Hohenzollern is one of the three hilltop castles still owned by Prussian royalty. It could very easily be seen as a real-life Hogwarts, with huge spires and towers, an immense keep, hundreds of outbuildings, and large walls. Yet this neo-Gothic castle is only a few hundred years old, built in the nineteenth century.
Just south of Stuttgart, more than three hundred thousand people visit this castle every year. This perfect example of beautiful neo-Gothic architecture also features the crown jewels of the Prussian King. It is currently the home of the Prussian royal family, though since Prussia doesn’t necessarily exist anymore (it’s complicated) the family isn’t in charge of any state matters.
Chillon Castle – Veytaux, Switzerland
Few of the fortifications on this list have their roots as far back as Chillon castle. Romans laid the foundations of this fortress in the Bronze Age as a Roman outpost, guarding a strategic road through the Alpine passes. Sitting on the edge of Lake Geneva, the first written record of the castle itself is from 1005.
Throughout the centuries, the castle has been home to royalty, captured and recaptured by invaders, and withstood sieges. The Swiss style of the castle is structurally similar to other European castles of the medieval style. However, its outward appearance is still unique, with sloped, tiled roofs and circular towers.
Want to Have a Party in a Castle?
“Chillon” comes from a word that means “flat stone, slab, or platform.” Seeing as how this castle is perched on a rock platform, it's the perfect name. Chillon Castle includes twenty-five buildings and plenty of rooms in each one. Visitors are free to tour the castle.
According to the castle's website, it is the most visited historical monument in Switzerland! Want to show off to your friends? Space inside the castle is available to rent for events. As for pop culture influence, the castle was the inspiration for Prince Eric's castle in "The Little Mermaid".
Nothing Like Some Good Old Fashioned Opulence
The Prussian spirit is alive and well in Hohenzollern Castle. The castle boasts more than 140 rooms, and each one includes unique details that visitors love to notice. These range from intricate marquetry floors, to immense murals that take up entire walls, to gilded, vaulted ceilings.
There are four towers, aligned to bastions, that rise into the air. It houses numerous buried royals, and the Eagle Gate, the main entrance to the castle, is an immense tunnel. While it's never shown up in a Harry Potter film, it was the location for a 2016 thriller-horror film "A Cure for Wellness". A 2017 TV adaptation of "The Worst Witch" also used the castle.
Rocca Scaligera Castle – Sirmione, Italy
Found on Lake Garda, Rocca Scaligera is one of Italy's best-preserved castles. It sees more than three hundred thousand visitors a year! The castle has been around since the thirteenth century and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. It features a notable wet dock, a fortified port built in the fourteenth century, stylistically unique ramparts, and crenelated towers.
The bright tan stone and clear, green waters of the lake under it turn this castle, along with the city accompanying it, into a beautiful scene for visitors and residents alike. As a castle on the water, this structure had to do a lot of things differently.