One of my favourite excursions when in Europe is visiting its many castles and palaces. Besides appreciating each country’s style in architecture and design, I absolutely love to marvel at the thought of life there back in their day. So after wandering around Europe for several years, I’ve finally put together my top 10 list for european castles and palaces!
Ready to begin?
10. LEEDS CASTLE, ENGLAND
Leeds Castle is located in Kent, and is one of the county’s top attractions. It has 500 acres of grassland, several dining options within the grounds, daily activities, castle shops, and year round attractions. The inside tour is a must if you’re interested in learning about the castle’s history and its former inhabitants, and the views from outside you’ll never get over. This castle is acclaimed as the loveliest of the world and the most romantic within England, making it to my top 10 list for european castles and palaces you need to visit, for sure!
9. SCHWETZINGEN CASTLE, GERMANY
As funny as this sounds, I found this unbelievable castle by mistake whilst on my abroad experience in Germany 5 years ago. My friends and I were looking for something new to explore for the weekend, whether it be in Heidelberg or nearby. We were at the main train station or Hauptbahnhof as it translates to German, and a friend found this brochure sitting there all by itself with a picture of this beautiful castle in the cover. We all looked at it at the same time, and before we knew it, we were searching for the bus that was headed towards this place we knew nothing about but its name. As soon as I laid my eyes on the castle and its gardens, I knew the journey was very well worth it!
We took a tour inside the castle and then wandered around the wintery gardens with crystal ponds, pine trees, fresh aromas, and cute ducks. There’s a white bridge, several benches, and natural surroundings very well worthy for a castle. And for all of these reasons, Schwetzingen castle has made it to the list as well!
8. WINTER PALACE, RUSSIA
It’s no surprise Saint Petersburg’s palaces are on this list; they’re famous for their decor and grandeur, and the Winter Palace does not fall behind. Also known as the Hermitage, it houses the largest art collection in the world and was first open to the public in 1852. The palace’s interior is unbelievable. The perfectly carved ceilings, the gold, and the art make it one of my favourite places in the entire world.
7. PALACE OF VERSAILLES, FRANCE
The Palace of Versailles is yet another one of my favourites from around the world. I’ve visited during the wintertime and the summertime, and was struck by its beauty both times. The rooms, decoration, intricate work, and gardens are amazing, and the very definition of perfection.
The photograph I share above is from the Hall of Mirrors from inside the palace which connects both the King’s rooms, with those meant for the Queen. The room was also used to celebrate life’s greatest events like births and marriages; several balls took place here as well back in the 18th century.
If you ever visit this palace, you can’t miss walking through this hall. It’s also a must-have photograph from your visit!
6. Kurfürstliches PaLAIS, GERMANY
Located in Trier—a german city near the border with Luxembourg—lies the beautiful pink rococo style palace, in english known as the Electoral Palace. I’ve not yet seen or heard from this palace in the media as much as others from around Europe, and have been wandering why ever since I set foot in the premises. The castle is beautiful inside and out, and its gardens are lovely; coloured with flowers and decorated with a beautiful water fountain. Definitely worth a visit!
5. YUSUPOV PALACE, RUSSIA
Another Russian palace that stole my heart is Yusupov Palace, which is one of the two remaining residences of the wealthy Yusupov family, and is famous for been the setting of Rasputin’s assassination in 1916. Visiting means been amazed at the luxurious lifestyle the family maintained. The most amazing room is the theatre, with gold details in the walls and ceiling. This is too, one of the few aristocratic residences in Saint Petersburg to maintain most of its original interiors, making it a must-visit when in the city and one of the top palaces you need to visit!
4. HEIDELBERG CASTLE, GERMANY
Another castle you can’t miss is Heidelberg’s! It’s elevated in the mountains above the Neckar river and the city center, making it the city’s symbol and picture-perfect location. The castle was demolished in the 17th and 18th centuries, and was then partially rebuilt, for what we see today are the castle’s ruins. Nonetheless, visiting this landmark is a comfortable hike and worthy experience. You’ll be able to appreciate lovely views of the city, learn about the castle, and wander around its unfinished and mysterious interiors.
3. AMBOISE CASTLE, FRANCE
Truth is, Amboise is a dream come true. The castle is beautiful, its gardens lovely—Leonardo Da Vinci’s tomb, Saint Hubert Gothic Chapel, lies right here in Amboise—and the town, is just like one we’d see in a fairytale movie where there’s a medieval castle with a royal family living inside.
Take a look at these couple of photos I snapped from the town!
I seriously fell head over heals for this place, it even made it to my Top 14 Fairytale Destinations You Must Visit post! If you feel like escaping into a fairytale today, check it out!
2. PETERHOF PALACE, RUSSIA
Peterhof Palace is a majestic, grand, and jaw-dropping landmark located in Peterhof, Saint Petersburg, Russia. It’s recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and was laid out by Peter the Great’s orders. The palace is also known as the Russian Versailles, given Peter the Great was quite impressed with the Palace of Versailles itself in France, while on his travels. Such was his impression that he decided to make one for himself at Russia—on a larger scale.
The image below features the Lower Park area which has 150 fountains and 4 cascades!
Without a doubt, Peterhof is a palace you need to visit at least once in a lifetime. There’s simply so much to see and be amazed at, a day wouldn’t be enough to wander around every corner and inch of the property. Undoubtedly, a top palace you must visit!
1. NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE, GERMANY
…And I present to you Neuschwanstein at last! Amongst all castle’s in Germany, my favourite by far! Surrounded by Bavarian Alps, the castle feels private and has stunning views from all around. Did you know Neuschwanstein was Disney’s Magic Kingdom inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle? It’s true! Talk about storybook castle architecture and setting! This is too, one of the most visited castles in the world, and makes a perfect day trip from Munich!
Have any other castles and palaces you would like to add to the list? Share on the comments!