Europe is filled with fairytale castles that will leave you feeling the magic in no time. I will never forget standing at the base of Neuschwanstein castle for the first time, feeling like a princess myself. Ever since that moment I have been chasing more castles around Europe. If you are planning your European adventure, these are the prettiest castles in Europe you must visit.
Chillon Castle, Switzerland
On the shores of the idyllic Lake Geneva lies Chillon Castle, a castle so old that the exact date of the castle’s inception is unknown. There are however records dating back to 1005, which makes it one of the oldest castles in Europe. Today this is one of Switzerland’s most visited landmarks. The lakeside location cements Chillon Castle as one of the prettiest castles in Europe.
Peleș Castle, Romania
If we could choose just one castle as the most beautiful in Europe, it would have to be Peleș Castle in the Carpathian Mountains, Romania. This Neo-Renaissance castle near Sinaia was strategically placed on a medieval route that linked Transylvania and Wallachia. It is also one of the least visited castles in Europe. This is due in part to the remote location of the castle, and because Romania remains a hidden gem. Be sure to add this country to your bucketlist before it becomes too popular!
Eltz Castle, Germany
Surrounded by an ethereal forest, Eltz castle was built in the 12th-century. It has an eery appeal that welcomes visitors throughout the seasons, however, it can be quite mysterious in the low fog. The forest comes to life in various shades of orange through fall and in winter the castle is surrounded by misty clouds.
Dracula’s Castle, Romania
Over in Transylvania you will find the real life Dracula’s Castle (formally known as Bran Castle) where it is said Vlad the Impaler may have spent a night or two or even may have attacked it once (depending on what you’ve read). Whether the legend is true or not, the castle has a spooky feel to its which only adds to the fun of it, along with its’ isolated location in the misty mountains of Romania.
This 13th century castle on the shores of Lake Thun is one of the most beautiful castles in all of Europe, especially when viewed from the lake itself. The castle is moated which only makes it more ethereal and to this day is one of the most visited sites in Switzerland.
This 19th century palace in the south of Germany was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria who later built his own castle nearby (Neuschwanstein Castle).
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
When he moved from his childhood castle to his own castle, Neuschwanstein, King Ludwig had the vision of creating a Romanesque Revival palace in honour of Richard Wagner. The castle was his home until his death in 1886 and shortly thereafter opened to the public. Since then the castle has welcomed more than 61 million visitors with around 1.3 million visitors coming to Bavaria to visit the castle each year.
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
Located in the Scottish Highlands, Eilean Donan Castle is one of the most photographed landmarks in all of Scotland and indeed, a favourite for postcards. The castle has been a backdrop for many Hollywood films, including Made of Honor starring Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Located high above the city of Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most accessible and centrally located castles. As the name suggests, this castle is located in the heart of Edinburgh. Not only is this one of my favourite cities in Europe, but it is also very underrated. For one reason or another, this city remains somewhat off the beaten path! The castle is situated on top of Castle Rock and arguably has the best viewpoint over the city. Be sure to allow yourself at least a week to explore Scotland. If I ever get the chance to return, I’ll be making it two!
Sintra Castle, Portugal
In typical Romanticism style of architecture matched with vivid colours and painted terraces, Sintra Castle overlooks the city of Sintra. This castle has sweeping views beyond the small city to the countryside in the distance. I will never forget the eery drive up to the castle. You will pass through mystic forests that feel like other-worldly. The castle has a unique history given the fleeing of the Portuguese royalty to Brazil during the revolution.