Live in the lap of luxury and give yourself the royal treatment by booking a room with a difference. Here’s 13 of Europe’s castles you can actually stay in.
Complete with a moat and towers, live out your wildest fairy-tale dreams when you book in for the night at this red-brick royal haven. Just four kilometres from the picturesque Belgian town of Bruges, the castle sits in lush park surroundings dotted with canals and orchards. Formerly home of the Count of Flanders, this neo-gothic structure is a real sight for sore eyes and a hotel stay your unlikely to ever forget.
Flights to Brussels
Good enough for the Guinness family, the five star Ashford Castle was previously home to the brewing clan and now it can be yours too – for a few nights at least. Holding down the fort in Mayo since 1228, almost all the 83 rooms in the castle overlook the waters of Lough Corrib and feature oak panelling, Waterford crystal chandeliers as well as stunning rococo mirrors.
Flights to Ireland West
A stone’s throw from Paris, this 14th century castle was built between 1290 and 1304 and boasts 22 bedrooms undoubtedly fit for royalty. With a price tag asking for more than the cost of most people’s houses, this place doesn’t come cheap but the experience is priceless. Offering a heated indoor pool, rooftop terrace, ballrooms, theatre, concealed doors and hidden passageways, you’ll be whisked away to fantasy land the minute you cross the ornate threshold.
Flights to Paris
The inspiration behind Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, have a princess moment and spend some time in one of Europe’s most iconic castles. Set in the heart of Reinhardswald Forest, the structure boasts over 650 years of history and is surrounded by the emerald forestry of the Marchen Strasse.
Flights to Paderborn
Said to be the most northerly castle in the world, Scotland’s Balfour is the ultimate romantic getaway. Surrounded by the sea and archaeological sites such as the Stone Village of Skara Brae, the castle is only reachable by boat and dates back to the 1840s. Filled with Victorian antiques, four poster beds, log fires and even a tiny marriage chapel, cosy up inside the stone walls and relax into the stunning surroundings of one of Europe’s best castles.
Flights to Edinburgh
For incredible ocean views from windows as old as time, take a trip to Porto and travel forty minutes down the road to an ancient gem. The rectangular building of Santa Maria castle features towers and a courtyard emulating the Romanesque vibe that takes over the place. Offering a private pool and colourful gardens, grab friends or family and hide away from the world for a few days in a fantastical paradise.
Flights to Porto
Hidden amongst idyllic valleys lined with olive trees as far as the eye can see, this next castle embodies a Tuscan summer dream. Easily reached by car from Florence, the 12th century castle is kitted out in ceiling murals, antique fireplaces, honey-stone flooring and Renaissance frescoes, the place oozes a regal atmosphere. Fit with a Michelin star restaurant and wellness spa, you’re in for a real treat when you book to stay here.
Flights to Pisa
Live out your wildest pink princess Instagram dreams at this palace in Poland. Completely painted in a blush rose colour, discover how German, Polish and Czech histories intertwine here and explore the expansive natural surroundings with resident peacocks and deer. Watch out for the moat that circles the mansion and spend the night sleeping in one of the most historical locations in Europe.
Flights to Poznan
Head to South Downs and discover the 900 year old castle hidden beneath the portcullis. Protected by 60 foot high walls, the picturesque Amberley castle boasts acres of well-kept tranquil gardens, tennis courts, croquet lawns, 19 luxurious bedrooms and unrivalled medieval architecture. Reflecting the history of the structure, the castle is furnished with fine fabrics and antiques – once you check in you’ll never want to leave!
Flights to London
Sitting between rivers, valleys and mountains in the heart of the Ripolles, book a room at this 10th century castle and escape to nature. Consisting of tribute tower, courtyard of arms and a religious centre with a landscaped area, it is the stunning waterfalls and lush surroundings of the property that really catch the eye. With newly renovated apartments catering for either six, ten or 16 people, this one is an outdoor lover’s paradise.
Flights to Almeria
For an Austrian adventure with a difference, Hotel Schloss Thannegg is your port of call. Located right in the middle of the Alps, check into a real life fairy-tale and spend the winter months playing in the snow here. Settle down for the evening in the scenic setting of Schladming-Dachstein and ski the day away at the nearby resort of Galsterberg.
Flights to Salzburg
Despite its gory past, Ruthin Castle in North Wales has transformed into a romantic mini-break location you’ll be happy you made the trip for. Nestled in parkland beside Clwydian Range, the hotel hosts Medieval Banquets inspired by the castle’s previous owner, King Henry VIII, is home to a rustic woodland spa and even comes with a moat to complete the fortress experience. Standing since 1826, this stone retreat is without doubt one of the best castles in Europe.
Flights to Cardiff
Watch the sun set over the enchanting medieval citadel of Carcassonne from your very own terrace when you stay inside the ramparts at Hotel de la Cite. Built opposite the 12th century Basilica of St. Nazaire and St. Celse, the historic location is equip with a Michelin star dining room and outdoor pool. Soak up the midday sun at the only hotel inside the UNESCO World Heritage site and gain first access to the ancient streets to see Carcassonne in a new light.
Flights to Carcassonne
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- Lucy Norris