We have all seen and been inspired by castles in so many movies, cartoons, and video games. It is something about those huge halls, and towers, and spires and the foreboding look that completely mesmerize us. There are many universities in the world that are built with such spacious architectures as those of castles. Remember seeing Harry potter and his friends studying Magic in the Hogwarts Castle? Wasn’t that totally spell binding (no pun intended), or perhaps you remember the various kinds of castles used in THE LORD OF THE RINGS! I bring to you that and so much more as I take you on a visit around the world to some of the oldest and most beautiful castles that are still standing. Being used as tourists spots today, these were once monumental to defence and thus they stand rock hard! Read on to find out more!

10. PRAGUE CASTLE, THE CZECH REPUBLIC

One of the most beautiful and breathtaking sights in Prague is the castle, touted and most famous because of being not only the largest but also one of the oldest castles in the world. The construction of the castle began as early as the ninth century and even if viewed in person today, one can see that the design of the castle reflects all kinds of architectures be it baroque, or Romanian, or even Gothic. Being 570 meters long and around 130 meters wide, this is a sight to behold.

9. CORFE CASTLE, ENGLAND

This particular castle is located on the Isle of Purbeck in the county of Dorset. If there ever was a castle that gave the impressions of a foreboding fortress, this would be it. Constructed initially in the 9th  century with more towers being added in the 11th century. The castle is known to have been a defence mechanism for the Romanians. It is widely known that the fortress was used as a prison as well as a storeroom for all the treasure. The mention of treasure gives it a more royal feel.

8. EILEAN PONAN CASTLE, SCOTLAND

This castle was initially built-in the 13th century to keep the vikings away. From the eighteenth to the twentieth century this castle was left to ruin with no maintenance what so ever despite this being the oldest most prominent castle in Scotland. It has been rebuilt four times and was finally open to public in 1932. Since then it has been visited by travellers from all around the world attracted to its ancient glory.

7. CONWY CASTLE, WALES

The iconic eight towers of this particular castle, which is now a part of World Heritage, present the iconic image of North Wales. It is known that Edward I spent a lot of money on its construction. Rumors say that around fifteen thousand pounds were spent in the 13th century (this means well over 200 million pounds today). The expenditures on this Welsh architecture makes it the most expensive of all castles made by Edward I and also the most prominent.

6. LOWENBURG CASTLE: DISNEY LAND OF THE 18TH CENTURY

This medieval castle that sits inside a park is considered the Disney Land of its time. The orders to build this castle came from Wilhelm IX who was famous for being the Walt Disney of his era. His chief architect was told to creat a romantic ruin for which the architect by the name of Heinrich Christoph Jussow (he was a royal court building inspector back in those days) went to England to study romantic ruins. To this date, this castle stands not only as the first neo-gothic building in Germany but also the most significant building of its own genre. Kudos to Mr Heinrich!

5. MALAHIDE CASTLE, IRELAND

This castle served as home to the Talbot family, and in-between it switched hands and went into the care of Miles Colbert but was restored back to the Talbot family. It is touted to be one of the oldest castles of Ireland.

4. HOHENWERFEN CASTLE, AUSTRIA

One look at the picture above and you will ne transported to an era that is 900 years old, which is exactly how old this castle is. Standing with all its glory and royalty on top of the Salzach mountains it gives the picture perfect idea of a defence fortress what with the tall towers and high windows. The good thing about this place is that it is now open to visitors all year round. So one can go visit and actually feel the glamour of a bygone era. Roam the halls and feel the power!

3. HUNYAD CASTLE: WHERE DRACULA WAS HELD

So we have all heard about Dracula and how he used to drink people’s blood, and how he had a castle of his own to live in where he slept within a coffin. Well the Hunyad castle that is depicted above, at one point belonged to the Hunyadi Dynasty.  The castle has seen a lot of neglect and quite a number of fires ruining its original architecture, an architecture that was then restored by modern architects who gave the castle a very gothic look. This is the same castle which has the honor of being called the Caste of Dracula. It is believed that he walked to tapestries and those halls once, in all his might. He maintained the castle as a prison.

2. NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE: THE PERFECT FAIRYTALE CASTLE

This is the castle that was the inspiration behind Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle and this American tourists are all well aware and quite fond of it as well. It is one of the three royal palaces that were built for Louis II of Bavaria and predictably lies in the Bavarian alps of Germany. The construction was initiated in 1869 and later stopped due to the death of Louis II. It is the epitome of a fairytale romance with towers and spires and over the top location. For its times, the facilities provided were quite modern, a heating systems for every floor, automated flushing in toilets etc. The picture above looks like a dream itself!

1. MONT SAINT-MICHEL: SMALL ISLAND

Situated near Brittany (which is totally separated from the mainland incase if a high tide that comes in a little too quickly), this castle was built-in 1880s. Providing the only link to the coast, the tourists are always warned to be careful because the tide comes in very quickly and a lot of tourists have drowned. It attracts more than four million tourists in a year which is a number higher than any other castle in France. This particular castle has been used in a lot of movies and cartoons. Most of the castles that are still standing these days were built primarily for defence purposes, this however was a monastery to begin with.