When you think of castles, you automatically think of fantastical movies and fairytales with an obvious element of magic. Castles have always been a source of wonder and mystery, whether it's the Gothic charm or the medieval majesty. In this list, we have iconic castles where ancient walls whisper tales of valour and intrigue and where the fortresses stand as guardians of history and legends. From the misty forests of Germany to the rugged highlands of Scotland, from the haunting beauty of Romania to the ethereal shores of France and the timeless allure of Japan, these castles beckon us with their timeless charm. Here is a list of iconic architectural marvels where the past meets the present, and dreams and reality intertwine. Each with its own unique tale to tell, these enchanting destinations beckon travellers seeking history, beauty, and a touch of magic.
Eltz Castle, Germany
Experience the mystique of Eltz Castle, nestled atop a forested hill in Rheinland-Palatine. Its captivating allure has made it a favourite subject for landscape photographers, especially during the eerie hours of the day. With a rich history and unscathed by time, this castle still belongs to the Eltz Family, giving it an authentic and enduring charm.
Eilean Donan, Scotland
Set against the picturesque backdrop of the Western Highlands, Eilean Donan Castle stands proudly on an island embraced by three sea lochs. Recognized by many, thanks to its appearance in the classic film Highlander, this medieval stronghold was originally established in the 13th century. Despite its destruction in the past, it was meticulously reconstructed, captivating visitors with its timeless beauty.
Bran Castle, Romania
Transport yourself to the realm of legends and Transylvanian folklore at Bran Castle. Perched atop a former Teutonic Knights stronghold, this castle exudes an air of mystery and fascination. Though not directly linked to Dracula, its dramatic setting, elevated position, and timbered rooms connected by underground passages make it a captivating destination for curious explorers.
Discover the enchantment of Mont-Saint-Michel, a mesmerizing island rising from the Normandy and Brittany coastline. While not technically a castle, its medieval monastery has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. According to legend, Archangel Michael commanded the construction of a church on this mystical island. As the tides ebb and flow, revealing an ever-changing landscape, the abbey, parish church, and museums welcome visitors to delve into its storied past.
Matsue Castle, Japan
Step into history at Matsue Castle, an architectural marvel that has stood since 1611. Its original wooden structure has survived the test of time, making it a rare gem among Japan's medieval castles. Known as the "plover castle," its elegant design and colouring evoke the grace of the bird it is named after. With its deep-rooted heritage and commanding presence, Matsue Castle offers a captivating glimpse into feudal Japan.
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