Holidays and Tradition

12 Beautiful Fairytale Castles In Europe – Travel Video

Built by kings and queens to protect and rule
their realms, castles had not only to be able to withstand attack but to project their power
and wealth. As such, sturdy keeps and imposing walls were
erected alongside marvelous palaces, full of ornate and elaborate chambers and throne
rooms. These castles were often built at strategic
and spectacular settings at the mouths of valleys, at the entrance to mountain passes,
or on glittering lakeshores. Add in the weight of history, and these amazing
structures set amongst breathtaking scenery make for some of the most beautiful castles
in Europe. Number 12. Trakai Island Castle. As the name indicates, this magnificent castle
is set upon a small island with the sparkling waters of Lake Galve surrounding it. Located just outside of Vilnius, the imposing
red brick fortification was once of the utmost strategic importance to the Grand Duchy of
Lithuania. First erected in the 14th century, the castle
and its magnificent Ducal palace were restored to their original look and style in the 1960s. The Gothic and Romanesque features of the
island castle look particularly arresting when viewed from across the shimmering waters
of the lake. Number 11. Corvin Castle. Built in a marvelous Gothic-Renaissance style,
Corvin Castle in Transylvania is one of the largest castles in the whole of Europe. Set on a hilltop overlooking a river, the
15th-century fortress proudly boasts a number of lofty towers, as well as impregnable walls
and a sturdy drawbridge. Numerous myths and legends swirl around the
Romanian castle. Its attractive and fairytalesque look has
seen it featured in numerous television shows and films. Number 10. Conwy Castle. Located in the north of Wales, Conwy Castle
was built all the way back in 1283 by Edward I of England, who was attempting to conquer
his unruly neighbors. Set at a strategic spot on the banks of the
River Conwy, the imposing castle played a crucial role in many battles and wars for
centuries to come. Featuring not only two hulking barbicans but
eight large and impenetrable towers, the castle is widely considered to be one of the finest
examples of military architecture in Europe. Number 9. Swallow’s Nest. The delightfully named Swallow’s Nest can
be found perched dramatically on the edge of a clifftop in the Crimean Peninsula. Overlooking the shimmering waters of the Black
Sea, the daintily decorated castle was built in 1911 following very romantic Neo-Gothic
designs. Having featured in numerous films in Soviet
times, the Swallow’s Nest is now a popular place to visit amongst tourists, who come
to ogle at its precarious setting, refined architecture, and the stunning views. Number 8. Cochem Castle. Set in a scenic spot overlooking the town
of Cochem, the castle of the same name is surrounded by rolling greens hills, with lush
forests and vineyards all around it. While a castle has stood on the same hilltop
since at least the year 1130, the original was destroyed by the marauding troops of Louis
IV in 1688. Restored and rebuilt in a gorgeous Gothic
Revival style, the current castle is now a popular tourist attraction in the German Rhineland. While Cochem Castle is fascinating to explore,
the views from its turrets and towers of the valley and river below are just as spellbinding. Number 7. Spis Castle. Located in the northeast of Slovakia, Spis
Castle has dominated its surroundings ever since it was built in 1241. Due to its cultural and political importance
to the Kingdom of Hungary, the castle kept growing in size until it became the enormous
fortress it is today. Boasting impressive and imposing stone walls
and towers, as well as a wonderful Romanesque palace, Spis Castle now serves as an educational
museum. With commanding views out over the hills and
valleys to be enjoyed from its battlements, this magnificent fort is not to be missed
out on when in Slovakia. Number 6. Hohenzollern Castle. Whether viewed emerging from the treetops
which surround it or from amidst the clouds which swirl around its walls, Hohenzollern
Castle always makes for an epic sight. Perched atop a prominent mount, the castle
and Gothic Revival palace exhibit some beautiful architecture, and the halls and chambers within
are just as delightfully decorated. While the current castle was only completed
in 1867, a fortress has stood upon the same mount since at least the 11th century. One of the most visited castles in the whole
of Germany, Hohenzollern is still owned by the royal house of the same name. Number 5. Alcazar of Segovia. Shaped very much like the bow of a ship, the
Alcazar of Segovia has long attracted sightseers due to its distinctive design and breathtaking
setting. Indeed, the castle’s magnificent keep and
slim towers look particularly dashing, considering they are perched atop a rocky outcrop overlooking
the confluence of two rivers. Located in the center of Spain, its well-preserved
palace is full of elegant rooms and halls that are covered in art and fine furnishings. Now a popular museum, the Alcazar of Segovia
also has a well-equipped armory and collection of weapons for visitors to peruse. Number 4. Bran Castle. Commonly known outside of Romania as ‘Dracula’s
Castle,’ Bran Castle certainly looks the part. The forbidding fortress lies hidden in a forest
in Transylvania. Despite its eerie appearance, however, the
castle only has tenuous links at best with the cruel and barbaric 15th-century ruler
Vlad the Impaler, who inspired Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. Clever marketing ploy aside, Bran Castle is
definitely worth visiting for its amazing architecture and beautiful setting in a lush
valley. In addition to this, visitors can now enjoy
exploring the castle’s many rooms, which house the extensive art and furniture collection
of Queen Marie. Number 3. Pena Castle. Certainly the brightest and most daringly
designed castle on this list, Pena Castle really is as unique as they come. Awash with color, the vivid yellows and reds
of its walls shine forth from its prominent hilltop setting in the Sintra Mountains just
outside of Lisbon. Completed in 1854 in a Romanticist style,
its imaginative design is a joy to gaze upon, and the views from its ramparts and gardens
aren’t half bad either. Taking in all its fantastic features and exotic
and extravagant architectural styles is sure to be one of the highlights of any trip to
Portugal. Number 2. Eilean Donan. Located at the point where three lochs meet,
Eilean Donan in Scotland is truly blessed when it comes to its spectacular setting. While the original castle is thought to have
been built on the small island sometime in the 13th century, the current romanticized
and reimagined reincarnation only dates to the 20th century. Although its crumbling grey walls and undistinguished
features may not look quite as impressive as many other castles, it is its gorgeous
surroundings that really set it apart. Having featured in countless films and television
shows over the decades, Eilean Donan is certainly one of the most famous and recognizable castles
in the whole of Europe. Number 1. Neuschwanstein Castle. Perched atop a forested mount with the majestic
Bavarian Alps behind it, Neuschwanstein Castle looks as if it has just emerged from a book
of children’s fairytales. Only completed in 1886, the castle’s delightful
design draws from both romanticism architecture and Ludwig II’s love and appreciation for
the operas of Richard Wagner. Fittingly, the photogenic palace, with its
beautiful towers and glorious entrance, actually served as the inspiration for the Sleeping
Beauty castle in Disneyland. Full of incredible artworks and precious paintings,
the interior of the castle is no less exceptional.
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