Europe is synonymous to castles and what could be better than simply visiting awe-inspiring, medieval European castles? Staying in a castle, of course.
There are many castles to stay in Europe, where you can tread in the footsteps of royalty, celebrities, politicians, historical legends – and even ghosts, if the stories are true.
1. Schloss Hornberg
A knight’s castle, dating back to the 11th century. In 1517 it was purchased as a residence and sold again in 1612 to the Barons of Gemmingen, who still own it to this day. A hotel and restaurant have been operating out of the castle since 1953.
2. Schloss Spangenberg
Built by knights in the 1200s and added to over the centuries by the counts of Hesse and Count Wilhelm IV. It survived the 30 Years’ War but was lost to the French in the 7 Years’ War. It has since been restored after being damaged during WWII.
3. Hospedería del Real Monasterio
A small chapel was originally built on the site and later replaced by a hermitage built by King Alfonso XI. The Hieronymites took care of the building between the 15th and 18th centuries. Ferdinand and Isabella signed the documents authorizing Columbus’s first voyage to the New World in the monastery. In the 1800s the monastery was abandoned and looted by the French during the Peninsular War. It is now maintained by the Franciscans.
4. Abbeyglen Castle
Built in 1832, it was converted to a girls’ orphanage in 1854 where they were trained in domestic services. It became a mixed orphanage in 1953 and closed in 1955 due to lack of funding. It’s been developed and run as a hotel since the ‘60s. Tuesday nights are Irish night, when the menus are written in Gaelic and traditional dishes are served.
5. Castillo de Monda
The Moors laid the first foundations of the castle, which were taken by the Christians in 1485, then razed in 1570 during a Moorish uprising. It was never rebuilt over 400 years, but in the 1970s the ruins were restored.
6. Ashford Castle
Built in 1228, the castle changed hands a few times and was extended over the centuries by its various owners. It opened as a hotel in 1939. Previous guests have been John Lennon, George Harrison, Ronald Reagan, Brad Pitt, John Wayne, and Pierce Brosnan.
7. Glenapp Castle
It was built in 1870, designed by David Bryce for Mr. James Hunter, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire. Between 1917 and 1982 it was owned by the 1st Earl of Inchcape and expanded considerably to its current size. It was purchased in 1994 by local hoteliers who restored the neglected castle and opened its doors in 2000 as a luxury hotel.
8. Castel Brando
Built in the early Roman period, the original castrum — from 46 AD — can still be seen today. In the 13th century the castle was enlarged and in the 1500s the central part again enlarged. An extension was built onto the southern part of the castle in 1700. It was purchased in 1959 and opened as a monastery and a centre for spiritual studies. It again changed hands in ‘97 and was renovated to open as a hotel and museum.
9. Hazlewood Castle
The castle dates way back and was first mentioned in the Domesday Book, the first record of the great survey of England in 1086. It was a place of refuge for Catholic priests during the reign of Henry VIII and his persecution of Catholics. It was opened as a hotel in 1997.
10. Margam Castle
Built between 1830 and 1840 , the “castle” is actually a Victorian era mansion built in mock castle style. There is also photographic history here: William Henry Fox Talbot — British inventor — was a frequent visitor, choosing the castle as his subject in some of his photographic experiments.