If you are on a journey to see the most beautiful castles in the world, we highly suggest you go straight to Europe, a continent that birthed impressive medieval castles.
All over the continent, you’ll be able to sightsee these extraordinary structures, all with unique features and history. Some are high up sitting on mountains, while others seem to be magically floating on water. But this only adds to how remarkable a medieval castle can be.
Here is our list of the most beautiful castles in Europe.
Eltz Castle is a popular destination and one of the most beautiful castles in Europe and has easily become one of the most photographed castles on Instagram. It is located in Rheinland-Palatine and due to its secluded position, the castle seems like a faraway journey.
Similar to other medieval castles, Eltz Castle has been through some rough patches and conflict. However, it stood strong over the centuries and to this day, is still in the possession of the Eltz family.
Eilean Donan, Scotland
One of the most well-known medieval castles, partly because of its featuring in the 1986 film Highlander. Aside from that, it’s an impressive castle, with or without the film promotion, and definitely a must-see if you are traveling in the Western Highlands of Scotland.
The castle is located on an island between three sea lochs – Loch Duich, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh.
Historically, it was built during the 13th century and has served as a stronghold for the Mackenzie Clan. Sadly, the original structure suffered in the hands of the Jacobite rebellions. It was rebuilt in the 20th century.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Another win for Scotland is its very own Edinburgh Castle, which sits prettily on top of Castle Rock and offers a magnificent view of the capital of Scotland. It’s no question by now why castles are built on high and strategic positions. First, to see the enemy, and second to be difficult to reach.
Edinburgh Castle was torn between two nations and wasn’t spared their dramatic history. During the First and Second Wars of Scottish Independence, the castle’s ownership consistently changed between the Scottish and English.
One word to describe Mon-Saint-Michel of France? Magical. It’s not an actual castle, though structure-wise, it can be considered as one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, it’s hard to deny its beauty and splendor.
What sits on top of this island is a medieval monastery, a must-visit for pilgrims. It was believed that Archangel Michael ordered bishop Aubert to build a church on top of the island. And so the construction of a Benedictine abbey began in the late 10th century.
When we say magical, we mean it. The view around the island changes constantly since the tides of the bay recede quickly. When it’s low tide, the island can be reached on foot and hundreds of tourists can visit each day!
Built in the 13th century by Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada, the fortress in Andalusia, Spain is known as Alhambra.
The palace was built on top of former Roman fortification ruins and became a royal palace in 1333. A century later, it turned into the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Alhambra reflects the Moorish architecture, signature elements to the last reign of the last Muslim dynasty on the Iberian Peninsula.
Only a limited number of visitors are allowed to visit Alhambra so make sure you plan ahead of time. Alhambra includes the Royal complex, Court of the Myrtles, Hall of the Ambassadors, Hall of the Abencerrajes, a Court of the Lions and fountain, and other features.
Malbork Castle, Poland
Malbork Castle is also known as the Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork. It’s a 13th-century castle and fortress located in Northern Poland and has a very impressive history behind it.
According to UNESCO, it is the larger castle in the world measured by land area. Upon its completion in 1406, it was the largest brick cast in the world. The castle underwent expansion multiple times due to the increasing number of Teutonic Knights. It even housed over 3,000 knights at some point in history.
Its strategic location near the Baltic Sea and River Vistula allows the knights to collect tolls from ships and barges. However, World War II has heavily damaged the castle. It’s been rebuilt and is open for visitors.
Bojnice Castle, Slovakia
Straight out of a fairytale. If you are looking for a castle to swoon over, it has to be Slovakia’s Bojnice Castle. This castle is filled with romantic vibes and is one of Slovakia’s most visited attractions. No surprise there! Bojnice Castle is also surrounded by a wide and beautiful park.
The castle was built in 12th century and restored in the late 19th century. Matthew III Csák received Bojnice Castle from the King Ladislaus V of Hungary in 1302.
The castle sits on top of a travertine hill and houses a historical museum. During the late spring, the International Festival of Ghosts and Spooks are celebrated and is definitely on the list if you want visit one of the most beautiful castles in Europe.
Corvin Castle, Romania
Corvin Castle is one of the largest castles in Europe. It was built on the last of the Middle Ages and features a Gothic-Renaissance design. From the picture alone, you can see that Corvin Castle was built for defensive purposes. It served as a fortress until it became the residence of Transylvania’s voivode, Iancu de Hunedoara in the mid-14th century.
It has a massive, strong, and imposing structure, complete with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard, distinctly colored roofs, and rows of windows and balconies.
Castillo de Coca, Spain
This impressive design can only be seen in movies but it’s more than real in Central Spain. Castillo de Coca is a 15th-century castle and is one of the best examples of Spanish Mudejar brickwork. It’s a mixture of Moorish Muslim design and Gothic architecture. It has a very unique look compared to the other castles on the list but we think its distinct structure deserve a spot as one of the most beautiful castles in Europe.
To withstand any enemy assault, Castillo de Coca is built using stronger and more sturdy bricks. The castle’s defense system has three tiers consisting of wall circuits enclosed within a moat and a central keep.
Windsor Castle, England
As the home of the British royalty for centuries, England’s Windsor Castle is unsurprisingly one of the most famous and beautiful castles in Europe. Ever since Henry I ruled over England in the 12th century, the palace has been the home to the reigning monarch. It has the longest occupancy for a palace in the whole of Europe.
The impressive palace is surrounded by 13 acres of land and a small town. It is designed with a tint of Georgian and Victorian, with Gothic elements. Inside the castle are extraordinary art pieces that the monarchs love.
Up to this date, Windsor Castle is still of the three official residences of the queen. It’s still fully operational and not the palace for tourists and sightseeing.