Please join me on a visit of some of the most renowned European Castles. On this trip we are going to learn about their location and their history. These Castles have been part of the History of Europe for hundreds of years. Today they may be visited by all tourists, and that is what we did several times during the years.
Mont St Michel on an island off the Coast of
Normandy in France
Mont Saint Michel in France
Mount St Michel the impressive symbol of France was built on a small rocky island located off the coast of Normandy at the mouth of the Couesnon River. The important attraction here is not actually the mount but the Abbey built on top, occupying one square km of the mountaintop.
Legend says that the Archangel Michael appeared one of the bishops of Avranche in 708 and instructed him about the building of the church on top of this mountain. It was called Mount Tomb at the beginning, first of the hands of the Romano-British and then captured by the French.
This landmark can be visited on a one day tour from Paris. Usually these tours once bought include the transportation and entrance fees, besides some time for private wandering.
Spis Castle is located in Eastern Slovakia
Spis Castle in Slovakia
This is one of the most beautiful landmarks in Slovakia. It is one of the largest castles in Europe and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in Eastern Slovakia above the village Spisske Podhradie in the Spis region.
Its history dates to the 12th century and since then it was rebuilt several times. A Gothic chapel was added in the 15th century. In the 20th century it was abandoned by their owners and since then it was converted into a museum of Spis culture and a weapons and torture room.
Prague Castle in Prague Capital of the Czech Republic
Prague Castle in the Czech Republic
When visiting Prague de Capital of the Czech Republic you will see the Prague Castle from every point on the city, especially if you tour through Charlie’s Bridge.
Its history dates to the end of the 9th century founded by Prince Bořivoj of the Premyslid Dynasty. It is the largest one piece castle in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It is World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
The castle has gone through many renovations during the years being the last one the full renovation after the Velvet Revolution of the 1990’s. While in Prague, do not miss this castle.
Festung Hohensalzburg Castle on a hill in Salzburg Austria
Hohensalzburg Castle in Austria
In German it is called Festung Hohensalzburg, meaning High Salzburg Fortress. It is located in the city of Salzburg on top of the Festungsberg Mountain and is one of the largest castles in Europe.
It is the city’s main attraction. We visited the castle with one of ASTA’s events when we were active Travel Agents. I consider it one of the most beautiful in Europe.
Visiting the castle may be a challenge for those who are able to walk. Going up the road by foot can be done in approximately half an hour. But there is also a cable car going up from the Downtown that runs every 15 minutes.
It is a permanent Museum open year round featuring audio guides in many languages as English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, Russian and Chinese.
Hunyad Castle in Romania
Hunyad Castle in Romania
This castle is located in Romania, an Eastern European country. It is actually in Transylvania a region where people still speak Hungarian, since this area was held by Hungary many years ago. Well, today it is Romania. It is known by many names: Corvin Catle, Hunyad Castle and Hunedora Castle for the city where it is located.
The claim to fame of this castle is that here was held prisoner for seven years, Vlad III of the Wallachian Empire. He is better known as Dracula.
The castle was built by King Charles I of Hungary in 1307 an he used it as his living quarters until 1323. In the 1400’s it was restored in the Gothic style and since then added some Renaissance features. The castle is a large fortification over the river Zlaşti. It is an imposing structure with colored roofs, towers and balconies.
Le Chateau de Versailles located near Paris the Capital of France
Chateau de Versailles in France
The Palace of Versailles is located in the Île-de-France region of France. It was originally built in the 1600’s in a village called Versailles. Now it is an affluent suburb of Paris about 20 km to the southwest of the Capital of France. It was the center of the absolute Monarchy until the Royal Family was forced to return to Paris after the French Revolution in 1789.
During the reigns of Louis XIII, Louis XIV and Louis XV it was remodeled many times. The Hall of Mirrors was the scene of the signing of the famous Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I. The place was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and it is now one of the most visited sites in Europe.
Windsor Castle is the alternate residence of Queen Elizabeth II of England
Windsor Castle England
It has been a Royal Home and fortress for over 900 years and it is still today a working castle. It is considered the largest inhabited castle in the world.
The Queen spends her weekends here and also uses it for formal receptions. During March and April the Queen resides here formally and hosts occasional diners for politicians and public figures.
The new Knights are invested in the Garter Throne Room. The traditional State Banquet is held in St George's Hall with a table seating up to 150 guests.
The chapel called St George’s Chapel is an active place of worship. Many weddings and funerals have been held here during the years. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, her husband George VI and youngest daughter Princess Margaret lie buried in the chapel.
This is a perfect visit for a one day tour out of London.
Credits for images for european castles:
mt st michel n/a
spis by pierre bona
hunyad by henburgerr