Europe’s Top 10 Most Beautiful Castles You NEED to Visit Before You Die
In the past, stunning castle structures were universal symbols of power and urbanity across the globe. The construction of a single castle required significant resources, labor, and cost, so it was natural to build them in areas where rulers resided or in densely populated cities. As a result, locations with beautiful castles have become valuable tourist destinations, offering a glimpse of various artifacts and signs of prosperity. Let’s now explore some of the world’s most beautiful castles, which have become valuable tourist attractions.
Nakhal Fort, Oman
Located in the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is one of the few peaceful countries in the Middle East, free from ethnic, religious, and political conflicts, civil wars, wars, and terrorism. As such, it is one of the few options for tourists heading to the Middle East. In Oman, you can find forts dating back to the Middle Ages scattered all over, with the most well-known being Nakhal Fort, located in the suburbs of the capital, Muscat. The fort is well-preserved and has become a popular tourist attraction.
Windsor Castle, United Kingdom
Located on the banks of the Thames in Berkshire County, England, Windsor Castle is one of the official residences of the British royal family and the headquarters of the Order of the Garter, which has the British king as its knight. Windsor Castle is also a popular tourist destination, with various shopping malls, charming restaurants, and interesting statues lining the alleys leading to the castle. By paying an admission fee, you can also enter inside Windsor Castle.
Red Fort, Delhi, India
Delhi, India, is home to countless tourist attractions. The Red Fort (Lal Qila), located close to the city center, is among the must-visit destinations in Delhi. Built in the 17th century, the Red Fort, with its red sandstone walls, represents the Mughal Empire. The fort is overwhelming and offers the pleasure of looking around the intricately carved decorations and structures.
Castel del Monte, Italy
Located in the central Abruzzo region of Italy, Castel del Monte is a medieval-style area named after Castellum Montis, which means ‘mountain fortress’ in Latin. Here, you can encounter various medieval structures, including the Church of San Marco Evangelista, in the fortified upper part of the Risotto. Next to the church, you can see a bell tower used as a watchtower until the 19th century. The economy of this area now largely depends on tourism.
Citadel of Qaitbay, Egypt
The Qaitbay Citadel in Egypt is a defensive fortress built in the 15th century. It is said to have been established in 1477 by Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf al-Din Qa’it Bay. The stones used to build a new lighthouse on the ruins of the famous Pharos Lighthouse were reused in the construction of the fortress. Although it was built as a strategic fortress, it is considered a beautiful castle, blending with the stunning sea view and shining like gold in the sunlight when seen from afar.
Hochosterwitz Castle, Austria
Considered a pride of Austria, Burghochosterwitz is located at the top of a stone mountain on the east side of the village, at an altitude of 525 feet above sea level. Hochosterwitz, a landmark of Carinthia, is a castle mentioned in records since 860 and has served as an impregnable fortress against invaders. On a clear day, you can see Hochosterwitz Castle from more than 30 km (18.6 miles) away with the naked eye.
Bojnice Castle, Slovakia
Bojnice Castle in Slovakia is considered one of the most beautiful structures in the country. Initially a wooden fortress, it was later replaced with a stone building. According to the will of the last castle lord, Count Pálffy, it is now a museum and wedding venue for the public. This place attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists yearly and has appeared as a backdrop in various films and dramas.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Unlike other castles built for military purposes, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany was built as a hobby by Ludwig II without any particular purpose. Built in the Romanesque style from 1869 to 1892, this castle is famous for its picturesque scenery that seems straight from a fairy tale. Since it was built for viewing purposes, the castle’s interior is also quite extravagant compared to other places.
Trakai Castle, Lithuania
Lithuania, which forms the Baltic trio along with Estonia and Latvia, is home to the Trakai Castle, said to have been built by Grand Duke Gediminas in the 13th century. The castle was heavily destroyed due to wars in the 17th century. Still, a major reconstruction plan began after the end of World War II, with most of the reconstruction work completed by 1961. The castle now serves as a landmark in Trakai, Lithuania.
Mont Saint-Michel, France
Mont Saint-Michel, a small island and city in the northwestern region of Normandy, France, is one of the most famous landmarks in the country. The name Mont Saint-Michel means St Michael’s Mount. Originally a secluded monastery, it was an impregnable fortress during the Hundred Years’ War against British forces. This UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts more than three million visitors annually, making it a global tourist destination.
By. Deok Soo Choi