1.Bran Castle, RomaniaPeople who have been left enthralled by Bram Stoker’s Dracula should definitely take a thorough tour of the Bran Castle that dates back to the 14th Century, otherwise known as Dracula’s Castle, as people believed that it is this castle that inspired Bram Stoker's magnum opus. It is the national monument and landmark of Romania and holds parts of the history, folklore, superstition, etc. of the country. Today, the castle serves as a museum and displays Queen Marie’s collections of art and furniture.
2.Château de Chambord, FranceTake a walk through the royal rooms of the Chateau de Chambord and experience how the French aristocrats lived in the bygone centuries. It is one of the most prominent chateaux in the world because of its distinctive architecture that blends classical Renaissance structures with French medieval forms. The structure is a monumental symbol of the power of Francis I. The decision to construct a chateau as majestic as this was made after his victorious return from the Battle of Marignan. It is listed as one of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
3.Buckingham Palace, London
Do grab the opportunity to virtually walk through Buckingham Palace or the Queen’s house, which withstood 9 German bomb attacks. The ballroom inside the palace is the first room in the world to be electrically lit in 1883. The London residence of the monarchs has altogether 775 rooms, all furnished magnificently with the most exalted furniture and decor and is presently the residence of Queen Elizabeth, Princes Phillip, Edward and Andrew.
4.Blarney Castle, IrelandOne of the treasured gems of Ireland, Blarney Castle was built by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains and has been at the spotlight for hundreds of years. Many go to the castle to plant a kiss on the Blarney Rock, which is believed to grant a person eloquence and persuasiveness. Go up to the famed stone and do what the world has been doing. Give the stone a virtual kiss. The great Sir Winston Churchill too did his share in his time.
5.Prague Castle, Czech RepublicAccording to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is reputed as the largest castle in the world and has been serving as the residence of the President of the Czech Republic, since 1918. The castle was constructed in the 9th Century and hides in one of its rooms, the Bohemian crown jewels or the Czech crown jewels. Other treasures like the relics of the Christians and the Bohemian kings, artefacts and documents are also kept inside the castle. With buildings and structures such as Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, Romanesque Basilica of St. George, palaces, gardens, towers and a monastery, the castle acquaints visitors with the intricate architectural styles of the last millennium.
6.Palace of Versailles, FranceNotable for its Hall of Mirrors, which is the most remarkable creation of King Louis XIV, the Palace of Versailles is classified as a World Heritage Site. Every inch of the palace is symbolic. While the prominent Hall of Mirrors and the Salons of War and Peace reflects the aspirations and achievements of the king, the ceilings are embellished with illustrations of Roman Gods with Louis XIV himself portrayed as Apollo, the god of sun, light, knowledge, light, music, art, poetry, etc. The letter ‘L’ is embedded in various spots throughout the palace, reminding whoever’s eyes fell on the letter that he is the king of all and the omnipotent.
7.Windsor Castle, England
The original Windsor Castle was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, following the invasion of England by the Normans. An architect has stated his opinion, of the castle adopting a fictitious look and quality as the architectural essence of the castle, has a Georgian and Victorian feel to it, with modernised Gothic features. Since the 14th century, the castle has endeavoured to pull off contemporary edifices that are reminiscent of the designs, traditions and fashions that have long been pronounced obsolete.
8.Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
The stately castle of Edinburgh sits atop the plug of a volcano that is recorded to have erupted during the lower Carboniferous period, about 350 million years ago. Buried within the walls of the castle are many exciting stories, one of which is that of the Honours of Scotland which comprise of the Crown, the Sceptre and the Sword of State, which were used in the coronation of Scottish monarchs. Following the union of Scotland and England in 1707, the set of three honours were locked in a chest in the castle and forgotten for nearly a century until they were rediscovered in 1818 by Sir Walter Scott. You could also hear the piping of a piper who disappeared mysteriously without a trace in one of the secret passageways.
9.Johnstown Castle, IrelandA centuries-old 4- storey Gothic Revival Castle with a servants’ tunnel that runs 86 metres long from the meat house to the kitchen is enough to send chills down our spine. It has been home to two Wexford families. Just before the October 1649 Sack of Wexford, Oliver Cromwell spent a night in the castle estate.
10.Ashford Castle, IrelandGateway to Ireland’s fabled past and one of the representative hotels of the 'Leading Hotels of the World', is Ashford, a Victorian Castle. It was created as the Castle Cong by the Normans some 800 years ago and was renamed Ashford Castle after it landed in the hands of the Oranmore and Browne families. Since then, the castle has been travelling from hand to hand, receiving an extension here and an addition there in each hand. The castle has already made its name in Hollywood with the classic “The Quiet Man”.
11.Skokloster Castle, SwedenThe largest privately built castle in Sweden, Skokloster Castle, is one of the finest baroque castles of the world. It is a monumental reminder of how Sweden expanded to become one of the major European powers in the mid 17th century. In the 1970s, the castle turned into a museum and has, since then, been exhibiting paintings, furniture, books, weapons and other items.
12.Malbork Castle, PolandMalbork castle is an elaborate example of the Gothic brick castles of the Teutonic Order. This 13th-century castle is the largest in the world, by land area and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The castle was built after the defeat of Old Prussia by the Teutonic Order to strengthen their control over the area. Pass through the Golden Gate, the gothic Doorway to get into St. Mary’s Church, one of the most brilliant interiors of the Malbork Castle. The castle also houses a sculpture of Jesus at Gethsemane. While you are at it, do not forget to take a peek at Gdansk or the lavatory system of the 13th-14th centuries. It is perched atop the tower, which can be accessed from the castle by a walkway; do not forget to note that they used cabbage leaves as toilet paper.
13.Mont-Saint-Michel, FranceMont-Saint-Michel will strike a chord to Potterheads, and you remember it right because the cloister of Mont-Saint-Michel was where Harry, Ron and Hermione walked off to class. The magical island city was built at the mouth of the Couesnon River, after Archangel Michael repeatedly appeared in the dreams of Bishop Aubert of Avranches, ordering him to build a sanctuary. The abbey soars 302 ft. towards Heaven where Archangel Michael had defeated Satan in a battle. During the Middle Ages, pilgrims from all Christendom came over to the Benedictine abbey. However, reaching the abbey was no easy task, so it gradually became a test of penitence and sacrifice to God. UNESCO has declared the abbey as one of the most important sites of medieval Christian civilization, and though it is cut off from the mainland twice a day, due to high tides, it still receives millions of visitors.
14.Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
The 19th century Romanesque Revival Palace, atop a rugged hill has been pronounced a global symbol of the Romantic era. It was the castle of Mad King Ludwig, known as the “Fairytale King” as the castle was designed to look like one in the fairytales. It is what inspired the castle in Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty and has made several appearances in many Hollywood blockbusters. Unlike other legendary castles and palaces, this castle in Germany is not open anytime other than a set 35 minutes.
15.Royal Palace of Caserta, Italy
The Royal Palace of Caserta spreads over an area of 47,000 sq. metre and is one of the largest palaces constructed during the 18th century. It was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1997. It was inspired by the Palace of Versailles and is the structure that is closest in resemblance to its source. Surrounded by parks, gardens, natural woodland and water bodies, the Palace of Caserta is indeed a royal palace in the true sense.
16.Hambach Castle, GermanyLocated on Schlossberg mountain, the Castle of Hambach is near the urban district of Hambach. It is one of the three crucial symbols of German history. Back in 1832, thousands gathered here for the Hambach Festival and declared their dreams of Freedom and Unity. The Castle provides an insight into the evolution of democracy up to the present day.
17.Sforzesco Castle, Italy
It was constructed in the 15th century on the remnants of a 14th Century fort. It is now home to several museums such as the Museum of Ancient Art, The Egyptian Museum, The Museum of Musical Instruments, Antique Furniture and Wooden Sculpture Museum, etc. It is one of the most important landmarks of Milan, Italy and is a symbol of power for rulers, both local and foreign.