I like a good castle, and living in England, we are truly spoilt for choice. But there are incredible structures all around the world. Unfortunately I can’t do them all justice, but here are some of my favourites (in no particular order).
1. Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, Germany
The most famous of Ludwig II of Bavaria’s creations, in Hohenschwangau in Southern Germany, was completed in 1892 – after the King’s death. It’s the ultimate fairy tale castle and the inspiration behind the Disney castle.
(Read more about Germany here)
2. Matsumoto Castle, Matsumoto, Japan
Nicknamed the ‘crow castle’ for its black exterior, Matsumoto was built in the 16th century and is one of the most complete castles in Japan. It has a hidden 6th storey and is located on a plain in the Matsumoto city centre, not on a hill.
(Read more about Japan here)
3. Arundel Castle, Sussex, Great Britain
Arundel Castle in Sussex has been the home of the Dukes of Norfolk for nearly 1000 years, and the family still occupies parts of it. The rest of the castle and the extensive gardens are open to the public.
4. Amer Fort, Jaipur, India
Amer Fort is located on a hilltop a few kilometres outside Jaipur in Rajasthan, overlooking the Maotha Lake. It was built by Raja Man Singh in 1592 and boasts four parts as well as a clever air conditioning system.
(Read more about India here)
5. Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand
The Grand Palace of Bangkok, the home of the Royal court for 150 years from 1782, is certainly deserving of its name. The palace complex encompasses numerous impressive structures and spiritual sites, including Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha). The building housing the Grand Royal Hall is nicknamed ‘Foreigner in a Hat’ due to its mix of architectural styles.
(Read more about Thailand here)
6. Castle of San Giovanni, Kotor, Montenegro
The medieval castle of San Giovanni is situated in one of the most picturesque locations. Hiking the 1355 steps up the hill is hard, but so worth it for stunning views from the castle over the old town and bay of Kotor.
(Read more about Montenegro here)
7. Buda Castle, Budapest, Hungary
Buda Castle was first completed in the 13th century and is located high on the West bank of the Danube. The Fisherman’s Bastion, a terrace in the castle complex, provides first class views over the city.
(Read more about Budapest here)
8. The Palace of Knossos, Heraklion, Crete
The Minoan Palace of Knossos dates back to the Neolithic period and is said to have been the seat of the wise king Minos. It also provides the setting of the legend of Daidalos and Ikaros. The archaeological excavation site is huge with the throne room one of the most fascinating finds.
(Read more about Crete here)
9. Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy
Only a short walk from the Ponte Vecchio is Palazzo Pitti, a large renaissance palace complex dating back to 1458. Originally commissioned by a Florentine banker, who gave the Palace its name, it became the royal palace of three dynasties, including the powerful Medici.
(Read more about Florence here)
10. Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic
Likely dating back to 880, Prague castle is a large complex of palaces, churches and courtyards, overlooking the capital. It even holds the Guinness world record for the largest coherent castle in the world with an area of over 70,000 square meters.
And a bonus one, although not really a castle or palace, it might as well be:
The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, Great Britain
Built as the seaside retreat for the extravagant King George IV, the Royal Pavilion clearly reflects his love for Indian and Chinese styles and is as decadent on the inside as it is on the outside.