This post contains pictures and details of the Top 30 Most Beautiful Palaces and Castles around the world.
Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Granada, Andalusia, Spain. It was constructed during the mid 10th century by the Berber ruler Badis ben Habus of the Kingdom of Granada in al-Andalus, occupying the top of the hill of the Assabica on the southeastern border of the city of Granada.
|Alhambra At night Photos|
|The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the inspiration for many songs and stories.|
|The decoration consists, as a rule, of stiff, conventional foliage, Arabic inscriptions, and geometrical patterns wrought into arabesques. Painted tiles are largely used as panelling for the walls.|
Alnwick Castle is a castle and stately home in the town of the same name in the English county of Northumberland. It is the residence of the Duke of Northumberland, built following the Norman conquest, and renovated and remodelled a number of times. It is a Grade I listed building.
|The castle is used as a stand in for the exterior and interior of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, which has led to an increase in public interest with Alnwick.|
|Adjacent to the castle, the present Duchess of Northumberland, Jane, has initiated the establishment of The Alnwick Garden, a formal garden set around a cascading fountain. It cost £42 million (press release of 7 August 2003).|
Ashford Castle is a medieval castle turned five star luxury hotel near Cong on the Mayo/Galway border in Ireland, on the shore of Lough Corrib. Ashford Castle is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World organization.
|The castle was built in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman House of Burke following their defeat of the O'Connors, the Royal House of Connacht, who are still extant in the person of the O'Conor Don.|
|The Castle passed to Ardilaun's nephew Ernest Guinness, who sold it to Noel Huggard in 1939. He opened the estate as a hotel, which became renowned for the provision of its country pursuits, such as angling and shooting.|
|Built in 1228, the castle is very well preserved to retain its centuries old beauty. The guests can choose between numerous activities, including falconry, horseback riding and hunting.|
|Water reflection of Ashford castle|
|The spacious rooms are elegant, offering the guests a taste of what nobility experienced hundreds of years ago|
Bodiam Castle is a 14th-century moated castle near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, England. It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, with the permission of Richard II, ostensibly to defend the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years' War. Of quadrangular plan, Bodiam Castle has no keep, having its various chambers built around the outer defensive walls and inner courts. Its corners and entrance are marked by towers, and topped by crenellations. Its structure, details and situation in an artificial watery landscape indicate that display was an important aspect of the castle's design as well as defence. It was the home of the Dalyngrigge family and the centre of the manor of Bodiam.
|Aerial View of the castle|
|East of the main gatehouse was a two-storey building with a basement. The basement was probably used for storage while the above two floors provided accommodation.|
|Although the exterior of Bodiam Castle has largely survived, the interior is ruinous. The domestic buildings within the castle lined the curtain walls. However, remains are substantial enough to recreate a plan of the castle.|
|Bodiam Castle was described as "an old soldier's dream house" in the 1960s, although its defences are now considered more ornamental than practical.|
Château de Chambord at Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France is one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world because of its very distinct French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures.
|The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King François I|
|The château also features 128 meters of façade, more than 800 sculpted columns and an elaborately decorated roof|
|One of the architectural highlights is the spectacular double helix open staircase that is the centerpiece of the château|
Coca Castle was built in the 15th century for Archbishop Alonso de Fonseca I. It was considered as one of the best castles in Spain. The castle is a turreted structure of plaster and red brick, surrounded by a deep moat.
|Castle of Coca has been more of a palace than a castle|
|Coca Castle at night Images, built in the XV century|
|Construction ended on the Castillo de Coca, the impressive castle in the middle of the town, in 1453|
|The castle, belonging to the House of Alba, now serves as a tourist attraction, having been listed as a historical site by the government since 1931.|
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock.
|It is one of the few castles in Europe which still have a military garrison (although for ceremonial purposes only)|
|Although formally owned by the Ministry of Defence, most of the castle is now in the care of Historic Scotland, and it is Scotland's most-visited paid tourist attraction|
Eltz Castle is a medieval castle nestled in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany. It is still owned by a branch of the same family that lived there in the 12th century, 33 generations ago.
|The castle is surrounded on three sides by the Elzbach River, a tributary on the north side of the Moselle|
|The Castle was also used as the exterior for the fictitious American military insane asylum in the 1979 William Peter Blatty movie, "The Ninth Configuration," starring Stacy Keach|
|The main part of the castle consists of the family portions. At up to eight stories, these eight towers reach heights of between 30 and 40 meters. They are fortified with strong exterior walls; to the yard they present a partial framework|
Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost 500 years, it served as the home of emperors and their households, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.
|The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere|
|Since 1925, the Forbidden City has been under the charge of the Palace Museum, whose extensive collection of artwork and artifacts were built upon the imperial collections of the Ming and Qing dynasties|
|The Forbidden City is surrounded on three sides by imperial gardens. To the north is Jingshan Park, also known as Prospect Hill, an artificial hill created from the soil excavated to build the moat and from nearby lakes|
|Today, there are over a million rare and valuable works of art in the permanent collection of the Palace Museum, including paintings, ceramics, seals, steles, sculptures, inscribed wares, bronze wares, enamel objects, etc|
Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California, United States. It was designed by architect Julia Morgan between 1919 and 1947 for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951. In 1957, the Hearst Corporation donated the property to the state of California. Since that time it has been maintained as a state historic park where the estate, and its considerable collection of art and antiques, is open for public tours. Despite its location far from any urban center, the site attracts about one million visitors per year.
|Hearst Castle featured 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres (0.5 km2) of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield, and the world's largest private zoo|
|Although Hearst Castle's ornamentation is borrowed from historic European themes, |
its underlying structure is primarily steel reinforced concrete
|One highlight of the estate is the outdoor Neptune Pool, located near the edge of the hilltop, which offers an expansive vista of the mountains, ocean and the main house|
|The Neptune Pool at Hearst Castle was rebuilt three times to suit its owner's tastes. Its centerpiece is the façade of an ancient Roman temple that William Randolph Hearst had purchased and imported to California|
Himeji Castle is a hilltop Japanese castle complex located in Himeji, in the Hyōgo Prefecture. The castle is regarded as the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture, comprising a network of 83 buildings with advanced defensive systems from the feudal period. The castle is frequently known as White Egret Castle or White Heron Castle because of its brilliant white exterior and supposed resemblance to a bird taking flight.
|Himeji Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Japan, and it was registered in 1993 as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country|
|The castle has been featured extensively in foreign and Japanese films, including the James Bond movie "You Only Live Twice" (1967), and Akira Kurosawa's Kagemusha (1980) and Ran (1985)|
Hohenwerfen Castle stands high above the Austrian town of Werfen in the Salzach valley, approximately 40 km (25 mi) south of Salzburg. The castle is surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps and the adjacent Tennengebirge mountain range. The fortification is a "sister" of Hohensalzburg Castle both dated from the 11th century.
|Nowadays the bastion, enlarged and renovated several times over the centuries,|
functions as an adventure castle for its visitors
|Exterior shots of Hohenwerfen Castle were used in the TV mini series The 10th Kingdom. In that series, it represented the Snow White Memorial Prison|
Hunyad Castle is a Gothic-Renaissance castle in Hunedoara (Transylvania), Romania.
|In February 2007, Hunyad Castle played host to the British paranormal television program Most Haunted Live! for a three-night live investigation into the spirits reported to be haunting the castle. Results were inconclusive|
Castle on the Island of Loreto (Isola di Loreto) on Lake Iseo is situated on the territory of Northern Italy. Every year numerous tourists who come to tour the surprisingly beautiful lake, be sure to inspect this romantic island.
|The island of Loreto, replacing multiple hosts went in the early twentieth century Royal Navy captain Vincenzo Richeri, who built here in 1910, a marina with two small lighthouses and the castle, around which were planted with conifers|
Krak des Chevaliers, also Crac des Chevaliers, is a Crusader castle in Syria and one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world. The site was first inhabited in the 11th century by a settlement of Kurds; as a result it was known as Hisn al Akrad, meaning the "Castle of the Kurds".
|Krak des Chevaliers can be classified both as a spur castle, due to its site, and after the 13th-century expansion a fully developed concentric castle|
|Despite its predominantly military character, the castle is one of the few sites where Crusader art (in the form of frescoes) has been preserved|
Leeds Castle, southeast of Maidstone, Kent, England, dates back to 1119. In 1278 the castle came in the hands of King Edward I, for whom it became a favourite residence.
|This castle and its grounds are now a major leisure destination in the county of Kent and feature a maze, a grotto, a golf course and what may be the world's only museum of dog collars|
|According to figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, nearly 560,000 people visited Leeds Castle in 2010|
|The castle seen today dates mostly from the 19th century and is built on islands in a lake formed by the River Len to the east of the village of Leeds|
Löwenburg Castle (“Lion’s castle”), located picturesquely in the Bergpark (“mountain park”) Wilhelmshöhe, presents itself as a romantic knight’s castle from the Middle Ages.
|Being a ruin, the castle evokes thoughts of fights of siege and defence, but with its seemingly venerable age, it was also designed to underpin the seniority and, thereby, the legitimacy of the dynasty of Hessen-Kassel|
Malbork Castle : The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork is the largest castle in the world by surface area, and the largest brick building in Europe. It was built in Prussia by the Teutonic Knights, a German Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders, in a form of an Ordensburg fortress.
|The castle is a classic example of a medieval fortress and, on its completion in 1406, was the world's largest brick castle|
|UNESCO designated the "Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork" and its Museum as the World Heritage Site in December 1997|
|It is one of two World Heritage Sites in the region with origins in the Teutonic Order|
Matsumoto Castle, also known as the "Crow Castle" because of its black exterior, is one of Japan's premier historic castles. It is located in the city of Matsumoto, in Nagano Prefecture and is within easy reach of Tokyo by road or rail.
|The keep (tenshukaku), which was completed in the late 16th century, maintains its original wooden interiors and external stonework. It is listed as a National Treasure of Japan|
|Matsumoto Castle is a flatland castle (hirajiro) because it is not built on a hilltop or amid rivers, but on a plain|
|In the late Meiji period the keep started to lean to one side. It was because of neglect coupled with a structural defect, but a lot of people believed the story of Tada Kasuke's curse|
|Its complete defences would have included an extensive system of inter-connecting walls, moats and gatehouses|
Miramare Castle is a 19th century castle on the Gulf of Trieste near Trieste, northeastern Italy. It was built from 1856 to 1860 for Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium, later Emperor Maximilian I and Empress Carlota of Mexico, to a design by Carl Junker.
|The castle's grounds include an extensive cliff and seashore park of 22 hectares (54 acres) designed by the Archduke. The grounds were completely re-landscaped to feature numerous tropical species of trees and plants|
|Nowadays to visit the Castle is to experience the fascination of life in the middle of the 19th century in a residence that has remained largely intact and which gives the visitor an insight into the personality of Maximilian|
|Today Park of Miramare host during the summer season to spectacles such as the musical "Sissi", reliving the story of the Empire in its natural setting, and various concerts|
Mont Saint-Michel is a rocky tidal island and a commune in Normandy, France. It is located approximately one kilometre (just over half a mile) off the country's north-western coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches.
|The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times, and since the 8th century AD been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name|
|The Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay are part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. |
More than 3,000,000 people visit it each year
|In a 2004 Disney direct to DVD film called Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, Mickey is locked away in Mont Saint-Michel and left to drown when the tide rises|
|Mont Saint-Michel at night|
One of the Multiplayer Maps in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is a replica of Mont Saint-Michel. It also appears in Assassin's Creed: Revelations as an encore.
Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner.
|The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886. Since then over 60 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle|
|More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with up to 6,000 per day in the summer is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe|
|The palace has appeared prominently in several movies and was the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle and later, similar structures|
|One this was called Schwanstein Castle|
Peleș Castle is a Neo-Renaissance castle in the Carpathian Mountains, near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania, on an existing medieval route linking Transylvania and Wallachia, built between 1873 and 1914. Its inauguration was held in 1883.
|The exterior of the castle is used to represent a large estate in New Jersey, the home of an eccentric billionaire played by Rachel Weisz|
|By form and function, Peleş is a palace, but it is consistently called a castle. Its architectural style is a romantically inspired blend Neo-Renaissance and Gothic Revival similar to Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria|
|Peleş Castle shelters a painting collection of almost 2,000 pieces.|
The collection of arms and armor has over 4,000 pieces
|The gardens also host fountains, urns, stairways, guarding lions, marble paths, and other decorative pieces|
Pena National Palace is a Romanticist palace in São Pedro de Penaferrim, municipality of Sintra, Portugal. The palace stands on the top of a hill above the town of Sintra, and on a clear day it can be easily seen from Lisbon and much of its metropolitan area.
|It is a national monument and constitutes one of the major expressions of 19th century Romanticism in the world. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal|
Potala Palace is located in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, China. It is named after Mount Potalaka, the mythical abode of Chenresig or Avalokitesvara. The Potala Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising.
|The building measures 400 metres east-west and 350 metres north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 m. thick, and 5 m. (more than 16 ft) thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes|
|The site on which the Potala Palace rises is built over a palace erected by Songtsän Gampo on the Red Hill. Today, the Potala Palace is a museum|
Prague Castle is a castle in Prague where the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. The Czech Crown Jewels are kept here.
|Prague Castle is the biggest castle in the world (according to Guinness Book of Records the biggest ancient castle) at about 570 metres in length and an average of about 130 metres wide|
|The castle buildings represent virtually every architectural style of the last millennium|
|The Prague Castle includes Gothic St Vitus Cathedral, Romanesque Basilica of St. George, a monastery and several palaces, gardens and defense towers. Most of the castle areas are open to tourists|
Predjama Castle is a Renaissance castle built within a cave mouth in southwestern Slovenia. It is located approximately 11 kilometres from Postojna.
|A secret natural shaft leads out of the castle, which Erazem ordered to be enlarged, and leads into Postojna Cave|
|This shaft allowed Erazem to secretly supply the castle with food in the time of the siege; he also used it to continue with his robberies.|
|Predjama Castle was used as the castle featured in the 1986 movie Armour of God (film) by Golden Harvest starring Jackie Chan, Alan Tam, Rosamund Kwan and Lola Forner|
|It was also investigated for paranormal activity in a 2008 episode of Ghost Hunters International on the Sci Fi Channel|
Tower of London, also known as Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill.
|Today the Tower of London is one of the England's most popular tourist attractions. It is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site|
|The Keeper of the Royal Menagerie was entitled to use the Lion Tower as a house for life. Consequently, even though the animals had long since left the building, the Lion Tower was not demolished until the last keeper's death in 1853|
|The White Tower is a keep (also known as a donjon), which was often the strongest structure in a medieval castle, and contained lodgings suitable for the lord – in this case the king or his representative.|
Vajdahunyad Castle is a castle in the City Park of Budapest, Hungary. It was built between 1896 and 1908 as part of the Millennial Exhibition which celebrated the 1000 years of Hungary since the Hungarian Conquest of the Carpathian Basin in 896.
|The castle was designed by Ignác Alpár to feature copies of several landmark buildings from different parts the Kingdom of Hungary, especially the Hunyad Castle in Transylvania (now in Romania)|
|Originally it was made from cardboard and wood, but it became so popular that it was rebuilt from stone and brick. Today it houses the Agricultural Museum|
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and for its architecture.
|Windsor Castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and the longest-occupied palace in Europe, but it also remains a functioning royal home|
|Windsor Castle occupies a large site of more than thirteen acres, and combines the features of a fortification, a palace, and a small town|