20 Biggest Castles in Europe

Traveling through Europe is often likened to a journey through a storybook filled with tales of knights, kings, and queens. The continent is dotted with some of the most magnificent castles in the world, each telling its own unique story. In this article, we embark on an enchanting journey to explore the 20 biggest castles in Europe, marvels of architecture that have withstood the test of time.

1. Windsor Castle, England

Spanning over 13 acres, Windsor Castle is not only the largest inhabited castle in the world but also the oldest in continuous occupation. The castle’s history dates back to the reign of William the Conqueror, with its iconic Round Tower and opulent State Apartments. The castle is a favored weekend home of the Queen and a symbol of the British monarchy.

2. Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Prague Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is known as the largest ancient castle in the world. Its construction started in the 9th century, and it has been a seat of power for kings, emperors, and presidents. The castle complex includes St. Vitus Cathedral, the Old Royal Palace, and the Golden Lane.

3. Malbork Castle, Poland

Originally built by the Teutonic Knights, Malbork Castle is the largest castle in the world by land area. This Gothic fortress is a masterpiece of medieval military architecture, with its vast defensive walls and imposing towers. Today, it stands as a museum and a testament to the rich history of the Baltic region.

4. Château de Chambord, France

Château de Chambord, in the Loire Valley, is one of the most recognizable castles in the world, known for its distinctive French Renaissance architecture. The castle features 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, and a double-helix staircase, possibly designed by Leonardo da Vinci.

5. Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

Perched atop Castle Rock, Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline of Scotland’s capital. The castle has played a pivotal role in Scottish history, both as a royal residence and a military stronghold. Highlights include the Crown Jewels of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny.

6. Versailles, France

The Palace of Versailles, once the epicenter of French royalty, is a symbol of the absolute monarchy of the Ancien Régime. Its grandeur, with 700 rooms, expansive gardens, and the Hall of Mirrors, is a testament to its importance in French history.

7. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle, is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace. Nestled in the Bavarian Alps, the castle was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria and is known for its fairy-tale-like architecture.

8. Spis Castle, Slovakia

One of the largest castle complexes in Europe, Spis Castle’s ruins are a dominant feature of the Slovakian landscape. This medieval fortress has been a part of many historical events and is now a favorite location for filmmakers.

9. Alhambra, Spain

The Alhambra, a stunning example of Moorish architecture in Europe, stands as a symbol of Spain’s Islamic history. This fortress complex in Granada features exquisite gardens, intricate carvings, and the renowned Court of the Lions.

10. Schönbrunn Palace, Austria

Schönbrunn Palace, with its 1,441 rooms, was the summer residence of the Habsburg rulers. This Baroque palace in Vienna is renowned for its beautifully landscaped gardens, the Gloriette, and the oldest existing zoo in the world.

11. Hohensalzburg Castle, Austria

Dominating the skyline of Salzburg, Hohensalzburg Castle is one of the largest and best-preserved medieval fortresses in Europe. Built in 1077, the castle offers panoramic views of the city and the Alps.

12. Pena Palace, Portugal

Pena Palace, perched atop a hill in Sintra, is a Romanticist castle known for its vivid colors and eclectic architectural styles. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Portugal’s Seven Wonders.

13. Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark

Frederiksborg Castle, in Hillerød, is the largest Renaissance castle in Scandinavia. The castle houses the Museum of National History and is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens.

14. Bran Castle, Romania

Often associated with the legend of Dracula, Bran Castle is a national monument and landmark in Romania. This 14th-century fortress, set against the dramatic Carpathian Mountains, offers a journey into Romanian history and folklore.

15. Eltz Castle, Germany

Eltz Castle is a medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle River. Unlike many other castles in the region, it has never been destroyed and remains a private residence owned by the same family for over 800 years.

16. Leeds Castle, England

Leeds Castle, in Kent, has been described as ‘the loveliest castle in the world’. Originally a Norman stronghold, the castle has been the private property of six medieval queens and a palace used by Henry VIII.

17. Warwick Castle, England

Warwick Castle, with its history dating back to William the Conqueror, is a medieval castle turned into a stately home. The castle’s dungeons, armory, and interactive displays make it a popular tourist attraction.

18. Château de Pierrefonds, France

Reconstructed in the 19th century, Château de Pierrefonds presents an idealized version of a medieval castle. Located in Oise, it features a moat, drawbridge, and impressive defensive structures.

19. Castillo de Colomares, Spain

Castillo de Colomares, a monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America, is a unique blend of various architectural styles, representing different historical periods and cultures.

20. Trakai Island Castle, Lithuania

Trakai Island Castle, located on an island in Lake Galvė, is one of the most visited historical sites in Lithuania. This Gothic castle, surrounded by lakes and forests, offers a picturesque view and a journey into the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.


These grandiose structures, scattered across the diverse landscape of Europe, are more than just stone and mortar; they are the keepers of history, art, and culture. Each castle on this list has its own unique story, architectural style, and historical significance, offering visitors a glimpse into Europe’s rich and varied past. Whether you are an avid historian, an architecture enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates beauty, these castles are sure to leave you in awe of the splendor and grandeur of a bygone era.