6 months Discovery Channel
European landmarks like the Eiffel Tower in France and the Parthenon in Greece tend to overshadow a lot of the other sites in Europe that are just as special. Scattered all throughout Europe are grand and breathtaking castles just as worthy a visit as many a famous landmark.
Located in the Eastern European country of Romania, Bran Castle was completed in the 14th Century with the primary focus of defending Transylvania’s border. Yet, today Bran Castle is most famous for having close ties to the legend of Dracula. It is commonly referred to as “Dracula’s Castle.”
Found in the scenic Sintra hills of Portugal, the Palace of Pena truly exemplifies the Romanticism style of architecture during the 19th Century. The castle’s mix of brightly coloured terraces and mythical statues allows it to stand out against the thick forests that surround it.
The Château de Chambord Castle is well known as one of the finest examples of French Renaissance architecture. Located in the heart of France, many say this castle is arguably the architectural equivalent of the Mona Lisa.
The Alcázar of Segovia was built to serve as a fortress and a palace for Spanish kings. Due to its historical roots, the Alcázar of Segovia is one of the most distinctive castles in Spain. It was also one of the inspirations for Walt Disney’s iconic Cinderella Castle.
Originally, Neuschwanstein Castle was built for just King Ludwig II during the 19th Century. Since its completion, the picturesque castle has been a staple in Germany, and is slowly becoming a popular destination in Europe for tourists. Located in the Alps in Bavaria, it is the ultimate fairytale castle.
Put simply, the Edinburgh Castle dominates Scotland’s capital in both its size and historical importance. The castle was built with the intent of serving as a fortress, and is well appreciated by those living in Scotland. To deter invaders, the castle was constructed on Castle Rock, which is a massive, inactive volcano.
Built in the 1840s, the Lichenstein Castle is a Gothic Revival castle located in southern Germany. This castle is much smaller than a lot of the other famous castles in Germany, which makes it much easier to explore. Inside this cozy building, there is a vast display of historic weapons and armour.
While Italy is not well-known for its historical castles, the Miramare Castle is an exception. Overlooking the Gulf of Trieste, this castle is strongly influenced by the Romantic tastes during the 19th Century. According to legend, whoever spends the night at Miramare Castle will be cursed to die prematurely.
Upon his visit to the small village of Sinaia in Romania, King Carol I became inspired to commission the construction of a castle there. The result is the Peles Castle: one of the most distinct and elaborate castles in Europe. The castle was the first one in Europe to be powered by electricity and have central heating.
The Burg Hohenwerfen Castle is a medieval rock castle that sits high up in the Alps of Austria. During the 17th and 18th Centuries, the castle served as a prison. Some of the prisoners included many famous archbishops, governors, and other rulers. Consequently, this led to the Burg Hohenwerfen Castle garnering a sinister reputation.
Words by Alex Pereira | Images from Shutterstock
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