5. Malbork Castle, Poland
Located in modern day Poland, Malbork Castle was built in 1274 by the Teutonic Order in what was then the Prussian Empire. Malbork is the largest Castle of its kind in the world in terms of surface area- and is also considered to be the largest brick built structure in Europe. Medieval in its design and Gothic in its looks, Malbork, which lies about an hour from Gdansk- is certainly a stunning specimen, attracting a large amount of annual visitors as a result of its constantly interesting exhibitions and guided tours alike.
4. Castle Neuschwanstein, Germany
An example of a post medieval take on a classic European castle, the fortress at Neuschwanstein was constructed between 1869 and 1892. Towering above the already dizzying heights of the Bavarian mountains, Castle Neuschwanstein was commissioned by Ludwig II and intended as a personal place of refuge for the shy King. In this respect more a palace than a castle- Ludwig’s intended place of solace (he died before it was completed) attracts over 1 million annual visitors, has been used in countless movies and is said to be the main inspiration for the Disneyland Castle- all because of its rather good looks.
3. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Perched upon a huge volcanic rock formation, this fortress has stood looking over the Scottish capital city for the best part of 1000 years. Regenerated to fit with the times on several occasions throughout this time, the current incarnation is both regal and overbearing. Playing a central role in many a conquest and even more wars over the past millennium, the Castle is considered as one of the strongest and most impressive in the world- attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists annually as a result of its central location and host of beguiling attractions.
2. Windsor Castle, England
As a Royal residence for the entirety of its 1,000 year existence- Windsor Castle has managed to remain in absolutely flawless condition. Whereas other less fortunate early constructions of equal importance and magnitude have been left to rot in the harsh environmental conditions akin to the UK- Windsor Castle has been maintained with the utmost care. The site was originally used by William the Conqueror upon his successful invasion of Saxon England in 1066, though since then has been used by a long line of ‘English’ Monarchs- starting with Williams son Henry I in the early 1100’s. The castle remains a residence to the current Monarch Elizabeth II- making it the longest occupied Palace in Europe.
1. Prague Castle, Czech Republic
A dearly held asset of the Czech people, Prague Castle has stood proudly within the jurisdiction of the nation’s capital city since its initial construction in the 9th Century. The elegant yet utterly formidable fortress has been a home and place of work for Bohemian Kings, Holy Roman Emperors and Czech Presidents alike and still holds a very valid place within the country’s infrastructure. Noted as the largest ‘Ancient’ castle in the world by Guinness World Records, there’s no wonder the castle remains one of the continents more prevalent landmarks.