Top Ten Castles & Palaces to Visit

If you’re looking for an amazing journey through history, visiting some of the world’s most beautiful castles and palaces is a must. From grand châteaux to ancient fortresses, here are the top ten castles and palaces you should add to your bucket list:

  • Château de Versailles (France) – Built in 1623 by Louis XIII as a hunting lodge, this majestic palace was transformed into one of the most luxurious royal residences in Europe during the reign of Louis XIV. The château’s gardens are considered among the greatest works of 17th-century French design and are a must-see for any visitor.

  • Buckingham Palace (England) – This grand residence has been the official home of British royalty since 1837, when Queen Victoria moved in. Visitors can explore State Rooms filled with priceless paintings, furniture, and treasures from around the world on their guided tour.

  • Schloss Neuschwanstein (Germany) – This breathtaking 19th-century fairy-tale castle was designed by King Ludwig II as his private retreat from court life and built high up on a hill overlooking Bavarian Alps near Füssen city in Southern Germany. Its intricate interior design represents scenes from popular operas such as Lohengrin and Tannhäuser, making it one of Germany’s most iconic landmarks today.

  • Prague Castle (Czech Republic) – With its cobbled courtyards and spires reaching up towards the sky, Prague Castle is often called “The Jewel of Central Europe.” Dating over 1000 years, this immense complex encompasses not only palaces but also gardens, churches, and even its brewery! It is also one of the world’s largest castles, covering almost 70 000 square meters!

  • Alhambra Palace (Spain) – Located in Granada near the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Southern Spain, this impressive Moorish palace complex dates back to 889 AD when it was first constructed by Muslim rulers who called it “al-Hamra” meaning ‘The Red One’. Today visitors can enjoy its lush courtyards filled with fragrant orange trees and intricately decorated halls dripping with gold leaf detailing while admiring stunning views across the countryside all way down to the Mediterranean Sea beyond!

  • Forbidden City (China) – Situated at the heart of Beijing city center, this vast palace complex served as a Chinese imperial residence between 1420–1912 AD when emperors ruled the country from behind its walls. Its 980 buildings house numerous museums showcasing exquisite Chinese art, artifacts, furniture, ceramics, etc., making it UNESCO World Heritage Site worth visiting!

  • Matsumoto Castle (Japan) – This five-tiered castle is one of Japan’s oldest and best-preserved fortresses, built in the 16th century by local warlord Ishikawa Kazumasa who wanted to protect his land from neighboring enemies. Today it is considered a national treasure with its black walls, moat, and white façade reflecting the beauty of the surrounding countryside!

  • Blenheim Palace (England) – Built between 1705–1722 as a reward for Duke of Marlborough’s victories in the War of Spanish Succession, this magnificent palace was designed by John Vanbrugh, who created an architectural masterpiece surrounded by stunning landscaped gardens. Visitors can explore grand State Rooms filled with priceless paintings and furniture and the grand hall where Winston Churchill was born!

  • Hohensalzburg Castle (Austria) – This massive fortress atop Festungsberg hill near Salzburg city was constructed in 1077 AD by Archbishop Gebhard von Helfenstein and underwent extensive renovations during the 18th century, making it today one of Europe’s largest castles still standing. Its mighty walls are visible from across the city, while inside, visitors can explore dungeons, exhibitions, chapel, beer cellar, etc.!

  • Windsor Castle (England) – This majestic castle has served as home to the British royal family since William Conqueror built the first wooden fortification on-site in 1050 AD! Today its lavish interiors filled with works by Rubens, Rembrandt, Holbein, etc., attract tourists from all over the world. At the same time, outside visitors can enjoy beautiful views across the surrounding countryside, including Long Walk leading up towards St George’s Chapel, where Prince Harry & Meghan Markle had their wedding ceremony 2018!

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