Most Beautiful Castles around the World
Castles fill both storybooks and history books. Their size and ambiance both attract and enchant millions of people each year, which comes as no surprise as they are probably some of the most beautiful man-made creations in the world. Once used as fortifications to protect royalty and nobility, they now serve either as luxurious residences, tourist attractions, or historic structures.
There’s so much to admire about castles. Surrounded by lush gardens and (former) hunting grounds, these structures often delivered the best nature had to offer to the lords and ladies that occupied them. Castles also feature impressive architectural designs that have lasted for many hundreds of years. Real estate could not get any better than this!
So whether you’re a fan of fantasy movies, a homeowner looking for inspiration for your landscape design in Castle Rock, an artist looking for your next painting, or a traveler looking for your next destination – Here are 13 castles that are sure to inspire you.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
This strangely designed fantastically beautiful 19th-century castle sits on a hill in the forests of Bavaria, and is one of the country’s most popular vacation destinations. A theatrical set designer fashioned it for Ludwig II of Bavaria, which explains its architecture, size, and location. It is definitely a unique castle, one-of-a-kind, from which fairy tales are made of.
Prague Castle, The Czech Republic
The Prague Castle of the Czech Republic is the oldest castle in the world, its first buildings dating back to the 9th century. It is also one of the largest castles in the world and definitely one of the most beautiful. It encompasses nearly all types of architecture, including Baroque, Romanesque, and Gothic. If you are a student or lover of architecture, this castle is one you must see. You can learn so much just by walking around and exploring every single one of its nook and cranny.
Himeji Castle, Japan
This is a stunning white complex in Japan, considered as the best example of the Japanese castle architecture. Comprised of 83 different wooden buildings and defended by an extraordinary maze of spiral paths in a beautiful cherry blossom gardens (that eventually lead to the main entrance), Himeji castle is a pinnacle of landscape design. It is quite old, dating back to the 14th century, and looks as stunning as it (probably) did back them. Fun fact: the castle is supposedly designed to look like a bird in flight.
Catherine Palace, Russia
Located near Saint Petersburg, this breathtaking castle was once the summer residence of the Russian tsars. Azure and white with gold trimmings, this picture of elegance has a refreshing summer feel to it and all who stroll its property will realize why the Russian royalty chose it as their summer escape. It features an expansive garden of well-sculpted statues and hedges, an elaborate ballroom, and a chapel, among many other things.
Chambord Castle, France
This beautiful and very imposing French Renaissance castle, also known as Château de Chambord, was officially built as a hunting lodge for King Francois I. It is of tremendous size, with 84 staircases, 365 fireplaces, 440 rooms, more than 800 columns, an impressive roofline, and a double helix staircase as its centerpiece.
Grand Palace Bangkok, Thailand
This magnificent palace in the heart of Bangkok served as the official home of the Kings of Siam and Thailand for over 200 years. It is located in a grand complex that occupies a large part of an island and is surrounded by a river and an extensive system of walls, forts, and guard posts for protection. Painted with bright colors with gold trimmings, your eyes will not miss it in all of its extravagances.
Castle Howard, UK
Even though it appears to be a castle, it is actually a beautiful country home with an obvious stately air. It is home to the Howard family who have been living in this North Yorkshire location for more than 300 years. Painted pearly white and surrounded by extensive and gorgeous parklands and gardens, it’s one of the largest residences in all of Great Britain. If this doesn’t make you want to hop on a plane to the UK and see it for yourself, we don’t know what will. Whilst you’re visiting, consider staying in one of Britain’s beautiful holiday cottages or a seaside resort to get the full British experience.
Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland Paris
This magical little castle was designed with the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria and a touch of French architecture in mind. Of course, the designers greatly increased the level of whimsy to reflect Walt Disney’s attitude and works, painting its roof and towers pastel blue and pink. It’s undoubtedly an ornate and extraordinary piece of architecture, taken straight out of a fairytale!
Castillo De Coca, Spain
Another imposing structure, the Coca Castle, Built in the late fifteenth century and considered as one of the best examples of the Gothic-Mudejar (Moorish) type of architecture. Unlike many of the castles mentioned, this one looks as if it really means business. This two-walled fortification as intimidating as it is beautiful on the outside and very luxurious on the inside.
Windsor Castle, UK
As a country residence of the British monarchy, no expense was spared building Windsor Castle. The extensive 13-acre site it occupies is rivaled only by its grand and lavish interior and furnishings. It features Georgian, Victorian, Gothic, Baroque, and modern architecture, and is considered one of the most impressive structures in the UK, if not the world.
Château de Versailles, France
Versailles is perhaps one of the most famous architectural wonders in the world, not just because it once served as the center of political power of the French monarchy, but also because of its unrestrained magnificence and luxury. It is definitely regarded by many as one of the most beautiful royal palaces in the world, with its stately exterior and lavishly intricate interiors.
Osaka Castle, Japan
This humble but nonetheless stunning 16th century castle played a major role in unifying Japan during the Shokuho Period. White with green and gold accents, the main tower of the castle stands on raised platforms with stone foundations for fortification and is surrounded by a moat. Its grounds house 13 other historically and culturally important structures and are especially dreamy during the cherry blossom season.
Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
A 13th-century castle originally built to control a strategic point of the River Nore in Kilkenny, Ireland, Kilkenny Castle was a symbol of the Norman occupation. While its exterior façade seems imposing, its lovely grounds that include gardens and a fountain, and its magnificent, brightly-colored and beautifully-furnished interiors give it a more welcoming feeling.