Baker Mayfield once quoted,
"You don't build a great castle just all at once."
Castles are fortified buildings built by the royals in the medieval era, for defense purposes and to protect the people living in them from invasions. The era of castles started about 1000 years ago and lasted for almost 500 years. The lavish architectural designs and extravagant luxurious interiors of the castles often were to display the wealth and power of the nobility.
Almost every castle in the world has been said to hold history and secrets of its own, which many historians and archeologists are still trying to unravel. Regardless of their stories behind the walls, castles make great historical monuments. These establishments have a mysterious aura and magic of their own and have been attracting the eyes of tourists for a century, which has seen a gradual increase in recent years. Modern people are hugely interested and invested in learning about the history, art, and triumph of the people who once inhabited these places. Not only castles are intriguing but overall look like a place out of fairytales. Here we have listed some magnificent Castles that you need to include in your next travel plan and give yourself a magical fairytale vacation.
1. Tower Of London, England
Situated on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, the notorious Tower of London is known to be one of the most famous castles in England. Built in the 1070s, under the supervision of King William the Conquerer the Tower of London with its central white tower was built as a demonstration of Norman power, and to impose fear and submission into the heart of citizens of London.
The castle brags about a bone-chilling history of oppression, cruelty, and death. The castle is also said to be used as a prison from 1000 to 1952. People guilty of crimes, real or not, we're brutally tortured and executed. The castle also shares a gruesome past of suspicious murders and executions. Many secrets and stories still revolve around the castle and especially around the torture chamber in it. The Tower of London is a wealth of history and stories. People can see crown jewels, enjoy the display of armor and weapons, feel the mystery to their bones, or witness the daily ceremony of keys done by Yeomen warders. It's England's most popular tourist attraction, and witnesses about 2 Million visits each year. The Tower of London is a honeycomb of experiences only if it's given enough time to be observed and experienced.
2. Eltz Castle, Germany
Located in Rheinland-Palatine, known as the Moselle wine region famous for Riesling wine, Eltz Castle is a medieval castle nestled at the bottom of a heavily forested valley and surrounded by picturesque hills. Named a 'skyscraper' among castles this establishment is several stories tall and inhabits a small courtyard.
Eltz tower has gradually become the most photographed Castle on social media sites, especially Instagram. The castle is situated in a secluded position, surrounded by thick forests, and gives the mysterious feeling of being something straight out of a fantasy book. The Eltz Castle is the Defensive Imperial Age Landmark of the Holy Roman Empire Civilization in Age of Empires IV.
The noble family of Eltz has ownership of the castle to this day.
3. Malbork Castle, Poland
Located in the Pomerania region of Poland, Malbork castle once used to be called the 'Castle Of The Teutonic Order' or 'Marienburg', is the largest brick castle in the world measured by land area and one of the most recommended place to visit in Poland. It was established by Teutonic Knights. The knights were brought from Germany to Poland to convert local pagan tribes to Christianity. The vision behind the establishment of this infrastructure was to make the 'Teutonic Knights' hold and power stronger in that area.
The location of the castle was chosen strategically near the Baltic Sea river and River Vistula, Teutonic knights used to collect tolls from trading ships. Initially, the Castle was completed in 1406 but was expanded several times because of the growing number of Teutonic Knights. The castle faced huge casualties in World War II, but has been rebuilt again and is a major tourist attraction. The castle was added to the UNESCO world heritage list in 1997.
4. Predjama Castle, Slovenia
Built in the historical region of Inner Carniola, located 9 kilometers from Postojna Cave in the village of Predjama, Predjama Castle is the largest cave castle in the world. Situated in a fortified position, this renaissance castle was built by the Patriarch of Aquileia in the gothic style. Behind this cave castle, there is a network of secret tunnels, from where the knight Erazem of Predjama would set out on his plundering explorations. Predjama castle is the perfect example of harmony between nature's creation and human creativity. The cave under Predjama castle is home to a colony of bats. Predjama castle holds a Guinness world record and is known to be one of the most fascinating castles. The castle is open to visitors for the whole year but the cave is open from only June to August due to the bats' hibernation period during the rest of the year.
5. Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria
This 900-year-old castle is located in the Pongau region of Salzburg on the steep peak, high above the Salzach valley. Surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps and the Tennen Mountains this castle was built by the Archbishop of Salzburg in the 11th century as the sister of Hohensalzburg Fortress. The original castle was initially made of wood, however, by the 15th century Hohenwerfen was developed into a magnificent stone structure. The castle has served as a state prison for more than a century and hence developed a sinister reputation. The castle belongs to the state of Salzburg today and has been used as a tourist attraction since 1987. Hohenwerfen has been featured in movies like the backdrop for the song "Do-Re-Mi" in the film 'The Sound of Music' and as "Schloss Adler" in the 1968 film 'Where Eagles Dare'. Hohenwerfen castle boasts its weapons collection, a falconry museum, and a fortress tavern.
6. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Edinburgh is said to be one of the most famous castles in the world. The origination of this formidable and majestic Scottish infrastructure built on the top of a 700 million-year-old extinct volcano called Castle Rock, dates back to the reign of King David I in the 12th century. The majority of the initially formed building of medieval Edinburgh castle was destroyed during the Lang siege of the late 16th century, many fortifications happened in the 16th and 17th centuries, and many buildings were built in the late 19th century as well. The location of this castle is beautiful and looks extravagant on a night full of lights. There are many rooms to explore and a museum to gain some knowledge about the Scottish independence war and other historical stories.
7. Prague Castle, Czech Republic
According to the Guinness Book of Records Prague castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. It is known as an ancient symbol of the Czech State, and one of the most important cultural institutions in the Czech Republic. The establishment of Prague Castle dates back to 880 and is most likely found by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty. Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world, with an area of almost 70,000 m². It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and consists of many palaces and ecclesiastical buildings of various architectural and gothic styles. This medieval castle leaves people stunned and mesmerized by its spectacular beauty, charming courtyards, and splendid infrastructure. Many parts of the castle are free to explore but people need to buy tickets if they want to see the exhibitions.
8. Eilean Donan, Scotland
Eilean Donan is one of the most famous castles in Scotland. Situated at the confluence of three sea lochs Loch Duich, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh in the western Highlands of Scotland and originally built in the 13th Century as a fortified structure for defensive purposes. Eilean Donan is the most photographed fortress in Scotland and even got featured in movies like James Bond. A grey stone bridge connects the small island with the mainland. It is said that the castle we see today is not the original medieval castle, but was rebuilt in mock medieval style over the ruins of a former castle somewhere around the 1920s. Regardless everything about this castle is stunning, the location, the infrastructure, and the intriguing history.