inside and keeps all the splendor of the time.
Neuschwanstein Castle – Germany
If there is a classic among the European castles to visit that is the Neuschwanstein Castle, which has always been said that was the one that inspired Walt Disney to create the one of the Sleeping Beauty. We are going to stay however with what is the castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Yes, it is one of the most photographed buildings in all of Germany and it was a whim of the king since he had it built at a time when fortresses and castles were not necessary, a romantic fantasy turned into an ideal medieval castle.
They are towers and walls that harmonize perfectly with mountains and lakes in the middle of the Bavarian Alps, near the lakes Alpsee and Schwan. It is a more aesthetic than architecturally original creation full of references to romantic literature such as Tristan and Isolde. It has a complete electric light network, the first mobile phone in history (with a coverage of six meters), a kitchen that took advantage of the heat following rules developed by Leonardo da Vinci and views of the landscapes of the Bavarian Alps, including a waterfall that the monarch could contemplate from his room.
Alcázar de Segovia – Spain
In Spain we also have castles and our eyes deserve to rest on the Alcázar de Segovi a, that we are left with that it is a castle but in its almost two thousand years of existence it has been Roman fort, medieval fortress, royal palace, custodian of the royal treasury, prison, artillery school and military archive … and surely a lot of things they do not tell us. It rises immeasurably in the old city of Segovia and is one of the most distinctive Middle Ages castles-palace in Europe for the prized form of its keep.
Next to the Aqueduct is the living image of Segovia, and precisely granite ashlars similar to those of that monument are those that date the origins of the Alcázar. Essential visit for all who visit the city, yes there is no ticket sale in advance, only at the box office.
Castle of Chenonceau – France
Speaking of French castles is always to think about the route of the castles of the Loire, a wonderful journey in which one does not stop enjoying the constructions. Of all of them we are going to stay with the Castle of Chenonceau, in monument in private hands more visited of France. The first records of its existence take us to the eleventh century. The current castle is built on the bed of the river Cher, on the pillars of a fortified mill and the previous castle bought from the Marques family.
In the visit you cannot miss getting lost in its more than 12,000 m2 of gardens, many of them with a Renaissance design and which required a very considerable investment at the beginning.
Hohenzollern Castle – Germany
We go back to Germany. Castles are power, they are fortifications to protect themselves and to mark the differences between those inside and those outside. The Hohenzollern castle, 50 km from Stuttgart, is linked to the origins of the Hohenzollern, who came to power in the Middle Ages and ruled Prussia and Brandenburg until the end of the First World War. Immeasurable at a height of 855 meters it had its origin in the eleventh century and in the fourteenth it suffered a complete destruction. After this, a larger and more solid castle emerged from the ruins.
The current structure is of English neo-Gothic inspiration, like the castles of the Loire. The castle was conceived as a tribute to the Hohenzollern dynasty, but no member of the family resided in it until 1945. In it you can visit, in addition to tombs of members of the dynasty, the crown of William II, personal effects of Frederick II of Prussia and a letter from George Washington in which he thanks Baron von Steuben for the service of the House of Hohenzollern in the American War of Independence. The castle is today a very popular tourist destination.
Bodiam Castle – England
Castles in the United Kingdom there is to give and take. Some in public hands and others in private hands. The Castle of Bodiam, in East Sussex is an archetypal castle with a 14th century moat with its ruined interior but with a wonderful medieval charm. All its walls and towers remain intact and can be visited mostly, with a series of recommendations. As all property belonging to the National Trust is in an excellent state of conservation and full of activities to be carried out.
In a visit you can choose to visit the moats and the exterior of the castle, its interior, the fields that surround it and perform activities that can make you enjoy a full day feeling in the middle ages and perhaps imagining what it was like to live there.
Eilean Donan Castle – Scotland
Continue in the United Kingdom, with a jump to Scotland and the famous Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands. Its silhouette is one of the most iconic images of the country, located on an island at a point where three lakes converge. The surrounding landscape leaves you speechless and you clearly understand that it is one of the most visited attractions.
The Jacobite revolt partially destroyed it and its walls were ruined for almost 200 years, until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought what was left of it in 1911 and invested 20 years in rebuilding it. It is the usual place for recording movies and series and if you see yourself with possible you can rent it to get married. If at the moment you do not have a visit to the Highlands planned, you can always gossip your webcam.
Egeskov Castle – Denmark
Denmark also sounds like palace confabulations and castles forgotten in the cold. The Egeskov Castle is south of the island of Funen. It is Renaissance style and all surrounded by a flooded moat is the best preserved. Its origins date back to the 15th century but the main structure dates back to the 16th century. Legend has it that it took an entire forest of oaks to build the foundations of the building, and hence derive the name of Egeskov (oak forest). The paradisiacal environment, the moat, the forests make Egeskov a fairytale place.
Kylemore Abbey – Ireland
In the green Ireland there are also European Castles to visit, although in this case Kylemore Abbey is a convent of Benedictine nuns founded in 1920 on the basis of Kylemore Castle in Connemara, County Galway. It has a beautiful Neo-Gothic church and a miniature Norwich cathedral made of local green marble. Worthy of admiration is the walled Victorian garden. Until 2010 there was a boarding school for women. The visits are limited to the gardens, the neo – Gothic church and family mausoleum and some rooms of the abbey, since there are still nuns. However there are tourist areas such as a restaurant and a typical souvenir shop.