10 fascinating castles to visit

Last updated:
By David Em
Nola & Luna Travel may earn a commission on purchases made from affiliate links on this page.

Around the world, there are charming and incredible castles that still stand today. Learn about the ones you need to add to your bucket list.

Aerial view of Hohenzollern Castle with fog behind it.

1. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

View of the Edinburgh Castle in Scotland from below.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Address: Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, United Kingdom

Edinburgh Castle is a historic medieval fortress that sits atop Castle Rock in the capital of Scotland. The people of the Iron Age built it due to the military potential.

Over the years, Edinburgh Castle has been home to the royal, a fortress for the military, and even a prison. The oldest building in the castle that still stands to this day is St. Margaret’s Chapel. It was built by King David I in honor of his mother, Queen Margaret, who was made a saint.

When you’re planning your visit, allocate at least 2 hours to see the highlights of the castle. Also, try to go in the afternoon because it’s the busiest between 9:30 AM and 11 AM. The castle is only closed on two days out of the year, December 25th and 26th for Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

2. Glamis Castle, Scotland

Glamis Castle in Scotland with trees in front and behind it.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Address: Forfar DD8 1RJ, United Kingdom

Glamis Castle has stood in the heart of Angus for more than 1,000 years. It was home to the Earls of Strathmore and Kinghorne, the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Macbeth and childhood home of H.M. Queen Elizabeth.

The architecture is stunning, and the garden outside of the castle is beautiful year-round. You can also enjoy morning coffee, lunch, or afternoon tea at Glamis Castle Kitchen.

3. Windsor Castle, England

View of Windsor Castle from a park.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Address: Windsor SL4 1NJ, United Kingdom

Windsor Castle was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century to protect the western approach to London. It covers 13 acres on the south bank of the River Thames. It’s the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world.

The castle has been home to 39 monarchs. Today, it’s where The Queen spends most of her private weekends. It’s also where State and official events occur.

When you visit the Windsor Castle, plan for spending half of your day there because you need to do The Long Walk, along with viewing the castle. The Long Walk is a 2.5-mile walk that extends from Windsor Castle to the Copper Horse Statue.

4. Dunnottar Castle, Scotland

Side view of Dunnottar Castle from a distance.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Address: Stonehaven AB39 2TL, United Kingdom

Dunnottar Castle sits on a rock that was formed 440 million years ago and overlooks the North Sea. Archaeologists have found evidence of Picts living on the sea stack dating back to the 3rd century.

Since then, the castle has endured Viking attacks, was used as a place of worship, and home to the royal and powerful. Before you visit the castle, read about the history and timeline of events, as it has a rich history.

It’s important to note that there are a lot of stairs, which can be physically challenging. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and prepare for rain, as the weather can be unpredictable.

5. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle and trees in front of it.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Address: Neuschwansteinstrabe 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace that’s one of the most famous in the world. Each year, 1.4 million people visit the magnificent castle. It has influenced books, games, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella’s Castle.

The castle sits above Hohenschwangau Castle, which is where Ludwig II of Bavaria spent his childhood. He was influenced by the romantic mountain scenery and the authentic style of the old German knights.

When you’re planning your visit, be aware that the summers can be busy. The lines can be long, as it can see 6,000 people per day in the summer. If that’s the only time you can go, it’s still worth seeing.

6. Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

Aerial view of Hohenzollern Castle with fog behind it.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Address: 72379 Burg Hohenzollern, Germany

Hohenzollern Castle is also known as the House of Hohenzollern. It sits on top of a mountain and overlooks the town of Hechingen. It’s also the ancestral seat of Prussian Kings, Princes of Hohenzollern, and German Emperors.

Although it dates back to 1061, the first time that it was mentioned as a castle was 1267. In 1423, it was destroyed, and in 1454, it was made bigger and stronger. Unfortunately, it was neglected and turned to ruins.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that King Frederick William IV decided to have the castle reconstructed and have the ancestral seat. He created what you see today. You can visit to admire the castle, view the artwork, crowns, and jewels.

7. Pena Palace, Portugal

Pena Palace surrounded be trees.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Address: Estrada da Pena, 2710-609 Sintra, Portugal

The Pena Palace is a Romanticist castle that sits on top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains above the town of Sintra. It’s less than an hour away from Lisbon, making it an easy drive and day trip.

Pena Palace has a colorful exterior. It has a vivid mix of yellow, red, and grey. It also has a blend of different architectural styles, including Romanesque Revival architecture and Neo-Manueline.

During your visit, you’ll see beautiful views, mythical statues, staterooms, stained-glass windows, and many paintings. When you’re planning your visit, the minimum amount of time to spend at Pena Palace should be an hour.

8. Chillon Castle, Switzerland

Chillon Castle on the water with mountains in the background.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Address: Avenue de Chillon 21, 1820 Veytaux, Switzerland

Chillon Castle is located on the eastern side of Lake Geneva and has a beautiful view of the Swiss mountains in the background. Since it sits on an island, the rocks are natural protection, and it has strategic positioning that controlled passage from the north to the south of Europe.

The castle dates back to the Bronze Age, and the history is broken up into the following three eras:

  • The Savoy Period, which was the 12th to 16th century.
  • The Bernese Period, which was the 16th to 18th century.
  • The Vaudois Period, which started in the 18th century.

There are several highlights that you need to see, including the underground rooms, courtyard, great halls, chapel, paintings, and murals.

9. Prague Castle, Czechia

Close-up of Prague Castle.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Address: Hradcany, 119 08 Prague 1, Czechia

Prague Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built in the 9th century and is currently the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. Before, it was the seat of the kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia.

The castle complex offers several famous buildings, including Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, and the Great South Tower of Cathedral.

Aside from buildings, be sure to check out Golden Lane, where defenders of the castle used to live.

10. Osaka Castle, Japan

Osaka Castle above a body of water.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, 540-0002, Japan

Osaka Castle is a Japanese castle that was built in the 1580s by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a Japanese daimyo and politician. It played a big role in the unification of Japan in the 16th century.

It consists of 8 floors, and each one offers a different exhibition to view. You’ll learn about the history of the castle, and on the top floor, you’ll find excellent views of the city.

One of the most beautiful features is the Nishinomaru Garden. It’s known for the beautiful lawns and cherry blossoms.

More resources:

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.

Portrait of David Em.

About David Em

David Em is the founder of Nola & Luna Travel, the destination for travel advice and inspiration. He launched Nola & Luna Travel to share expert advice, useful tips, unbiased reviews, and inspiration about destinations across the globe.