Many of these historic spectacular castles are authentic tourist attractions that every traveler should visit once in their life. They are also a source of inspiration for many great people; such as Walt Disney who was inspired by the Neuschwanstein Castle to create the famous logo for his amusement empire. Winning over every visitor, these spectacular castles are undoubtedly among the world’s most spectacular and should definitely be on your sightseeing to-do list. The Middle Age buildings will surprise you with their stunning beauty. They are rich with history and some of them are part of legends; such as the Castle Bran in Romania that is connected to the famous Dracula character.
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These are some of the most spectacular castles in the world, and they are all in Europe:
# 1 Lichtenstein Castle, Germany
The first on our list is the often known as the “fairy-tale castle of Württemberg“; the Lichtenstein Castle is a romantic castle built by Count Wilhelm of Württemberg to pay homage to medieval times. The name Lichtenstein translates as “shining stone”.
At the beginning of the 12th century, the Lords of Lichtenstein, owners of part of the land and controlled some important resources in the region. Their ancestral seat was a small fortress; but even so it was under constant attack from the citizens of the Free Imperial City of Reutlingen. Subsequently, the old castle went under attack twice, in 1311 and again in 1377.
Later on, towards the end of the 18th century, an important cultural movement in Europe: Romanticism. Bringing the reconstruction of the castle as a medieval knight’s castle maintaining the classic foundations. Today, this spectacular castles is still by the name of the Dukes of Urach and it is open for visitors via tours.
# 2 Alcazar de Segovia, Spain
Next on the list is a Spanish building dating back to Roman rule. The origins of the Alcazar of Segovia dictate, between 1124 and 1139, in a record in the documentation with the words “Castillo de Segovia” and “Alcaçar”; alluding to its status as a fortress and royal residence that will continue to this day.
The renovations and extensions in 1412 inspired all the visitors of the time. However, this unique castle has an adaptive history; going from being an institutional building to safeguard historical documentation, to a political monument and ending up as a State prison. Finally, in 1951 came the Board of Trustees of the Alcázar de Segovia, with the mission of regulating the use of the building and its annexes for the benefit of the cultural heritage; and fomenting the visiting of the museum.
# 3 Mont-Saint Michel, France
The Mont-Saint-Michel is overall a rocky island; and famous sanctuary in Manche département, Normandy région, France. Around its base are medieval walls and towers above which rise the buildings of the village with the ancient abbey crowning the mount. This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in France, Mont-Saint-Michel was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.
Moreover, the island was originally the Mont-Tombe; but became known as Mont-Saint-Michel in the 8th century when St. Aubert built an oratory there after having a vision of the archangel St. Michael. It rapidly became a pilgrimage center, and in 966 a Benedictine abbey was built there. In 1203 it was partly burned when King Philip II of France tried to capture the mount. On the other hand, if you are a truly fan of the Harry Potter movies and want to experience your own Hogwarts you must visit this castle. Being one of the most famous French landmarks, it was made more famous with the JK Rowling franchise, looking surprisingly similar!
# 4 Corvin Castle, Romania
The Corvin Castle, also known as Hunyadi Castle, is called by many “one of the seven wonders of Romania”. It is one of the largest castles in Europe, and an important piece of history for Romania. Corvin Castle is also the largest medieval castle in Transylvania, surpassing even the mysterious Bran Castle and the royal Peles Castle.
The Corvin family had a great impact on Europe during the 15th century given the legacy of stopping the Ottoman Empire from conquering Belgrade and advancing towards Western Europe. The Corvin family was also related to the family of Vlad the Impaler; but their story is one filled with conspiracies and betrayals.
As of today, the castle receives hundreds of tourists every day; many of them still unaware that they are treading in the footsteps of some of the most important rulers of medieval Europe.
# 5 Prague Castle, Czech Republic
The Prague Castle has, most likely, its foundations in 880 by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty. Actually, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the whole world; with an area of almost 70,000 m². A UNESCO World Heritage site, it consists of a large-scale composition of spectacular castles and ecclesiastical buildings of various architectural styles. Since the Velvet Revolution, Prague Castle has undergone significant and ongoing repairs and reconstructions.
Moreover, the Prague Castle is a castle complex and the official office of the President of the Czech Republic. The castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and even presidents of Czechoslovakia. Likewise, the Bohemian Crown Jewels are actually in a room that’s hide inside it.
# 6 Bran Castle, Transylvania
Certainly, we cannot talk about the castles in the world without mentioning Bran Castle. This castle is the one connected to Bram Stoker’s terrifying character Dracula. However, Bram Stoker never actually visited Romania. He depicted the imaginary Dracula’s castle based upon a description of Bran Castle that was available to him in turn-of-the-century Britain.
The origins of the castle date to the Teutonic Knights, a catholic religious order formed in Palestine; this group made a fortress in Bran (a Slavonic name meaning “gate”), before they were driven away from the area in 1226. The castle is now a museum for displaying Queen Marie’s collection of art and furniture. Likewise, tourists can see the interior on their own or by a tour!
# 7 Colomares Castle, Spain
Last but not least, the Castillo de Colomares is a monument, in the form of a castle, for the life and adventures of Christopher Columbus. Moreover, it was built near Benalmádena in Spain, between 1987 and 1994. Covering an overall area of 1,500 meters, it is the largest monument in the world to Columbus; but also contains the smallest church in the world!
With the sight of this fairy-tale like castle, it may not come to mind that the design is by the hands of a doctor. The design mixes various styles, which had a marked effect on Spanish culture: Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and Mudejar. And in addition, inside the structure you will be able to see a large book relating the details of the voyages of Columbus along with more carved references to the three main cultures of the period. Today it remains as one of most popular tourist attractions in Benalmádena.