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Visited Names 25 Best Castles to Visit

Best Castles to Visit

The popular international travel app Visited has named the 25 best castles in the world. Visited is a travel map app that allows you to mark off where you’ve been and plan where you want to go. You can browse top travel lists and save your bucket list destinations to optimize your travel plans. 

According to Visited users, these are the top castles to visit worldwide:

1) Prague Castle

Prague Castle is a palace complex in Prague, Czech Republic, dating back to the 9th century. The elegant historic building includes a variety of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical styles. Prague Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the president of the Czech Republic. Visitors can go on tours of the historic castle and also see a changing of the guard ceremony at the castle. Prague Castle also includes St. Vitus Cathedral, a stunning Gothic cathedral.

2) Château De Versailles

The Château De Versailles, or the Palace of Versailles, is about 19 kilometers (12 miles) west of Paris, France. The lavish castle was commissioned by King Louis XIV. The Palace of Versailles has grand French Baroque architecture and opulent royal interiors. The State Apartments are a section of the castle that were the living quarters of the French royal family. The most famous rooms include the Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Grand Apartment, and the Queen’s Grand Apartment. The palace features breathtaking sprawling gardens with manicured lawns, geometric flower beds, fountains, statues, and groves.

3) Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest fortified places in Europe. The magnificent Scottish castle has been on Castle Rock since the 11th century and was a royal residence until 1633. The towering location offers stunning panoramic views of Edinburgh. The castle has a variety of exhibits, including Scotland’s Crown Jewels (the Honours of Scotland), the National War Museum, and Mons Meg, a massive medieval siege cannon. 

4) Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is a British royal residence in the English county of Berkshire. The sprawling castle has a mix of Georgian, Victorian, and Gothic styles. Construction on the castle began in 1070 under William the Conqueror. Over the centuries, royal families have added to and altered the castle, resulting in a beautiful blend of styles. The castle houses a significant portion of the Royal Collection, including works by renowned painters like Van Dyck, Rubens, and Canaletto and elaborate furniture, tapestries, and weaponry.

5) Schonbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace is a beautiful Baroque-style castle in Vienna, Austria. It was the summer residence of the Habsburg rulers for centuries. The palace includes immaculate gardens and lavish interiors. The luxurious decor includes glittering chandeliers, a tapestry collection, paintings, and sculptures. The castle grounds include Schönbrunn Zoo, the world’s oldest zoo still in operation.

6) Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle is a Romantic-style palace in Bavaria, southern Germany. The castle opened in 1884, and its Romanesque Revival architecture and bucolic location have inspired people for centuries. The scenic castle was inspired by medieval legends and operas by Richard Wagner. King Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned the castle, modeling it after a fairy tale fantasy. The palace even inspired the famous Disney castle. Perched on a rugged cliff overlooking the Bavarian Alps, Neuschwanstein boasts breathtaking panoramic views.

7) Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo, also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, is a castle and fortress with the tomb of Emperor Hadrian in Rome. Castel Sant’Angelo was used by popes as a fortress and today is a museum. The historic castle dates back to the 2nd century AD. The National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo inside the castle has a wide range of art and artifacts, from Roman sculptures and Egyptian mummies to papal apartments decorated with Renaissance frescoes.

8) Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel is an abbey atop an island in France. The ancient Romanesque abbey goes back to the 11th century and is an internationally known holy site. The abbey is a Benedictine monastery that has also served as a fortress, a prison, and a pilgrimage site. Mont Saint-Michel has magnificent Gothic and Romanesque architecture with sixteen buttresses. The jewel of the abbey, the Marvel, is a three-tiered complex that includes the Abbot’s residence, a large refectory, and a cloister.

9) Alhambra

Alhambra, a castle complex in Granada, Spain, blends Islamic and Renaissance architecture. The UNESCO World Heritage Site was a royal palace and fortress for the Nasrid dynasty. Visitors can tour the majestic gardens, castle halls, and palaces by booking advance tickets. The Alhambra features elegant arches, detailed mosaics, ornate stucco, and tile. Earth tones, plaster, and brick give the complex an ethereal feeling. Immaculate gardens include courtyards and mathematically proportioned decor and walkways. 

10) Prince’s Palace of Monaco

The Prince’s Palace of Monaco is the royal residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco. Originally built as a fortress in the 12th century, the majestic building was gradually transformed into a palace over the centuries. The luxurious royal home includes a historic mix of architectural styles, medieval influences, and Renaissance additions. Visitors can tour the castle’s opulent State Apartments, which include luxury furniture, frescoes, tapestries, and art. 

11) Tower of London

The Tower of London is a UNESCO World Heritage site in London, England. The historic castle lies next to the River Thames. Since its construction began in the 11th century, the castle has served many different purposes, including a royal palace, fortress, prison, armory, and royal mint. Today, the Tower of London is home to the Crown Jewels, which British monarchs use for coronations and state occasions. 

12) Pena National Palace

Pena National Palace is a Romanticist castle in Sintra, Portugal. The colorful hilltop castle attracts visitors from around the world with its fairytale-esque appearance, including vibrant turrets and Manueline architectural flourishes. The 19th-century palace has a pleasing blend of architectural styles, with Gothic, Renaissance, and Islamic influences. The royal palace has lavish interiors and breathtaking panoramic views of the Sintra Mountains and Pena Park. 

13) Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is a mountaintop castle in Osaka, Japan. The castle is one of Japan’s most popular landmarks and has a traditional Japanese castle style of architecture. Moats surround the castle, and a magnificent stone wall with over half a million stones protects the castle. The castle grounds include samurai artifacts and a museum dedicated to Japanese history as well as pristine gardens that visitors can enjoy.

14) The Royal Castle in Warsaw

The Royal Castle in Warsaw was once the royal residence of the Polish monarchy. The castle in Poland is now a museum with interactive exhibits and displays depicting the lives of Polish royals and artwork ​​by renowned artists like Rembrandt and Canaletto. The national historic monument was burned by Nazis in World War II but was meticulously reconstructed with architectural styles from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical periods in history.

15) Heidelberg Palace

Heidelberg Castle in Heidelberg, Germany, attracts over a million visitors per year. Built and expanded over centuries by the Electors Palatine, the castle complex includes a magnificent mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. Although the palace complex was partially destroyed due to lightning strikes and wars over the centuries, the grand silhouette and ivy-covered walls remain a symbol of German Romanticism. The castle’s location on a hill overlooking the Neckar River valley offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

16) Château De Chambord

The Château De Chambord is a French Renaissance-style castle in Chambord, Centre-Val de Loire, France. The historic castle dates back to the 16th century and is the largest chateau in the Loire Valley. The Château de Chambord is famous for its striking blend of traditional French design and Italian Renaissance structures. Built as a hunting lodge for King Francis I, Chambord features an impressive double-helix staircase and a roof adorned with intricate lanterns. 

17) Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is a historic structure in Dublin, Ireland, dating back to the early 13th century. The castle was a military fortress, prison, treasury, court, and the seat of the British government in Ireland for 700 years. Today, the castle is an Irish government center and tourist attraction. Visitors can learn about Irish history and tour State Apartments, a medieval tower, and the historic Chapel Royal at the castle. The Castle Gardens include historic monuments and well-manicured spaces to relax and wander.

18) Castello Sforzesco

Castello Sforzesco is a medieval fortification in Milan, Italy, built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan. The fortification was renovated and expanded over hundreds of years, becoming one of the largest citadels in Europe by the 16th and 17th centuries. The Renaissance-style building now houses different museums, with exhibits ranging from ancient Egyptian art to Michelangelo’s last sculpture.

19) Château De Chenonceau

The Château De Chenonceau is a castle spanning the River Cher in France’s Loire Valley. The sprawling castle features a blend of Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Throughout the centuries, it was owned, managed, and protected by influential women like Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. The castle has a five-arched bridge that spans the River Cher. The beautiful bridge was designed by Catherine de Medici and adds an element of romantic charm to the château.

20) Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace showcases the lives of past British royals like Henry VIII. The castle was originally a Tudor residence built by Cardinal Wolsey in the 16th century. The beautiful structure caught the eye of King Henry VIII, who expanded it into a grand complex. Red-brick courtyards and iconic Tudor features like the Great Hall stand alongside Baroque additions commissioned by William III and Mary II. The palace is a popular tourist attraction and features splendid gardens, including a hedge maze that’s the oldest one in England. 

21) Warwick Castle

Warwick Castle is a medieval castle in Warwickshire, England. It began as a wooden motte-and-bailey fort built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century and evolved over centuries into a formidable stone castle. Visitors can explore the castle’s towers, grand apartments, and landscaped gardens while learning about its rich history as a military stronghold and noble residence.

22) Wawel Royal Castle

The Wawel Royal Castle is a historic site in Kraków, Poland. The castle complex sits atop Wawel Hill. It served as the residence of Polish monarchs for centuries. The castle has a mix of architectural styles, with Medieval portions, a Romanesque cathedral where kings were crowned, a Renaissance courtyard, and opulent State Rooms. Wawel Royal Castle is now an art museum showcasing royal collections, weaponry, and even the legendary Wawel Dragon’s Den. 

23) Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle is a medieval and Victorian Gothic revival mansion in Cardiff, Wales. The original Norman motte-and-bailey castle opened in 55 AD. Over the centuries, the castle changed based on the tastes of its inhabitants. The Victorian Bute family left their grandest mark, transforming the interior into a lavish Gothic Revival mansion. Today, visitors can explore the luxurious rooms alongside the medieval keep and Roman wall remains.

24) Red Fort Delhi

Red Fort Delhi, also known as Lal Qila, is a historic red sandstone fort in Delhi, India. Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century, it was the grand residence of Mughal emperors for nearly 200 years. The fort’s imposing walls and grand palaces showcase a fusion of Persian and Indian architectural styles. The UNESCO World Heritage Site symbolizes India’s rich cultural heritage.

25) Catherine Palace

Catherine Palace, located near St. Petersburg, Russia, highlights Rococo architecture. The castle was the summer residence of Russian tsars and is now a museum showcasing the grandeur of Imperial Russia. The intricate architecture infuses various styles, including Neoclassical, Baroque, and Gothic elements. Extravagant blue and white decorations adorn the exterior, while the opulent interiors include gilded details like gold leaves and mirrors in the famous Amber Room.

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