Stirling Castle is definitely up there for me, as well! Though I have to say I love Dunrobin Castle too (also Scotland).
Some of my favorites castles are:
Quinta da Regaleira, also in Sintra, Portugal
Chambord, in the Loire region, France
Linlithgow in Scotland
But I could not comment here and not mention a castle in my own country, so I choose Palácio de Cristal, in Petrópolis, Brazil to represent us!
Ok, maybe not the greatest, but certainly unique and unexpected with a quirky story is the Loveland Castle. Also know as Chateau Laroche, it is located in the US in Loveland, Ohio (a burb of Cincinnati)
Not sure this counts as a “castle” exactly, but the amazing Sans Souci Palace in northern Haiti, with its spectacular setting and unparalleled and important history, is truly a sight to behold.
One castle Id add is from WW2 movie Where Eagles Dare, set in Austria.
Classic, on DVD.
The Templar castle in Tomar, Portugal in incredible.
I think it would definitely count as a castle , and I totally agree , lots of very gruesome history in that place , have you read “In the Kingdom of this World” by Alejo Carpentier by any chance ? The castle features heavily in parts of that book
My impression is that you mean intact regal structures, is there room for ruins? I’ve explored dozens of ruins over the years, of all of those my hands down favorite has been Carrigogunnell in Ireland. Set out in a farmers field it has seen no modern renovation or attempts at commercialization but is still rich with spooky hallways, rooms and stairways. One tower has a single remaining step from its original spiral staircase 10 or 12 feet up. Well beyond that the stairs resume, in between there are openings to chambers that can no longer be accessed. With this the ruin both satisfies and teases the imagination. My wife and I spent 2 hours exploring its cavernous interior, which over the centuries nature has eroded into something between a man made structure and a cave.
This is beautiful, and totally qualifies!
Arundel castle can be found on the South coast of England in between Brighton and the Isle of Wight. When I was there, I felt the knights could come galloping around the corner any minute. I felt I was stepping back in time. Magical!
And, to not leave my own country out, I also like De Haar at Haarzuylens in the province of Utrecht in the center of the Netherlands:
Photo by by LearningTour is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 at Creative Commons and Flickr.
The image is a bit dark, but the castle is still lived in and it seems to be right out of a fairy tale. Images of princesses and knights easily come to mind walking around the building and visiting inside.
No one has mentioned the most famous castle in the world, Neuschwanstein Castle, in Bavaria, Germany. It was used as the model for the first Disney Castle in California.
The Hiroshima Castle is not the grandest, but has an interesting history because it was destroyed by the first atomic bomb ever used in a war.
The castle was built in the late 1500’s during Japan’s feudal period.
It was declared a national treasure in 1930.
It was destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945 which detonated about 1,000 meters away. At that time it also functioned as a military headquarter.
It was rebuilt in 1958. There are five stories, the top with quite wonderful views of surrounding Hiroshima. The other stories serve as a museum with interesting artifacts. There is a samurai sword which visitor can lift to feel the weight and get a sense of what it might be like to fight with one.
Picture is view from outside the moat, where there is a curious plaza with a European style sculpture.
I had fun exploring the castle in Carcassonne, France, by myself. It was off-season (winter) and a misty morning. I went out first thing and had a lovely ramble by myself. It’s a large castle with some tourist shops inside, took a good while to explore on foot.
I always remember this place - spent some time growing up in US and there was this wonderful place on the edge of Lexington, Kentucky. Story I was told at time was it had been built by rich couple, they’d divorced before it was finished and it was then used as a pig farm. Glad to see it has been repurposed into a fancy venue for weddings and special events. https://images.app.goo.gl/AJSaQwGu2dG87XT38 Just really to add that castles come in some really strange places.
Its been said that Queen Mary planted the Yew trees that are growing over the gentleman’s head. Yew tree were known to contain medical, as well as mystical properties. looks as if you were blessed with a rare day of glorious sunshine.
If I had two castles/palaces to go to before I move into my own palace in the sky, it would definitely be both Neuschwanstein Castle and Seville Alcazar, Seville, Andalusia, Spain. I love the Moorish interior, and I’m sure there are other castles/palaces out there that might come close to these. If there are, I’m sure I am doing them injustice by forgetting them.
Sintra… my mystical home town
One of my faves is Corvin Castle (Hunedoara) Castle in Transylvania - Romania. One reason is when i visited around 10 years ago no one was there and i was able to roam around the castle with no people in sight.Uploading: FIX_1059.jpg… Uploading: FIX_1076.jpg… Uploading: FIX_1122.jpg… Uploading: FIX_1127.jpg… Uploading: FIX_1135.jpg… Uploading: FIX_1137.jpg… Uploading: FIX_1141.jpg… Uploading: FIX_1157.jpg…
Tough choice, where I’m from we have more castles than we have Starbucks which would disappoint Daenerys. Have to give a shout out to the castles of Edward I, four incredible castles all within an hour of each other and considered the finest examples of medieval architecture