5 Great Cities for Castle-Hopping

Posted on May 7, 2010 by

Europe is a phalanx of royal castles and sprawling royal gardens, filled with aristocratic air and lavish imperial furnishings. For the castle lovers, it’s a treasure trove of historic palaces and stone castles. Each one of them has a story to tell and centuries of history behind them. The hardcore historic buffs can even splurge on luxurious castle hotel stays that allow them to peek into the lives of royal kings and queens. Here are some excellent cities to base yourself at and explore the surrounding castles:

1. Paris

The world knows it as the City of Romance, drawing in couples from all over the world with an attested romantic appeal. Its landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Musee du Lourve and Les Champs Elysees have given it a worldwide reputation. To witness the grandeur of its castles and lush royal gardens, you will have to venture to the outskirts. One of the most famous castles in the world – the Chateau de Versailles – is just 30 minutes by train from the city center. The Chateau de Breteil is 30km from Paris, famed for its sprawling gardens.

Latona Fountain by HarshLight.Flickr photo by HarshLight

2. Dublin

Blanketed with greenery and meadows, the suburbs of Dublin are scattered with royal castles, most of within short driving distance from the bustling city center. Take the Dublin Castle for example, what used to be the fortified seat of British ruling is now a majestic medieval castle opened to the public. Spoil yourself by checking in to extravagant castle hotels such as the Clontarf Castle and Malahide Castle.

DUBLIN CASTLE by infomatique.   Flickr photo by Infomatique

3. Munich

Although there aren’t any castles in the city of Munich, it is just kilometers away from world famous castles. The region of Bavaria is home to several world class castles, one of which is the fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein. It was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle and is the film setting for many movies. Other gorgeous royal palaces in the vicinity include the Linderhorf Palace and the Herrenchiemsee Palace.

Neuschwanstein by gerdragon.Flickr photo by Gerdragon

4. London

The capital of the world is packed to the brim with historical marvels, state-of-the-art museums and the trendiest people. Even within the city center, you’ll be dazzled by the age-old monuments and aristocratic castles. The Tower of London and Buckingham Palace receive millions of visits each year, wooing the crowd with its invaluable British royal jewelry collections. A 30-minute train ride away from London city center is the formidable Windsor Castle that radiates an equally majestic glow with its labyrinth of chambers and decks.

UK - Windsor - Windsor Castle: St. George's Chapel by wallyg.

Flickr photo by wallyg

5. Edinburgh

The city’s landmark, the Edinburgh Castle, has to be the most well-known castle in the world. Poised on a castle rock overlooking the entire city, the castle-fortress offers an impressive panorama of the city and its surrounding greenery. Get a chance to admire the Scottish Crown Jewels, St Margaret’s Chapel and the Stone of Destiny – all playing an important role in Scottish monarchy. For more castle action, head out to nearby Stirling to check out the Stirling Castle.

Edinburgh Castle from Princess Street Gardens by g.naharro.

Flickr photo by g.naharro

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the co-founder of WildJunket. As a professional travel writer with a special interest in offgrid destinations and adventure travel, she scours through the world in search for a slice of undiscovered paradise. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, swam with sealions in the Galapagos and built a school in Tanzania.

24 Responses to “5 Great Cities for Castle-Hopping”

  1. Dina VagabondQuest May 7, 2010 2:28 pm
    #

    So happy that you mentioned the Neuschwanstein! It's a gorgeous castle indeed, and the setting is stunning! And Versailles is definitely one of top favourite castles. Good picks! Now I have to go to the rest 3 places!

  2. JoAnna May 8, 2010 2:02 am
    #

    I know people say you can be “castled out” after awhile, but I LOVE castles! I think it’s a lot of fun to wander the hallways, gawk at the high ceilings, get lost on the little map they give you at the door. I really need to get back to Europe and spend more time exploring the medieval side of things!

    • admin May 9, 2010 6:19 pm
      #

      JoAnna, yeh me too! Castles are special to me as well, they represent something that is so far off from where I come from. I can’t wait to stay in a castle hotel. ;)

  3. Debbie Beardsley March 18, 2011 2:20 am
    #

    This was a great post. I love castles and can not get enough of them! I love Neuschwanstein from the outside but think Linderhof is my favorite, so far.

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