This decorative castle, stirring silver and nestled among the emerald beauty of Ireland, was built in the late 1800s by a wealthy politician who spared no expense when making a home for his wife. In 1920, the estate turned into a Benedictine nunnery by nuns who fled Belgium in World War I, and it remains so to this day.
The grounds contain a six-acre walled garden. The full, one thousand acre estate, situated outside Galway, is open for visitors to explore to their heart’s desire. Have no fear, this abbey is just as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside.
Cochem Castle – Cochem, Germany
Cochem Castle is a stunning creation that contains lots of old-world German-style features. It brings an outstanding view of the nearby Mosel River and an unforgettable example of early Gothic architecture. Constructed in the eleventh century, this castle has been a home for royals.
In 1688, the castle was occupied by French King Louis XIV's troops during the Nine Years' War. In the following year, they destroyed it. By the year 1868, the castle had long been in ruins when Berlin businessman Louis Frederic Jacques Ravene bought the castle and remade it in the Gothic Revival style. Since 1978 the town of Cochem has owned the castle.
Trust Us, It's Authentic
A lot of people write off Cochem Castle as not authentic because of the many times it was destroyed, sieged, and, after every time, rebuilt. Still, it remains a distinct collection of structures, and even though the building itself is a little bit newer, it's still one of Europe's oldest structures (it was first mentioned in a document alleged to be from 1051).
The long and fascinating history brings tourists year-round. The castle now includes a restaurant that offers three-hundred-and-sixty-degree views of the surrounding countryside, and the castle itself contains plenty of rooms that are chock-full of beautiful ornamentation and furniture.
A Nunnery With Victorian Decor
The Benedictine community has renovated the abbey's gardens and its church with donations and local artisans, all in order to be a self-sustaining estate. The interior of the abbey shows how the castle might have looked during the Victorian era. This includes furniture, decorations, and even mannequins wearing traditional era-appropriate outfits.
The castle as a whole also includes a family mausoleum, thirty-three bedrooms, four bathrooms, four sitting rooms, a ballroom, a billiard room, library, study, school room, smoking room, gun room, and numerous other offices and residences for staff. Building the structures took a total of a hundred men and four years to complete – hardly anything when you think about some of the other castles on this list.
Bran Castle – Bran, Romania
Look at that pretty set of structures, nestled into the hills of Romania. It's the kind of place a princess could live! Or, if you're Bram Stoker, a vampire. Yes, Bran Castle is the inspiration for Dracula's Castle in the original "Dracula".
Bran Castle served as a medieval fortress during the thirteen hundreds and later became a royal residence. Of course, Dracula wasn't real...but his inspiration, Vlad the Impaler, son of Vlad Dracul, was. However, most historians agree that Vlad probably never set foot in the castle, seeing as how it was an unfriendly place for him to visit and was never under his rule. It's just a creepy place.