Posts Tagged ‘castles’

August 18, 2013 3:36 pm

The World’s Most Impressive Castles

You don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate an old, historic castle on your travels. These awe-inspiring buildings tell us something of the people who came before, and the fact that they’ve survived so much over the years is incredible. Take a look at our top picks for the world’s most impressive, most beautiful castles. To learn more about the world’s most popular tourist tourist destinations, check out QC Travel School’s online courses. Let us know in a comment if you’ve visited any of these man-made wonders!

Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau, Germany

This castle in Germany was the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty

This is the fairytale castle. We’re not exaggerating– it was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. This style is what we all think of when we think about old castles, although it only dates back to 1869 and is an example of Romanesque Revival architecture. It’s arguably the most popular tourist castle in the world, drawing over 6000 visitors per day in the high season.

Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

Tibet's Potala Palace

Situated 400 feet up the Red Hill, Potala is the highest ancient palace in the world. This 17th century palace is still in use today for Buddhist prayer, and is the official residence of the Dalai Lama. The castle’s thirteen stories contain 200,000 statues. Its gold roofs are a landmark even from the sky.

Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy, France

SONY DSC

This medieval structure sits on a rocky island off France’s northern coast, accessible only by a small causeway that disappears when the tide rushes in. Originally built as a monastery in the 8th century, it has had a history of use as a fortification due to its strategic location. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an extremely popular tourist destination.

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

Portugal's Pena Palace

Located just outside of Lisbon, Pena Palace is the oldest example of European Romanticism. This colorful marble and alabaster castle is situated on a hill, and can be seen on a clear day from much of the region. A visit to Pena is not complete without touring its massive gardens, home to exotic species of trees and plants, and mazelike paths encircling the palace.

Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Prague Castle

What we love most about Prague Castle is that, unlike the other castles on this list, this one is right in the heart of the city. It’s the largest ancient castle in the world, and dates back to the 9th century. Its composition of palaces, cathedrals, and basilicas represent nearly every architectural style of the last millennium. Today, visitors can take in a classical concert along with the inspiring culture and history of the place.