There's hardly anyone who doesn't like castles and palaces, and with centuries of rich and interesting history, Europe is a hotspot for elegant and lavish royal residences. If you're looking for a place to live your own fairy tale, add these 10 castles to your travel bucket list. Their exteriors are not only breathtakingly beautiful, but they also hide lavish interiors, manicured gardens, and intriguing stories of the past. Read on and get inspired for your next royal weekend getaway!
1. Peterhof Palace, Russia
This massive complex of palaces, gardens and fountains was built in the 18th century by Peter the Great as a response to France's Versailles Palace. Due to its similarity to the French palace, it's gotten the nickname the Russian Versailles. Its golden interiors, perfectly shaped gardens, majestic facades and lavish interiors are living proof of the Russian emperor's luxury lifestyle. In short, prepare to be blown away by the glorious beauty of this place located just outside of St. Petersburg!
2. Schonbrunn Palace, Austria
Schloss Schonbrunn holds the title for the most visited attraction in Austria for one clear reason: it's absolutely stunning, both on the outside and on the inside. Once the lavish summer residence of the Habsburgs in Vienna, this palace is renowned for its Rococo style, vast gardens and for having more than a thousand rooms inside. Even though you can't tour all the rooms today, you can still get a glimpse of the insanely lavish life the Imperial Dynasty enjoyed. Don't forget to tour the gardens as well, since they house the oldest zoo in the world, the largest greenhouse in Europe, and stunning sculptures and monuments spreading across 500 acres of gardens.
3. Windsor Castle, United Kingdom
Since Windsor is titled as the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world, it's a must-see for every traveler. Occupied by the British Royal Family without interruption for more than 900 years, Windsor Castle is one of the Queen's favorite weekend homes. The castle is enormous, occupying around 13 acres and housing a fortification, a small town and a chapel, not to mention some gigantic and marvelous gardens. Keep in mind that you'll need plenty of time to tour it all!
4. Chateau de Chambord, France
As it's the largest and most popular castle in the famous Loire Valley, known for its excellent wine and stunning chateaus, Chambord Castle doesn't fail to impress any visitor. It's considered a symbol of the Renaissance for its stunning architecture. The castle's park is almost big as inner Paris, and with its 5,440 hectares it's considered as the largest enclosed park in Europe. A great way to explore its magnificent surroundings is by a bike, on horseback, in a 4x4 vehicle or even via horse and carriage. One thing is for sure, feeling like a king or a queen is almost guaranteed!
5. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
All travelers looking for a real-life fairy tale should have this castle on their travel bucket list. This enchanting palace in the German state of Bavaria is so magical that it even inspired Walt Disney when he was creating Sleeping Beauty's castle. The 19th century castle is not only famous for its amazing architecture but for its idyllic surroundings and lavish interiors. The castle is a jaw-dropping sight no matter which time of the year you decide to visit. Whether covered by idyllic snow or soaked in warm sun, Neuschwanstein will certainly make you believe that fairy tales do exist.