photo – flickriver.com
Whether or not this German castle had an influence on Mary Shelley when she wrote the famous novel of the same name remains controversial. There is no doubt, however, that it has had a colorful past. Built over 800 years ago it has served as a hospital, tourist attraction, and allied base in World War II.
photo – indoblogger.org
A crusader castle built in Syria, T.E. Lawrence once described it as the “best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world. It was built as part of a series of castles intended to secure the Homs Gap and played a major role in coastal defense for the Crusaders.
photo – bestourism.net
Found near the city of Segovia, Spain this distinctive fortification was constructed to look like the bow of a ship. Although it was originally built as a fortress it has served as a palace, prison, and even a college since then.
photo – wikimedia
Situated in Bam, Iran, the bam citadel is the world’s largest adobe structure. It was built around 500BC and remained in use up until 1850AD. No one is completely sure why it was abandoned.
photo – wikimedia
Considered one of the finest still surviving examples of typical Japanese architecture. It is composed of 83 buildings that still retain their advanced defensive mechanisms from the feudal period. Tourists beware!
photo – wonderworld.ru
A crusader stronghold near the city of Limassol on the island of Cyprus, former inhabitants include Richard the Lionheart and The Knights Templar.
photo – eduyani
Translated as “Lion’s Castle” this was the 18th Century version of Disney World. Constructed to intentionally look like an ancient ruin it was destroyed in the Second World War and ironically became exactly that – a ruin. Since then, however, it has been reconstructed and now is a popular tourist attraction.
photo – argophilia.com
Officially a World Heritage site, this Prussian Castle’s name means “Mary’s Castle”. Built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order it has undergone several expansions over the centuries and going purely by area, it is one of the largest in the world.
photo – wikimedia
Just of the coast of Normandy, on a small island, you with find the Mont Saint-Michel. The interesting thing about this castle is the tides. While at high tide the only way to get to Saint-Michel is to either swim or cross the narrow causeway connecting it to the mainland, at low tide one could theoretically walk across the exposed sand bars. A word to the wise however – the tide comes in quickly and numerous visitors have drowned trying to cross.
photo – besttourism.com
Built shortly after William the Conqueror invaded England about 1,000 years ago, Windsor castle is the longest occupied castle in all of Europe.
photo – heraldictimes.org
A 13th century castle located in Andria, Italy it was built by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II sometime in the 13th Century. Probably one of the most oft-looted castles on our list, there was not much left when the Italian government decided to restore it in the early 1900’s.
photo – tenorama.com
One of the oldest castles inspired by European Romanticism the Pena National Palace is perched on top of a hill overlooking the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can easily be seen all the way from Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal.
photo – blog.travelpod.com
With a name that can be literally translated to “castle in front of a cave”, its easy to see what sets this castle apart from the others. Its unique construction has led to it being featured in several movies including the Jackie Chan film Armour of God.
photo – aboutbritain.com
No list of castles would be complete without the home of modern royalty, Buckingham Palace. Located in the City of Westminster it has been a focus for the British people in times of national crisis and rejoicing.
photo – yamasa.org
Also known as Matsumotojo, this is one of Japan’s oldest castles. It was constructed as a “hirajiro” or a castle that is built on the plains rather than in the mountains as is often done in Asia.