Traveling to Europe is a dream for many, but most tourists end up visiting the same few, well-known landmarks. However, Europe is full of hidden gems, especially when it comes to historical sites and beautiful castles. In this post, we’ll unveil the top 10 under-the-radar castles in Europe that you absolutely need to visit. You’re in for an exciting journey, so buckle up and let’s dive in!
1. Predjama Castle, Slovenia
Nested in the side of a towering cliff, Predjama Castle in Slovenia, is a sight to behold. This Renaissance castle has been etched into the cliff for over 700 years and its natural and man-made defensive features have contributed to its longstanding survival. It’s history and stories are as captivating as its architecture.
2. Alhambra, Spain
Alhambra in Granada, Spain, is a fortress so rich in history that it’s practically a textbook in stone. The intricate designs and breathtaking views from its walls are enough to transport you back to medieval times. A masterpiece of Islamic architecture, it’s a must-visit.
3. Trakoscan Castle, Croatia
A hidden gem of Croatia, Trakoscan Castle sits amidst forests and a serene lake. The 13th-century fortress turned museum offers a peek into the life of nobility during the Middle Ages and Renaissance period.
4. Bojnice Castle, Slovakia
Known as the fairy tale castle of Slovakia, Bojnice Castle is a romantic castle with some original Gothic and Renaissance elements built in the 12th century. With its idyllic park and famous International Ghosts and Spirits Festival, it’s an irresistible attraction for history and ghost-story lovers alike.
5. Château de Chillon, Switzerland
Located on the shores of Lake Geneva, Château de Chillon is a magnificent castle that offers spectacular views. Its romantic setting inspired the likes of Lord Byron and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and it’s sure to inspire you too.
6. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Though relatively well-known, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany still maintains an air of mystery and grandeur. It is known as the castle of the fairy-tale king and is an embodiment of 19th-century romanticism. Its position atop a rugged hill against a backdrop of picturesque mountain landscapes is truly awe-inspiring.
7. Bran Castle, Romania
Often associated with Dracula, Bran Castle in Romania combines history, myth, and beautiful architecture, creating an experience that’s hard to forget. This 14th-century castle promises to take you on an exciting journey through Transylvania’s past.
8. Kilkenny Castle, Ireland
Built in 1195, Kilkenny Castle in Ireland provides insight into the life of the Butlers, one of the most influential families in Ireland. The castle is a mix of architectural styles, reflecting its complex history and the changing tastes of those who lived there.
9. Bled Castle, Slovenia
Bled Castle, perched high on a cliff above the stunning Lake Bled, is one of Slovenia’s most visited attractions and it’s not difficult to see why. The panoramic views from the castle are breathtakingly beautiful, a perfect backdrop for the history that the castle holds.
10. Gravensteen, Belgium
A massive stone castle in the heart of the city, Gravensteen in Ghent, Belgium is a sight you can’t afford to miss. This 12th-century castle will provide you with a firsthand experience of medieval Ghent.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1: Are these castles open year-round? Answer: Most of these castles are open year-round, but it’s always best to check their official websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Q2: Can we stay overnight in any of these castles? Answer: While most castles function as museums, some like Predjama Castle and Alhambra offer nearby accommodations.
Q3: Are guided tours available at these castles? Answer: Yes, most of these castles offer guided tours. Some even offer special themed tours, like the ghost tour at Bojnice Castle.
Q4: Are these castles wheelchair accessible? Answer: Accessibility varies among these castles. It’s recommended to check their official websites or contact them directly for accurate information.
Travel is about discovering the undiscovered and exploring the unexplored. These under-the-radar European castles offer a chance to dive deep into history, while also presenting some of the most breathtaking views that the continent has to offer. Each castle holds its own unique charm and story, awaiting your visit. So, go ahead and add these gems to your bucket list!