Five spectacular castles you should visit in Europe

Dating back to ancient times, the fairytale castles of Europe are truly architectural gems filled with history, cultural legends and surrounded by mysteries.

Here’s my personal list of five spectacular European castles you should visit in a lifetime:

1. Neuschwanstein Castle – one of the most popular castles in Europe, it was built in the Romanesque Revival style, as a private refuge for Ludwig II of Bavaria. Soon after his death, the castle was opened to the public, in 1868, and you can still visit it today, in southwest Bavaria, Germany. It was featured in several movies and served as inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

2. Mont Saint Michel – it looks like a castle, but it’s actually an island commune in Normandy, France, crowned by the abbey church (about 70 meters above sea level). It remained unconquered during the Hundred Years’ War and was later turned into a prison by Louis XI. One of France’s most recognizable landmarks, Mont Saint-Michel is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Definitely, worths a visit.

3. Vianden Castle – built between the 11th and 14th centuries, this castle from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is one of the largest and most beautiful feudal residences of the romanesque and gothic periods in Europe.

4. Prague Castle – dating from the 9th century, this castle complex is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic. It is the largest ancient castle in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records, and one of the most prominent landmarks of Prague, with almost 2 million visitors a year.

5. Peles Castle – built between 1873 and 1914 by King Carol I, Peles is a fairytale castle in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, Romania. It became the world’s first castle fully powered by locally produced electricity, and it was used as a summer residence of Romania’s Royal Family, before being seized by the communists in 1947.

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