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50 destinations with castle

The most beautiful castles in the world

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Neuschwanstein, the castle with capital letters
Neuschwanstein

1Neuschwanstein, the castle with capital letters

Castles, fortresses and a thousand medieval stories intersect in the geography of old Europeand the odd point of the globe. Today they open their doors and show their secrets without fear of being conquered, because they are the ones who conquer all who step on them. We give with 50 of them and we set up a circuit for which it is not essential horse and armor , but recommended. These are some of the most beautiful castles in the world.

Liechtenstein Castle, Baden-Württemberg (Germany)

2Liechtenstein Castle, Baden-Württemberg (Germany)

Built on the remains of a medieval fortress, the castle of Liechtenstein stands with its elegant circular tower and its thin profile on the Swabian Mountains, about 40 kilometers from the city of  Stuttgart. In a rather eclectic style with Gothic reminiscences, this idyllic castle was inspired by the Liechtenstein chivalric novel, an obsession of Count  Wilhelm von Württemberg, who in 1842 asked his chief architect to work the miracle and yes he did, because the effect is total.

Alcázar de Segovia, Segovia (Spain)

3Alcázar de Segovia, Segovia (Spain)

At the confluence of the rivers Eresma and Clamores rises the Alcazar of Segovia, stone history of Spain. It was built on the remains of an Arab fortification after the reconquest of the city by Alfonso VI de León. Its shapes are adapted to the hill that sustains it, with the tower of homage or tower of Juan II as one of the most significant elements of the whole and place where King Alfonso X was when this part of the castle collapsed, without the wise I got hurt. Later it was propped up and enriched by later monarchs. The fortress served more as a prison, until Carlos III founded the Royal College of Artillery in its interior. The gossips say that his profile inspired the Disney industry the shape of Cinderella’s castle. Normal, it is one of the most beautiful castles in Spain.

Bodiam Castle, East Sussex (United Kingdom)

4Bodiam Castle, East Sussex (United Kingdom)

Your appearance should not deceive you, because the castle of Bodiam is not as impregnable as it paints. Yes, it has ditches watered by the lakes of this part of  East Sussex County and its tall towers have a great perspective, but its walls are barely a few centimeters thick. Raised during the Hundred Years War between England and France, it was never attacked, because the battles were always far from their walls, which may not have endured, although we will never know.

Castle of Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany)

5Castle of Eltz, Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany)

This castle did not belong to a single family but to a few, because that was what was common during the Middle Ages in the current German region of Rhineland-Palatinate, in what is known as Ganerbenburg, that is, it belongs to a community of heirs. Thus, up to 100 members of different families came to occupy more than 100 rooms of the castle of Eltz, which as the decades passed added new towers and wings named after him, such as the Rodendorf house, the Rübenach house or the Kempenich houses. Two of the three parties are open to the public today, the third is still used by members of the Kempenich family.

Château de Chambord, Loire Valley (France)

6Château de Chambord, Loire Valley (France)

It was only 72 days that Francisco I spent in the Château de Chambord, only the keep and one of the wings of this stone giant were finished to his death. Even so, it is the king who promoted it today that shines in each emblem of this ‘small’ hunting lodge erected in the middle of the French Renaissance, but of an unquestionable medieval appearance. The chronicles say that the project went hand in hand with the successive kings of France, and the modest hunting lodge reached mastodónticas dimensions, adding at the end 365 chimneys, 84 stairs or 56 meters high and a double helix staircase that the tradition awarded to a design by Leonardo da Vinci. All raised in tufa, the calcareous stone with which a great part of the castles of the Loire Valley has been raised with such diverse results.

Castel Nuovo, Naples (Italy)

7Castel Nuovo, Naples (Italy)

Better known as the Angevin tower, the New Castle of Naples was born under the rule of the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily by Charles Ide Anjou, King of France. Although the city already owned two castles, the dell’Ovo and the Castel Capuano, it was built under the supervision of the French architect  Pierre de Chaule in 1273 with Naples as the capital of the kingdom. Its gate in the shape of a monumental arch would be erected when the kingdom passed into the hands of Aragon, at the dawn of the 15th century. Today reigns over the bay of the chaotic city by antonomasia, with its profile as a component of the special beauty of the city of Naples.

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland (United Kingdom)

8Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland (United Kingdom)

Elevated to postcard status, Eilean Donan Castle dominates this watery Scottish enclave from the 13th century, when it was built on an even older defensive tower to defend the Kintail lands. And it fulfilled its mission until in 1719 it was reduced to ruins during a Jacobite uprising. At the beginning of the 20th century, Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap decided to restore its medieval splendor, said and done. Today its bridge and its profile over Lake Duich is one of the most beautiful in Scotland. In addition, like any castle that boasts, has a ghost, what happenings of life is Spanish. An army captain sent by the King of Spain to help the Scots and incidentally annoy the English in the war that they maintained in the mid-eighteenth century, the aforementioned Jacobite uprising. In a turn of events, the English managed to surround the fortress, which was abandoned by all, Scottish and Spanish, losing the battle of Glen Shiel, except for the aforementioned captain, who stayed until the end, perishing between the walls of the castle and it is his ghost, something playful, that creates some confusion among the visitors of the castle whom he increses during the routes through the fortress, to all except the Spaniards, whom he leaves alone. Morriña, we suppose.

Château de Azay-le-Rideau, Loire Valley (France)

9Château de Azay-le-Rideau, Loire Valley (France)

Azay-le-Rideau looks like a small ship of stone adrift. Its dimensions are more modest than the castles raised by royal hands, but not for that reason his pageantry was smaller during his golden days. It was the financier Gilles Berthelot, royal treasurer and mayor of Tours, who ordered it built in 1518 and his wife, the legitimate owner of the group by inheritance, who gave him his charming style when supervising the works. They enjoyed it very much until the shadow of the embezzlement of the public treasury fell on him, so the minister was forced to flee. So his ‘castillito’ passed from hand to hand until the state acquired it and opened it to the public. From May to September, the pomp and circumstance of yesteryear come back to him in the form of magnificent games of light and thematic celebrations.

Castle of Gaillard, Normandy (France)

10Castle of Gaillard, Normandy (France)

Built as a fort in the twelfth century, Gaillard Castle, in Gallant Castilian, was sponsored by Richard the Lionheart in Norman lands, at that time in possession of the King of England as Duke of Normandy. It was he who christened the castle upon seeing it concluded and exclaimed: “ah, what a dashing castle!”, All in clear French. It was to the death of the brave king when his brother, Juan sin Tierra, went on to show off the dukedom and lose it before the troops of King Felipe Augusto, first friend and then archenemy of Ricardo. The legend says that the French army finally entered the fortress after several years of siege by a tiny window that King John ordered to be built in the chapel, losing the English crown with it the dukedom of Normandy in 1204. Just today its ruins give us an idea of ​​the ‘gallant’ that once was this fortress, but its charming halo and the certainty that Ricardo walked around its towers give it enough packaging to make it one of our favorite castles.

Castle of Himeji, Himeji (Japan)

11Castle of Himeji, Himeji (Japan)

The castle of the white heron is the most poetic appellation of the Himeji castle, a glorious vestige of medieval Japan. Declared a World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle forms the triad of Japanese fortifications, next to the castles of Matsumoto and Kumamoto, which in the 21st century remind the country of its feudal past, this being the most visited of all Japan, and many occasions scene of televising and cinematographic productions. Located on a promontory, its silhouette can be seen from any point in the city of Himeji, 47 kilometers from urban Kobe.

Corfe Castle, England (United Kingdom)

12Corfe Castle, England (United Kingdom)

The remains of Corfe Castle are cut out on top of a hill in the English county of Dorset. In it two sieges took place during the English Civil War, in which a lady defended the royalist interests in front of parliamentarians in the absence of her husband Sir John Bankes, going down in history as the ‘brave lady Mary’. Finally, the betrayal of one of Lady Mary’s men caused the castle to fall in 1646, and be destroyed so that it would no longer be used as a monarchical stronghold. As a curious fact, in it several shots were shot for the Disney film The Novice Witch, where an army of armor faced a Nazi detachment during World War II, in what can be considered as a new version of the facts.

Schoenbuehel Castle, Schoenbuehel (Austria)

13Schoenbuehel Castle, Schoenbuehel (Austria)

Overlooking the Danube, the castle of Schoenbuehel embellishes with its simplicity this part of Lower Austria. Around this medieval fortress, which rises above an ancient Roman defensive complex, the charming village that grew up under its protection is taken down. During the Ottoman invasion of Austria, its location played a great role in the struggle for the safeguard of Vienna.

Castle of Predjama, Inner Carniola (Slovenia)

14Castle of Predjama, Inner Carniola (Slovenia)

As an operatic scenario stands the Predjama castle over the Postojna caves in Slovenia. This fort raised in 1275 under a German star and with the name of Luegg was the scene of bloody sieges in which the besieged pulled the passages of the castle to store ammunition and communicate with other points of the network of natural passages that the mountain keeps. It was the case of a gentleman named  Erazem Lueger, who allied himself with the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus against the Habsburgs in the fifteenth century. During the siege of his castle, Erazem Lueger one morning he threw the troops from their cherries walls, dislodging the entire attacking force when they did not know how he had achieved them. However, with the betrayal of a servant of the hero, he was attacked at the exit of the grottos of the fortification that gave to a nearby town. Today the castle and its secret caves can be covered entirely.

Château de Chillon, Veytaux (Switzerland)

15Château de Chillon, Veytaux (Switzerland)

Listed as a historical monument in SwitzerlandChillon Castle occupies a site that was already used since the Bronze Age as a defensive enclave, being fortified by the Romans and occupied successively by the House of Savoy and later by the Bernese, inspired by the nineteenth century romantic poet Lord Byron the odd verse. Its effigy is recognizable throughout the country, with its tall towers of up to 25 meters high which make up one of the most beautiful views of Lake Geneva.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria (Germany)

16Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria (Germany)

Wagner operas and castles worthy of Disneyland were the favorite pastimes of Ludwig II of Bavaria. The crazy king was called, although he thought that his destiny was to live to enlarge Germany with art. We are glad that his great ‘madness’ called Neuschwanstein rises majestically over the green forests of Bavaria. A macrocomplex of golds and enamels inspired by past times and works of Wagner that rose up before a whirlwind of scandals in nineteenth-century Bavaria and gave refuge to the misunderstood king. An authentic pilgrimage live this fairy-tale castle today, whose doors were opened to the public only seven weeks after Luis II died in circumstances still unsolved.

Castle of Qal'at Ibn Ma'n, Palmyra (Syria)

17Castle of Qal? At Ibn Ma? N, Palmyra (Syria)

Everyone who visits the Nabatean city of Palmyra is amazed by its marbles of classic invoice, however not all the history of the city is reduced to its splendid urban framework, because on a large mound dominates the ruins a castle of Arabic invoice probably raised by the Mamluks in the thirteenth century. The curious thing about him is that he is known by more than one name among the locals who repeat with an accent Qal’at Ibn Ma’nQal’at Faḫr ad-Dīn al-Ma’nīQal’at Tadmur and Qaṣr Ibn Ma’n.

Castle of Loarre, Huesca (Spain)

18Castle of Loarre, Huesca (Spain)

Very close we have exceptional landscapes that fascinate beyond our borders much more than they do inside. In order to break that kind of Murphy’s law we claim the castle of Loarre, its towers, walls and walls erected by King Sancho de Navarra in the eleventh century, which make it such a perfect set in form that was chosen by the director Ridley Scott as one of the locations of his epic film The Kingdom of Heaven and he is not the only one who has chosen it as a great bet, because it is agreed that Isabel the Catholic herself can be seen walking among its walls.

Frederiksborg Castle, Hillerod (Denmark)

19Frederiksborg Castle, Hillerod (Denmark)

Although a devastating fire reduced it almost to ashes, Frederiksborg Castle today stands proud as a symbol of the great royal power that was Denmark. Built during the Renaissance by the star of the architecture of the time, Hans van Steenwinckel the Old, its slender forms and its exposed brick did nothing but advance the Scandinavian minimalist style. Similarly, it rises in a place worthy of the northern lands, on the confluence of three islets of Lake Slotssø.

Malbork Castle, Malbork (Poland)

20Malbork Castle, Malbork (Poland)

In a perfect Gothic style of Baltic influences, the castle of Malbork is its pretty profile the largest brick fortification in the world. It was built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order as a defensive complex in the 13th century. Under the Prussian government of this part of Poland the order charged tolls in the amber trade of the Nogat River. In the period in which the city joined the Hanseatic League, the castle hosted many of its meetings. And what had stood for centuries was destroyed by almost 50% during World War II. Today is one of the most beautiful castles of the Old Continent.

Citadel of Arg-é Bam, Kermán (Iran)

21Citadel of Arg-é Bam, Kermán (Iran)

The citadel of Arg-é Bam was the largest adobe structure in the world, which included a great fortress raised successively in the same place in 500 BC and that for centuries was an important part of the Silk Road in its path for the current Iran and we said it was because this magnificent set was reduced to rubble after a devastating earthquake in 2003. It was such a blow that the then president, Mohammad Khatami, proclaimed to the four winds that the citadel would be rebuilt.

Château de Josselin, Brittany (France)

22Château de Josselin, Brittany (France)

On the site of an old fortress of the tenth century, stands the current château de Josselin, the first building of Renaissance air of France. John II of Rohan had French artists brought to Italy to design a castle and palace in the style of the moment, for which he fused the French style with the innovations of Italy in art. In gratitude to Anne of Brittany, who had managed to return the square, after centuries before it was taken from the Rohan family, John filled the castle with emblems of the princess. A few decades later, Cardinal Richelieu he dismantled a few towers to reduce the power of the enemies of the crown, that is, at that time, the house of Rohan. It was turned into a prison during the French Revolution. Today it is the home of the current Duke of Rohan, so that on visits to the castle you can only see the exterior and some rooms on the first floor, which treasure pieces of the history of France in the form of statues, regal gifts and furniture.

Prague Castle, Prague (Czech Republic)

23Prague Castle, Prague (Czech Republic)

With the castle of Prague the records arrive, because it is the biggest Gothic fortress in the world. Normal if inside they put a cathedral, but let’s go in parts. It was built in the ninth century as the residence of the kings of Bohemia. As the years passed, the buildings were added to its set, namely, the San Vito cathedral, the convent of San Jorge, the basilica of San Jorge and the Royal Palace, with stables and other facilities, today some of them They house museums and magnificent art galleries. Each one of its corners is a festival of styles, since the Gothic, the Renaissance and the Baroque coexist in itwhat brothers While all that was rising, the complex served as a residence in addition to the kings of Bohemia, the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and the presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic successively. If you go, among the many points of interest you must see, do not miss the splendor of the jewels of the crown of Bohemia. 

Gondar Castle, Amhara (Ethiopia)

24Gondar Castle, Amhara (Ethiopia)

Gondar is the fruit of the miscelania that occurred in this part of Ethiopia during his glorious empire. It is unusual to talk about castles in Africa and much less to make it a city full of them. That is the case of Gondar, the capital of the Ethiopian Empire, which back in 1632 began to emerge from the earth in the form of a fortified city. Emperor Alam Sagaz, tired of the nomadic routes, erected a stone castle to take refuge during the rainy season. Starting point to fill all castles with Portuguese styles by the passage of these and Indians thanks to artisans from Goa. All this raised in a small citadel that came to be called  Fasil Ghebi. The passage of the centuries made the city and the emperors lose strength, falling into a slight oblivion until the Unesco added Gondar to its list of essentials. As an anecdote, JRR Tolkien was inspired by Gondar to create the city of Gondor, in Elvish the city of stone, in his great work The Lord of the Rings.

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Alsace (France)

25Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg, Alsace (France)

The château du Haut-Koenigsbourg perched on Mount Stophanberch, natural site that once was donated by Charlemagne to the abbey of Saint-Denis, served during the second half of the fifteenth century as a refuge for so -called gentlemen bandits,  knights brigands, who ravaged the Alsace region until a small army ended their misdeeds. Today, the medieval profile of the castle is seen majestically from all points of the surrounding valley and is a prime tourist enclave.

Castello de Sant'Angelo, Rome (Italy)

26Castello de Sant’Angelo, Rome (Italy)

The castello of Sant’Angelo, where Pope Clement VII took refuge from the sack of Rome in 1527, before being a fortress, was the mausoleum of the emperor Hadrian. The name of the castle of Sant ‘Angelo comes from the appearance of the archangel San Miguel sheathing his sword on the top of the castle announcing the end of the epidemic of plague that had devastated the city in the year 590. Hence, a statue in his honor stands on top of the castle. Your profile is part of our 100 favorite things in Rome.

Hohenwerfen Castle, Hochkönig (Austria)

27Hohenwerfen Castle, Hochkönig (Austria)

Half-brother of Salzburg’s Hohensalzburg Castle, Hohenwerfen Castle stands in the central part of the so-called Berchtesgaden Alps, in Austria. Despite its military origin, with the War of the German Peasants, which took place in 1525, the castle went from being a residential fort and hunting ground to occasional prison with a gloomy reputation. From high positions to ordinary citizens they found their bones in him. With the arrival of the 20th century, a fire almost reduced it to ashes, but a reliable governmental restoration caused it to be recovered and used as a playground for the Austrian Civil Guard. Today is a museum with a large agenda of recreational activities for all tastes and ages.

Castle of Trim, Trim (Ireland)

28Castle of Trim, Trim (Ireland)

The castle complex of Trim is about 30,000 square meters, which makes it the largest fortified complex in Ireland. Hugo de Lacy and his son Walter erected it at the dawn of the thirteenth century between the city of Trim and that of Dublin. Today, there are many Norman remains and buildings that have reached us from this once magnificent fort.

Fortress of Mehrangarh, Rajasthan (India)

29Fortress of Mehrangarh, Rajasthan (India)

What castle stands vigilant over the city of Jodhpur, the blue city, the fortress of Mehrangarh. Its 36 meters high, added to the 125 meters of the hill, make the fort have a panoramic difficult to forget, the same as its tenants had when a clean cannon defended the city from the attacks. Its thick walls, 21 meters wide, today keep a museum specialized in miniatures, musical instruments, mobility and textile art.

Castle of Torrechiara, Parma (Italy)

30Castle of Torrechiara, Parma (Italy)

Overlooking the Apennines, the castle of Torrechiara, in the city of Langport, fits perfectly into the concept of landscape with castle. It was Pier Maria Rossi II, Count of San Secondo, who wanted to erect this beautiful castle in 1448 with the aim of serving as a strong defensive and, why not, also as a palace. Thus its crenellated towers join in a circuit that runs through the entire wall and leaves the so-called Patio de Honor in the center. Among its rooms include the gold room, the shield or the branches, named for its delicate mural decoration. A local legend says that on full moon nights, a lady He walks through the towers of the castle offering kisses to men who are in his way and achieve their wishes.

Ashford Castle, Cong (Ireland)

31Ashford Castle, Cong (Ireland)

In the deepest of green Ireland, at the edge of a lake rises Ashford Castle, a castle that sinks its roots, walls and towers in the thirteenth century. Since 1852 it served as a summer holiday for the Guinness family, who expanded it to their liking and where they let themselves be carried away by summer until they sold it in 1945 and became a hotel. Here John Ford shot The Quiet Man and hosted characters such as Oscar WildeGeorge Harrison or Brad Pitt. In addition, it has another permanent tenant, in the oldest part of the castle there are few who have seen a lady dressed in the medieval way strolling happily. A castle ‘completito’.

Bamburgh Castle, England (United Kingdom)

32Bamburgh Castle, England (United Kingdom)

During World War II one of the corvettes of the British Royal Navy took its name, perhaps to fly its glorious past. Thus, the castle of Bamburgh, in the county of Northumberland, was an impregnable fortress during the siege to which the city was subdued by King William II in 1095 during a revolt under the auspices of the Earl of Northumberland, and which only ended under threat of the king to blind him, because at the end of the fight it was the duchess who continued with the defense of the square. As a curious fact, it was the first English castle that experienced the strength of the artillery during the War of the Two Roses.

Bran Castle, Transylvania (Romania)

33Bran Castle, Transylvania (Romania)

To drop by Transilvania is to let itself fall by the land of the Count Drácula and its castles, since this one is inspired by one of its national heroes, Vlad Tepes, the empalador. Among the stories for not sleeping that tell about Vlad Draculea, they say that when he executed his enemies, he ordered his blood to be collected in a bowl, from which he dipped bread while eating, hence his fame. The fangs would later join the story. The most significant of the castles on the route is Bran, a fortress built by knights of the Teutonic order in the thirteenth century and in which, curiously, the famous count spent only a couple of days locked in it.

Matsumoto Castle, Nagano (Japan)

34Matsumoto Castle, Nagano (Japan)

If the castle of Himeji is the white heron, the castle of Matsumoto is that of the crow, because of its intense black color. Built in the Sengoku era, around the year 1594, its high walls and moat served as defense during the battle of Sekigahara in which peace was established in the area. With the Meiji Restoration it was auctioned and it was about to be dismantled. However, it was restored and today shines in the city of Matsumoto as one of the three most famous castles in Japan.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland (United Kingdom)

35Edinburgh Castle, Scotland (United Kingdom)

On a rock of volcanic origin and visible from all points of the beautiful Edinburgh, the medieval castle of the city raises passions for centuries. To access it you have to climb the steep Castlehill through the Old City until you reach its domains, where it highlights its large door, its intricate complex and, of course, its ‘views’. One of the rooms that most interest awakens among visitors is the chapel of Santa Margarita, the oldest room in the castle and by tando the long-lived construction of Edinburgh. Among the treasures that the castle keeps, the Honors of Scotland stand out with their own light, or what is the same, the jewels of the crown, and the Stone of Destiny, on which the kings of Scotland were anointed and which was stolen by the English in 1296, until 700 years later London decided to return it to its legitimate home.

Château de Chenonceaux, Loire Valley (France)

36Château de Chenonceaux, Loire Valley (France)

At the height of the Renaissance and the pageantry of the court of Francisco I the Loire Valleywas filled with palaces and castles. In the one of Chenonceaux, which rises literally on the river Cher, Henry II entertained his beautiful mistress Diana de Poitiers, by the time the king died his gallant wife Catherine de Medicis took possession of the property by avenging herself in her own way from the competitor, there, today it is also known as the castle of the ladies. Today the area is one of the largest tourist attractions in France, framed within the route of the castles of the favorites of the kings of France, perfect to travel by car, bike or river cruise.

Swallow's Nest Castle, Yalta (Ukraine)

37Swallow’s Nest Castle, Yalta (Ukraine)

It is said that the Swallow’s Nest castle, or swallow’s nest, was built by an old tycoon as a gift to his young lover, a ballet dancer. The ‘castillito’, which rises on a cliff in Yalta and overlooks the Black Sea, was erected by the Russian architect  Leonid Sherwood between 1911 and 1912.

Reichsburg Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany)

38Reichsburg Castle, Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany)

In the Moselle valley, the castle of Reichsburg, or castle of Cochem as it is also known, observes with pomp and circumstance the passage of the centuries from the tenth century on top of a hill. The French troops dethroned it when King Sol sent armies through this area of ​​the Rhine and Moselle valleys and later, again the French troops, this time under the orders of the Grand Corso, occupied it during the Napoleonic wars. In the 19th century a Prussian industrialist took it under his protection and restored its Gothic splendor, with tall pointed towers and magnificent wooden and stone interiors full of coats of arms and shields.

Castle of Tarasp, Tarasp (Switzerland)

39Castle of Tarasp, Tarasp (Switzerland)

The castle of Tarasp, in Switzerland, was built in the 11th century on a mound, which raised it to a point where the views over the mountains that surround it allowed total surveillance. Today it seems that its halls have barely passed time thanks to the great recovery that took place in the twentieth century.

Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon (Portugal)

40Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon (Portugal)

The Castelo de São Jorge was chosen throughout the history of the city as a bulwark by the different peoples that passed through it, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans and Arabs. The latter were expelled by King Alfonso Henriquez, who reconquered the city in 1147. Then the fortress, which was known as castelo dos mouros , was used as a royal residence until 1511, the year in which Manuel I decided to move to the Palacio da Ribeira. Survivor of the great earthquake that devastated the city, today is one of the best spots from which to admire Lisbon in all its splendor and one of its 100 charms.

Hochosterwitz Castle, Carinthia (Austria)

41Hochosterwitz Castle, Carinthia (Austria)

On the rock Osterwitz, whose spelling and denomination has changed throughout its history to take its current name, stands the Hochosterwitz castle, a medieval fortification with ‘views’ to the Austrian region of Carinthia. Its defensive origins gradually gave way to more ludic uses and with the regency of Duke Bernardo, its rooms were filled with the best minstrels from Germany in a court paid to art. However, it was not an obstacle for the bulk of the battles of the last millennium to develop in front of its walls. Today is a tourist attraction and an exceptional viewpoint.

Stalker Castle, Scotland (United Kingdom)

42Stalker Castle, Scotland (United Kingdom)

On the rock of the Cormorants, on the west coast of Scotland, rises Stalker Castle, an evocative medieval fortress as a tower, very Scottish, which due to its difficult access is a reward for the one who waits for the tide of Lake Laich to reach it on a journey that must be done with great caution for its dangerousness. Its state of conservation is exceptional for a complex built in 1320 , perhaps because its visitors are few, fortunate that in addition to enjoying its profile trimmed by the Scottish ‘paisajazo’ have touched its walls. Look for it in The Immortals and in Monty Pythony the Holy Grail, where it appears as one more star of the films.

Château de Amboise, Loire Valley (France)

43Château de Amboise, Loire Valley (France)

Leonardo da Vinci walked his gear, including La Gioconda, through the court of the castle of Amboise back in 1516. The medieval castle had recently left behind its defensive habits to become a small Renaissance palace under the auspices of the kings Carlos VIII, Luis XII and, above all, Francisco I, the most Renaissance of all. It was such an imprint that left that time in the population that every year, from the end of June to the beginning of September, the court of Francisco I is recreated in a festival. If you drop by here, pay your respects to Leonardo, as the ashes of genius rest in the Saint Hubert chapel of the castle, since the inventor of sfumato death surprised him here, according to the legend in the arms of the king himself.

Castle of Almodóvar del Río, Córdoba (Spain)

44Castle of Almodóvar del Río, Córdoba (Spain)

The castle of Almodóvar del Río has its roots in the Roman era of the Iberian Peninsula, with a Roman fort on the site where the Berber fortification stands today. They were the ones who in the year 740 raised the castle which they baptized with the name of Al-Mudawwar, round or safe, according to the interpretations. To be part of the mythical Cordoba and the taifas of Carmona and Seville, in 1240 Fernando III of Castile claimed it for himself and for his crown. Over the years it was passed from hand to hand until it became a manor with the people who watch. Thus its architecture presents elements of the different cultures that passed through it.

Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg (Germany)

45Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Württemberg (Germany)

Pertaining to the powerful dynasty of the Hohenzollern, the castle that adopts its surname and that rises to the sky on a mount of 855 meters near the city of Hechingen, in the German province of  Baden-Wurtemberg. The chronicles place the fortification on its site in the tenth century, but the current castle was erected by Frederick William IV of Prussia between 1846 and 1867 by the architect Friedrich August Stühler strongly influenced by the English Gothic architecture and by the castles of the Loire Valley . Between the treasures that the castle keeps, they emphasize a letter of George Washingtonthanking the Hohenzollern house for its help in the American War of Independence and the crown of William II.

Château de Chaumont, Loire Valley (France)

46Château de Chaumont, Loire Valley (France)

Primitive medieval fortress, this castle retained its charming Gothic air despite being razed by order of King Louis XI of France for the efforts of the Amboise family that raised it again in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. But this little château is famous today because the two most powerful ladies of the Loire Valley, that is, Diana de Poitiers and Catherine de Médici, queen widow of France, disputed the government of one of the most beautiful castles of the enclave, the one of Chenonceaux. The facts were as follows: Catherine bought the castle of Chaumont , and jealous for the beauty of the château de Chenonceaux, forced Diana, former lover of her husband Henry II, to exchange it for him. Currently the castle is a museum.

Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, Ounila Valley (Morocco)

47Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, Ounila Valley (Morocco)

Located at the gates of the stone desert of Morocco, stands at the edge of a cliff the Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, a fortified castle of sand and adobe that shelters and safeguards its inhabitants for centuries. As the day progresses the red color appears in its towers, in a beautiful contrast with the sparse, but lush vegetation that grows near a creek, lemon, orange, fig and almond trees put the green leaves in this exotic landscape. It is a World Heritage Site since 1987, and Hollywood, as so many other times, has been commissioned to put on the map this little wonder of the world. It was the scene of exception for Gladiator, Lawrence of ArabiaThe Jewel of the Nile , among others. It is comfortable and easy to make an incursion into this Kasbah, one of the best preserved in Morocco, and a stone’s throw from Marrakech.

The most beautiful castles in the world

48New Castle of Manzanares el Real

The new castle of Manzanares el Real, also known as the castle of the Mendoza, was built by this noble family at the end of the 15th century next to the Manzanares river, from which it takes its name, and very close to a previous fortification. Designed as a fortified residence and built by the great architect Juan Guas, also builder of the palace of the Infantado de Guadalajara, it was only inhabited by the family for a century, until a lawsuit between its heirs left the castle in oblivion until the 20th century, when the first remodeling was undertaken. Its most striking and characteristic point are its pretty circular towers, viewpoints of exception of the landscape that surrounds it. Today is one of the best preserved castles in the Community of Madrid.

Castle of Olvera, Cádiz (Spain)

49Castle of Olvera, Cádiz (Spain)

The town of Olvera, one of the most sweeping in Spain, keeps on its map an Arab castle that rose at its highest point as part of the defenses of the ancient kingdom of Granada. At 623 meters above sea level, the keep and the walls that make it up guard this beautiful white mini city. Once conquered by the Christian troops, the physiognomy of the fortress changed in its profile, but not in its essence, which still retains its charm and part of its original structure, with two reservoirs that supplied water to the castle and an underground enclosure.

Dunnottar Castle, Scotland (United Kingdom)

50Dunnottar Castle, Scotland (United Kingdom)

On a 50-meter promontory, the castle of Dunnottar rises up, right on a rocky cape on the north-east coast of Scotland, perhaps one of the most important maritime routes of the Middle Ages. It is said to have played an important role in the so-called Dark Years of Scottish history, especially because of its strategic position that dominated both land and sea in this part of the natural pass known as Portlethen Moss. Hardly any ruins testify to the splendorous format that this fortress spent in its days of glory, a time that all the visitors that it receives today and that practically have to climb up to it. As a curious fact, its walls appeared in the film version of Hamlet that Mel Gibson starredin 1990, and more recently has inspired some of the landscapes that can be seen in the Disney Pixar animation film Brave.

Windsor Castle, England (United Kingdom)

51Windsor Castle, England (United Kingdom)

Playground of Queen Elizabeth II, the massive castle of Windsor has had a long journey, from Norman bastion in the time of William the Conqueror, until World War II when it served as a real refuge from the bombing of London. In between, dozens of extensions and sophisticated additions that made it a complex half castle half palace. As anecdotal data was in him where the deposed King Carlos I was locked up and served as a barracks for the parliamentary forces during the Civil War.

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