Ever dreamed of staying in a castle? Or touring through some of the most majestic castles in Europe?
Visiting castles is my passion and I love being able to help readers plan unforgettable castle vacations.
This site is the product of my many adventures, and I'm keen to make personal recommendations and help you get out there and enjoy a trip of a lifetime.
So, to work! There are three different routes to appreciating Europe's most beautiful castles, so I've split this page into three clear sections.
The first option for anyone looking to appreciate a castle whilst on vacation is to book a few days into castle hotel. Easy! Discover more about staying in a castle (or just scroll down for more).
Alternatively, if you're planning to visit one of the main European cities (such as London, Paris, Munich, Madrid or Edinburgh), it's very easy to book a guided castle tour for a day or two. These usually depart from your hotel- I've got recommendations. Discover more about daytrips and guided castle tours from European capitals.
Thirdly - and the most ambitious option! - is to plan your own self-drive itinerary for a trip dedicated to heritage and history.
I know that many the readers of my site are independent, adventurous travellers, and, if you're like them, I know you'll enjoy spending a few days on the road visiting amazing historic sites. Discover my advice for planning a self-drive itinerary.
Have a great trip - and send me a postcard!!
If you'd like to stay in a castle, there are plenty of hotels in Europe which'll allow you to do just that.
There's one thing I should bring up though before we begin, though. Do realise that very few hotels are housed in Medieval castles - this would be highly impractical, not to mention freezing cold.
Most castle hotels tend to be within 'follies' - c18th, c19th or c20th neo-gothic mansions, that were built to evoke the beauty of Medieval castles. These buildings have beauty and history in their own right - just bear in mind they won't date to the Middle Ages.
Of course, there's an exception to every rule, and I do know of one hotel in England in an authentic, bona-fide Medieval castle.
This is the (high end) Amberley Castle Hotel, a stone's throw from an achingly quaint English village of the same name. They even raise the drawbridge at night!
I've written individual pages on castle hotel recommendations. Check them out . . .
Ireland has a burgeoning market in luxury castle hotels, studded across the hills and dales of the Emerald Isle.
There's, of course, a fair selection of hotels around Dublin - including Clontarf Castle, a modernised, neo-gothic mansion that's enduringly popular with visitors.
If you're more interested in a rural weekend in a country pile, world-famous Ashford Castle is housed in 350 acres of countryside, good for all manner of hunting and fishing.
If you're coming to Europe from an international flight, you're almost certainly going to spend a few days in a capital city: London, Madrid, Paris, or perhaps to some of the hubs in Germany - such as Frankfurt or Munich.
It's extremely easy to organise day trips or short tours from any of these locations to discover some local castles.
There are loads of excellent castles to visit in London and its environs - and as a Londoner, I promise you an incredible time here ;)
Evidently, the Tower of London is unmissable - a brilliantly preserved piece of heritage in the heart of our city.
The other essential visit is within Greater London, to Henry VIII's Hampton Court Palace. I know it's not technically a castle but I can't imagine you'd pass up an opportunity to visit.
Both these sites are within the central zones of the London transport system and are accessible from any hotel. I recommend the London Pass if you'd like to benefit from discounted entry.
Slightly further from London - about 1hr each way in travel-time - you'll discover Windsor Castle (the Queen's official residence).
The other two castles I'd personally recommend in daytrip-distance would be storybook Bodiam Castle (you'll need your own car) and Dover Castle (so-called 'defender of England' - and perfectly possible to reach by train).
Munich is undoubtedly the European destination for anyone who's keen to get out there and visit some of the world's most famous castles.
It's the access-point for visiting the castles of 'Mad King Ludwig' - including the spectacular Neuschwanstein and his smaller palaces of Linderhof and Hohenschwangu.
There are a number of other castles in Bavaria which, although somewhat less accessible, have a more authentic flavour than King Ludwig's rather grand and chintzy creations.
If you're heading to Western Germany on vacation, I'd personally recommend Heidelberg Castle to be an excellent daytrip from either Frankfurt or Stuttgart.
To get the most pleasure from a visit though, I would recommend an overnight stay.
It is technically possible to visit Neuschwanstein Castle (one of the world's most famous sites) from either Frankfurt or Stuttgart, but Munich would be a much better stopping-off point.
I adore Madrid - it's seethingly busy at any hour of the day, and its compact size makes it easy to explore on foot.
The closest - and most famous Spanish castle - is undoubtedly the Alcazar of Segovia - the inspiration behind the Disneyworld Cinderella Castle, it's said.
Segovia is eminiently possible as a daytrip from Madrid, but has a number of interesting heritage sites (including the Roman aqueduct) so you could certainly spend a night there.
Many tourists from the USA fall head-over-heels for Medieval Toledo - it's not a castle, as such, but this is a gorgeous little town that's a common day-trip from Madrid, and fulfils many fantasies of Don Quixote.
If you're planning on coming to Europe and exploring some of our beautiful castles under your own steam, I promise you that you'll have a phenomenal trip.
My personal advice would be to fly into a European capital and enjoy the sights and sounds for a few days. You could take a couple of castle day-trips or private tours, as detailed above.
From there, I'd counsel that you should hire a car and embark on a road-trip.
Castles tend to be secreted away from main cities, and so the freedom of a car will free you from the restrictions of public transport.
This website is absolutely full of my favourite castles in Europe, so it'll hopefully help you glean some inspiration to compile an itinerary.
If you'd like some ideas, insider advice or tips on planning a castle vacation in Europe, I'd be delighted to help you plan your vacation itinerary.
Because itinerary planning is incredibly time consuming (and because I like to do a good job of it), I ask for payment for my services - but I do 100% guarantee your satisfaction with my work.
If you'd like me to plan an itinerary for your castle vacations, please just drop me a line and we can take it from there.
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