Published: Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Almost too good to be true, you'd be forgiven for thinking these majestic buildings have come straight out of a fairytale. Here are 10 real-life European castles people can wander through. Some you can even stay the night in. Words: Ben Groundwater
1. Neuschwanstein, Germany
Neuschwanstein (pictured at top) is about as picture-perfect as a castle can be. It’s rumoured to be the real-life inspiration for Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty’s castles in the Disney classics.
Each room tells its own story. There’s a 13-foot-tall chandelier, a bedroom draped in gold and violet silks and ceiling murals depicting sacred forests and armoured knights.
Built in the 19th century atop a hill in a beautiful part of Bavaria, the castle opened to the public almost immediately after the king it was built for, Ludwig II, died in 1886. People have wandered the castle ever since.
2. Eltz Castle, Germany
It’s rare to find a castle from the 12th century that’s still in its original form; it’s even rarer to find a castle inhabited by the same family – 33 generations and counting. But Eltz Castle, perched on a 70m-high rock on the banks of the Rhine River, is such a place.
Many of the original furnishings of the past eight centuries still remain, but the Armoury and Treasury room, in particular, is a collector’s dream. It’s filled with artworks made from gold and silver, coins, porcelain and 850-year-old family weapons.
Part of this historic building is open to the public from April to October. The other part remains off limits given it’s still inhabited.