If Megan Markle’s fairytale romance has given us anything, it’s a thirst for that royal lifestyle. She’s proof that these days, you don’t need to belong to an outdated noble class to achieve full princess status. With the right bank balance and insider knowledge, almost anyone can get a taste of the royal high life.
There is nothing that says ‘royal highness’ more than a castle. What’s a princess without one, right? Thanks to modern castle/hotel conversions, you can get your own castle experience for less than you might think. Seriously, you can actually afford to stay in these castles.
From France to Belgium to Portugal and beyond, we’ve found real stunning castles where you yourself can spend the night. These ancient marvels range from Lannister-level luxury to stunning-yet-crumbling ruins, all equipped with full-service hotel staff and amenities.
Castles have a long history of attracting travelers. Golden-age celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Greta Garbo all enjoyed the option of an overnight stay in a castle here and there. In more recent years, Kim K and Kanye have honeymooned in a rented castle suite, and Natalie Portman has used one to prepare for a noble role. Your choice just depends on what you’re into (and how much you’re willing to spend). Go for the romance factor and add these castles to your honeymoon wish list or share them in your girls’ trip group chat for some serious travel inspiration.
Ranked from cheapest to most luxurious, here are the top 20 castle hotels you can book for yourself.
20 Chateau Krasna Lipa: Kyjovska, Czech Republic
In between Prague and Dresden lies this bohemian gem, aptly named “Luxury Castle Romantic Chateau Krasna Lipa.”
It’s an authentic Victorian castle built in 1886, with all the romance of its era still present and accounted for.
This castle is small compared to most on our list, which can be a bonus for travelers like you. Fewer rooms mean fewer other guests you need to share your experience with. You can even venture out beyond the castle walls for some local adventure without encountering too many tourists. Krasna Lipa is surrounded by beautiful fields, forests, and rivers and is close to some quaint medieval towns. It’s only $89 per night, but if you truly fall in love with the place, you can book the entire property for weeks or months at a time.
19 Zamek Reszel Hotel Kreatif: Reszel, Poland
If you’re passionate about art and Renaissance culture, then this castle is for you. It’s been a popular meeting place for international artists over the centuries that it has stood atop the Polish hilly countryside. As you might expect, the art scene has left its mark on the castle’s stylish interior and general artsy culture. These days, Zamek Reszel houses both
a full-service hotel ($100/night) and a popular art gallery, so you don’t even have to leave the building to experience the city’s masterpieces.
Creative types will love the ever-changing art exhibitions featured on this historic property. This castle is ranked especially high for satisfaction among couples. This may be due to the castle’s tight proximity to the local village, with a wide range of local entertainment options to explore.
18 Tulloch Castle: Dingwall Ross-Shire, Scotland
Who’s up for a little paranormal activity? For just $115, you could rent an enchanting (and possibly enchanted) room in this historic Scottish castle. Tulloch Castle was built in the 12th century, when clan chiefs and kings were the only ones with access to its hallowed halls. These days, travelers, historians, and supposed ghosts all make regular appearances here.
Don’t miss Tulloch Castle’s legendary Ghost Tour if you pay this place a visit. Hotel staff will lead you through the most ancient of the castle’s wings and turrets, telling you every detail of the ghost sightings and historic fables tied to the ancient highland property.
Then cozy up in your own four-poster bed and enjoy décors that echo Tulloch’s long lost Gaelic history. You could even land a room that overlooks the vast and beautiful highland hills...or the castle’s infamous pet cemetery.
17 Ashford Castle: County Cork, Ireland
Ireland has literally dozens of castles to choose from, but the Guinness family’s own historic homestead had to make this list. Their 13th century castle was reworked into a luxury hotel in 1939. It now offers 82 “bespoke bedrooms” and a lakeside cottage for as little as $139 per night.
Imagine yourself waking up in a luxurious canopy bed and spending your day enjoying activities fit for royalty. There is a 32-seat cinema, library, spa, billiards room, cigar terrace, fishing facilities, and a falconry range.
It’s impossible to get bored at Ashford Castle. The dungeon has even been converted into a dining area where you can eat Ireland’s best national dishes from past and present among authentic historic wall hangings and décor. Be sure to honor the castle’s original owners by ordering a pint or two of Guinness at dinner.
16 Parador De Plasencia: Extremedura, Spain
Of all Spain’s famous paradors, many consider the Parador de Plasencia to be the most spectacular. You and your travel companions will be enchanted by the light stone exterior and romantic medieval courtyard as well as the castle’s sumptuous interiors, which feature photogenic Spanish furnishings and antique pieces along with cathedral ceilings, huge private rooms, and a lobby lit partially by windows high above in the castle’s towers. Find your own happily ever after for as little as $145 a night.
It wouldn’t be right to list this castle without mentioning its food. An elite Extremaduran restaurant is located within the castle, which serves traditional local fare made in the most mouth-watering ways. We’re talking about fresh bacon and chorizo sausage, cherries and tomatoes picked ripe from the Jerte Valley, and more. Enjoy it all with a glass of aged Tempranillo vino and your night is made.
15 Leeds Castle: Kent, England
Leeds Castle’s staff call it “the loveliest castle in the world,” and you might agree. This Norman-era castle is now run as a Bed and Breakfast for savvy international travelers. You can trust its quality and authenticity based on its historic guest list, which includes six different English queens. If it’s good enough for Queen Catherine de Valois, you know it’s the real deal.
These days, Leeds Castle rooms cost about $150. Will you book a place in the maiden’s tower or take your tea in the Stable Courtyard? Either way, you’ll find yourself surrounded by velvet, furs, and some traditional British coziness.
Way out in the castle vineyard, there’s an extra option for adventurous travelers: “Knight’s Glamping.” Outdoorsy types can camp in style on the castle’s one acre vineyard, using roomy tents designed in the “medieval style.” You do you, glampers!
14 Ruthin Castle: Vale Of Clwyd, Wales
Ruthin Castle offers excellent service and spectacular views similar to several other UK castles on this list.
What sets it apart is its gory history, a fascinating addition to the experience you can have when you stay for $160 a night.
While much of the castle has been renovated to suit the high standards of modern guests, the castle’s dungeon–that’s right, dungeon–is still intact deep below the ground floor. If you’re brave enough to stay here, you’re welcome to explore the dungeon and all its gruesome antiques, along with the castle’s drowning pool and whipping pit. Yikes. But don’t get us wrong, guests of the Ruthin Castle experience far more pleasure than pain. Romantic vibes are flowing hard throughout the sweet woodland gardens and elegant bedroom suites. The hotel also hosts feasts fit for its occasional royal guests, so remember to bring your tiara.
13 Parador De Oropesa: Toledo, Spain
Looking at Oropesa Castle, it’s easy to imagine its old role as a fortress for Spanish royals. Constructed in the Gothic period around the 14th century, this castle is the perfect setting for you to live out your Don Quixote fantasy.
Everywhere you look, there’s a legend to be learned. This castle has views of medieval architecture in the village below, groves of olive trees, and an ancient mountain range that has protected the villagers for centuries. According to Spanish locals, Oropesa is built on land that belonged to Hercules’ army way back 1716 B.C.
Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a gorgeous Instagram photo backdrop, Oropesa Castle is a solid choice for just $175 per night. And is there any other castle in the world with an outdoor swimming pool this nice?
12 Camelot Castle: Cornwall, England
Ready for the authentic knights on horseback, damsels in distress, wizards and battles, and chivalry kind of castle? It doesn’t get realer than Camelot Castle in Cornwall, England.
Part ancient ruin, part refurbished resort, you can spend the night on the same legendary land where King Arthur knighted Sir Lancelot for as little as $189 per night.
Steeped in mythology, you can step into a world of grand architecture on a truly mystical hillside. The views from Camelot Castle hotel are spectacular because it’s situated right on top of one of Cornwall’s high rocky cliffs, reigning over the hills and waters below. Lush interiors guard you from the harsh winds and rain typical of this misty coastline. Recline in style and wait for your own knight in shining armor to appear.
11 Dornröschenschloss Castle: Hofgeismar, Germany
You know the story: Once upon a time, Princess Aurora pricked her finger and fell into a hundred-year sleep. The kingdom was saved when a brave prince rode through thorny hillsides to wake her with a kiss. The 675-year-old Dornröschenschloss Castle (a.k.a. "Little Thorny Rose Castle") is the real-world setting of this fairytale, and you can stay there for less than the price of a spinning wheel. Located on Germany’s ‘Fairy Tale Trail,’ Dornröschenschloss is unique because it’s partially restored. On the converted side, you can rent rooms with princess-worthy balconies overlooking the legendary thorny hills. On the historically-preserved side, you can tour romantic ruins right out of the pages of Sleeping Beauty.
It’ll cost you about $300 to enjoy the cathedral ceilings, stone spiral staircases, and beds so comfortable you could fall into your own enchanted slumber.
Just make sure you set a good alarm.
10 Dalian City Castle: Liaoning Peninsula, China
For about $300 per night, you can stay in a deluxe suite in Dalian City Castle, China’s exclusive castle on a hill. Dalian is a seaside resort town with a lot of local treasures to be discovered. Although its castle is by far the youngest on our list (it was built in 2001), it has a rich and interesting history all its own.
For over ten years, it sat empty, casting quite a glamorous shadow over Xinghai Square below. Eventually, it was a shell museum featuring delicate local discoveries before becoming the full-time hotel that it is today. After strolling the city’s famously photogenic white sand beaches, grab dinner at the castle’s Aristocrat Restaurant or take cues from the hotel’s dedicated “Luxury Collection Concierge” about a range of other high-class favorites in Dalian. Visit during Chinese New Year to experience this palace in all its glory.
9 Chateau Frontenac: Quebec City, Canada
For adventures on this side of the Atlantic, it doesn’t get more royal than Fairmont’s Chateau Frontenac. Quebec City is historic in its own right, but it has a definite sense of European appeal with cobblestone streets and city walls full of old-Roman romance. Why not live like Canadian royalty with a night at the Frontenac? Chateau is French for castle, and Quebec’s rich French history is on full display within its walls.
Stay here for about $350 per night and you’re in good company.
Past guests have included Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlie Chaplain, Princess Grace of Monaco, and the reigning Queen Elizabeth II. You might even bump into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada’s own charming diplomat, while enjoying some spa time or exploring the lavish lobby.
8 Hotel De La Cité: Carcassonne, France
If you have $450 to drop on accommodations, give it to the castle on a hill in Carcassonne France. This jaw-droppingly gorgeous castle is a medieval relic located in the heart of its French city, placing the entire town’s available adventures at your feet. The castle is the only French UNESCO World Heritage site where you can spend the night, and trust us when we say it’s worth it.
Wander through the enchanting castle grounds and feel like a Beauxbatons student from Harry Potter. Imagine yourself enjoying fois gras at the five-star Michelin restaurant on site before retiring to your own room in a tower or turret and dream neo-gothic dreams the whole night through. Consider this castle the ultimate elegant escape.
7 Umaid Bhawan Palace: Rajasthan, India
If your travels ever take you to the deserts of India, keep an eye out for this oasis of a palace! It’s located in the sandy capital of Jodhpur, Rajasthan. A part of the palace is managed by the luxury company Taj Hotels, so you can pay to spend the night like an Indian celebrity.
Made of the same Palm Court marble as the Taj Mahal, Umaid Bhawan is accessible at $450 per night. Its interiors are the peak of luxury, with pillow menus to help you achieve your perfect night’s sleep.
It’s got 26 acres of exotic gardens, featuring peacocks (yes, peacocks!) and a subterranean Zodiac Pool. Soak up the sun before taking a dip and relaxing in one of your own art deco-styled rooms or suites. A true Mediterranean castle, the Umaid Bhawan offers yoga and meditation retreats through its 5-star spa—the perfect place to get your royal ohm on.
6 Duke's Palace: Bruges, Belgium
Foodies will love Duke’s Palace in Bruges. This castle hotel is built right within the bustling Belgian capital, but touring its rooms, you might forget that you’re in a modern city. It’s down a quiet side street that ensures no loud tourists will interrupt your fairytale experience. The interiors are elegantly decorated in a style fit for a king (or perhaps more accurately, a duke).
Bruges is the most famous cosmopolitan city that features a castle hotel, so its location is a big factor boosting the palace’s place on our list.
Because of its fabulous central spot, you can fill full days with sightseeing (or brewery-hopping) and never be more than a short walk from your bed. Rooms average $500 per night and are decorated with modern elements and subtle hints of history throughout. Look out for portraits of kings and queens adorning the walls (also, complimentary Belgian chocolate). Need we say more?
5 Inverlochy Castle: Fort William, Scotland
Pack your gowns because this castle’s ballroom is calling your name. Inverlochy Castle is a beautiful 19th century fortress set in the dreamy Scottish countryside. If you’re a fan of Outlander, it’s easy to imagine the show’s romance playing out among Inverlochy’s uniquely Scottish gardens.
Smell the heather and watch out for thistles as you enjoy all the lush green grounds Inverlochy has to offer. Be prepared to hear the drones of a bagpipe too, as this castle is a top Scottish wedding destination, and we know how those Scots like to celebrate.
In 1873, Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy and wrote in her diaries, “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.” See if you have royal taste by booking your own room here at about $780 per night.
4 Gstaad Palace: Saanen, Sweden
Serving you the utmost alpine elegance is Gstaad Palace on Sweden’s side of the Swiss Alps. Guests at Gstaad are surrounded by world-class ski resorts, indulgent local dining, and all the comforts that luxury Swedish hoteliers can provide. Full of winter wonders, Gstaad would be Queen Elsa’s top choice. Strap on your snowshoes and trek to this palace the next time you and a friend get fed up with our humid summers. In slightly warmer seasons, daring travelers can go whitewater rafting in the rapids surrounding the castle.
Whether you’re dreaming of adventure, a unique cultural experience, or a romantic winter wedding getaway, Gstaad offers a regal selection of room and suite options.
It costs $920 per night, but we bet you’ll only need one night in this perfect palace to make magical lifelong memories.
3 Aldourie Castle, Loch Ness Scotland
This castle is the ultimate choice for anyone who loves fantasy, legends, and magic. You may have noticed that it’s located on the shore of Loch Ness, the home of Scotland’s legendary Loch Ness monster. As if that weren’t magical enough, you can sleep here knowing that the entire cast of Harry Potter has too.
When you’re not searching the misty waters for Nessie, the castle hosts regal outdoor activities for you to try on its massive 500-acre estate. Archery, hunting, golf, canoeing, and even mountain biking activities are available for adventurous travelers.
Most guests rent the entire castle for their stays, but you can rent one of the 13 castle bedrooms or cozy up in one of the cute castle cottages for $950 per night. Aldourie is so exclusive and remote that most guests fly in by private helicopter. Treat this castle like your own hidden Hogwarts.
2 Cinderella’s Castle: Disney World Orlando, USA
Are you ready to feel your Disney Princess fantasy? Grab your girlfriends and show them Cinderella’s Castle, set in the heart of Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. It’s the only place you can actually stay within the park’s walls after the clock strikes midnight.
In true royal fashion, price isn’t an issue for guests of this iconic castle. It’s the only one on our list that’s technically priceless. Reservations at Cinderella’s Castle Suite are by invitation or prize only. Its uber-exclusive guest list has included Mariah Carey, Kevin Jonas, and Katy Perry.
Sneak-peek pictures into the suite show elegant faux-antique interiors and possibly the most magical bathroom on the planet. Picture yourself in a deep bubble bath with stained glass windows surrounding you and a night’s sky ceiling–with stars that actually twinkle–above your head. It’s pure Disney magic!
1 Skibo Castle: Sutherland, Scotland
Cinderella's Castle may offer manufactured magic, but there's no beating the authentic charm (or luxury price) of this number one dream destination. Considered “Scotland’s best kept secret,” only the most privileged of guests are allowed through its 17th century doors. Unless you’re a member of Skibo’s prestigious Carnegie Club (mainly oil tycoons and aristocrats),
a room in this ultra-exclusive castle will cost you $1,500 per night!
There’s a photo op at every turn in Scotland’s Skibo Castle, and celebrities know it. The original material girl, Madonna herself, got married at Skibo Castle in 2000. Bill Clinton and Sean Connery have both stayed the night here and golfed Skibo’s famous Carnegie Links. If golf isn’t your thing, you can spend a royal afternoon riding miniature horses, playing polo, or sharpening your aim at shooting practice. The beauty of the Celtic architecture and surrounding loch can’t be overstated and just might make the perfect setting for your own happily ever after.