“The tall towers, sun-kissed walls, detailed designs, castles are something of a childhood dream, as of it reminds!”
Castles have been part of every child’s favourite storybook. These beautiful castles spread around the world as gentle reminders to believe in dreams and fantasy, probably to believe in magic too, all over again! The Medieval ages provided us with the best of such beautiful, magnificent, towering castles. Exploring these majestic marvels built to convey the ideologies of power, wealth and prosperity, will make you feel like walking back into the time of the golden ages. It is exceptionally flattering to think that a few decades back these were the homes to the most privileged ones and now most of them stand as the reminder of the history left back. They truly make us re-think the idea of immortality when even after them generations are left mesmerized to dream about their lives as a fairytale lives.
Discover the true history behind the fantasy walls of pride and prejudice! Being the King, Queen and the Dukes was surely not as fancy as it sounds. The most intriguing trail of emotions, stories and lives went behind the thrones and castles of every royalty. Refresh your travel bucket list and add a new one to it! Here are the best picks of the top ‘Home of Crowns’ that you would want to visit at least once in your lifetime!
1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
One of Germany’s most recognizable tourist attraction is the Neuschwanstein Castle. Straight out from a fairytale, this castle was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Nestled among the Bavarian Alps, this beautiful castle, which literally translates to New Swan Stone Castle, has a not-so-idyllic history. King Ludwig II built this fairytale castle because, within two years of his ruling, Bavaria had to accept an alliance with the Prussian Empire. This castle was supposed to be a retreat into his fairytale land. This castle has the best of views of mountains on one side, the sea on another and the forest on the third side! This castle has elaborate rooms and beautiful paintings to marvel at. King Ludwig II, however, never lived to see his beautiful creation.
Did You Know
The Disney logo shown before every Disney film, the Cinderella Castle in Disneyworld Florida and the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Paris was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle!
2. Castillo de Coca, Spain
One of the best castles in Spain, Castillo de Coca is an excellent example of the Gothic and Mudéjar styles. Built between 1473 and 1493 by a successor appointed by Archbishop Seville Alonso de Fonseca I, this castle overlooks vast green patches of land! Mesmerizing views of the sunset can be seen from the castle.
Did You Know?
This unconventionally beautiful castle was built on the site of ancient Cauca, which is the birthplace of Roman Emperor Theodosius and now serves as a training school for foresters
3. Windsor Castle, England
The English royal residence and the oldest and the largest inhabited castle in the world is the majestic Windsor Castle. A beautiful example of the Perpendicular Gothic-style architecture, this royal castle was completed in 1528 and ranks next to the Westminster Abbey. Situated on the southern bank of the River Thames, this castle occupies 13 acres of ground and comprises two quadrilateral-shaped building complexes. The upper ward of the building houses the royal library and contains priceless artwork by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael etc.
Did You Know?
40 monarchs, including Her Majesty The Queen, have called this beautiful castle home and today 500 people live and work here!
4. Osaka Castle, Japan
The largest castle at the time of its construction in 1583, the Osaka castle today is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Japan. Surrounded by citadels, gates and impressive stone walls, this beautiful castle has faced many wars and natural calamities, before being built in the present ferroconcrete construction in 1931. It miraculously survived air-raids during the Second World War. In 1977, the castle was given an entirely new look and is completely facilitated with modern amenities from the inside today! The castle overlooks the Nishinomaru Garden which houses over 600 cherry trees and is a sight to behold when these pretty flowers blossom. This garden also offers a majestic view of Osaka Castle amidst the cherry trees!
Did You Know?
Osaka Castle Park offers more than just the castle. There are a total of fifteen structures that have historical significance, including temples and shrines, as well as acres of gardens and beautiful landscaping to explore.
5. The Catherine Palace, Russia
One of the grandest palaces in Russia, the Catherine Palace was built in 171 as a summer retreat for Empress Catherine I. In 1752, Empress Elizabeth found her mother’s residence outdated and in May 1733, she commissioned Mikhail Zemtsov and Andrei Kvasov to expand and beautify the palace. It acquired its present grand form and style after the renovation. The modern palace was built in the Russian Baroque style. It is famous for its excessively lavish exterior and elaborate classical interiors. The complicated stuccowork was clothed in 100 kilograms of gold!
Did You Know?
Famous English singer Elton John’s concert was held here in the year 2001!
6. Mont Saint-Michel, France
A legend goes that in the 8th century, Archangel Michel appeared in a dream to Aubert, Bishop of Avranches. He instructed the bishop to build a church in the Archangel’s honour. Aubert ignored it until the time Archangel appeared again in his dream and burned a hole in his skull with his finger. Finally, a church was built at the mouth of the Cousenon River atop a rocky island in Normandy. That beautiful, majestic church which stands tall overlooking Normandy is the Mont Saint-Michel Church. Constructed in the mix of Gothic and Romanesque architecture, this beautiful church is the third most visit places in France! This church stands in the middle of a vast sandbank and turns into an island during high tides! Reconstructed many times, the Mont Saint-Michel church symbolises the structural hierarchy of the feudal society; at the top is God and after him comes the Abbey, then the Monastery, after which come the Great Halls, then come the storing and housings and at the end are the fishermen’s and farmers’ houses outside the walls. It was also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
Did You Know?
The Mont Saint-Michel is almost circular and has a circumference of about 3000 feet!
7. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
The star landmark of the land of Edinburgh, the castle of Edinburgh is one of the most majestic fortress and the former royal residence. Proudly boasting its victorious history with a title of being ‘the defender of the nation,’ this castle brings the medieval era back to life for every person walking in here. It is impossible to miss out on this jewel when you traverse in the capital of Scotland as it is one of the prominent thing tracing the skyline of the city. This inseparable part of the European history stays eternal along with the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh which now embrace the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Did You Know?
Edinburgh Castle remains an active military base and hosts an annual event called the ‘Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.’ Held on Castle Esplanade every August it is a celebration of an unforgettable evening full of music, ceremony, theatre and dance.
8. Mysore Palace, India
Formerly known as Amba Vilas Palace, this is a classic beauty made with kaleidoscopic designs and colours. Located in the most popular place of Karnataka, this Mysore Palace adopted the name being the top favourite of this city. Decorating its victorious immortal history, Mysore Palace sings the glory of Wadiyar (Wodeyar) Dynasty. Reminding every generation passing by. The present descendants of the Dynasty still reside in this majestic palace. The Wadiyars reigned in Mysore between the years of 1399 and 1947. The original Mysore Palace was built and rebuilt multiple times during this period. Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV with was known for designing a whole new palace after the old palace got burnt down accidentally. The present palace was constructed on the guidance of the renowned British architect, Lord Henry Irwin. He was entrusted by Her Royal Majesty Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhna and her son His Highness Rajarshi Sri Sir and thereby the construction of the palace began during the year of 1897 and got completed during the year of 1912.
Did You Know?
The three-storied fine grey granite palace is endorsed with over 145 feet tall five-storied tower and pink marble domes, all of which are illuminated with over 96,000 light bulbs at night during Dasara and other festivals!
Experience and traverse through the stunning reality shaped in stones that inspired many fantasies. Live the childhood dream, let the childlike heart be lost in wonder as you truly feel speechless of the charming beauty of the castles. Explore them all and share with us which one is your favourite!
Let us redesign our fairytale fantasies on the trail of the historic legacies.
Co-written by: Priyanka Tawde