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10 Most Popular Castles in the World

Updated on May 25, 2012

Castles fascinate us. They are mysterious and romantic, intimidating yet inviting. They represent a classic beauty that can rarely be found in any other existing historical structure. They bring to mind visions of knights and ladies-in-waiting, sword fighting and joust tournaments, royal feasts and masquerade balls. Best of all, they take us back to the time when gallantry, honor and fidelity weren't just found in fairy tales.

Below are 10 of the world's most popular castles.

#1 Neuschwanstein Castle

Located in Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is said that this 19th century Bavarian palace served as the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Disneyland. 

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany | Source

#2 Windsor Castle

Within the region of England, Scotland and Ireland is where one can find Windsor Castle – the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen of England. It is the oldest and largest continuously inhabited castle in history.

Windsor Castle in England
Windsor Castle in England | Source

#3 Edinburgh Castle

Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle is said to be the country’s most powerful symbol, for two reasons: it sits atop an extinct volcano called Castle Rock, and it is where much of Scotland's historical past took place.

Edinburgh Castle in Scotland
Edinburgh Castle in Scotland | Source

#4 Prague Castle

Prague Castle in the Czech Republic is the largest castle in the world. It is both a historical and cultural attraction: within its walls one can find various museums and monuments set in almost every architectural style of the last millennium.

Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Prague Castle, Czech Republic | Source

#5 Tower of London

Also in England, the Tower of London is best known for being the home of the Crown Jewels. This medieval structure is believed to be one of the most haunted castles in the country, if not the world.

Tower of London in England
Tower of London in England | Source

#6 Hearst Castle

Previously owned by the late newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, this twentieth century palatial estate in the United States was later donated to the state of California, and is now a world renowned historic park.

Hearst Castle, United States
Hearst Castle, United States | Source

#7 Leeds Castle

Again in England, Leeds Castle is set in the middle of an artificial lake, and is recognized as one of the most romantic of all medieval structures. Many consider the place to be the perfect venue for weddings or honeymoons.

Leeds Castle in England
Leeds Castle in England | Source

#8 Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle in Japan was built at a time when war was always a threat. It was nicknamed the White Heron Castle due to its brilliant white painted exterior; this was merely white fireproof plaster – more for necessity than beauty, since all 83 structures within the castle were made of wood.

Himeji Castle in Japan
Himeji Castle in Japan | Source

#9 Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel in France is actually the name of the tidal island community wherein the castle is located. At present, the region is an acknowledged World Heritage Site under UNESCO, being recognized as a site of cultural, historical and architectural significance.

Mont Saint Michel in France
Mont Saint Michel in France | Source

#10 Krak des Chevaliers

Considering that it was built in the 11th century, the Krak des Chevalier or “Fortress of Knights” in Syria is still well-preserved. Because of this, it has been universally acclaimed as the most fortified castle in history.

Krak des Chevaliers in Syria
Krak des Chevaliers in Syria | Source

Bonus: Alnwick Castle

For the sake of movie buffs, I’m including England’s Alnwick Castle, the site of the “Harry Potter” series’ Hogwarts. It didn’t exactly make the top ten list, but it’s famous nevertheless.

Alnwick Castle in England
Alnwick Castle in England | Source

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