The top 3 European castles

Image from Flickr

For many lovers of history and culture, a trip to one of the many grand castles in Europe can really give you a reason to grab your passport and E111, and head out on an adventure. The long and proud history of many countries in Europe is full of conflicts, as bordering countries fought against each other for the supremacy of their rulers and monarchs, which has left us with some fabulously imposing castles to enjoy today.

1. Ravadinovo – Bulgaria

The castle Walt Disney used as a setting for Sleeping Beauty, Ravadinovo is simply breathtaking, with its tall towers and spectacular roof. The Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association awarded Ravadinovo with its title for the ‘most attractive tourist site of the year’, and it is not hard to see why. It is made from metamorphosed limestone and marble, and really allows visitors to transport themselves into the magical land of fairy tales by virtue of its aesthetic qualities.

2. Palace of Pena – Portugal

This marvellous structure dates back to the reign of King Ferdinand II in Portugal, and sat near the top of the Sintra Hills, the Palace of Pena takes some beating when it comes to looks. You can spot both Moorish and Manueline influences in the architecture, and its noted gardens contain over 500 species of trees from across the world. Take a walk in the grounds and appreciate the true magic of the Palace of Pena from below.

3. Lichtenstein Castle

If you are a fan of gothic architecture then Lichtenstein Castle in Germany, dating back to the 1840s, takes some beating. Dramatically located on a cliff near Honau, the castle owners are the Dukes of Urach, who kindly allow it to be open to visitors that arrive in their numbers to see a huge historical weapon and armour collection. The collection dates back to the original castle that stood in the same location, and is thought to have been built in 1130.

So there you have it, three castles to make the centre piece of your next European trip – there is a lot to see and learn, and you can guarantee the photo opportunities will be endless! To learn more about applying for, or renewing, your EHIC card for your next fantastic castle-filled European adventure, visit

Photo: Lichtenstein castle by Justin LaBerge licensed under Creative commons 2

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