Europe is famous for a number of things. Its jaw-dropping scenery, sumptuous cuisine, and heritage sites are just some of the things that make the continent a classic travel destination. People from all over the world fly to cities like London, Barcelona, and Rome to visit their landmarks and experience what it\u2019s like living in these cities. But aside from cuisine and sights of these popular destinations, castles in Europe also attract all kinds of travelers. History buffs appreciate the significance of these fortresses, while kids certainly feel like princes or princesses as they roam around the halls. Like other sites, these also contain centuries' worth of history and were the site of some of the most epic battles.\r\nAesthetically and historically rich, castles in Europe should definitely be on your list of places to visit! Whether you\u2019re visiting Germany, Poland, and Denmark, there are plenty of castles to see and history to learn about.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nWhy Are There So Many Castles in Europe?\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by JerOme82 on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWithout a doubt, Europe has the most castles in the world. In Germany alone, there are about 20,000 castles. That being said, one could get lost in the sheer number of castles they can encounter on their Eurotrip. \r\nBut why exactly are there many castles in Europe?\r\nOne of the reasons why there are plenty of European castles is that a castle has a wide definition. Although seen generally as a defensive structure, a castle can also be a stately home or a mansion where a royal family resided. A castle can also have different purposes, from being a king\u2019s seat of power or a retirement home for older members of the royal court.\r\nDuring the Middle Ages, lords and wealthy landowners built castles for defensive purposes. The castles serve as a fortress to ward off invading forces or those who want to take their land. As a king\u2019s territory expanded over time, more castles were built to serve as headquarters or residence for selected lords, children, and other members of the family.\r\nAs the years flew by, castles served another purpose: for recreation. This is common among the castles in France, serving as summer houses instead of military headquarters. Active or retired members of the royal family who wouldn\u2019t like to dabble in political affairs often move to castles in the countryside. But aside from members of the royal family, castles in Europe also housed mistresses and illegitimate children of the king. The Ch\u00e2teau de Chenonceau was a gift from Henry II to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Then after the king\u2019s death, his widow, Catherine de' Medici forced Diane to exchange it for the smaller Ch\u00e2teau Chaumont.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\nBest Castles in Europe\r\n1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by dmitr86 on Adobe Stock\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Neuschwansteinstra\u00dfe 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany\r\nEntrance fees: 13 EUR (adults), 12 EUR (senior citizens, students, persons with disabilities), free for children under 18\r\nA list of the best and most beautiful European castles isn\u2019t complete without Germany\u2019s Neuschwanstein Castle. Perched on top of a hill, this postcard staple is a great example of Romanesque Revival architecture. Because of its appearance and design, the castle served as an inspiration for the iconic Sleeping Beauty castle from Disney. The castle was commissioned by King Ludwig of Bavaria in honor of Richard Wagner whom the king was a great fan of. It boasts sweeping views of the Bavarian Alps and its surrounding hills. Moreover, the gilded ceilings and extravagant dining rooms make you feel as if you\u2019ve stepped into a fairytale. Enjoy a guided tour of Neuschwanstein Castle and find out what makes it a top destination not only in Germany but in Europe. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n2. Highclere Castle, England\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by leefenn-tripp on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Highclere Park, Highclere, Newbury RG20 9RN, United Kingdom\r\nEntrance fees: 24 GBP (adults), 22 GBP (reduced rate for adults), 14 GBP (children), 13 GBP (reduced rate for children), free for persons with disabilities and carers\r\nFans of the hit series Downton Abbey will immediately recognize Highclere Castle as it is the primary setting of the show. This stately home has more than 200 rooms, huge gardens, and over 430 hectares of land. Before its rise to popularity in the 21st century, Highclere Castle went through several renovations and reconstructions under different owners. But it wasn\u2019t until the 19th century when the castle was given its Jacobethan-style architecture with a few touches of Italian Renaissance. Aside from Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle was also featured in several films and TV shows such as Eyes Wide Shut, Back to the Secret Garden, and Agatha Christie's Marple.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n3. Alc\u00e1zar of Segovia, Spain\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Enrique del Barrio on Adobe Stock\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Plaza Reina Victoria Eugenia, s\/n, 40003 Segovia, Spain\r\nEntrance fees: 9 EUR (adults), 7 EUR (children 6 to 16 years old, students, and senior citizens), free for children under 6 years old and persons with disabilities\r\nThe Alc\u00e1zar of Segovia is one of the must-visit castles in Spain. It sits on top of a rocky crag near the Guadarrama mountains in Segovia. Like Neuschwanstein and other castles in Europe, the Alc\u00e1zar served as an inspiration for a Disney film, this time for Cinderella. It originally served as a fortress, but eventually became a palace, state prison, then a military academy. Now, the alcazar welcomes millions of visitors as a museum and a military archive. Explore the castle\u2019s lavish interiors and marvel at the Hall of the Kings, a room filled with statues of previous Spanish monarchs.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n4. Pena Palace, Portugal\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Mark Lawson on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal\r\nEntrance fees: 14 EUR (adults and children)\r\nIf you\u2019re visiting Lisbon, take a day trip to Pena Palace, one of the most colorful castles in Europe. The castle, rising above the hilltops in Sintra, is noticeable miles away with its distinct yellow turrets and brick towers. It used to be a monastery dedicated to Our Lady of Pena until King Ferdinand II acquired the monastery and its neighboring lands and transformed it into a summer palace. Taking cues from Romanesque, Neo-Manueline, and Moorish architecture, the palace features bright exterior walls and dramatic interiors. On your visit, don\u2019t forget to stop by the terraces and admire the view of Sintra and its neighboring cities.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n5. Moszna Castle, Poland\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by domeckopol on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Zamkowa 1, 47-370 Moszna, Poland\r\nEntrance fees: 12 PLN (adults), 8 PLN (reduced rate)\r\nPoland\u2019s Moszna Castle is a stunning 17th-century castle with Baroque, neo-Gothic, and neo-Renaissance architecture. The castle used to be the residence of the Tiele-Wincklers, a rich industrial magnate family until they had to flee to Germany during World War II. Although the castle sustained minor damages from the war, it has been restored and became a hospital following the end of the war. Today, Moszna Castle is one of South Poland\u2019s top attractions. Walk around its immaculate gardens and take photos of the gorgeous interiors. The chapel also serves as a venue for concerts and art exhibits.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n6. Ch\u00e2teau de Chambord, France\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by baccus7 on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Ch\u00e2teau, 41250 Chambord, France\r\nEntrance fees: 14.50 EUR (Adults), 12 EUR (non-EU residents 18 to 25 years old), free for persons under 18 years old, EU residents 18 to 25 years old, and for persons with disabilities + accompanying person\r\nThe Ch\u00e2teau de Chambord in France is the largest and most impressive ch\u00e2teau in the Loire Valley region. Additionally, it was also one of the castles in Europe that didn't go through major modifications from the year of construction. It boasts more than 400 rooms and 300 fireplaces, although not all rooms are accessible to the public. Aside from its Renaissance architecture, the ch\u00e2teau is famous for its unique double helix staircase. Most locals believe that the staircase was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci\u2019s designs. The ch\u00e2teau is only a few hours away from Paris, making it a worthwhile day trip for travelers looking for a change of scenery.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n7. Windsor Castle, England\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Stevebidmead on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Windsor SL4 1NJ, United Kingdom\r\nEntrance fees: 23.50 GBP (adults), 21.20 GBP (students and senior citizens), 13.50 GBP (children under 17 years old and persons with disabilities), free for children under 5 years old\r\nWindsor Castle is without a doubt one of the most famous castles in Europe. It prides itself on being the longest occupied castle, having served British royalty since the time of Henry I. The palace is still a favorite among the royal family, with Queen Elizabeth II spending most of her weekends here. Containing over a thousand years of architectural history, the castle boasts 1,000 rooms, all majestically designed. Visit the State Apartments, open for a limited time, and marvel at the grandeur of the rooms. Find portraits of the Royal Family, gilded walls and ceilings, and other grand decors as you explore its halls.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n8. Bran Castle, Romania\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by rafaelutza on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Strada General Traian Mo\u0219oiu 24, Bran 507025, Romania\r\nEntrance fees: 9 EUR (adults), 7 EUR (senior citizens), 5 EUR (students), 2 EUR (children), free for persons with disabilities and children under 7 years old\r\nPerched on top of a hill overlooking Transylvania and Wallachia, Bran Castle is a gorgeous Medieval castle in Romania. It rose to international fame as Dracula's Castle, serving as the inspiration for Bram Stoker\u2019s classic novel Dracula. Although Stoker himself never set foot in the castle before the novel was published, the castle then became part of the legend as the home of the titular character. Now, Bran Castle serves as a museum containing art and furniture collected by Queen Marie of Romania. As you explore the castle grounds, don\u2019t forget to see the region\u2019s traditional cottages, machinery, and barns.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n9. Sforzesco Castle, Italy\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by dimitrisvetsikas1969 on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Piazza Castello, 20121 Milano MI, Italy\r\nEntrance fees: 5 EUR, 3 EUR (reduced rate)\r\nMilan isn\u2019t just known for its trendy shopping centers and imposing cathedral! The Italian city is also famous for the Sforzesco Castle, one of the best museums and castles in Europe. Once home to the Sforza family of Milan, it fell into the hands of the Spaniards and became a citadel where its famous red-brick fortifications were built. Today, Sforzesco Castle is a museum complex housing nine different museums. See Michelangelo\u2019s Piet\u00e0 Rondanini, one of his last works before his death. Additionally, you can find frescoes by Leonardo da Vinci and \\works of art from Canaletto, Titian, and other artists.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n10. Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by dbrnjhrj on Adobe Stock\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Frederiksborg Slot 10, 3400 Hiller\u00f8d, Denmark\r\nEntrance fees: 75 DKK (adults), 60 DKK (students and senior citizens), 20 (children 6 to 15 years old), free for children under 6 years old\r\nLocated north of Copenhagen is one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, Frederiksborg Castle. Unlike castles utilized as military headquarters or defensive fortress, the castle served as a royal residence for King Christian IV and his family. After the king\u2019s death, the castle became witness to several coronations and other ceremonial events. In 1859, a fire destroyed most of the castle, although around 300 paintings were saved. Reconstruction efforts took four years and now visitors from around the world can visit the palatial complex. See the 300 paintings at the museum, walk around its immaculate gardens, and admire the scenery and architecture of the castle.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n11. Alhambra Palace, Spain\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Dimitry B on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Calle Real de la Alhambra, s\/n, 18009 Granada, Spain\r\nEntrance fees: 14 EUR (adults), 9 EUR (senior citizens), 8 EUR (children 12 to 15 years old and persons with disabilities), free for children under 12 years old\r\nGranada\u2019s La Alhambra is arguably one of the most stunning castles in Europe and Spain. Built as a fortress and palace for the Moorish royals in the 13th century, the Alhambra Palace complex includes several halls, courts, and perfectly manicured gardens. Because of the expanse of the palace, it\u2019s impossible for one to explore its highlights within a day! Explore the castle on a guided tour and learn about the history of the Nasrid rulers that once lived in the palace. You can also combine your Alhambra ticket with a visit to the Generalife gardens.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n12. Sch\u00f6nbrunn Palace, Austria\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by 12019 \/ 10259 on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Sch\u00f6nbrunner Schlo\u00dfstra\u00dfe 47, 1130 Wien, Austria\r\nEntrance fees: Starts at 28.50 EUR (adults), 24.50 EUR (students and persons with disabilities), 18 EUR (children)\r\nFeaturing 1,441 rooms, the Sch\u00f6nbrunn Palace is a splendid Rococo-style palace in Austria. Additionally, it is one of the most important landmarks in Vienna. Starting out as a hunting lodge, years later, the Sch\u00f6nbrunn Palace became the summer residence of the Habsburg rulers. Like the Versailles in France, its rooms, halls, and gardens are a reflection of the power of the monarchs who lived in it. Find the lavish apartments of Maria Theresa, the rooms where Mozart used to play, and other rooms lined with mirrors and elegant chandeliers. Outside, talk a walk around its well-maintained gardens and keep an eye out for the 32 sculptures.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n13. Prague Castle, Czech Republic\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Hrad\u010dany, 119 08 Prague 1, Czechia\r\nEntrance fees: 250 CZK (adults), 125 CZK (children 6 to 16 years old, students, and senior citizens), free for children under 6 and persons with disabilities\r\nSituated at the heart of Prague, Prague Castle is one of the must-visit castles in Europe. The castle complex covers almost 70,000 square meters of land, one of the largest in the world. Like most castles, it was also the seat of power for most Holy Roman emperors, kings of Bohemia, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. Today, the castle serves as the official office of the President of the country. Find a medley of architectural styles at Prague Castle, containing elements of Gothic, Baroque, and Romanesque architecture. Aside from the main castle, the complex is also home to the St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George's Basilica, Prague, and several gardens. \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n14. Buda Castle, Hungary\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by veronikasz on Pixabay\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Budapest, Szent Gy\u00f6rgy t\u00e9r 2, 1014 Hungary\r\nEntrance fees: 1,400 HUF (adults), 1,000 HUF (students and senior citizens), free for children under 6 years old\r\nLike Prague Castle and other castles in Europe, Buda Castle is a massive palace complex that housed former kings. It sits on top of Castle Hill and is surrounded by the Castle Quarter, a district known for its Neoclassical and Baroque houses, buildings, and monuments. Additionally, the castle is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, including the banks of the Danube River and Andr\u00e1ssy Avenue. Explore the halls of the castle and admire its Baroque and modernist architecture with Gothic and Renaissance features. The castle also houses several museums, including the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n15. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPhoto by Mohammed Alhinai on Unsplash\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nAddress: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, United Kingdom\r\nEntrance fees: 17.50 GBP (adults), 15.50 GBP (reduced rate for adults), 14 GBP (senior citizens), 10.50 GBP (children 5 to 15 years old), 9.30 GBP (reduced rate for children 5 to 15 years old), free for persons with disabilities and carers\r\nDominating the skyline of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle is one of the best castles in Scotland. In addition, it is one of the castles that withstood years of invasions, war, and power struggles. Edinburgh Castle was used as a historic fortress, royal residence, and military barracks. Visitors can find the Crown Jewels of Scotland, cannons used in the war, and other ancient treasures in its halls. The castle also offers guided tours and those interested in Scottish history can watch reenactments of historical events. Offering centuries' worth of history, a visit to Edinburgh Castle is a must for anyone visiting Scotland.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFinal Notes\r\nAside from World Heritage sites, national parks, and churches, visiting castles in Europe is one of the best ways to learn more about a country. Rooms and fortresses contain centuries' worth of history. Apart from that, you can get a better understanding of its history as compared to reading from a textbook. Walk along the halls that were witness to several historical events, battles, and coronations. See the rooms where members of the royal family dined and slept in, and more. Whether you visit a gorgeous summer residence or an intimidating fortress, visiting a European castle is definitely an unmissable experience.