Is your head filled with romantic visions of gorgeous, half-ruined castles perched on old-as-time cliffs? Rolling green hills with ancient fortresses nestled between them, thick strands of grass flowing in the wind? Ours is, too! We love the unbelievable, irreplaceable architecture of centuries past—so we put together a list of the 10 most beautiful castles in the world, just for you! And a little bit for ourselves. Maybe you can plan your next vacation to one of these beauties!
The 10 Most Beautiful Castles in the World (according to us and …science)
Mont Saint Michel, France
First up on our most beautiful castle list is of course a French castle. Sitting in the center of a rocky island just off the coast of Normandy is Mont Saint Michel, a gorgeous series of ancient French structures comprise Mont Saint Michel. At the hill’s peak is abbey and monastery; beneath at are the stores and housing, and outside of the commune’s perimeter are the homes of fisherman and commonfolk.
The Mont fended off a full English invasion force during the Hundred Years’ War. It was later utilized as a prison by Louis XI during the Ancien Régime, as its singular land-based entry was regularly blocked by the tide.
Conwy Castle, Wales, United Kingdom
Built by King Edward I during his conquest of Wales, this gorgeous eight-tower castle was Edward’s most expensive, and one of his most prominent. Conwy was used by defenders, English and otherwise, for centuries before—following the climax of the English civil war—Parliament partly destroyed the castle to render it useless as a fortress.
In the latter half of the 19th century, Conwy Castle was restored to its former glory. Today it’s considered to be one of the greatest examples of late 13th century and early 14th century military architecture in Europe, and is considered a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Residing in Prague, in the Czech Republic, Prague Castle is one of the oldest castles still standing. Its construction dates back to the 9th century, and currently houses the Bohemian Crown Jewels and the president of the Czech Republic.
Considered the largest ancient castle in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is also the most visited tourist attraction in Prague, drawing nearly two million visitors per year.
Bodiam Castle, England
Built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge—one of Sir Edward III’s knights to defend East Sussex against French invasion during the Hundred Years’ War—Bodiam Castle is one of the most breathtaking examples of a moated fortress in England.
Bodiam was dismantled during the English Civil War after being sold to help pay its owner’s debts owed to Parliament. This left it a sad ruin ’til its slow restoration in the 19th century. Now open to the public, Bodiam Castle has been owned by the National Trust since 1925.
Château Miranda, Belgium
Miranda Castle, built 1886 by English architect Edward Milner, was a beautiful example of theatrical neo-Gothic castles. Clock towers, angled roofs and conical spires dominated the castle. It is situated on a picturesque tract of land in Celles, Belgium.
The castle was occupied by German forces during World War II. In 1950, the castle was turned into an orphanage and a holiday camp for sick children. Unfortunately, the cost of upkeep—and the lack of anybody willing to pay it—lead to the castle’s dilapidation and abandonment in the 1990s. Fires had compromised the structural integrity of the building, and the castle was completely demolished in 2017.
Alcazar of Segovia, Spain
One of the inspirations for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle, Alcazar is a gorgeous Spanish castle-palace set into a cliffside in Segovia. It has served variously as a palace, state prison and military training academy since its construction.
Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany
Another castle rumored to inspire the Cinderalla Castle is Schloss Neuschwanstein. It’s not hard to see the resemblance. It’s one of the castles that brings forth almost every associated adjective with the word castle and magic. This beautiful castle was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria who also garnered inspiration from elsewhere. Richard Wagner, the musician and friend, provided some unintentional inspo for this majestic masterpiece.
Deemed one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe, Kronborg was immortalized in the play Hamlet, and has a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage site list.
Chateau du Chillion, Switzerland
This quaint island castle resides on Lake Geneva. Originally built to serve as a Roman outpost, this tiny bastion survived many historical influences and served many different royals. Lord Byron brought newfound popularity to this castle with his poem ” The Prisoner of Chillion”. It’s also rumored homeboy carved his name on the wall in the dungeon. Who would of thought, Lord Byron, the James Dean of Poetry?
Miramare Castle, Italy
A magnificent structure overlooking picturesque coastal waters, Miramare is located in the Gulf of Trieste, in northeastern Italy.
Ten and done! These are some of the most beautiful castles in the world, and if you have the opportunity, we strongly recommend visiting each of them at least once! You can check out our travel + flight deals if you’re thinking of taking a trip over to visit one of these beauties!