Live For Castles
By Nick P. Mendoza III
October 13, 2019
During my time in the military while stationed in Spain, I had the opportunity to travel all around Europe. I made it my mission to visit several European castles. Towering ramparts, swirling moats, dark dungeons and secret staircases, Europe's legendary castles are a delight to explore. Not much can beat a good castle and these European fortresses I visited were full of fairytale romance, adventurous history, and incredible architecture. Most European countries can boast at least a handful of castles located in city centers and remote countrysides, but here's my top three list of the best castles I visited that were memorable to add to your bucket list.
The Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Ever wonder where Disney got their inspiration for the iconic castle that sits in the middle of the park? King Ludwig II builT Neuschwanstein Castle near Füssen in Germany’s southern state of Bavaria in the 19th century. By then, defensive structures were no longer needed, but the Fairytale King wanted a castle, so a castle he built. He didn't do things halfway, either, and the resulting structure was a magnificent palace unlike any other. Its name means “New Swan Castle”, referencing the monarch’s love of Wagner operas, and though Ludwig died before it was finished, it has enchanted countless visitors since, especially Walt Disney.
The Segovia Alcazar Castle, Spain
Dominating the plains of Spain’s hot, dusty interior, Segovia’s skyline is dominated by two impressive edifices – its cathedral and its alcazar. The foundations of this castle date from Roman times, but today’s fortress has been around since the 16th century. Today, it’s a museum that enchants thousands of visitors with its wonderfully opulent interior. The gilded Sala de las Piñas with its ceiling of pineapples is especially enchanting, but the star of the show is the view from the Torre de Juan II which looks out over the sprawling Spanish surroundings.
The Gravensteen Castle, Belgium
Ghent’s castle was built in 1180 by Count Philip of Alsace, who drew his inspiration from the Crusader castles he had seen on his tour of duty. Perched on the river Leie, the medieval fortress is a crowning jewel of this Belgian city. In its time, it’s been a courthouse, prison, and even a factory, though today it's one of Ghent's most popular attraction.
There are more than a handful of castles all over Europe, sprinkled in locations that are unexpected. The castles of Great Britain are also breathtaking to say the least, but shouldn't be ignored. When traveling to Europe, visiting castles is a must-to-do on anyone's travel itinerary!