Castles and Palaces
   

European Castles

Castles in Europe date as far back as the 9th century and are a symbol of the Middle Ages.

In the olden days, castles were the residences of kings, queens and lords. As fortresses, castles were built for protection from enemy attacks but they also served to exhibit the owners' wealth and status. Most of the castles in Europe were strategically built on hilltops, and even on isolated islands, to ensure safety from invasion or intrusions.

Early castles were generally made of stone, mortar and timber. Defense and security were the main concerns in the architecture. They were definitely far from comfortable for its inhabitants.

Later, in the Renaissance period castles became more and more comfortable and gradually the castles lost their defensive role. Many of the old castles suffered big changes and new residential type castles or palaces were newly built.

Some of these castles currently stand in ruins, others vanished completely, but a visitor can still visit many of them, as throughout Europe many castles were turned into museums or stand alone as tourist attractions. Some of them were turned into hotels too, so a visitor not only can enjoy visiting castles but also can have the privilege of staying overnight in one.

On this site you will discover the history of many European castles. We cover castles from all historic periods, from medieval fortified castles to renaissance and gothic revival castles, as well as a selection of Europe’s most beautiful palaces. You can browse through all of them by selecting a specific country from the right menu.

Famous Castles in Europe