Neuschwanstein Castle – Germany
Moving away from our typical monthly holiday destinations, this month we will be taking a look at my favourite four castles around Europe! Castles play an important role in many countries’ culture and history and represent the trends of architecture, wars being won or lost, as well as portraying power and elegance. Additionally they provide visual evidence of a countries past and present. On top of all this, castles also make great tourist attractions!
Located in Bavaria, Germany, this 19th Century Castle meaning “New Swanstone Castle” is one of Europe’s most visited castles in Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The castle was built for King Ludwig II of Bavaria, as a personal refuge/retreat giving it its second name as the “Fairytale Castle” as the time it was built in was when castles had no strategical or defensive purposes except for the aesthetic appearance. After King Ludwig’s death in 1886, the castle was opened to the public attracting 1.3 million people annually! If you visit this castle you will be amazed by the beautiful surrounding landscapes as it is located in the Alps of Bavaria!
Bojnice Castle – Slovakia
This 12th Century Slovakian castle is another one of Europe’s most visited castles! This castles visual appearance, beautiful array of colours, and its prominent similarities to many of the Disney Castles attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year to the town of Bojnice! This castle also carries the name of “Fairytale Castle” and is a classic example of the Renaissance and Gothic architecture which are featured in many modern day fairy tale films. There is a vast collection of artistic and historical museum within the interior of this castle. In addition to this, the International Festival of Ghosts and Spooks is held here annually by the end of April and beginning of May, where it becomes the meeting point of ghosts, vampires, witches and spooks from all around the world!
Bran Castle – Romania
Home to one of the greatest villains ever to stalk our nightmares – a place where only the brave might venture, and the more nervous might fear a sharp pain in the neck…you guessed it, Dracula’s Castle, more formally known as Bran Castle is surrounded by the legend and mystery that this was once the home for Count Dracula! This myth was created by Bram Stocker’s novel Dracula and because of this, is one of Romania’s top tourist attractions! This castle was built in the early 14th century, perched atop an approximately 70 meter rock overlooking densely wooded mountain passes in Transylvania.
Mont Saint-Michel – France
Apart from the world famous monuments and icons in France, the Mont Saint-Michel is one of France’s most visited tourist attraction! Originally, the island was used as a fort to guard against invading armies, but later on transformed to the Mont Saint-Michel Monastery. Today, Mont Saint-Michel is a religious landmark in France and is inhabited by 41 people and more than 3,000,000 people visit annually! This remarkable mediaeval walled city which is crowned by its great gothic abbey, is built on a small granite outcrop standing all by itself in the flats of the estuary of the River Couesnon. However it was once on dry land but due to high tides, reaching this location proved troublesome to many people although now there are dedicated shuttle buses which can take tourists to and from the castle!