Fairytale Castles

NEWS FLASH: Real fairytale castles DO exist! 

My fascination for castles began when I got the Playmobile Fairytale Princess Castle for Christmas when I was a child. It was beautiful, grand, and elegant in every way. I loved the pink windows, the purple floors, and the fancy dresses for the royalty. The splendor fit my girly personality and the toy ultimately let my imagination run wild. 

In Europe throughout my travels I came across numerous castles that brought my child fantasy to life. My dreams came true feasting my eyes on actual towers, chandeliers, and drawbridges. I imagined the lives of legitimate royal families that used to live in the palaces hundreds of years ago. It was almost too much for the child inside of me to handle! As my friends know, I loved going to see castles and palaces anytime I could in Europe, so here’s all the one’s I visited!

Chateau de Vizille – Vizille, France

In the heart of France lies this stunning castle. Inside is a free musuem with artifacts from the French Revolution and the grounds outside spread for acres. I first visited in early fall when the grass and trees were a lush, rich green and it was warm enough to wear a dress and sandals. My friends and I walked for miles on the trails where we found a farm of goats, sheep, and deer. I was entranced by the views of the castle, lake, and white swans. I got to visit a second time for my birthday where my friends and I had a leisurely picnic on the lawn.

Chateau de Versailles – Paris, France

The famous Versailles… I’ve now been twice here in my lifetime and I’m still in awe at how MASSIVE and luxurious it all is! The palace itself is huge adorned with lavish decor and expansive rooms one after the other. Then there’s the gorgeous gardens where you can walk for miles on end. In addition there’s three more palaces on the property including my favorite: the Grand Trianon which has pink marble and is every bit girly as me! It’s truly an unbeatable, remarkable landmark.

Sintra Castle – Lisbon, Portugal

Sintra is a town in Portugal an hour train ride away from the popular tourist destination of Lisbon where my friends and I stayed on vacation. It is home to the most magestic and colorful castle I’ve ever seen. Approaching this gradeur was something I’ll never forget. The rich yellows, reds, and purples of the castle were brilliant and lit up the childish sparkle in my eyes. I was in awe of every detail and tried to capture pictures that I knew would never do it justice. I walked around in fascination of the colorful patterned tiles on the walls, the medieval towers, and the royal charm encrypted everywhere. We took a tour inside learning about the Portuguese royal family that used to rule here and saw many original pieces of furniture, china, and other elegant tokens. The views outside the castle were breathtaking where I stared out into the depths of the ocean, hilly mountains, and the Portuguese countryside. Before our departure in the afternoon, a thick fog emerged blocking our view of the surrounding land and creating a mysterious mood.

Neuschwanstein Castle – Munich, Germany

One of the top day trips in Munich is to visit this breathtaking castle. I’ve always dreamed of seeing it and I’m so glad that my wish came true. Neuschwanstein Castle is known to be the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty film. It was also home to a crazy king named King Ludvick who built the castle just for himself to live in with his servant staff. He led a lonely life and died in the river next to the castle where there are still multiple unproved theories of his death. When I went it was a winter wonderland! It was snowing and it was quite magical. I didn’t get the postcard picture view of the castle that I wanted, but I hope someday to be back to see it in the summertime. 

The best view I got from afar!

Hohenschwangau Castle: The childhood castle of King Ludwig

Prague Castle – Prague, Czech Republic

The castle in Prague is not your typical castle. It is made up of a large combination of buildings and a huge cathedral situated on a hill. The city of Prague was built around the castle and is the oldest in Eastern Europe. A man named Charles lived there and a women named Maria Theresa who adapted parts of the castle to her taste and liking. My tour guide described the castle as “architectural lasagna” because it’s a mixture of all different styles throughout the years: Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, and Neogothic. It really was beautiful and interesting. I also got to see the changing of the guards ceremony which was really neat. The guards held very stern faces and didn’t dare muster a smile or faint movement.

Schonbrunn and Hofburg Imperial Palace – Vienna, Austria

Vienna was probably the most royal and elegant place I’ve ever been! All you hear about there is the Hofburg royal family who lived in the Imperial Palace in the winter and the Schonbrunn Palace in the summer. The summer palace was the most beautiful and it’s considered the “Versailles of Vienna” for a reason! I loved touring inside the grand rooms and walking the grounds outside (although in the summer it would have been much more breathtaking!) In the Hofburg palace they had gorgeous displays of fancy china, silver, and gold. It was the best musuem I’ve ever been to.

Prince’s Palace of Monaco – Monaco

Ever since high school I’d dreamed of visiting Monaco after doing a presentation on it in French class. It’s the second smallest country in the world that’s French speaking and has a royal family (the Rainier’s!) It wasn’t difficult to find this palace since the country is only 3 miles long and it’s placed on a hilltop. The cream colored palace was lovely to look at and the guards did their motions near the entrance. The flag being all the way up meant the prince is away, so no chances of seeing the royals themselves, but I still had a magnificent time. The views surrounding the palace were unreal. There was a gorgeous panorama of the entire city, harbor, and open sea. I felt so lucky to be here!


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