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10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss

Discover the European magic, through its castles of the Middle Ages

Leopoldo Ágreda Lovera
11 min read
10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
European medieval castles.

Located in high places with an impressive architecture, which makes its visitors evoke fairy tales or stories of knights, kings and ancient cities; they are the European medieval castles, that if you decide to visit them, you will live an incomparable experience.

Medieval castles in Europe are sometimes located on high ground, from where they could control any approach, others are located in places that are difficult to access; while some castles can be seen within the same city.

As Europe is the cradle of this type of construction, in most of its countries, you will find different castles; especially in places like the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, among others.

What are the best medieval castles in Europe? Here we tell you

1. Edinburgh Castle

10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland.

Located in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was a military fortress and the residence of the Scottish kings.

During the Scottish War of Independence, Edinburgh Castle was one of the most important places, due to the fact that numerous battles took place on its grounds, where the city of Edinburgh would earn the respect of the English; thanks to his strength and courage in these struggles.

The castle is located on a high hill, a special strategic place, to avoid any enemy attack, both on the fortress and on the city.

Currently, the castle attracts millions of tourists a year, who end up knowing a little more about Scottish culture and history, as well as delighting their eyes, with excellent views of Edinburgh, from this impressive castle.

Some important places to see are:

  • The Royal Palace.

  • Their batteries and cannons.

  • The prison.

  • The National War Museum.

If you are wondering, how long does it take to visit Edinburgh Castle? We must tell you that you will need at least three hours, due to the large size of the castle and all the things it has to offer.

2. Alcazar of Segovia

10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
Alcazar of Segovia, Spain.

One of the essential and most important visits to do and see in Segovia is its imposing fortress, which was the residence of several Castilian kings, being an important point in its history.

In reality, the Alcázar of Segovia reminds one of a fairy tale fortress, or a story of knights and kings, thanks to the beauty of its architecture; that incorporates various styles, and brings together the tastes of several Spanish kings.

In addition to being the symbol of the beautiful city of Segovia, it was also considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The beauty of its exterior architecture, impresses the sight of the visitors of the city, with its tall towers crowned with pointed roofs, rising above the hill; making the alcázar an imposing and wonderful place.

Inside, the ceilings and walls of the fortress are decorated with different motifs and geometric figures.

It is said that it was the Alcázar de Segovia, the castle that inspired Walt Disney, to set the story of Snow White.

Within its walls you can visit incredible places, such as:

  • The Hall of Weapons - With an impressive collection of weapons and armor from various historical periods.

  • The Hall of the Kings : where the kings met with the Royal Court, adorned with statues and beautiful figures, on its ceilings and walls.

  • The Queen's Dressing Room and the King's Bedroom : showing intimate places of the Spanish kings.

To visit the Alcazar of Segovia, you should have about 40 to 45 minutes to discover most of its secrets in this iconic medieval castle in Europe.

3. Hohenwerfen Castle

10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria.

Located on top of a mountain laden with pine trees, with a snowy mountain behind; The Austrian Hohenwerfen Castle is one of the most beautiful medieval castles in the world.

The castle is an example of medieval constructions in Europe, functioning as a military fortress, and even as a prison; Today, it is one of the most beautiful meeting places in Salzburg, which also serves as the epicenter for social events.

The guided tour of the Hohenwerfen castle includes knowing the castle's kitchen, the chambers and rooms, the chambers that were part of the prison, including its torture room; next to a weapons room, with a vast collection of weapons, from various eras of history.

However, this is not all that you will appreciate in Hohenwerfen Castle, since this emblematic place is also the first falconry museum, with an exhibition of falcon flight, which you can enjoy in the castle courtyard.

If you want to know how long it takes to visit Hohenwerfen Castle , the guided tour lasts approximately 75 minutes.

4. Neuschwanstein Castle

10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany.

Although it is true that the German castle of Neuschwanstein is not from the Middle Ages, its appearance and the place where it was located, suggest that it was; being a must if you want to know the most important medieval castles in the world.

Its construction was ordered by Ludwig II of Bavaria, also known as the "Mad King", or the " Swan King", due to his predilection for the construction of medieval castles, together with his love of poetry and art from other times.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria was a late child of medieval times, as his life spanned the second half of the 19th century, ruling from 1864 to 1886, when the time of his death came.

Among the two hundred rooms that this castle has, the most important are:

  • The Throne Room : which is about 13 meters high.

  • Hall of the Cantons : An imposing hall of great size.

  • The King's bedroom : resting place of Ludwig II of Bavaria.

It is said that this castle was the main inspiration for Walt Disney, to set the Sleeping Beauty ; the castle is located in the German region of Bavaria, very close to Munich in the town of Füssen.

5. Cardona Fortress

10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
Cardona Fortress, Barcelona, Spain.

The city of Barcelona, in Spain, also has one of the most impressive medieval castles in Europe, with a history dating back to the 9th century, in the home of the Dukes of Cardona, the most important family in Spanish territory, after the Kings of Spain.

This fortress offers two different places in one, first the military fortress, which resisted the rule of the Bourbons in the 18th century; secondly, it is the chamber of the Collegiate Church of San Vicente, one of the most important religious places in the region.

The visit can be done in two ways, the traditional guided tour, or a theatrical visit, where through the animation of theatrical artists, they show you the history and legends of this iconic site.

La Torre de la Minyona is a must-see in the Cardona fortress, being a 9th-century tower twenty meters high.

The Collegiate Church of San Vicente, which in addition to being a symbol of the castle, is one of the best examples of the Romanesque period in Catalonia.

6. Prague Castle

10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
Prague Castle, Czech Republic.

The beautiful city of Prague began its foundation with the creation of its castle, which is a series of palaces and fortifications, where the residence of the Czech kings was located; which is currently the home of the country's presidency.

Its construction began in the 9th century of our era, and with its 570 meters high, together with its 45 hectares of extension, it is considered the largest ancient fortress in the world.

Prague Castle is part of a large complex, in which several places of interest can be visited, some of the most outstanding being the following:

  • The Prague Castle Gallery : a place where the majestic art collection of the Habsburg kings is kept; which has paintings from various artistic periods, highlighting the Renaissance and the Flemish school.

  • Old Royal Palace : created in the 12th century, the place where the presidents of this republic are sworn in.

  • St. Vitus Cathedral : considered the symbol of the city of Prague.

  • The Powder Tower : where the laboratory of the ancient Czech alchemists was established.

7. Windsor Castle

10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
Windsor Castle, England.

If Prague Castle is the largest ancient fortress, Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world.

Behind the walls of this imposing castle, live the British royalty, who continue to direct the destinies of this nation.

Its history begins in the 11th century, when the British King William I, "the Conqueror", ordered its construction, although it began to be the home of the British kings from the 12th century; when Enrique I, was the first king to inhabit this palace.

Today it is the place where Queen Elizabeth II lives, and one of the most interesting attractions, to see and do in London.

One of the most important points to see in Windsor Castle is the Chapel of St. George, the resting place of ten British monarchs, and a place that stands out for its striking beauty.

8. Antwerp Castle

10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
Antwerp Castle, Belgium.

With its construction of gray stones, along with its towers, walls and watchtowers, Antwerp Castle is not only the oldest building in this Belgian city, but also the archetypal image of the medieval castle.

Like other European cities, the castle of Antwerp was the center of the city, from where the construction of its streets and emblematic buildings began.

A particularity of this beautiful castle is the "Giant of Antwerp" or "Lange Wapper", a statue that stands at the entrance of the castle.

The legend of this character tells us that he was a man who frightened the inhabitants of the city; besides being the one in charge of allowing the passage to the interior of Antwerp.

From its interior you will be able to see the most interesting sunrises and sunsets in the entire city, in addition to operating within its walls, the National Maritime Museum of Antwerp.

9. Chillon Castle

10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
Chillon Castle, France.

France is a country with mysterious and beautiful castles, which adorn its national geography, reminding us that it is a place with a lot of history, in its time of warriors.

However, one of the most beautiful castles because of the place where it is located, is undoubtedly Chillon Castle.

The history of this fortress dates back to the time before Christ, since before the Romans entered Gallic territory, this place already functioned as a very important defensive point.

Its privileged position allows it to close or open the passage, towards the north of France or the south of Germany, as well as presenting an entrance to Italy, being this strategic value, which caused the construction of the Chillon castle.

Like other medieval castles, it was home to the noble family known as the House of Savoy, although it also functioned as a fortress and prison.

The construction of the castle could date back to the 10th century, however, the current state has been the result of numerous rehabilitation works, some of the most important being those carried out at the beginning of the 20th century.

Chillon Castle has been a major tourist attraction since the 19th century, when numerous poets and writers flocked to its grounds to be inspired by the idyllic landscape evoked by the fortress.

Currently, it attracts millions of tourists a year, being one of the main attractions to see and do in France.

10. Ponferrada Castle

10 medieval European castles that you cannot miss – Travel – WebMediums
Ponferrada Castle, Spain.

The castle of Ponferrada in the region of El Bierzo, in the Spanish province of León, is still considered today the castle of the Spanish Knights Templar.

This was the place where the mythical Order of the Temple was based in this province, until the disputes between the Templars and the kingdom of France; They made their owners cede to the brother of King Fernando IV, the Infante Felipe, the property of the castle of Ponferrada.

The castle that we appreciate today is the result of different restorations and extensions that have occurred throughout history; begun in the twelfth century, passing through the thirteenth century when the order expanded the spaces, and continuing the reforms between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

When visiting this iconic Spanish castle, you will have a guided tour, which will show you everything you need to know about the Ponferrada castle; the history of its construction, the passage of the Order of the Temple, the role of the order in the custody of the pilgrims of the passage of Santiago, among others.

In addition to this, in the month of July, a curious event happens in the castle of Ponferrada, it is the so-called night of the Templars.

During this night, the Knights Templar of Ponferrada hold a celebration, where in addition to accepting new members, a great banquet is held, becoming one of the most special nights in the city.

These have been some of the best medieval castles in Europe, so you can learn a little more about the history of these mysterious places full of magic and admiration.