Europe is packed full of magnificent castles – it’s almost impossible to choose which ones to visit. So, let’s take a look at just a few European castles worthy of a spot on anyone’s bucket list.
Blarney Castle, Ireland
The Irish are known for their good luck and great flattery, a theme that has become a mainstay in pop culture and entertainment alike. In fact, the luck of the Irish has become a widely popular theme for online casino games, particularly when it comes to online slot games. For example, the Irish and British-based Paddy Power site offers online slot machines with their namesake that play on these motifs, as well as the Luck O’ The Irish franchise, Irish Luck Jackpot, and Good Luck Cluster Buster, to name just a few.
With this in mind, there’s no surprise that there are many attractions in Ireland that are known for providing visitors with good luck – one of the most famous of which can be found at Blarney Castle. Built in around 1210, one of the stones used to build the battlements is known as the Blarney Stone. Legend has it that anyone who visits Blarney Castle and kisses the stone will receive the gift of the gab, and good luck in important talks. The stone is said to have been given to the builder, Cormac Laidir MacCarthy by the goddess Clíodhna from Irish mythology. In other variations of the legend, the stone was gifted by Robert the Bruce to help Cormac MacDermot MacCarthy in the eloquence of his conversations with Queen Elizabeth I.
Bran Castle, Romania
Bran Castle is located in modern-day Romania, in the cultural region of Transylvania. As you may have already guessed, due to its location, this castle is marketed as the home of the infamous vampire, so much so that it is widely known as Dracula’s Castle. Due to this, Bran Castle often hosts exhibits and experiences based on Bram Stoker’s classic gothic novel.
That said, it’s important to note that there isn’t any evidence that Stoker had any knowledge of Bran Castle. Vlad the Impaler, who Dracula was based upon, had only loose connections to this specific castle. Nevertheless, Bran Castle is still an immersive experience for gothic literature or horror fans, offering the opportunity to have lavish banquets in the dining hall and even sleep in a vampiric coffin. For more authentic ruins linked to Vlad the Impaler, Poenari Castle is a great alternative.
Château de Pierrefonds, France
Château de Pierrefonds is situated just outside of Paris, which makes it an exciting day trip for even those hopping around European cities. The castle was constructed in the Middle Ages, but has seen many raids, demolitions, and reconstructions over the centuries, nominated as a historic monument in 1862. Over the years, Château de Pierrefonds has been in the possession of many Princes and Emperors – even Napoleon Bonaparte!
In the modern day, you may well recognise Château de Pierrefonds from popular TV and films. The castle was used as a setting for cult-classic French films like Les Visiteurs and Le Capitan, as well as international series and movies like Highlander, The Man in the Iron Mask, Merlin, Versailles and The Story of Joan of Arc.
And there you have it – just a few castles in Europe that are worthy of any traveler’s bucket list. With unique experiences, immersive events, and prevalance in popular culture, these castles are all worth a visit.