Photos of the Most Picturesque Castles in Europe

The sprawling and diverse landscape of Europe is home to many beautiful, centuries-old castles all with a unique history. Sprinkled across the cities, throughout the countryside, and in small towns all over, castles are standing time capsules of our history.

Castle architecture tells us a story about the cultural, political, and technological practices of the time. Castles were often built as a means of protection, as a way to create a border around a community, and to demonstrate creative abilities.

Many castles are made out of large stones. Stone castles have evolved from the practice of ancient cities like Troy and Babylon, who raised large walls around their cities for protection.

Many castles still standing today are made from large pieces of heavy and durable stone. These castles may have initially been built as a means of protection.

Other castles focus more on grandeur, opulence, and beauty. Because castles have historically housed those of high places in society, including the present-day Royals of England, intricate and beautiful exteriors are a common feature.

Many other castles were built in strategic areas. They were built in places that allowed the ruling class or those in power to oversee surrounding villages, trade routes, or to be used as a getaway retreat for the wealthy.

There are many castles scattered across Europe that are still standing. Many have been restored and are now considered historic sites. Castles are one of the top tourist destinations in any country in Europe. They allow us to view a glimpse of what life looked like centuries ago.

Let’s take a look at some of the most picturesque castles across Europe!


One of the most famous castles in the world, Windsor Castle located in Windsor, England, still houses members of the Royal Family. Photo by sloukam
Warwick Castle in Warwick, UK. It was originally built by William the Conqueror during 1068.
The Tower of London castle is in the heart of the major city. The castle was also used as a prison for hundreds of years.


Eilean Donan Castle in Highlands, Scotland has undergone significant restoration since its near-ruin in the 1800s. Photo by Phaendin
Culzean Castle in Maybole, Scotland is an extremely opulent castle located on the Ayrshire cliffs of Scotland. Photo by Christine Dodd
Edinburgh Castle in sits on the historic Castle Rock in Scotland. Photo by Chasing the long road.


Kylemore Abbey, Ireland is located in the Connemara mountains. It is now a Benedictine abbey and is run by nuns. Photo by EcoPic
Ballynahinch Castle sits in the picturesque valley next to the edge of the Owenmore River in Connemara, Ireland
Kilkea Castle in Castledermot, County Kildare, Ireland
Blarney Castle in County Cork, Ireland is home to the famous, Blarney Stone. The Blarney Stone has been kissed by thousands and thousands of tourists for good luck.
Kilkenny Castle​ in Kilkenny, Ireland. It features beautiful gardens, sitting rooms, and libraries.


The Alcazar Castle in Segovia, Spain. The architecture is made to resemble a giant ship. Photo by Sean Pavone
Castle Alcázar of Segovia, Spain from another angle.
Alhambra Palace, in Granada Spain. Photo by WillSelarep. Built in 1228, it is now one of Spain’s top tourist destinations.


The Palace of Pena in Sintra, Portugal sits at a strategic point in the city where it can be viewed from all angles while standing in the surrounding park. Photo by Taiga
Another view of The Palace of Pena in Spain highlighting it’s colorful exterior. Photo by freeartist/Alamy
Quinta da Regaleira Palace in Sintra, Portugal has gorgeous and unique architecture. The design includes buildings that are related to alchemy, masonry, and the Knights Templar. Photo by Wendell Adriel
Castle of Almourol on the Tagus river on top of a tiny islet of Almourol, Portugal. Visitors must take a small boat to reach the island to visit.


Lichtenstein Castle in Lichtenstein, Germany. Built in the 1840s. Photo by Sergey Novikov
Schwerin Castle in Schwerin, Germany is situated with beautiful views of the water. Photo by Ian Kennedy
The Eltz Castle in Wierschem, Germany looks like a castle out of a fairytale. Photo by Sergey Novikov
The Hohenzollern Castle in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Photo by Jens Ottoson
The Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany was built in 1869 for King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Photo by VOJTa Herout


Bran Castle in Bran, Romania was built by Saxons in 1377. Photo by Adi Ciurea
Another view of the spires of Bran Castle.
Corvin Castle in Hunedoara, Romania is a is a Gothic-Renaissance style castle built in the 1400s. Photo by omihay


Hohenwerfen Castle in Werfen, Austria sits high up in the mountains of the Salzachtal valley. Photo by Boris Stroujko
Schönbrunn Palace in Austria is Vienna’s #1 tourist attraction. It was the former summer residence of the Habsburgs. Photo by Sylvain Sonnet
The Festung Hohensalzburg castle is set on a mountaintop in Austria with panoramic views of the city, landscape, and river.


Trakoscan Castle in Trakoscan, Croatia. Built in the 13th century. Photo by Phant
Mailath Castle in the town of Donji Miholjac, Croatia. This was one of the last castles to be built in Croatia.
Veliki Tabor Castle in Hum Kosnicki – Desinic is located out in the beautiful countryside of Croatia. Photo by xbrchx


The Château de Chenonceau in Chenonceaux, France has sat in the Loire Valley since the 1500s. Photo by Viacheslav Lopatin
The Chateau de Chambord in Chambord, France is a beautiful example of distinctive French Renaissance architecture. It was built for the young king François I in 1519. Photo by S.R.Lee Photo Traveller
Palace of Versailles, France was commissioned by King Louis XIV. It represents the height of wealth and luxury. Photo by Jeremy Bezanger/Unsplash


Castel del Monte, Italy is a uniquely shaped castle located in southern Italy.
Castello di Miramare, Italy sits on the water surrounded by gorgeous views. It was a former home of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian.

Czech Republic

Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic is the largest castle complex in the world.
Bouzov Castle was built in the 14th century to serve as an important point along a popular trade route.l
Lednice Castle is one of the country’s most visited monuments in the Czech Republic.


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Morton, Caitlin. The 26 Most Beautiful Castles in Europe.

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