The late Queen Elizabeth II liked to spend her days at her residence in Windsor Castle, just outside of London. This huge stone structure has been the official residence of the royal family – no matter which one it might be – for more than nine hundred years.
It’s both the oldest and the largest still-occupied castle in the world. The castle takes up thirteen acres of space, which doesn’t include the large grounds and garden. This structure is weighed down under much history, as can be expected from such a long-running royal residence.
Neuschwanstein Castle – Schwangau, Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most famous in the world. It's nicknamed Cinderella's castle and was the inspiration for Walt Disney's Castle in theme parks and movies. But this castle isn't a fairy tale – it housed King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who died in 1886.
After his death, the castle was opened to the public and it now brings in more than a million visitors every year. Nestled among the pristine, beautiful hills and mountains of Schwangau, nobody who lays eyes on this opulent construction can say much more than “wow.” Follow us as we take a look inside.
Just as Beautiful as You Might Expect
Even though Ludwig died when only fourteen rooms were finished, there's no denying this castle is at the top of the line when it comes to decoration and beauty. Visitors are able to see the king's bedroom, the Singer's Hall, and others.
The Grotto, an artificial stalactite room on the third floor, is undoubtedly the most unique of the rooms in the castle. Special lighting arrangements add an even greater fairy-tale feeling. Every room is made with as much detail as possible, and you might end up wanting to never leave.
Where the Queen Lived
The Windsor Castle contains a mind-boggling one thousand rooms. It's one of the biggest residences in the world. In 1992, a devastating fire did a great deal of damage to the castle's east end. However, restorations have brought it back into a beautiful state and presented a good opportunity to update it to modern standards.
Want to know something interesting? The Queen has slept in the dungeons – during World War II, whenever the Luftwaffe would do bombing runs, Elizabeth and her sister ran to the dungeons to stay out of harm's way. There was no central heating and there were plenty of beetles.
Pena Palace – Sintra, Portugal
Atop its mountain outside Lisbon, a Romanticist castle from the Middle Ages brims with color. King Ferdinand II of Germany built this residence for Queen Maria II of Portugal. He placed it on a beautiful spot that allows not only a good look at the countryside but also a panoramic view of Portugal's Riviera.
With bright yellows, vivid reds, and even cool, soothing blues, the exterior design of this castle catches the eye and demands attention. Completed in 1854, the castle is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal. It's available to tour and is also used for state functions.