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6 Captivating Central European Castles To Visit

Prague Castle (photo: Florian van Duyn)

Central Europe is full of historical landmarks, with its magnificent castles standing as testaments to the region’s rich past. From the grandeur of Germany’s Bavarian palaces to the medieval fortresses of the Czech Republic, each castle tells a story of power, intrigue, and architectural innovation. Let’s look at six of Central Europe’s most captivating castles.

Central European Castles

1. Prague Castle

Prague Castle (photo: Florian van Duyn)
Peering up at Prague Castle (photo: Florian van Duyn)

Prague Castle, in the heart of the Czech Republic’s capital, stands as a monument of the country’s storied past. Recognized as the world’s largest ancient castle (at roughly 7.5 million square feet or 70,000 square meters) by the Guinness Book of World Records, this sprawling complex has been the epicenter of Czech governance and culture for centuries. Prague Castle contributes to the Historic Centre of Prague’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Within its expansive grounds lie the awe-inspiring Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral, the historic Old Royal Palace, and the quaint, colorful alleyway known as Golden Lane. Visitors are often captivated by the ceremonial elegance of the changing of the guard, a tradition that offers a window into Prague Castle’s ceremonial past.

Tip: It’s easy to travel by train from Berlin to Prague, where you can explore this castle and city in depth.

2. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

The scenic Neuschwanstein Castle (photo: Felix)The scenic Neuschwanstein Castle (photo: Felix)
The scenic Neuschwanstein Castle (photo: Felix)

Neuschwanstein Castle is a fairy-tale vision brought to life in the Bavarian Alps. Commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century, this castle is the epitome of Romantic architecture, with its soaring turrets and intricate facades.

A visit to Neuschwanstein offers a glimpse into the king’s imaginative world, with opulent interiors that include the Throne Room and the Singers’ Hall. While in the region, consider taking the train from Munich to Vienna to explore some of Austria’s architectural wonders, such as Schonbrunn Palace.

3. Hohensalzburg Fortress, Austria

Hohensalzburg Fortress (photo: Thomas Hackl)Hohensalzburg Fortress (photo: Thomas Hackl)
Hohensalzburg Fortress (photo: Thomas Hackl)

Perched atop Festungsberg Hill, Hohensalzburg Fortress dominates Salzburg’s skyline. This formidable structure, one of the largest medieval castles in Europe, dates back to 1077.

A tour of the fortress reveals a blend of Gothic, Romanesque, and Baroque architectural styles, as well as panoramic views of the city and the Alps. The castle’s chambers, including the Golden Hall and…

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