The most intriguing fairy-tale castles are probably the ones that come from legends myths and fantasies.
King Arthur’s Camelot and the Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty castles that can be found in several theme parks around the world are some best examples.
Almost every fairytale takes place in a magical land, far away from ours and most of the time they also include beautiful, massive castles with drawbridges and turrets. And even though real life might lack magic from time to time, it definitely doesn’t lack real castles that you can visit whenever you want.
Bran Castle, Romania
Situated in Romania, Bran Castle is often referred to as “Dracula’s Castle”. This castle is very well known to the European people. It was the inspiration of the great horror novel “Dracula” although Vlad ||| never called this castle his residence.
The castle is situated on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. First used in 1378 in defense against the Ottoman Empire and later became a customs post. This castle is now a museum open to tourists, showing art and furniture collected by Queen Marie.
The ultimate fairytale castle, Neuschwanstein is situated on a rugged hill near Füssen in southwest Bavaria. It was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty castles in the Disneyland parks. The castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner. The castle was near completion in 1886 when, in 1886, the King was declared insane by a state commission and found dead a few days later. Since then over 50 million people have visited Neuschwanstein. It is the most photographed building in Germany and is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.
Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg, France
Attracting over 5,00,000 tourists per year, the château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg is situated at a strategic location on a high hill overlooking the Alsatian plain in the Vosges Mountains, France. The castle was used by consecutive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years’ War. In the war, the castle was burned and plundered by Swedish troops after a 52-day long blockade.
Later on, the Château was left abandoned for a few hundred years. In 1899 the castle was given to the German emperor Wilhelm II and rebuilt as it was before. When the French seized the castle after the 1st world war, it was considered fashionable to smirk at the castle because of its links to the German emperor.
Built in the 16th century, Matsumoto Castle is considered one of Japan’s most famous castles. It is a flatland castle because it is not built on a hilltop or amid rivers, but on a plain. The castle’s complete defences included an extensive system of inter-connecting walls, moats and gatehouses. During the Edo period, the castle was ruled by the 23 lords of Matsumoto representing 6 different daimyo families. In this period the stronghold was also known as Crow Castle because its black walls and roofs looked like spreading wings.
Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic
The complex of castles at Prague. also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been there since the 9th century. It is one of those places that seems like it was pulled straight out of a fairytale. It is the official home of the President of Czech Republic.
Chateau de Chillon
Located in a beautiful setting, between the shores of Lake Geneva and the Alps, Château de Chillon is Switzerland’s most visited historic monument. The castle consists of 100 independent buildings that were gradually connected and now form a single whole. From the mid 12th century, the castle was home to the Counts of Savoy, and it was greatly expanded in the 13th century. The castle was never taken in a siege, but did change hands through treaties.
Burg Eltz, Germany
Surrounded on three sides by the Elzbach River, Burg Eltz is a medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany. Surprisingly it is still owned by a branch of the Eltz family that has been living there since in the 12th century, 33 generations ago. The castle was also used as a set in a movie.
Warwick Castle, England
Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, Warwick Castle is a fascinating medieval castle. It is situated in the town of Warwick, on a sandstone bluff at a bend of the River Avon. Since its construction in the 11th century, the castle had undergone different structural changes.
Originally it had a wooden structure, then it was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century. In 2001, It was referred one of Britain’s “Top 10 historic houses and monuments” by the British Tourist Authority.