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The fairytale castles of Europe

Whether you’re a history buff or just dream of being a princess, Europe is overflowing with spellbinding castles that will make you feel like you’re part of a fairytale.

Here are a few of our favorites to cross off of your bucket list.

Pražský hrad | Prague, Czechia

Pražský hrad | Prague, Czechia


Holding the title of the largest castle in the world, Prague Castle has a lot to live up to – but its magnificence easily surpasses even the highest of expectations. Looming mightily over the Vltava's left bank, the castle has looked down over the city of Prague since way back in the 9th century. More of a fairytale fortress than simply a castle, inside the walls you’ll find palaces, museums, galleries and gardens to explore.

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Schloss Neuschwanstein | Bavaria, Germany

Schloss Neuschwanstein | Bavaria, Germany


Although this castle was built as recently as 1869, it’s quickly become one of the world’s most recognizable – thanks in part to Disney using it as their inspiration. Ruling over Germany’s Bavaria, the mad King Ludwig II was obsessed with romantic legends of knights and maidens, and so commissioned the castle to be built in an ode to fairytale grandeur. The result combines Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine architecture with aplomb.

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Bojnice Castle | Bojnice, Slovakia

Bojnice Castle | Bojnice, Slovakia


If you’re looking for a classic medieval castle, look no further than Slovakia. Built back in the 12th century, the tall towers and romantic silhouette of Bojnice Castle make it a popular filming spot for fantasy and fairytale movies. Step back in time on the inside of the castle, where you can still enjoy all of the original furnishings, paintings and decorations.

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Bran Castle | Transylvania, Romania

Bran Castle | Transylvania, Romania


Sometimes, fairytales are actually nightmares – and nowhere is this truer than at Bran Castle in Romania. Said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Bran Castle is nestled atop the mountains of Transylvania, shrouded in mystique. Dare to explore the labyrinth of creaking corridors and winding staircases; just make sure that you’re long gone before night falls.

Cité de Carcassonne | Carcassonne, France

Cité de Carcassonne | Carcassonne, France


Of course, no list of European castles would be complete without a medieval offering from France. Perched mightily on a hilltop, Carcassonne looks like a castle straight out of a storybook. A well-visited UNESCO World Heritage Site, the spiky turrets and mighty city walls overflow with a medieval charm that has survived the centuries. Visit at sunset for spectacular views out over the old town, known in French as La Cité.

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