15 Amazing Castles from Around the Globe

By chili, March 15th 2010 in Travel Photos Comments (212)

Although designed and built for the prominent purpose of defense, today the castles seem like somewhat unrealistic constructions straight from the fairytale world. From solid strongholds to oriental fortresses and highly decorative palaces, the castles are our connection to the past, where legends mix with history and reality blends with a fairyland.

 

1. Hohenzollern Castle. Germany.

By Trodel

By Trodel

This fairytale castle is the historical seat of the Prussian Kings and German Emperors. Its origin dates back to the Middle Ages - it was built in the 11th century, then completely destroyed in 1423 and reconstructed in 1461.
The view from the castle that stands on top of Mount Hohenzollern (855 m) is as stunning as the complex itself. The castle is located about 50 kilometers (30 mi) south of Stuttgart, the capital of the Baden-Württemberg state.

 

2. Castle Howard. England.

Although it looks like a castle, Howard is actually a stately home - a private residence of the Howard family that has resided in the complex for more than 300 years. The house, located in North Yorkshire, England, is one of the largest residences in Britain. Its construction commenced at the end of the 17th century and lasted around 15 years. Among the remarkable features of the castle are fabulous gardens and a vast expanse of parkland surrounding the whole complex.

 

 3. Alcázar of Segovia. Spain.

By lapidim

By lapidim

Segovia Castle, located in an ancient town of Segovia in central Spain, started off as an Arab fort in the 12th century. Its unique shape of the bow of a ship makes the fortress one of the most distinctive castles in the country. In the Middle Ages Alcazar was a key fortress in the defense of the country. Apparently, it was a source of inspiration for many of the castles produced by Walt Disney.

 

 4. Himeji Castle. Japan.

Himeji Castle, also known as White Heron Castle due to its amazing white exterior, is a stunning complex comprised of 83 wooden buildings. One of the most extraordinary defensive elements of the castle is the maze of paths leading to the main keep. The gates and baileys are designed so as to force approaching intruders to travel into spiral pattern, facing many dead ends. It was originally built in the 14th century and is located in the Kansai region of Japan.

 

5. Prague Castle. The Czech Republic.

Prague Castle, an iconic site of the capital of the Czech Republic, is one of the largest and oldest castles in the world. It is about 570 meter long and 130 meter wide, and its design represents literally every architectural style of the last millennium, from Gothic to Romanesque and Baroque features. The first buildings of the complex emerged as early as in the 9th century.

 

 6. Peleş Castle. Romania.

Located in an idyllic setting in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the Peleş Castle is truly a fairytale construction. Started in 1873, the construction of the complex was quite international an undertaking. This is how Queen Elisabeth of Romania described the construction phase: "Italians were masons, Romanians were building terraces, the Gypsies were coolies. Albanians and Greeks worked in stone, Germans and Hungarians were carpenters. Turks were burning brick. Engineers were Polish and the stone carvers were Czech. The Frenchmen were drawing, and the Englishmen were measuring...". Apparently, there were 14 languages heard among the workers.

 

 7. Chambord Castle. France.

Chambord Castle. By Kj

By Kj

Given that Chambord was, officially, built to serve only as a hunting lodge, it is quite an impressive construction. It is also worth a mention that the location of the castle was chosen by King François I as he desired to be near his mistress, Claude Rohan, whose palace was located adjacently. The massive castle has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, and 84 staircases, and it is the largest chateaux in the Loire Valley in France.

 

8. Neuschwanstein Castle. Germany.

Neuschwanstein The Bavarian Castle. By WaveCult

Neuschwanstein The Bavarian Castle. By WaveCult

The castle, whose construction began in 1896, was designed by Christian Jank, a theatrical set designer rather than an architect, for Ludwig II of Bavaria who was declared insane before the castle's completion. This explains a lot. The architecture, the location and the size of the Neuschwanstein are spectacular and somewhat crazy. Situated on a rugged hill, in southwest Bavaria, today the castle is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions.

 

9. Corfe Castle. England.

Corfe Castle, Dorset. By davidbunting

Corfe Castle, Dorset. By davidbunting

Although ruins are all that remained of Corfe Castle, the fortifications still make quite a big impression. Located in the county of Dorset on the Isle of Purbeck, the castle dates back to the 9th century. It is believed, however, that Corfe might have emerged much earlier and was a Roman defensive site. The parts whose remnants you can see today were constructed in the 11th century, and two centuries later the fortress was used as a royal treasure storehouse and prison.

 

10. Matsumoto Castle. Japan.

The wonderful castle in Matsumoto. By kamoda

The wonderful castle in Matsumoto. By kamoda

Matsumoto Castle is an absolutely stunning Japanese castle located in the city of Matsumoto, within easy reach of Tokyo. The castle was built in 1504 and today it is listed as a National Treasure of Japan. It was in use until mid-19th century. After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, the new Japanese government was so broke that it decided to demolish the castle and sell the timber and the iron fittings (this was the fate of many castles in Japan at the time). Matsumoto was rescued by local citizens who purchased it in 1878.

 

11. Burg Eltz Castle. Germany.

Burg Eltz castle. By izik

Burg Eltz castle. By izik

Burg Eltz is another example of outstanding German castles. This amazing medieval construction in southwest Germany is still owned by a branch of the same family that resided there over 800 years ago. The present owner of the castle is Dr. Karl Graf von und zu Eltz who represents the 33rd generation of the House of Eltz.

 

12. Eilean Donan Castle. Scotland.

Built in the 13th century to hold back the Vikings, today Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most famous sites in Scotland. Most probably it was named after Bishop Donan who came to Scotland in the 6th century. It is situated on an island, surrounded by the amazing scenery of the Scottish highlands. The fortress has been rebuilt at least four times and for around 200 years (from 18th to 20th century) it actually laid in ruins. It was re-opened in 1932 and since then it has been visited by thousands of travelers from around the world.

 

13. Neuchâtel Castle. Switzerland.

The castle, built at the end of the 10th century, was a gift of Rudolph III King of Burgundy to his wife. This very generous present gave its name to the town, the lake and then the Swiss canton where the castle is situated. Rebuilt in the 15th and 17th century, today the castle is the seat of cantonal government and the law courts.

 

14. Guaita Fortress. San Marino.

Guaita fortress, located on Guaita peak and overlooking the city of San Marino, is an iconic image of this micro country embraced by Italy. The fortress was constructed in the 11th century and served as a prison for some time. Guaita is one of the Three Towers of San Marino, located on the three peaks of Monte Titano. The towers are depicted on the San Marino's national flag and its coat of arms.

 

15. Conwy Castle. Wales.

Conwy Castle. By One lucky guy

Conwy Castle. By One lucky guy

Conwy is one of the most prominent fortresses built by Edward I in the 13th century. It is one of the key castles of the king's "iron ring" of fortresses constructed in Wales. The stronghold was  quite an expensive undertaking - it is estimated that Edward spent £15,000 (£162 million in 2009) on the construction, which makes it the most costly castle in the Welsh history. Today Conwy is declared a World Heritage Site and its eight towers, overlooking the Conwy estuary, are the iconic image of North Wales.

 

Comments

  1. Aaron Mar 15, 2010 8:18 PM

    I'm guessing you meant "primary" purpose, not "prominent" purpose. Or perhaps you are trying to say that the castles themselves are prominent. What you actually said was that defending the country is "prominent," which doesn't make sense.

  2. www.thejetpacker.com Mar 16, 2010 12:43 AM

    Chambord Castle was one of 5 French castles that served as inspiration for Cinderella's Castle.

  3. Sharon at PRF Mar 16, 2010 8:46 AM

    I always find castles fascinating. I've visited Warwick Castle, which was pretty amazing. There are also lots of chateau style stately homes like Chatsworth which has a great atmosphere.

  4. Derek Mar 16, 2010 7:26 PM

    Wonderful pictures, I have been to some of them,

  5. Angie Mar 17, 2010 5:41 AM

    There are so many castles in Scotland.
    Especially the Cowdor Castle (from Macbeth) is impressive.

  6. Adam Mar 17, 2010 10:07 AM

    I asked my wife to marry me at Neuschwanstein Castle when we went there on vacation. Beautiful place to go. Be sure to go up the mountain to Marienbrucke.

  7. J Mar 17, 2010 6:52 PM

    Around the globe ?? This is just Europe plus 2 large homes in Japan...

  8. Scriptype Mar 17, 2010 8:02 PM

    Isn't there any from Turkey

  9. Billy Mar 18, 2010 3:39 PM

    Really surprised there is no picture of any castles from Ireland on this site because there are some wonderful ones in Ireland

  10. Boomergirl50 Mar 21, 2010 6:07 PM

    Never made it as far north as Conwy Castle, Wales but saw many of the 400 plus castles here. Eye candy for photogs who love ruins. We loved it.

  11. Cilla Mar 22, 2010 2:10 PM

    U need a better pic of Corfe Castle...i doesn't do it justice

  12. travelphant Mar 24, 2010 6:20 AM

    Cool, i've been to most of the castles in England. Warwick Castle and Edinburgh Castle are my favorites. Tintagel in Cornwall is another amazing sight, built on the cliffs and with the legend of Arthur and Merlin living here give it a mystical feel to it.

  13. Mahmood ul hasan Mar 30, 2010 9:17 AM

    The great Lal Qila, Pakistan is missing.

  14. SuperGege Mar 31, 2010 9:00 AM

    Nice, but some more beautiful are missing imo. Chenonceau (FR), just to give an example.

    Also one in Iran, can't remember the name...

    Anyway, nice selection

  15. castle lover Apr 6, 2010 3:14 PM

    Very surprised no castles from Ireland, and those japanese structures are odd to think of as castles
    All the pics were cool to look at though. Thanks for posting them :O)

  16. JP Apr 7, 2010 11:59 AM

    I think Carcasonne is also an Amazing castle

  17. Jay Apr 15, 2010 11:31 AM

    heh, I live five minutes from Corfe castle, it's lovely. I used to play on the boulders that used to be its walls when I was a child ;)

  18. Aidan Apr 15, 2010 11:39 AM

    these are some pretty stunning castles. but one that i think is missing is the Alhambra castle/palace in Granada, Spain. It is amazing on so many levels. Check it out

  19. FT Apr 15, 2010 4:54 PM

    you forgot mont st. michel

  20. hannah Apr 17, 2010 1:40 PM

    travelphant - you've been to most of the castles in England, and Edinburgh Castle was one of your favourites? How did you possibly spend enough time in the UK to visit "most of the castles" without realising that Edinburgh is not in England?

  21. Rainer Apr 18, 2010 2:51 PM

    "Burg" is German for "Castle", so you are essentially calling Burg Eltz "Castle Eltz Castle".

  22. Steve Apr 21, 2010 5:21 PM

    "Although it looks like a castle, Howard is actually a stately home" which might explain why it looks NOTHING like a castle and every bit like a stately home!

  23. Steve Apr 21, 2010 5:23 PM

    "travelphant - you've been to most of the castles in England, and Edinburgh Castle was one of your favourites?" probably that annoying Yank thing of thinking England is the same as Britain or the UK, when all three are different things.

  24. Lisa Apr 21, 2010 6:37 PM

    How do you miss Versailles?!

  25. kate Apr 21, 2010 6:48 PM

    i stumbled upon this, and am currently studying abroad in segovia spain. the university i attend look up at the alcázar, and i have to say every day i am amazed at its beauty. its history is fascinating, as well.

  26. drew Apr 21, 2010 7:34 PM

    im like 90% sure the Eilean Donan Castle was used in monty python and the holy grail

  27. meghna Apr 25, 2010 12:03 AM

    none of the wonderful palaces from mysore/ jaipur, India as well...

  28. Lynne Apr 25, 2010 1:34 AM

    Steve, you haven't got it quite right either. I think you meant to say that Americans think England and Scotland are the same. England, Scotland, and Wales are individual countries which together make up Great Britain. The UK is the abbreviation for the country of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The British Isles is a geographic region made up of the UK, Eire, (Ireland), and all the surrounding islands. Confused yet? (And Castle Howard is most definitely a stately home, not a castle!)

  29. Shawn Apr 25, 2010 1:46 AM

    Great photos. I would agree that both Versailles and Edinburgh castle should probably have been included - both are breathtaking to walk through.

  30. Rain Apr 25, 2010 3:55 AM

    so beautiful

  31. yulya Apr 26, 2010 11:31 AM

    really just amazing

  32. Magnus Apr 26, 2010 2:33 PM

    Sorry, but you're slightly wrong with two castles.

    Burg Hohenzollern was not built in 1461 but from 1850 to 1867. It is not a medieval castle. The only part left from the medieval castle that resided on that hill, is now part of the church - not even the whole church is medieval.

    The construction of Schloss Neuschwanstein did not begin in 1896, but in 1869 and lasted until 1886.

    Both castles were never built for defense but for representation.

    However, they're both worth visiting!

  33. Richard Apr 26, 2010 8:37 PM

    Just the pictures make me want to visit them. Castles are awesome.

  34. PK Apr 28, 2010 3:33 PM

    Great pictures and nice descriptions, but you should mention the villages near the castles.

  35. Cats Apr 28, 2010 5:57 PM

    If I may add a suggestion, Krak de Chevaliers in Syria is also a very, VERY impressive castle.

  36. Rachel Apr 28, 2010 11:56 PM

    "The Switzerland"? That made me giggle. :) I've always wanted to visit Scotland, and that picture reminded me so much of that...

  37. ganesh Apr 29, 2010 2:46 AM

    u missed all Indian castles like Mysore palace,

  38. Chris May 1, 2010 12:46 PM

    To my great surprise I found neither Versailles nor any of the Irish castles on this list.

  39. Karen May 2, 2010 4:06 PM

    Where's Malbork from Poland?

  40. Amber May 2, 2010 10:15 PM

    I think you should have included some of the Irish castles, there are some amazing looking castles. Also I like that Neuschwanstein was on this list, it is an amazing castle to go tour and learn the history of.

  41. Joshua May 3, 2010 1:55 PM

    Chambord also has a double helix staircase(think DNA) designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. What about Mnt. Saint Michel? It's quite possibly one of the most awe inspiring castles ever built both architecturally and geographically.

  42. Ishrat May 5, 2010 12:43 AM

    None from Pakistan!

  43. Throx May 5, 2010 1:51 AM

    China is the best

  44. Travelwithamate.com May 7, 2010 10:06 PM

    Interesting how they include a couple of stately homes in there. They most definitely are not castles. Castles are built for fortification. Stately homes are built for enjoying the country side and nothing more. Admittedly there are some stately homes with a degree of "defence" but they're still not castles.

    Love the photos anyway, some superb photography and some amazing castles i really want to see for myself!

  45. jrod May 9, 2010 1:43 PM

    love stumble

  46. the_chillester May 9, 2010 6:43 PM

    cathar castles....?

  47. midnightrabbit May 10, 2010 6:27 AM

    I think the best name for a castle is the "Krak des Chevalliers"

  48. William K Wallace May 10, 2010 2:33 PM

    Only one castle from Scotland, what sort of bullshit list is this....

  49. mudkips May 17, 2010 9:52 PM

    O'doyle Rules

  50. Kevin May 17, 2010 10:41 PM

    I want to buy one of these

  51. Shaz May 18, 2010 9:18 AM

    Amazing Collections of Castles. I was always fascinated with Castles. Nice to see the best ones flock together. Now i know where all to travel :)





  52. papcio May 20, 2010 3:49 PM

    have u ever seen Wawel ?? Poland ?

  53. JR@TheDriftersBlog May 21, 2010 11:35 AM

    what is it about castles? the himeji castle in japan was my favorite. very different from the rest but still regal and outstanding.

  54. simenc May 30, 2010 3:48 PM

    you should also see the BRAN Castle - Transilvania Romania

  55. matt Jun 1, 2010 8:33 AM

    Versailles is not a castle, That's probably why it's not on the list. As is Mysore palace. They would be on a list of Palaces...

  56. M Mouse Jun 2, 2010 2:41 AM

    What about the Disney Castle in Florida? is awesome example of a castle.

  57. eu Jun 6, 2010 2:04 AM

    in romania the bran castle is also beautiful

  58. vale Jun 11, 2010 4:41 AM

    Not sure what makes a castle worth the "amazing" term to be included in this list, I think there are dozens it is missing from all around Europe that are amazing in 'look', size or architectural beauty.

    The list is also missing the beatiful defense systems that you can find in North Africa and in the raba countries.

    Some of the pictures don't do any justice to the buildings.

  59. Deepika Jun 16, 2010 7:39 AM

    wow ! attractive ploaces

  60. Steve Jun 24, 2010 7:07 AM

    But where is TAJ Mahal in agra and Rohtas in Pakistan.

  61. Nancie Jun 26, 2010 7:25 AM

    These are all amazing. I am traveling in Japan this summer and want to visit Himeji Castle. Sadly, there is some major restoration going on, so I'm not sure it will be worth it.

  62. Ryan Jul 1, 2010 9:19 AM

    Neuschweinstein castle in Germany inspired the design of the Magic Kingdom castle in Disney World

  63. Taylor Jul 5, 2010 9:42 AM

    It's interesting how people are complaining that these are only European, but then they say the Japanese castles are only homes. Japanese castles may look more like homes to the casual observer, but they're castles just as much as any European one.
    I would agree that there need to be castles from other places, such as India or even China. Where is the Forbidden City? There are too many German castles on this list for it to be a fair representation of beautiful castles.

  64. Nepal trekking Jul 11, 2010 6:58 AM

    all are amazing but i like Himeji Castle. Japan, Matsumoto Castle. Japan and Castle Howard. England. keep it up



  65. NicoleB Jul 12, 2010 7:11 AM

    They are all gorgeous!
    Have been to Burg Eltz myself.
    One of my favorite places :) !

  66. Sam Jul 12, 2010 9:00 AM

    Someone above has probably said this but: "Although it looks like a castle, Howard is actually a stately home..." It looks nothing like a castle and exactly like a stately home, which is why it is a stately home.

  67. eli Jul 14, 2010 2:33 AM

    there are some amaizing places in israel. come to visit...

  68. bombonel Jul 15, 2010 1:39 AM

    you should see the INSIDE of the peles castle and after that you will really know what a castle is...

  69. Martin Jul 15, 2010 12:28 PM

    I hate castles

  70. Carlos Carmona Jul 21, 2010 12:13 PM

    Nice collection. I suggest to include the castle Hochosterwitz in Carinthis (Austria). An amasing fortification worth visiting

  71. oscar Jul 27, 2010 3:29 PM

    Very smart site

  72. alex Jul 30, 2010 12:42 AM

    yes, its beatiful. but why don't have chinese construction

  73. Gary Aug 12, 2010 5:53 AM

    What about carrickfergus castle in northern ireland ?? Over 800 years of history and built by john de'courcy in 1177. This was also where king william of orange landed before the battle of the boyne. I think that castle deserves to be put up.

  74. Philippe Aug 12, 2010 6:33 AM

    Great post! only missing Chateau de Chillon the castle built on a rock on lake Geneva by my hometown, completely surrounded by water

  75. sarah Aug 12, 2010 1:33 PM

    none from Ireland ?? ? famous for our castles - so famous in fact many movie stars and singers get married in them

  76. Mark Aug 12, 2010 5:02 PM

    But can they protect against a zombie siege?

  77. barry O Aug 12, 2010 6:57 PM

    no african castles ? how utterly racist. why no african castles ? how utterly racist

  78. Debbie D Aug 12, 2010 8:16 PM

    Been to few and they were wonderful visits. These shots are awesome.

    However, doesn't it strike you that the castles, oops meant homes, of the 1-5% of us that are wealthy, are the same thing, but modern looking? Imagine the resource consumption. Worst of all we go out of the feudal, monarch driven societies to be more free and distribute wealth more fairly. We're not doing that.

    Based on the science of complex systems, success (wealth) breeds more opportunity for wealth with less opportunity for the non-wealthy.

    I love these old castles. I loved touring Randolph Hearst's, news media tycoon, castle in CA, but I want to enable a lot more than a few rich people in our society.

    Weird to have this comment on these beautiful castle photos. Sorry.

  79. Robert M Aug 14, 2010 3:31 AM

    There is in the Med on the coast of Turkey, a Moorish castle that i visited in the late 1950's when in the US Air Force. Then the Roman took it over. Lots of great history there.

  80. Marcin Aug 18, 2010 6:49 AM

    what about Polish castles? Malbork http://www.zamek.malbork.pl/index.php?lang=en and Książ - http://www.ksiaz.walbrzych.pl/en/index.html

  81. Jimbob Aug 18, 2010 11:21 AM

    I'll always be partial to prague...However that castle in Switzerland looks like it has quite a view.

    Jimbob

  82. Dianne Aug 18, 2010 11:49 AM

    Beautiful & Interesting for those of us that can't travel.

  83. Dianne Aug 18, 2010 11:51 AM

    Beautiful & Interesting for those of us that can't travel.

  84. tanya Aug 18, 2010 1:25 PM

    Russia, somebody really didn't look at Russia.

  85. ftorama Aug 18, 2010 3:11 PM

    looks like you forgot Pierrefonds in France, having inspired Disney for Cinderella's castle (among others) and that MJ wanted to buy a few years ago

  86. Charlotte Aug 20, 2010 8:45 PM

    So happy I'm not the only one to mention the Alhambra... such a wonderful building and such beautiful surroundings! Granada is a fantastic place to visit and the Alhambra is, in my humble opinion, much more breathtaking than the Alcázar. In any case, thank you so much for featuring this lovely selection :)

  87. aaron Sep 2, 2010 2:09 AM

    you forgot hyrule castle. super smash FTW!

  88. darren Sep 3, 2010 12:03 AM

    wales in the uk . .it is the castle capital of the world . check em out. stunning

  89. Jewel Sep 3, 2010 12:06 AM

    Absolutely stunning! Makes me realize I need to do much more traveling before it's all over. :)

  90. Bogdan Sep 3, 2010 2:13 AM

    Peles castle is nice, i visit like 5 times in a year...and i never get bored of it.

  91. Florin Sep 3, 2010 2:31 AM

    Corfe Castle... what is not to love about that photo?

  92. hahaha Sep 3, 2010 5:00 AM

    "Russia, somebody really didn't look at Russia"
    NO!

  93. Maris Sep 3, 2010 5:39 AM

    I have visited Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Outside is wonderfull but inside is unfinished and the price for visiting is over-esstimeted. Peles Castle from Romania is much beutiful inside.

  94. kuls.. Sep 3, 2010 7:02 AM

    really amazing!! but for me ...i can only see the pictures or on the net coz to visit and see in real is only a wild dream.....

  95. Radium Sep 3, 2010 7:22 AM

    Do any ghosts inhabit these castles...
    Researchers say that many of us are alergic to them...are they insane? i don`t know! am i? could be! :) )

  96. Laura Sep 3, 2010 8:49 AM

    I am pround to see Romania's Peles Castle here, in top 10!It makes me really proud of living here... I hope to get to see the others as well, because all of them have their unique charm and magic :D

  97. Dumitru Sep 3, 2010 11:35 AM

    As subjective as a top can be. One might think that aside Chambord, France has nothing to offer. Same for Italy and Spain, whereas Germany and Britain rule...
    Imagine that a french or an italian tourist magazine would list 12 wonders from France and/or Italy and only one from Britain... That would be outrageous, wouldn't it?

  98. visitors Sep 3, 2010 1:56 PM

    Pelesh Castle in Romania is beautifull. wowwww , I like it

  99. Sf Ilie Sep 3, 2010 4:38 PM

    Google Castelul Huniarzilor. My personal favourite, also in Romania

  100. Sergiu Sep 4, 2010 5:23 AM

    I saw Peles Castle, is very beautiful place for relax. Mountains and forest are neighborhoods of this amazing castle. I recommend to visit this castle.

  101. Name: Dec 23, 2014 1:46 AM

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