Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic, Neoclassical? Read on for a peek into some of Central Europe’s most spectacular castles. You’ll be yearning to scour the ins and outs of these fairytale fortresses.
1. Neuschwanstein Castle
Of course you’re familiar with the Cinderella Castle in Disney World. But did you know that the Cinderella Castle was based off a real-life castle in Bavaria? The Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century fortress that served as the inspiration for Walt Disney’s castle. The castle is located on a beautiful landscape on a hill featuring an inner garden, a courtyard, and even an artificial cave.
This Neo-gothic fortress is the most visited castle in Germany. It was built by Prussian kings and has been wonderfully restored. Hohenzollern stands on a hill for a majestic view and a romantic ambience. The castle itself consists of 140 rooms, including a treasury room with crown jewels to be explored.
3. Prague Castle
The Prague Castle is the largest medieval castle complex in Europe and one of the most significant Czech monuments. The grounds consist of castles, courtyards, gardens, alleyways, and most notably, St. Vitus Cathedral. The stunning St. Vitus Cathedral features towering Gothic arches, transporting you back in time.
4. Nymphenburg Castle
This Baroque Palace in Munich, Germany was built in 1664 and served as the summer residence for five Bavarian monarchs. Today, Nymphenburg features an eclectic combination of architecture and garden design. The castle grounds feature museums, walking trails, and a palace park. The interior of the castle highlights beautiful artwork and furnishings.
5. Karlstejn Castle
This large, gothic castle stands on a hill in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 1348 by Charles IV and was used to safeguard the crown jewels of the Holy Roman Empire. The towers rising over it create a beautiful, fairytale-like atmosphere.
6. Wartburg Castle
Wartburg Castle is located on the countryside in Central Germany, boasting glorious views. Originally built in the Middle Ages, Wartburg is considered one of the best-preserved medieval castles. Once home to the famous Martin Luther, the castle offers you a look inside his private study.
7. Schonbrunn Palace
This Baroque Palace was built in the year 1699. It’s the largest and most visited palace in all of Austria. Schonbrunn consists of 1,441 rooms and 120 acres of land. The large area features museums, sculptures, a garden maze, and even a zoo.
8. Ksiaz Castle
Built in 1288-1292, Ksiaz Castle remains one of the largest castles in Europe. It sits on a majestic rock cliff surrounded by Polish forests. Today, the castle houses over 400 rooms and is characterized by its many styles. It also features underground tunnels which can be visited.
9. Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg Castle is the most popular castle ruin in Germany. The fortress sits on a hill overlooking the city of Heidelberg. It was built and extended over three centuries in the Gothic and Renaissance styles. The castle consists of a combination of several buildings surrounding an inner courtyard. It has a museum, lavish gardens, and even offers wine tastings.
10. Malbork Castle
This beautifully restored medieval fortress is Europe’s largest brick castle. It’s a well-preserved Gothic castle and museum, perfect for history lovers. Malbork consists of three sections: the high, lower, and middle castles, separated by moats and castles. The outermost wall encloses 52 acres of land, allowing you ample room to wander back in time.
11. Hohenwerfen Castle
Dating back to over 900 years, Hohenwerfen Castle towers over a 155-meter rock tower near Salzburg, Austria. The castle features medieval shops, a castle tavern, special programs, a weaponry exhibition, and even a falconry show. Hohenwerfern was also the location of the classic WW11 film “Where Eagles Dare”.
Which castles have you been to? Are any on your bucket list? Let us know in the comments below!