Castles have often been depicted in fairy tales and in the big screen. Behind the walls of these castles, there are many hidden stories to be told. Here we will look at 7 of these structures worth visiting on your next adventure.
1. Chambord Castle, France
The Château de Chambord is a wonderful example of French Renaissance architecture. With 440 rooms, 283 fireplaces, 84 stairs and a moat, this castle is one of the most iconic buildings built by the French monarchy. King Francis I began work on a large castle in the Loire Valley in 1519 as a weekend hunting retreat. He said elements of the castle, such as the double spiral staircase, were inspired by Italian universals. Today’s castle hosts many events throughout the year so that visitors can experience the wonderful history of the Renaissance.
2. Bran Castle, Romania
Bran Castle is often shrouded in mystery due to its infamous connection to Dracula, read by Bram Stoker in 1897. The fort was built between 1377 and 1388. In the 15th century, the Black Panther Lord Vlad (Vlad Tepes ) ruled this territory and whispered about cruel methods of torture; this is how the castle inspired Stoker’s tale. After Transylvania became part of Romania, the city authorities handed over the castle to the current Romanian Queen Maria in recognition of the unification of the two regions of Transylvania and Wallachia.
3. Pena Palace, Portugal
Influenced by the Baroque style of the Middle East and Europe, the Pena Palace represents a vibrant lifestyle of 19th century Portuguese romanticism. King Ferdinand II designed the castle on the hill, which was originally intended to be a summer home for the Portuguese royal family. The castle is full of bright shadows that highlight different parts, such as the red bell tower. The Royal family used the Pena National Palace frequently until the 1910 revolution and the overthrow of the Portuguese monarchy. Today, visitors can navigate the hills to discover exactly what the Pena Palace is.
4. Castle del Monte, Italy
There are still many questions about why Castel del Monte was built. Emperor Frederick II ordered the building to be built in 1240, but he chose an unusual area in southern Italy known for its silence. Having built the castle, the emperor quickly left the castle, causing many to question his true intentions. The layout consists of an octagonal base, corner towers and eight trapezoidal rooms. The geometric design is believed to symbolize the Holy Grail and the relationship between humans and God, and has become one of the most visited attractions in southern Italy.
5. Alcazar of Segovia, Spain
The first fortress built in the area was built by the ancient Romans, and the Moors built a big fortress for the Almoravid dynasty, which ruled this area of Spain until the 11th century. It is believed that this fortress was made of wood, but most of it was destroyed and replaced by the current stone buildings, the castle retained its original name.
6. Dunrobin Castle, Scotland
The history of Dunrobin Castle dates back to the 13th century. It’s believed to have been built on an early medieval fortress and from the time of construction it was the seat of the Earls and Dukes of Sutherlands. The Chateau-style castle has 189 rooms and is the largest castle in the Northern Highlands. During WWI, it briefly functioned as a naval hospital and private boarding school, then it was rebuilt as a family home and opened to the public from April to October.
7. Castle of Good Hope, South Africa
The Castle of Good Hope was built by the Dutch East India Company in the late 17th century and is known as the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. A resupply site for ships sailing from the Netherlands to Indonesia, the castle is home to churches, shops, bakeries, and residences. There is even a large bell that is used to indicate the time and warn of danger.