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Castles

30 of the Most Beautiful Fairytale Castles in the World

Castles can be magical and can give you the idea you’re in a fairytale. Here are 30 of the most beautiful fairytale castles. After covering fairytale castles in Europe, now we’re covering the whole world. Europe isn’t the only continent with castles, although it has the most castles. I’ve asked my fellow travel bloggers which castles in the world are the most fairytale like and added my favorites.

Fairytale Castles

We’ll start with a lot of fairytale castle pictures from Europe, then onto castles in North America, followed with Asia. Ending with one castle each from Africa, South America and at last Oceania. All are perfect stops on road trips.  

Europe

The continent with hundreds, even thousands, of castles.

Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, as seen from the Marienbrucke, white colored walls, a blackish tiled roof with turrets, towering high above the rest of the landscape
Neuschwanstein Castle

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

The all-time fairytale castle in Germany and the world is by far Neuschwanstein castle. This castle is the inspiration behind Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. It’s in the top of the most popular tourist destinations of Europe.

Neuschwanstein castle is located in the town of Hohenschwangau. Near the city of Füssen and really close to the border with Austria. King Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned the construction of the castle in 1869. The operas of Richard Wagner together with the Romantic style were an inspiration for the architecture of the castle. Ludwig II was a fan of the operas of Wagner.

The only way to visit the castle is to go on the 35-minute guided tour. Tickets cost €15.00 for adults. There’s no charge for anyone under 18. Reserve your tickets online or at the Ticket center in Hohenschwangau. They can’t be bought at the castle itself. Take about 3 hours for your visit, and take into consideration that you need time to find a parking space and walk to the castle.

You’re not allowed to take photos inside the castle. However you can take as many photos from the outside as you want. The Mariënbrücke nearby gives a perfect view of Neuschwanstein. Peak visitor season is from June till August. The castle receives about 1.5 million visitors a year.

Herstmonceux Castle, England

Herstmonceax by Where Angie Wanders
Herstmonceax by Where Angie Wanders

Contributed by Angela from Where Angie Wanders.

Herstmonceux Castle is located in the leafy countryside of East Sussex in England and is a prime example of a fairytale medieval Elizabethan castle. One of only a handful of brick built English castles still standing, Herstmonceux is simply stunning with its moat and formal gardens.

Built in the 15th century by Sir Roger Fiennes, an ally to Henry V, the castle was once near to the coast but as centuries have passed the castle is now situated in the countryside – a sign of global warming if ever there was one!

An unusual feature of the castle is its folly, a building built to look like one thing but used purely as decoration, which stands in the grounds beside an ornamental lake. Another unexpected treat is the observatory that is located next to the castle that was the original one brought from Greenwich London.

Visitors can only view the interior of the castle with a pre-booked tour as it operates during the week as an International Study Centre. 

Getting to the castle is best by car, as it is located in the small village of Herstmonceux. Bring a picnic with you and spend the day enjoying the stunning scenery of the gardens and woodland surrounding this fairytale castle.

Château de Chambord, France

Chateau de Chambord by Wanderlust Storytellers
Chateau de Chambord by Wanderlust Storytellers

Contributed by Jolene from Wanderlust Storytellers.

Château de Chambord is just breathtakingly beautiful and is probably the best of all the châteaus in the Loire Valley in France.

Originally built by King Francois I in 1519 as a hunting lodge for foreign dignitaries, it’s the biggest château in France which makes it pretty impressive and a must see! 

When visiting, be sure to explore the château using the Histopad. You will be immersed in the rich culture and history through a virtual reality tour and discover the history of how the salamander became a symbol of King Francois I, along with the motto, “I eat the good fire, I put out the bad”.

Head to the rooftop which was designed to look like the skyline of Constantinople with impressive spires and chimneys. Here you can have a panoramic view of the château’s immaculate gardens where you can even take a carriage ride across the lawns just like a royal!

You can travel via car or a guided tour from Paris to the château. Located off minor country roads, about half an hour away from Blois and 180km drive from Paris (approximately two and a half hours).

There is an entry fee of €13.00 to enter however children under 18 years old are free. If you make your own way to the château by car, there is a fee to park in the parking area of €6.00 for the day.

When you make your own way, then allow a minimum of 2 hours, however you can easily spend half a day wandering around this wonderful castle and its beautiful gardens and grounds. If you book a guided tour, the time will be determined by the tour company.

Schloss Hohenschwangau, Germany

Hohenschwangau as seen from Neuschwanstein, on a hill, admit trees
Hohenschwangau as seen from Neuschwanstein

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Across from the aforementioned Neuschwanstein castle, which is (more) famous, is Schloss Hohenschwangau. Equally beautiful and definitely worth a visit. The castle is situated on a hill in the town of Hohenschwangau.

The castle of Hohenschwangau was built in the 12th century, it was however abandoned in the 16th century. In 1832 Crown Prince Maximilian of Bavaria bought the ruins and rebuilt it in 5 years. He choose to turn it into a romantic neo gothic style summer castle.

The interior of the castle is set in Biedermeier style. The outside walls are yellow colored and have crenellation. The enchanting castle has 4 corner turrets. The symbol of the swan is ever present. There are over 90 wall paintings, mostly depicting German mythology.

Parking is not possible at the castle, you have to park in town, on parking lot P4. It’s a 20-minute uphill hike to the castle. Or take a carriage to the entrance of the castle. The castle can only be visited on a 45-minute tour. Tickets can be bought online or at the Ticket center in the village. Tickets are not available at the castle itself. Prices are €21.00 for adults, kids 7 and up are €18.00.

Take at least 2 hours for a visit. Keep in mind that there’s no elevator in the castle. There are 90 steps in total in the castle.

Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Prague Castle by Travel Geekery, as seen from the other side of the river, towering above the city. Karlov Vary bridge seen below
Prague Castle by Travel Geekery

Contributed by Veronika by Travel Geekery.

Prague Castle belongs among the most revered jewels of the Czech capital. It creates Prague’s silhouette and can be found on every postcard.

This amazing castle complex is located in Hradčany (= Castle district), which is connected by the picturesque, and not less famous, Charles Bridge to Prague’s Old Town.

The Prague Castle is the largest castle complex in the world. It’s made up of several buildings and structures, of which some have predominantly historical and architectural value, while others serve state purposes till this day.

The main landmark within the Prague Castle is the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, which was built in the 14th century. The castle was added to throughout the centuries and the oldest remnants date from the 8th century.

After passing the security frames at any of the Prague castle complex entrances, you’re allowed to walk around for free but to get to see the interiors, you need to pay a fee. The current entrance fee is 250 CZK for adults, which covers the St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, the Old Royal Palace, and the Golden Lane. An additional fee of 150 CZK applies for climbing the stairs of the Southern Tower. There are guided tours on offer too, one in English costs 100 CZK. They last an hour. You can also make use of an audioguide for 350 CZK.

I recommend spending at least an hour there. If you’re a history buff, you can find enough things to admire for 2-3 hours. 

Lazienki Palace, Poland

Lazienki Palace by Four Around The World
Lazienki Palace by Four Around The World

Contributed by Holly from Four Around The World.

Situated within the biggest and most beautiful park in Poland’s capital city, Warsaw, you will find Lazienki Palace – Palace on The isle.

Built in the 17th century, Lazienki has been home to many Polish royalties. Today, The Royal Lazienki museum is open to the public and is a great place to learn about the history of Poland’s monarchs.

The palace itself sits on an artificial island, which divides the lake into two parts. In Summer and Spring, the gardens are blooming with flowers. In the Winter, the frozen lake is breathtaking to behold.

There is an admission cost to enter the museum, allowing you to take a self-paced tour through the palace and The Orangery sculpture gallery. It is free to explore the gardens.

You can explore the expansive park by foot or bike as there are plenty walking tracks, picnic areas and playgrounds located throughout.

If you have time, there are several other attractions located within the park, including Myślewicki Palace, Old Orangery and an Amphitheatre built on the bank of the pond. You can easily spend half a day in Lazienki Park.

The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Warsaw and the sprawling gardens are wonderful to explore when visiting Warsaw with kids. They will love seeing the roaming peacocks or squirrels climbing up the trees.

Each year they hold their annual Chopin concerts on the lawns, starting from May, with concerts held through until September, at the foot of the Monument to Chopin.

Château de Castelnaud, France

Chateau de Castelnaud high on top of the hill. Above clouded grey sky, underneath the chateau green forest. To visualize Dordogne with kids
Chateau de Castelnaud

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

The castle is located in the town of Castelnaud-la-Chapelle. In the Dordogne region in France. The Dordogne with kids is perfect and Castelnaud is the top thing to do.

Castelnaud is a medieval castle, which was built in the 12th century. It’s situated on a rocky cliff towering high above the Dordogne river. It has a beautiful panorama view on the Dordogne valley.

The castle is surrounded by a walled medieval village. The village has small cobblestone streets with restaurants, shops and demonstrations. The closer you com tot he castle, the narrower and steeper the streets become. In the town are several demonstrations, such as crossbow shooting.

Inside the castle is the Musee de la Guerre au Moyen Age, or the Museum about War in the Middle Ages. Gallows, enormous catapults and other weaponry is displayed in the castle and outside on the walls. There are leaflets in several languages available, the explanation on the signs is in French.

The castle is open year round. Tickets cost €9.60, kids under the age of 10 are free. The parking is paid and is outside the castle walls. It’s a short walk to the castle walls. However you need to cross the town first before you reach the castle. Take a whole afternoon for a visit.

Palace of Versailles, France

Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles

Contributed by Lisa from Waves and Cobblestones.

The palace of Versailles is one of the most spectacular castles in France. It is also one of the most iconic attractions of Paris, as it is only a quick one hour train ride west from the City of Light.

Versailles is the former residence of French royalty and is honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. King Louis XIV significantly expanded the château into a grand palace. King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are the well-known final royal residents of Versailles, prior to the French Revolution.

The palace of Versailles is open to the public daily (closed Mondays). There is an entrance fee to tour the palace, and an additional charge for a guided tour. The Hall of Mirrors is the most famous and opulent room in the palace, and is also the location of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

The extensive gardens of Versailles are simply amazing and are not to be missed. Enjoy a stroll through the gorgeous manicured gardens, accented by classical statuary and sparkling water features. Best of all, the gardens are free to visit, except on days of the fountain shows and musical gardens.

You should plan to spend a full day exploring Versailles and its gardens. If you’re visiting in the high season (April -October), you’ll also want to visit the smaller Trianon palaces. Enjoy a sit-down lunch at one of the restaurants, or grab a snack for an impromptu picnic in the gardens!

Dornröschenschloss, Germany

Sleeping Beauty Castle viewed from Tierpark Sababurg by Berkeley and Beyond
Sleeping Beauty Castle viewed from Tierpark Sababurg by Berkeley and Beyond

Contributed by Carole from Berkeley and Beyond.

A visit to Dornröschenschloss Sababurg in Germany excites adults as much–maybe even more–than kids. My entourage included Grandma, too, who enjoyed being at the site where Sleeping Beauty is said to have fallen into a deep sleep. Now surrounded by an impenetrable hedge of thorns that once served in the late 1500s to corral horses and cattle, the castle became a hunting lodge in the mid-1700s and was frequented then by the Brothers Grimm.

I recommend making lodging and dinner reservations in advance so that you can spend the night. One night is perfect. Sometimes tours are available to non-guests at a fee. Allow time to visit Europe’s oldest animal park, which is located just below the castle. This zoo is populated with European bison, wild horses and ponies, and reindeer whose lineages dates to pre-historic times. Note that this castle is way out there, at the edge of a deep, dark forest, a few hours’ drive from the small town of Göttingen. The castle is on the Fairytale Road in Germany.

Ptusjki Grad, Slovenia

Ptuj castle towering above the town, as seen from the other side of the river. White buildings with red tiled roofs
Ptuj castle towering above the town

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Ptuj castle is situated in the town of Ptuj in Eastern Slovenia. Ptuj isn’t that far away from the city of Maribor and the Croatian border. When standing on the other side of the river Drava, the castle towers above the town. This gives a fairytale feeling. It’s an iconic and prominent landmark in the town of Ptuj.

The castle was first built in the 11th century as a medieval stronghold to defend against the Hungarians. After that it was used in the Turkish invasions, with the end of these invasions, the defensive character of the castle was lost. The castle got its current look in the 16th century. The castle was nationalized and became a museum of regional history after 1945.

You can visit the castle on your own, there’s an exhibition on the Ptuj carnaval with the “Kurent”. Which is really interesting. The castle is in baroque style on the inside and has a beautiful Renaissance style courtyard. You’ll have mesmerising views on the river and the old town of Ptuj from the castle. Ptuj is the oldest city of Slovenia.

Ptusjki Grad is 130 kilometers/81 miles East of Ljubljana. Tickets cost €8.00 for adults, €7.00 for seniors and €3.00 for kids below 16. The castle can best be reached on foot via Grajska ulica and a wooden covered walkway. Take at least 2 hours for a visit. There are guided tours offered, these cost extra. There are guides in Slovenian, English and German.

Burg Eltz, Germany

Burg Eltz by Around The World With Me
Burg Eltz by Around The World With Me

Contributed by Chris from Around The World With Me.

When you think of European fairytale castles, it’s hard not to think of Burg Eltz in Germany. Nestled in the hills of the Mosel Valley in Western Germany, the castle has been privately owned by the Eltz family since it was first built in the 12th century. Whereas most castles along the Mosel are perched atop a hill, Eltz is hidden in a valley surrounded by dense forest, giving it an eerie and mysterious draw. 

Visiting Burg Eltz is easy. There’s a large car park if you have your own wheels and it’s also accessible on a bus route. A guided tour of the exquisite castle interior costs €12.00 and it’s open from 9:30am-5:30pm daily between April and October. You can still visit the castle in the Winter, you just can’t tour the inside. It’s free to visit if you don’t wish to enter the building itself. There’s a shop and a restaurant on site as well. You’ll want to spend at least an hour at the castle to really take it in. 

From the parking lot (€4.00 to park) you’ll get a nice little walk through the forest to get to the castle. There’s a quiet footpath (about 1.3 kilometers/0.8 miles) or the castle access road (about 800 meters/2625 feet). If you don’t want to walk, there is the option to take a shuttle for an additional €2.00 per person each way. The best photos of the castle come from the road as it slopes down to the castle’s entry. All your friends will be jealous that you got to visit Burg Eltz!

Peles Castle, Romania

Peles Castle by Disha Discovers
Peles Castle by Disha Discovers

Contributed by Disha from Disha Discovers.

Peles Castle in Sinaia, Romania is one of the most picturesque and fairytale-like castles in the world. It has a beautiful backdrop of the Carpathian Mountains, and its interiors are just as opulent as the exterior.

Peleș Castle was built between 1873 and 1914 under the supervision of King Carol I of Romania, who commissioned the project to German architect Johannes Schultz.

The castle was used as a Summer residence by the royal family, and also served as a place to have meetings during World War I. In addition, Peles Castle is the first castle in Europe to have electricity. Today, the castle is open to the public as a museum.

Peles Castle can easily be reached from Brasov, and tours in several languages are offered every day except for Monday and Tuesday. A tour costs around $15, and it lasts for about an hour and fifteen minutes. You can purchase tickets in person or through a third party such as Viator or  GetYourGuide.

If you don’t want to take a tour of the castle, you can walk around the grounds and enjoy the gardens at no cost. After you’ve seen Peles Castle, you can hike around the mountains or take the Sinaia Gondola for beautiful views of the area.

Kasteel de Haar, the Netherlands

To show a picture of one of the visits of 2018 travels. Castle de Haar from the outside. A castle surrounded by water.
Castle de Haar

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

De Haar Castle is located in the small village of Haarzuilens. It’s the largest castle in the Netherlands. Haarzuilens is near the city of Utrecht in the middle of the country. De Haar Castle is considered to be one of the most beautiful castles in the Netherlands.

There’s presumably been a house or castle on this spot since the 13th century. In the 15th century the Zuylen-family became the owners of the castle. In the 19th century Baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt decided to rebuild the castle, since at that moment the castle was in ruins. Architect Pierre Cuypers designed a neo gothic style medieval looking castle. The castle followed the outlines of the old castle. A fun fact is that they included all sorts of modern comfort for that time, such as hot and cold running water and central heating.

The Van Zuylen family doesn’t own the castle anymore, however they still reserve the right to reside at the castle one month a year.

You can reach the castle by car or with public transport. They have their own parking lot, parking costs €6.00. With public transport take bus line 127 to Breukelen from Vleuten train station and exit at stop Brink, Haarzuilens. Visiting the castles gardens costs €7.00 for adults and €5.00 for kids 4 till 12. Visiting the castle, including the gardens, costs €18.00 for adults and €12.50 for kids 4 till 12.

Take at least about 2 hours for the castle, more when also visiting the gardens. Each room in the castle has a guide.

The castle is extra magical and fairytale like during Elfia. A yearly event held at the castle grounds. The largest outdoor costumed event in Europe.

Pena National Palace, Portugal

Pena Palace by Celiac Travel Pack
Pena Palace by Celiac Travel Pack

Contributed by Jami from Celiac Travel Pack.

The bright red and yellow facade of Pena National Palace is striking. It looks like something straight out of a storybook. Pena Palace is in Sintra, Portugal about 30 kilometers/19 miles outside of Lisbon. The castle was built in the 19th century after an earthquake destroyed the monastery originally built on the site. It isn’t as old as other castles but what it lacks in age it makes up for in style! The bright facade is accompanied by intricate tile work throughout the castle and an elaborate Triton gateway.

Entry into Pena Palace and Park is €14.00 and tickets must be purchased in advance for a timed entry slot. Visiting the sites in Sintra is a full day and you should plan to start early at Pena Palace for two reasons. First, it’s at the top of the hill. Take an uber up the hill from the train station in Sintra (or all the way from Lisbon) to avoid the 45-minute uphill hike. After your visit to the palace, the rest of your day is a downhill walk! Second, Pena Palace gets very busy. If you can arrive when the park opens you’ll have time to make your way to the palace for some pictures without a crowd. This also means your tour through the castle will be much less crowded.

If you’re interested in taking a guided tour you’ll find lots of options for tours of Sintra and Pena Palace from Lisbon. After your tour of the castle interior, head to the cafe area for a great vantage point to photograph the elaborate palace.

Colomares Castle, Spain

Colomares Castle by Amused by Andalucia
Colomares Castle by Amused by Andalucia

Contributed by Linn from Amused by Andalucia.

Hidden in the hills of Benalmadena, only a day trip from Malaga in Southern Spain, you find one of the most underrated fairytale castles in the world, Colomares Castle.

Built as a monument for Christopher Columbus, the castle is one of the top attractions in Benalmadena, and not without a reason. Resembling a perfectly built sand castle, it features three ships commemorating the era of discovery.

It is not a big castle, but there is a lot to discover. Walk through perfectly detailed archways, and climb up towers to tiny balconies overlooking the complex. You can also climb up one of the boat structures which is one of the highlights. The castle also has a large garden where you can relax and enjoy the sweeping views of Costa del Sol stretching down to the glimmering blue Mediterranean.

The castle is situated near Benalmadena Pueblo and there is an area for parking right outside it. The entrance fee is €2.50 for adults and €2.00 for children and you will get a map when you enter with information about the castle and its history.

Castell Coch, Wales

Contributed by Lowri from Many Other Roads.

For tales of dragons, giants and fairytale castles, Wales is a must visit location. You will never run out of castles to visit in the celtic landscapes of Wales, but there is one fairytale castle you cannot miss, Castell Coch.

Castell Coch (the red castle) stands proudly amongst the clouds and ancient woodlands in Tongwynlais, Cardiff. Combined with the original ruins of the 13th century castle you will find the dazzling work of the third Marquess of Bute. This combination of Welsh history is a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else.

For Cadw members, a trip here is free. Otherwise it will cost around £5 for children over 5 and £8 for adults for a ticket. For those who don’t want to tour this magnificent castle, just bring a picnic and enjoy the woodlands surrounding the castle. 

For the most magical experience, explore Fforest Fawr. This forest by the castle hides all sorts of fairytale sites, including the three bears caves. There are multiple walking routes so you can take the best one for you.

The car park at Castell Coch is free which is so rare for many sites in the UK. So if you want to pop in and quickly explore for 20 minutes, that is totally an option. However, it’s recommended to at least spend 2 hours here. 

Hluboká Castle, Czechia

Hluboka Castle ©Jürgen Reichenpfader
Hluboka Castle ©Jürgen Reichenpfader

Contributed by Martina from PlacesofJuma.

If you’re looking for a beautiful fairytale castle, then the gorgeous neo-Gothic Hluboká Castle is a must-see on a trip to the Czech Republic. Located in Southern Bohemia, about 30 kilometers/19 miles from the famous medieval town of Český Krumlov, this stunning, snow-white castle is a true highlight of the country.

Particularly impressive is the detailed, snow-white facade as well as the many turrets that give Hluboká Castle a dreamlike ambience. During a tour of the complex, one walks through the picturesque rose gardens and almost feels like a princess from a fairy tale. The castle is also interesting from the inside, where you can visit the magnificent 140 interior rooms.

The oldest part of the castle dates back to the 13th century, but the castle got its current form only in the middle of the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II of Schwarzenberg and his wife Eleonore had the castle completely rebuilt.

Hluboká Castle is best visited via a day trip from Prague or Český Krumlov! There are also various guided tours of the castle, which can be booked online. It is best to take 2 hours for your visit.

Opening hours are from 9am till 5pm and admission is €8.00.

The best fairytale castles in the world will have your imagination running and camera constantly snapping. And this is why Castell Coch is a must visit castle.

Lichtenstein Castle, Germany

Lichtenstein Castle by The Spicy Journey
Lichtenstein Castle by The Spicy Journey

Contributed by Soujanya from The Spicy Journey.

Lichtenstein Castle in Germany is a magical castle located in the state of Baden-Württemberg in the South-West part of Germany. Because it’s located just 58 kilometers/36 miles from Stuttgart, it makes an easy day trip from here. One can also reach here by Munich in under 3 hours by car.

The castle is located on a tall hill overlooking cute little German villages. Entry to the castle costs €4.00 for adults and €2.00 for children. However, this ticket guarantees entry only into the castle grounds and not into the castle itself. To enter the castle, one needs to take a guided tour. This tour costs €12.00 for adults and €6.00 for children. Lasting 30 minutes, this tour can be taken in German or English. 

Because the castle is quite old- dating back to the year 1100, it is worth reading up about it or taking the guided tour to gain an insight into its rich history. One can also see the ruins of the old Lichtenstein castle here. However, the best thing to do here is to sit at one of the benches that offer a good viewpoint of the castle and enjoy (and even photograph) this view!

It’s worth mentioning that there is a parking spot, a restaurant and washrooms here. All in all, one needs about 1-2 hours for a visit to Lichtenstein castle.

Rosenborg Castle, Denmark

Rosenborg Castle by The World Overload
Rosenborg Castle by The World Overload

Contributed by Nicholas from The World Overload.

Located in the center of Copenhagen, Denmark this castle may be a bit small compared to others, but it is definitely a must see while you are visiting here. It’s easy to walk to from anywhere in Copenhagen or you can take a bicycle or scooter and make your way here.

This castle was originally intended as a vacation summerhouse for the Royal Family in the 1600’s. It later became the home for the royal collection. What it makes up for in size is the large gardens surrounding the castle, The King’s Garden. It is the countries oldest royal garden and is a popular attraction not only for the local people but also for tourists in the city. Inside you will the find the royal crown jewels, beautiful sculptures and portraits of Denmark’s royals and aristocracy.

There is a small fee to go inside the castle but not to walk among the royal garden. It is 125 DKK for adult, 80 DKK for students, and free for kids under 17. It should not take you more than 1-2 hours to explore the whole castle. Walking tours are available if you prefer to have a more in-depth lesson in the history of Denmark and the castle, but it is not necessary.

Do not pass up on this for a lovely afternoon. Maybe even bring food and have a nice picnic in the royal gardens to end your time in Copenhagen.

North America

North America only has one royal castle, however it does have excentric palaces and castles all over. We name a few of them here.

Hearst Castle, USA

Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels.

Hearst Castle is a historic estate in San Simeon in California. The estate is formely known as La Cuesta Encantada. It’s the name William Hearst gave it. The Enchanted Hill is the English translation. It’s on the famous Highway 1 on the Central Coast of California. Hearst Castle is a perfect stop on an Orlando to San Francisco road trip. It’s situated on a hill roughly between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Media magnate William Randolph Hearst had the castle built. Architect Julia Morgan designed the estate. It was built between 1919 and 1947. It’s a 127-acre estate with gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. The castle consists of 4 buildings with 165 rooms in total. It’s one of the world’s greatest showplaces of art. It has 25 000 artifacts. Hearst held court here with his mistress and had many famous visitors in the twenties and thirties of the 20th century. In 1958 the Hearst family gave the estate to the State of California. Since then it has operated as the Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument. The rooms are larger-than-life and there’s so much grandeur at the castle.

The estate receives some 750 000 visitors annually. You can take several different tours, there are 13 different ones. It opens daily at 9am. Ticket prices start at $30 for adults and $15 for kids aged 5 till 12. Kids under 5 are free of charge. Depending on the tour you follow, but take at least 3 hours for a visit. Tickets can be bought online or at the Visitor Center. From here you’ll get transported by bus to the castle uphill.

Boldt Castle, USA

Contributed by Kristin from World on Wheels.

Boldt Castle is a Rhineland style castle located on Heart Island in the Thousand islands in New York State. It was built by George Boldt, proprietor of the Waldorff Astoria Hotel in New York City, as a testament of his love for his wife Louise. When she suddenly and unexpectedly died in 1904, all work on the castle ceased completely. Left abandoned and disarray for 73 years until the Thousand Island Bridge Authority bought the property in the hopes of preserving and finishing the castle.  

Today, the castle has seen significant improvements, with many of its rooms finished and visitors can step back in time and tour this fantastic place. Also available to tour is the Yacht House. Entry to the castle is $11 for adults and $8 for children over 4 years old.  

As the castle is located on Heart Island, it is only accessible by water. To get here, you can take a boat tour from either New York or Canada or if you buy a combination ticket for the castle and boat house, they offer an included shuttle between the two places. This shuttle is wheelchair and stroller accessible. Combination tickets are $14 per adult and $8 for children 5-12 years old.

Boat tours from both the US and Canada offer a limited time on the island where you can tour the castle, playhouse, gardens, and powerhouse. If you would like a more leisurely visit, the combination ticket and shuttle allow you to tour the island at your own pace with no set time limit.  

Although the island is not flat, it is easily navigated in a wheelchair or other mobility device. Elevators within the castle make it accessible to people of all abilities. 

Casa Loma, Canada

Casa Loma by Forever Karen
Casa Loma by Forever Karen

Contributed by Karen from Forever Karen.

If you have a couple of days in Toronto, plan to spend half a day at Ontario’s best castle. Located in the heart of the city, the majestic Canadian castle called Casa Loma was the brainchild of Sir Henry Pellatt. Perched on a hill, its outlook over Toronto rivals most European castles. The fairytale chateau, just 20 minutes from downtown, charges a CAD 30 entrance fee for its self-guided audio tour.

In the early 1900s, it took Pellatt three years to build the 98-room gothic-revival structure for CAD 3.5M. After the war and the recession, Pellatt lost his fortune, which forced him to sell the estate. Eventually, the city seized the residence for back taxes. Sadly, the city considered demolishing the castle until the Kiwanis Club opened it as a tourist attraction.

Inside, it’s evident Pellatt spared no expense on construction. The home features more than 20 fireplaces and 30 bathrooms, and at the stables, he added the horses’ names in 18K gold. While some rooms remain empty, others are filled with period furniture. The conservatory is gorgeous with its domed stained-glass skylight and ornate brass doors.

The Norman Tower provides one of the best vantage points. Here, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city. Outside, the grounds feature a stunning water fountain and pond. A 200-meter tunnel runs under the road from the basement to the stables, garage, and potting shed. Built as magnificently as the principal residence, it features a vintage car collection from the early 1900s.

Castillo Chapultepec, Mexico

Chapultepec Castle by Travel Mexico Solo
Chapultepec Castle by Travel Mexico Solo

Contributed by Shelley from Travel Mexico Solo.

The Castillo de Chapultepec, or Chapultepec Castle, is the only true castle in North America — as it’s the only one members of the royal family once lived in. Today, it ranks as one of the most popular and best things to do in Mexico City, and a must see for any visitor.

Chapultepec Castle is the former home to Emperor Maximilian I of Austria and Empress Carlota of Mexico. Nowadays, it is open to the public to tour, along with the adjoining National History Museum. You can visit on your own, as it does not require guided tours.

Located in Bosque de Chapultepec, or Chapultepec Park, the castle sits high atop a hill overlooking the entire park. Chapultepec Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world, at about twice the size of Central Park in NYC. 

When visiting the castle, you can spend some extra time in the park, as there are lakes, nine museums, a zoo, and more. Admission to Chapultepec Castle and the National History Museum costs $85 MXN pesos (about $4.50 USD). It is open daily, from 9am-5pm, and there’s free admission on Sundays.

Asia

Asia has many beautiful and ancient palaces and castles.

Matsumoto Castle, Japan

Matsumoto Castle by Zimmin Around The World
Matsumoto Castle by Zimmin Around The World

Contributed by Brandon from Zimmin Around the World.

Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan’s National Treasures and most beautiful castles, is located in the city of Matsumoto, Japan. Matsumoto Castle’s history dates back to the Eisho Era between the years 1504 and 1520. This castle was originally built for war and was never intended to be built for residential purposes.

Matsumoto Castle ranks as one of Japan’s most beautiful because of its distinct black and white colors and stunning views of the Japanese Alps in the background. Today visitors can walk the grounds and tour the inside of Matsumoto Castle. Like most castles in Japan, there is a small entrance fee to visit the castle although visitors can freely walk the park around the castle and still get amazing views of the castle and surrounding moat.

There are tours offered for Matsumoto Castle, to include free guides provided by volunteers. Tours are not necessarily needed as there is a brochure visitors get in various languages that explain the castles history, features, and what each floor was used for. Within the castle, there was information posts in both English and Japanese. Visitors are free to explore the castle on their own. It is recommended to spend at least two hours at the castle. Two hours is enough time to visit the castle, grounds, and walk around the moat.

Opening hours to visit Matsumoto Castle are from 8.30am to 5pm daily. Although the castle closes, it is recommended to view the castle from the nearby park both during the day and night. The reflection of Matsumoto Castle in the waters below is breathtaking!

Nagoya Castle, Japan

Nagoya Castle by Erika's Travelventures
Nagoya Castle by Erika’s Travelventures

Contributed by Erika from Erika’s Travelventures.

Nagoya Castle, located in Aichi prefecture in central Japan, is a fairytale castle constructed in 1612 during Japan’s Edo period. The five-story castle is most famous for its pair of golden shachi, or kinshachi, that adorn the top corners of the castle roof. Kinshachi are mythical creatures, with the body of a carp and head of a tiger. When visiting Nagoya castle, replicas of these shachi can be seen at eye-level on the grounds. Elsewhere on the castle grounds are a two-story castle keep, the large Hommaru Palace residences and two watchtowers, with a moat encircling all of the buildings. Visitors spend anywhere from 1-3 hours exploring all of the buildings and the castle grounds during a Nagoya itinerary

Nagoya castle is centrally located just north of Nagoya’s city center, and easily accessible by public transit. Nagoya castle can be visited year-round but is most picturesque during Japan’s cherry blossom season, which in Nagoya usually runs from late March to early April. Visiting hours at the castle are between 9am and 4pm each day, and entry costs 500 yen per adult and 100 yen for senior citizens, with children up to junior high school eligible for free entry. Free English-speaking tours of the castle are available at 1pm every day from local volunteers.

Jaisalmer Castle, India

Jaiselmer Castle by Triplyzer
Jaiselmer Castle by Triplyzer

Contributed by Vidyut from Triplyzer.

One of the most visited destinations in India, the Jaiselmer castle stands majestically overlooking the city.

Interestingly, unlike castles elsewhere people still live here, in fact, you will find a whole self-sufficient town inside. The castle was built by Rawal Jaisal in 1156 AD, simultaneously laying the foundation of the city.

This 800-year old castle is known for its striking sandstone walls, yellow in color they blend seamlessly with the surrounding desert. Inside, a narrow maze of streets dares you to not lose your way. Shop for traditional wares and unique Rajasthani attire handmade by the locals.

Pay a visit to the beautifully carved Jain temple. Also worth visiting is the city palace museum, an erstwhile palace of the city’s ruler. Highlights include the colorful hall known as Rangmahal and the fantastic views from the rooftop.

It’s no wonder that in 2013 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The trip can easily last 4-5 hours, but if in a hurry you can squeeze things in a couple of hours.

Taman Sari, Indonesia

Taman Sari by The Wandering Daughter
Taman Sari by The Wandering Daughter

Contributed by Astrid from The Wandering Daughter.

An unexpectedly unique castle to visit in Asia is the Taman Sari Water Palace in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, located on the island of Java. Built in the 18th century, Taman Sari was built as a pleasure palace for the sultan of Yogyakarta at the time. The buildings have two pools that the sultan and his many wives and concubines would bathe in. There are also tunnels and meditation rooms to explore.

A visit to Taman Sari provides a glimpse of what life for the Javanese royalty of Indonesia was like at the time. In many ways, it was a very stratified and inegalitarian society, with the sultan occupying a god-like position at the top. Fortunately, Indonesia has progressed much since then, especially when it comes to women’s rights.

Entrance to Taman Sari is Rp. 15,000 (roughly $1 USD) per person. There is an additional Rp. 3,000 (roughly $.20 USD) charge to take pictures during your visit. If planning a visit with your kids, hire a guide, as they will be helpful in providing meaning and explanation to the architecture, as well as insight to the palace’s history. The average cost for a guide is Rp. 25,000 (roughly $1.70 USD) per person per hour.

Africa, South America and Oceania

Africa, South America and Oceania don’t have that many castles, but here’s one from each continent.

Fasil Ghebbi, Ethiopia

Fasil Ghebbi by Beyond My Door
Fasil Ghebbi by Beyond My Door

Contributed by Anwar from Beyond My Door.

Built in the 17th Century by Emperor Fasilides in the city of Gondar Ethiopia, Fasil Ghebbi was the home of several successive Ethiopian Emperors. The castle grounds are quite large with several buildings that showcase several different styles from Arab, Nubian, Hindu, and Baroque. The buildings on the complex include several churches, library, halls, as well as an empress castle, and stables.

The site is a UNESCO world heritage site due to its remarkable architecture featuring several cultures, its representation of modern Ethiopian civilization, and representing the “Gondorian Period” which began in the 17th Century (when the capital was moved to Gondar).

The site was renovated and added upon by the Italians during their brief occupation of the area starting in the 1930s and renovations continued even during the occupatian and after Ethiopian independence.

Most visitors spend a few hours on site and Gondar and Fasil Ghebbi are a great stopping point en route to visiting the nearby Simien Mountain National Park. There is a fee to visit the site that’s currently 500 Birr and a tour guide is recommended to give insight into the buildings and history of the site. Several websites offer tours or you can find a guide when you arrive at the site. The site is open from 8.30am – 5.30pm daily. 

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, Colombia

Castillo San Felipe by Moms on Flipflops
Castillo San Felipe by Moms on Flipflops

Contributed by Barbara from Moms on Flipflops.

If you’re visiting Cartagena as part of your Colombia itinerary (and you really should, it’s a gorgeous city!) make sure to put the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas on top of your to-do-list.

The castle is located outside of Cartagena’s historical center but it’s only a short walk away from the city’s popular backpacker’s neighborhood Getsemaní.

The fortress was built in 1536 to defend the new city of Cartagena de Indias. During the years, many parts were added but at the end of the 17th Century, it fell into the hands of a pirate. That’s why it’s nowadays known as ‘the pirate castle’ (which is a great way to get your kids excited for the trip!).

You can visit Castillo San Felipe for 25000 pesos (kids under 6 are free!). Guided tours are possible (for 15000 pesos per person), but doing a self-guided audio tour is a great idea too. Climb to the top and enjoy great views over Cartagena and the ocean, but don’t forget to also explore the winding tunnels underneath.

Pay in mind that Cartagena is a hot city, so come prepared to battle the sun!

Kryal Castle, Australia

Kryal Castle by Live Work Play Travel
Kryal Castle by Live Work Play Travel

Contributed by Sharyn from Live Work Play Travel.

Australia is known for many things – castles not being one of them. But it does have a castle, Kryal Castle located outside of Ballarat in Victoria. It is actually a medieval theme park which opened in 1974 and is a great day out. As soon as you arrive you step back in time as you cross the moat by drawbridge. Inside is a maze, castle towers, stocks, an armoury and other medieval things to do and explore. 

The highlight has to be the royal jousting event that occurs at 3pm every day when Kryal Castle is open. Watch a spectacular of thunderous knights with lances on horses as they battle against those who enter the jousting arena. If all this excitement isn’t enough top it off with the evening dinner show where you will need to discover who murdered who in the castle! And after this you could stay in one of the Castle Suites in your own medieval themed four poster bed! 

Kryal Castle may not have the dark history like some of the castles of Europe but it is still worth a visit.

That Wrap’s Up On Our Fairytale Castles Article

There are so many beautiful castles in the world.  

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