Have you been binge watching Game of Thrones, getting ready for the new season? Do the spectacular mythical locations, castles, and vistas having you dreaming about your own royal adventures? The good news, is you can visit the majesty and grandeur of real castles without the never-ending dangers you would find in Westeros.
Here are a few of the most beautiful castles in Europe to add to your list:
Edinburgh Castle, in Scotland was built in the 12th century, hundreds of years before the land became part of the United Kingdom.
Starting in the UK - a bastion of fortresses and castles, you won't want to miss Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. Sitting high atop Castle Rock, this 12th century castle has seen a bloody history of battles and wars. Switching hands many times between bitter English and Scottish rivals, this massive castle is a living monument to the strife that tore apart the medieval British Isle.
Leeds castle, the "loveliest castle in the world" in West Yorkshire, England.
For a very different type of castle, travel down to England to visit Leeds Castle. Crowned by the British as the "loveliest castle in the world," Leeds Castle was home to towering monarchs like Henry VIII and Edward I. Beautiful gardens and trees, a picturesque lake, vineyards, and an aviary are just a few of Leeds Castle's features that make it so charming and welcoming. Walking through the beautiful castle makes you feel truly royal.
Versailles served as the opulent home of Louis XIV
What castle list can possibly be complete without the inclusion of perhaps the most famous castle of all time - Versailles? Located 12 miles outside of Paris, Versailles was home to Louis XIV, the Sun King, and his wife Marie Antoinette. A symbol of the absolute monarchy that ruled France right before the French Revolution - Versailles Castle feels almost ominous in its over-the-top opulence. Stunning gardens, unmatched galleries, and historic fountains are just a few of the sights you will enjoy at Versailles.
Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is famous for its fairytale look and an inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Moving along to Europe's other most famous castle, possibly the most photographed and copied castle in the world, you don't want to miss Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Famous for its beauty, its size, and for being the creation of Mad King Ludwig, this castle nearly bankrupted Bavaria in the 19th century. Typified by soaring turrets, a stunning gatehouse, and its bright limestone color, this castle has frequently been used as an inspiration for fictional and fairy tale castles.
The high altitude of Hohenzollern castle in Germany leave it a mystical look, surrounded by clouds.
Also in Germany - home to many stunning castles, is Hohenzollern Castle. Situated 2,805 feet above sea level, Hohenzollern Castle is often surrounded by clouds, adding to its mythical and fantastical aesthetic. Feel as though you have stepped into Tolkien's Middle Earth or Martin's Westeros as you tour though this fortress home of Germany's many emperors. A site of multiple battles and raids, the current castle is actually the third to be built on the site.
Hunyadi Castle, Romania expresses the gothic flare for the dramatic with its stone carvings and towers.
Embrace your sense of the Gothic when you visit Hunyadi Castle, also known as the Corvin Castle, in Romania. This stunning castle is worth a visit simply for its own beauty, but it also comes with a dark history. Vlad the Impaler was once imprisoned at Hunyad Castle, which only adds to the gothic feel. Used as an inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula story, this castle has many heavy early Renaissance details, like towers, stone carvings, and multicolored roofs. A classic example of Gothic period architecture, this is one castle that you won’t forget.
Does normal life seem just a bit too mundane? Why not plan a trip with a royal flare and visit some of the world’s most memorable and beautiful castles.