10 Fairytale Castles You've Probably Never Heard Of

Whether fanciful royal residences or stone clad fortresses, Europe’s castles are an awe-inspiring sight. Harken back to the days of armored knights, regal kings and beautiful ladies with a visit to these 10 Eastern European castles you’ve probably never heard of:

Peles Castle in the Carpathian Mountains [Romania]

10. Peles Castle, Romania | The densely forested hillsides of the Carpathian Mountains form the perfect backdrop for Peles Castle’s soaring spires and ornate towers. This imposing residence was completed in 1875 as a summer home for Romania’s King Charles.

Bojnice Castle [Bojnice, Slovakia]

9. Bojnice Castle, Slovakia | Romantic Bojnice Castle is a favorite backdrop for Slovakian fantasy movies and weddings. The crenelated turrets and conical towers are a direct imitation of the elegant castles in France’s Loire Valley.

Veliki Tabor Castle [Croatia]

8. Veliki Tabor Castle, Croatia | This tidy, red-roofed castle has a five-pointed tower dating back to the 12th century. A museum inside wows with collections of medicine, swords, paintings, pottery and old vehicles.

Bran Castle [Transylvania, Romania]

7. Bran Castle, Romania | Bran Castle has had a long history as a fortress, a royal residence and an army hospital. Its narrow passageways and dank dungeons were the setting for the novel Dracula, but the historic Vlad the Impaler never set foot inside.

Castle of the Teutonic Order [Malbork, Poland]

6. Malbork Castle, Poland | An ever-growing population of monk-knights used the castle to keep the surrounding territory under the control of the Teutonic Order. The gorgeous overlook on the Nogat River was once used to extract tolls from passing boats.

Castle of Eger [Eger, Hungary]

5. Castle of Eger, Hungary | Over the years, Castle Eger has been wrecked by the Mongols, conquered by the Turkish and exploded by the Austrians. Even so, the castle lasted as an army barracks until 1957. Its craggy ramparts offer stunning city views.

Spis Castle, one of the largest castles in Central Europe [Slovakia]

4. Spis Castle, Slovakia | This austere and crumbling ruin was once the Romanesque stronghold of Hungarian kings. Noble families called these weather-beaten grey walls home until the 18th century when they realized how uncomfortable it was to live there. 

Predjama Castle [Slovenia]

3. Predjama Castle, Slovenia | Lovely Predjama is a romantic’s dream built directly into the mouth of a cave. Legend has it that impregnable castle’s only weak point was the outhouse that dangled over the parapet.

Corvin Castle [Transylvania, Romania]

2. Corvin Castle, Romania | This fanciful 14th-century castle goes by many names and is said to be haunted by betrayed Turkish prisoners and by the infamous Vlad the Impaler who was jailed here for seven years after he was deposed.

Medieval city of Sighisoara [Transylvania, Romania]

1. Sighisoara, Romania | The fortified village of Sighisoara was the boyhood home of Vlad the Impaler. Transylvania’s notoriously cruel leader probably wandered through the village, scurried up bell towers and explored the cobwebbed stone citadel just as you can.

Want to check out castles a little closer to home? Here are 7 European Castles to Visit in America


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Carmen Fifield

The delight of finding an unknown park, a captivating history museum or a fantastic desert means exploration is never far from Carmen Fifield’s mind. Carmen’s favorite travel memories include biking to historic sites on the island of Guernsey, huffing and puffing up the stairs to the Great Wall of China and eating the most delicious crab cake ever in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Carmen’s Favorite Travel Tip: Say goodbye to airplane food and tuck some fruit and your favorite sandwich into your carry-on.