Everyone loves castles. We see them in movies, read about them in literature, and romanticize them when it comes to our dream vacations. Many times, we picture something grand and opulent in a place such as Ireland or Scotland, or perhaps even the countryside in England. However, some of the best castles are the ones we miss while we're busy focusing on those which everyone has on their bucket list.
Castles are more of a common structure than many realize and they can be found all over the world. It's time to revamp our definitions and check out those which deserve to be discovered... the ones that few people hardly visit at all. Here are the 10 least visited castles that you should travel to.
10 Chateau de Pont Remy Somme
This castle is actually abandoned, however, visitors are still free to roam its grounds and explore its brilliant history. Nicknamed "Chateau Clochard" which translates to "homeless man", this castle was built in Pont-Remy, France. It has been a destination for many famous royal members, including Mary Queen of Scots and King Henry the II.
Over time, the castle simply fell into disuse, leaving it in the abandoned state that visitors can now freely view on their own accord. Despite its lack of purpose, it's still marvelous in its own regal way.
9 Cesky Krumlov Castle
While many might not recognize the name of this castle, some might recognize it from the movie Hostel. This castle was used during filming and despite its morbid rep in the movie, in real life, it's quite the opposite. This castle is home to one of the most pristine Baroque theatres which is estimated to be the most perfectly preserved in the world.
Aside from that, many recommend coming to see this castle rather than the more popular Prague Castle, which can often leave visitors waiting in line for quite some time. The picturesque nature of this castle is like something out of a Gothic novel and definitely worth the side trip.
8 The Palace Of Pena
With a good bit of elevation and some vibrant colors, this castle is not to be missed. When you think of Portugal, you don't often envision seaside castles, but the Palace of Pena is just that. The castle is worth a gander even though it's still in use by the government, as it's surrounded on all sides by dense forests and quite serene.
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It was built in 1854 which doesn't make it nearly the oldest castle in the world, but it's undoubtedly one of the most eye-catching. Visitors will also have the chance to observe various flora in the forests surrounding this castle, as plants have been brought here from all over the world.
7 The Alcazar
In Spain, visitors can visit the Alcazar, which has a bit of a mysterious origin. While it looks like that castle that inspired the same one the Wicked Witch of the West used in The Wizard of Oz, it's quite a beautiful structure. The earliest records reflect its existence in the 12th century but since then, the castle has served many different purposes.
From a home for royalty to prison and anything in between, this castle has an extensive history, some of which is still unknown. Anyone who makes the trip to Alcazar is permitted to go up to the Tower of Juan, where viewers can take in the entire city.
6 Swallow's Nest
This castle's name surely does it justice as it sits on a cliffside overlooking the Black Sea. Those who have seen it in person consider it to be one of the most romantic castles in the world and today, it's open to the public as a restaurant. Though it is small, that doesn't stop it from being just as majestic as any other castle.
Its design was inspired by German fairy tales and that can be clearly seen in its steep towers and oversized brickwork. On a clear, sunny day, visitors can stand on its patio and look out over the Black Sea coast, having a clear view of the land on the opposite side.
5 Malbork Castle
The Malbork Castle isn't normally one that many hear of when visiting Poland, likely because there are so many other attractions that gain attention. However, it is the largest castle in the world by sheer surface area and has a hefty history. The castle's story begins in 1406 when it was built by the Teutonic Knights. It's still open to this day and even boasts a museum for all those who are so inclined to learn about its history.
Since the grounds are so vast, you should anticipate spending at least a day here. For those seeking something a little on the spookier side, the castle offers night tours as well.
4 Castle De Haar
Although not vastly popular, Castle de Haar is definitely what most think of when they think of a medieval castle. Built in the 1390s, this castle has a long history before it and will likely have a long history in the future, as it's open to the public through various events. One of the most popular is the Elf Fantasy Fair, which truly suits the nature of the castle and is almost too perfect for words.
Much of this castle is used for whimsical purposes, and they even offer to turn children into 'knights' and 'princesses' on the regular.
3 Dunnottar Castle
Talk about your castle by the sea. Unlike the cliffside castles we've seen previously on this list, Dunnottar is a bit more striking in comparison. This castle sits on a lone cliff with a sheer drop into the sea, accessible via a narrow walkway. It was home to one of the most powerful families in Scotland at one point, which makes it easy to understand why it's so isolated and well-protected.
Its roots date back to the Early Middle Ages and it's still open to visitors to this day. However, given its location, it is closed for tours when the weather is poor and only operates in peak season.
2 Chillon Castle
For those who truly want the experience of living in a castle, Chillon allows guests to rent a small portion of its rocky shores during peak season. For those who aren't keen on taking on the castle life, visitors are free to wander around the castle grounds during its open hours. Found on the shores of Lake Geneva, this castle lies on the border of both Switzerland and France.
It's not super well-known but it does have a long history which dates all the way back to the Bronze Age. It's worth a look, even if it's just to get some peace and quiet in while enjoying a lakeside view.
1 Peles Castle
This is one whopper of a castle. While Romania is known for the castle which inspired Dracula, this castle isn't too far from it. It has quite the eye-catching appeal with its Gothic structure and striking architecture, somehow managing to blend in with the tall forest that surrounds it while simultaneously standing out.
The castle was completed in 1883 and contains 160 rooms, some of which boast stained glass windows and leather walls, which were customary during that time. Additionally, visitors should take note of the artwork that's varied throughout the castle, which only adds to its charm and history. Oh, and say hi to Dracula's cousins for us.