The Knights of the Round Table, ladies in the tedious waiting of a charming saviour and fire-drakes are back in style. The Lord of the Rings and The Game of Thrones made medieval romance more popular than ever. There are a lot of fairy-tale castles in the world but we created for you the list of most magical ones.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Perhaps King Ludwig II made himself into history only because he ordered to build this fairy-tale palace.
No wonder that the castle on the top of the unapproachable rock seems familiar as this is the one you saw in the Disney’s “Snow White” and at Disneyland. However, the castle with a difficult-to-pronounce name inspired not only animators with its views and shapes. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the music for his was Swan Lake being inspired by Neuschwanstein. Actually, a swan was the heraldic symbol of the Counts of Schwangau, whose descendant the German King Ludwig II considered himself to be. Perhaps he made himself into history only because he ordered to build this fairy-tale palace. It took long 17 years to finish the work as Ludwig wanted every detail to be just perfect. Only the carving in the monarch’s bedroom took over four years. It’s good to remember here a wise saying that everything is afraid of time and that one should hurry with bringing dreams to life… The handsome King died having managed to enjoy only 14 completed halls. The construction was not completed. But even seeing what is finished we can’t but admire the wild imagination of the fairy-tale King. Although, they say, it was all due to the King’s insanity, the throne room with rich frescoes, rooms with magnificent furniture, heavy gilded chandeliers, four-poster beds, elegant furniture, and … a grotto still excite general admiration. There is a room that is the exact double of a cave, even with a waterfall. You will really feel as if you are in the underworld! Unsurprisingly, the castle is the most visited and photographed of all. Try to visit it early in the morning before it is crowded with tourists. Then you will understand what the luxury of peace meant for the King. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the fabulous views of the towers against the blue sky. We made the most successful photos standing on the suspension bridge over the steep. And after a successful photo session, you can arrange a picnic on the shores of Lake Alpsee.
Details. Guided tours (in German and English) are held every five minutes. If you want to have more time to enjoy the castle, attend the concert of Richard Wagner’s music cherished by Ludwig II who even imagined being one of the characters of Wagner’s operas, the Swan Knight.
Fact. Just a couple of minutes’ walk from Neuschwanstein you will find another Ludwig’s castle called Hohenschwangau, where he spent his royal youth. If you are charmed with the castles, you can also visit the Frankenstein Castle, where the magician, alchemist and sorcerer Dr. Frankenstein worked.
Hearst Castle, California, USA
Many stars of Hollywood “Golden Age” visited this pompous mansion, including Gene Harlow and Clark Gable.
Another castle from a bygone era of luxury was built by a romantic millionaire William Randolph Hearst and an architect from San Francisco, Julia Morgan. Many stars of Hollywood “Golden Age” visited this pompous mansion, including Gene Harlow and Clark Gable. The place where the castle was built is called “The Enchanted Hill”. Having not only big money but also refined taste, Hearst invested capital in works of art. Like most beau monde representatives he loved beauty, chic, glory and parties. So he wanted a mansion, the beauty of which cannot be beaten by any royal palaces. As it happens with all ambitious plans, it took long 28 years for his dream to come true.
The palace is full of works of art. There is a personal library with a 14th-century gothic ceiling and 16th-century tapestries. The sumptuous Roman pool is tiled with Venetian gilded tiles. Other features of this castle are the impressive Neptune Pool edged with a colonnade and ancient statues specially brought from Egypt. The castle also hosts tennis courts, a cinema, an airfield and the world’s largest private zoo. Hearst loved the guests and built three guest houses for them. And not just simple houses: a 17-bedrrom Casa Del Sol (House of the Sun), a 10-bedroom Casa Del Monte (Mountain House), and a 19-bedroom Casa Del Mar (Sea House). The most impressive, of course, was his 110-bedroom Casa Grande (the Main House) filled with antiques from garret to cellar. All the houses have been made, furnished and decorated with love. In the end of his life, Hearst fell madly in love, but his wife did not want to divorce. So the castle became a secret island of happiness for the lovers. If you believe in feng shui and space energy you should visit this place to strengthen (or refresh) your feelings.
Hearst Castle, California
Details. You can only visit the castle with an excursion so book the tour in advance. Like in any museum, you will be thousand times warned not to touch anything. But you can touch anything you like and also buy it in the gift shop. If you need to make a nice photo for Instagram, climb the sightseeing point with the best panoramic view of the castle. Fact. Hearst Castle and its owner became prototypes of Xanadu mansion of Citizen Kane movie. The Kane’s Florida estate was described as “the most expensive monument built by a man in honour of himself since the time of the pyramids”.
Details. You can only visit the castle with an excursion so book the tour in advance. Like in any museum, you will be thousand times warned not to touch anything. But you can touch anything you like and also buy it in the gift shop. If you need to make a nice photo for Instagram, climb the sightseeing point with the best panoramic view of the castle.
Fact. Hearst Castle and its owner became prototypes of Xanadu mansion of Citizen Kane movie. The Kane’s Florida estate was described as “the most expensive monument built by a man in honour of himself since the time of the pyramids”.
Château de Chillon, Switzerland
“There are seven pillars of Gothic mould,
In Chillon’s dungeons deep and old…”
This was what Lord Byron in The Prisoner of Chillon. Visitors to the impressive castle on a rocky islet off the shores of Lake Geneva can still see François Bonivard’s chain that made such a strong impression on Byron, which is a historical fact. The castle was used as a prison in the 16-th century. However, it’s been over 200 years that it changed its purpose and became a museum.
The castle consists of 25 buildings and three courtyards, with a 25-meter tower in the centre. Each room of the Chillon Castle has its history: reception halls with huge fire places, bedrooms of the castle residents and the prison in the dungeons. The atmosphere is absolutely alive! You feel as if the owners have just left their home. The hall for festivals and the knight hall are full of hang knightly attributes such as medieval helmets, swords, and shields. The Count’s bedroom looks absolutely untouched by time with a small coach instead of a massive four-poster bed as people slept semisitting at that time (only those who died rested full length). Walking through the ancient halls, getting down into gloomy dungeons, you seem to try different roles: the Count, a servant or an unfortunate prisoner.
Château de Chillon, Switzerland
Château de Chillon, Switzerland
Château de Chillon, Switzerland
When you explore the dungeons, try to find Byron’s name on the walls carved by the poet himself.
Details. Remember a simple writers’ truth: the more you know, the more you notice. To make your journey extremely interesting, get a brochure about the history of the castle with a guide before you visit the castle.
Fact. At all times, people who found themselves in historical places tried to leave something to memorize them. That is why we see inscriptions like “Peter and Mary were here”. And the celebrities of the past are no exception. When you explore the dungeons, try to find Byron’s name on the walls carved by the poet himself.
Alhambra Palace, Spain
It was here that the Moorish rulers decided to build a paradise on earth.
Built in the 13-th century, the Alhambra Palace has seen many much. He witnessed betrayal and love, romance and drama, which at all times went hand in hand. For many centuries the palace was the home of the Moorish emirs. When Christians regained almost all the Spanish lands from Muslims, Granada remained the centre of Moorish culture in Spain. It was here that the Moorish rulers decided to build a paradise on earth. The name Alhambra comes from an Arabic root which means “red”. They say that the builders worked at night in torchlight so the walls seemed reddish. After Ferdinand and Isabella conquered the last stronghold of the Moors, the palace for hundreds of years was forgotten and abandoned. Its sophisticated design has been restored relatively recently. You will need at least a day to see everything so many travellers visit the Palace again and again.
We can understand them. You will lose track of time, looking at quaint arabesques and stars carved in the walls and reflecting sunbeams, skilful carving, and exquisite tiles. The ancient builders used fragile clay and alabaster but managed to create a real masterpiece. It’s almost impossible to describe the design and beauty of the palace but there’s one thing we can promise for sure: you will have a feeling that you are in an oriental tale. Every yard can be reached only if going through an arcade and then you can see spacious halls for feasts, bedrooms, and alcoves hidden from the other’s evil and envious eyes… According to the Eastern tradition, all problems and matters were discussed at the entrance to not let them into the holy of holies. You could feel cool here even in the very heat due to the ever green garden, swimming pools, and fountains. The most impressive is the fountain in the Lion’s courtyard. You will look great near the twelve marble lions supporting the bowl of water.
Internal area of Alhambra
Carved elements of columns
Details. In order to preserve the fragile beauty of the palace, the number of visitors is limited to 30. Therefore, it is worth to book a ticket in advance on the Alhambra website. By the way, you can visit Generalife gardens in addition to the palace excursion.
Fact. Traveling in Granada, have a cup of tea at a teterìa (a tea house). Such tea houses remained in this part of Spain as an echo of the former power of the Moors.
Warwick Castle, England
Shadowy towers, awful dungeons and fascinating knight stories: Warwick Castle is a medieval entertaining masterpiece for a modern visitor.
Shadowy towers, awful dungeons and fascinating knight stories: Warwick Castle is a medieval entertaining masterpiece for a modern visitor. Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, the castle for a long time was a seat of aristocratic families. Its most famous owner was Richard Neville, known as Warwick the Kingmaker and by his key role in the War of the Roses. However, all this is a matter of bygone days.
Now Warwick deserves the title of the most beautiful castle in England with its medieval stained-glass windows, swords, armour and shields used as decorations, heavy Gothic furniture, large fireplaces and the coolness of large rooms. It is not surprising that pallid complexion and fur were in style in the Middle Ages. Each hall represents a separate epoch, showing the interiors and wax figures in clothes corresponding to the spirit of the times. The ground floor represents the gloomy Middle Ages: men are making swords, ladies are embroidering coat of arms on colours. The main hall with the walls bristling with spears leads you to the 19-th century where you can see a reception in honour of the future King Edward VII, where the young Winston Churchill was invited.
All these installations are certainly good, but their mission is to explain complex historical events in an easy form. Adults like it and children will be thrilled. They can shoot from an old musket and meet a real ghost in the Ghost Tower (if they’re lucky enough). They can also watch the Trebuchet show (a giant catapult recorded in the Guinness Book of Records for the range of stone throw) as well as have a photo in the costumes of knights and beautiful ladies. Being tired of medieval fun, visit one of the cafes the castle locates.
Восковые фигуры в интерьере замка
Уорикский замок, Англия
Details. The site of the castle is worth visiting in advance to see the events schedule. Knight festivals, which are arranged in Warwick every year, attract hundreds of visitors.
Fact. In 1978, the castle was bought by the Tussaud Corporation known worldwide for its wax museums. You’ve probably already guessed that the figures of people from different epochs were made by them.