As we reported recently, tourism is rising up like a phoenix from the ashes it was buried in by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Thankfully, we can smile again, and even more so, as many countries have began opening their borders to visitors and tourists, traveling can commence and we can get back to visiting our favourite places in the world.
One of the best parts of traveling is looking out for the places you might want to visit, and this has inspired us to give you bit by bit breathtaking suggestions of places you could visit when you eventually decide to. The second installment in our travel miniseries is to show you some of the world’s most beautiful medieval castles.
when you talk about castles, Europe is top on the list. All over Europe, you can find these strongholds, each with its unique features. Some perched on top of a mountain, others seemingly floating above water, and some nearly hidden by the leafy cover of trees, medieval castles had to be both functional, durable, and easy on the eyes, considering that many were an escape to the royalty and aristocrats.
Here are 10 of our favourite most beautiful medieval castles in the world.
Burghausen Castle, Germany
According to the Guinness World Record company, Burghausen Castle, with almost all of its medieval fortifications intact, is one of the largest castle complexes in the world and the longest.
Located near the borders of Germany and Austria, the castle offers unmatched views of its surroundings and is a must-see when visiting Lower Bavaria. The gallery within the castle has a collection of late Gothic panel paintings and a monumental picture cycle illustrating the history of Bavaria.
Malbork Castle, Poland
Malbork Castle also known as Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, is a 13th-century castle and fortress in Northern Poland. According to UNESCO, it is the largest castle in the world measured by land area. When it was completed in 1406, it was the largest brick castle in the world.
Due to a growing number of Teutonic Knights, the castle was expanded several times. At one point, it housed over 3000 knights. The castle was heavily damaged during World War II but since has been rebuilt and is open for visitors.
Trakai Island Castle, Lithuania
In a way similar to the Malbork Castle in Poland, the Trakai Island Castle in Lithuania is another unique, large brick castle in Eastern Europe. Located on Lake Galvė, the construction of the castle begun in the late 14th century and it was finished in the first decade of the 15th century.
Trakai was one of the main centers of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. It had great strategic importance but lost its military significance soon after the Battle of Grunwald when the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was defeated by the Lithuanian-Polish army. Before being heavily damaged and eventually fallen in despair in the 17th century, it also served as a prison. The castle was reconstructed in its original style in the 1960s.
Windsor Castle, England
Windsor Castle is one of the three official residences of the Queen, it is fully operational, and however, it is not exactly into receiving tourist. You can pass by though. The Windsor Castle is possibly one of the most famous castles in Europe is Windsor Castle in England, which has been the home of British royalty for centuries.
The castle is surrounded by 13 acres of land and features a fortification, a palace, and a small town. These days the castle features a Georgian and Victorian design based on a medieval structure, with Gothic features.
Castel del Monte, Italy
When you talk about a medieval castle, most people expect to see sharp towers rising above treetops when thinking of medieval castles. However, not all fit this description, and Castel del Monte in Southern Italy certainly stands out. The 13th-century citadel in Apulia region was built by Emperor Frederick II.
The ascetic and fortress-like octagon facade features elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and north European Cistercian Gothic. The castle sits on a rocky peak in a secluded forest, and the building itself has undergone no significant structural changes.
Vianden Castle, Luxembourg
In the small European country of Luxembourg, nestled between France, Germany, and Belgium, there is one of largest fortified castles west of the Rhine – Vianden Castle. Even though origins date back to the 10th century, the castle was steadily built over three centuries between the 11th and the 14th century.
Vianden Castle is an example of the Romanesque style with semi-circular arches, even though there were Gothic additions later on. Until the early 15th century it was the seat of prominent counts of Vianden with close connections to the Royal Family of France and the German imperial court.
Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria
The Hohenwerfen Castle in Austria is surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps and the adjacent Tennen Mountains. The medieval rock castle lies approximately 25 miles south of Salzburg. The fortification was built in the late 11th century to serve as a strategic bulwark on top of a 500 feet high rock. Over the years it served not only as a military base for Salzburg rulers but also as a residence and hunting retreat.
Later on, the castle gained an eerie reputation due to being used as a state prison. These days the castle complex serves as a museum showcasing the history and the vast weapons collection. An interesting addition is the Falconry Centre offering flight demonstrations using various birds of prey, including eagles, falcons, hawks, and vultures.
Corvin Castle, Romania
The castle was built at the very end of the middle Ages and is designed in a Gothic-Renaissance style. Corvin Castle is actually one of the largest castles in Europe.
The castle features a large and imposing structure with tall towers, bastions, an inner courtyard, diversely colored roofs, and rows of windows and balconies decorated with stone carvings. The Buzdugan Tower was built for defensive purposes. Its exterior is decorated with geometric elements. The castle served as a fortress until the mid-14th century when it became the residence of Transylvania’s voivode, Iancu de Hunedoara.
Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, France
Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg overlooks the Alsatian plain towards the Black Forest, and is perched in the Vosges Mountains. The first records of a castle built in the mountains date back to 1147. This medieval castle has all the necessary features for a fortress and the strategic location allowed for observation and fall-back, if necessary.
On the ground floor, it features the living quarters and the keep as well as the grand bastion. The first floor features more living quarters, and beautiful chambers are featured on the second floor. The castle is built from pink sandstone, which is widely featured in this region of France and Germany.
Karlštejn, Czech Republic
Karlštejn Castle in the Czech Republic served as a place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia, crown jewels, holy relics, and other royal treasures. It was built in the mid-14th century. The castle is located approximately 20 miles from Prague and is one of the most-visited attractions in the Czech Republic.
As intended in its purpose, the castle had an extensive defense system. Not only is it located on a hill, but it also features a moat, a drawbridge, a battlement, two gates, and a bastion. The architectural elements are mainly Gothic.