Next Up

The World's 35 Most Captivating Castles

August 12, 2021

Located around the world, these grand, historic, real-life castles are the original mega-mansions. Check out some of the most beautiful castles in the world.

Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money off these affiliate links. Learn more.
1 / 47
Photo: bluejayphoto / Getty Images

Mont Saint-Michel, France

Built high on a peak, Mont Saint Michel near Normandy, France, is one of medieval architecture's greatest achievements.

More photos after this Ad

2 / 47
Photo: VisitBritain

Highclere Castle, England

You’ve already seen some of Highclere’s rooms and grounds if you were a fan of the popular TV drama Downton Abbey. Built around 1679 in Hampshire, England, as a country home, Highclere is owned by the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. Brides dress in the elegant bedrooms before descending the oak staircase to the saloon, with its 50-foot ceiling.

More photos after this Ad

3 / 47
Photo: Ashford Castle

Ashford Castle, Ireland

Once owned by Ireland's beer dynasty, the Guinness family, as a vacation home, the circa 1228 Anglo-Norman Ashford Castle on Cong's stunning Loch Corrib may be as close as you can get to spending the night at Downton Abbey. The property is epic in its many appointments, including the 350-acre grounds featuring an Instagram-ready formal garden and a variety of American tree specimens. Ashford is now a hotel which underwent a $75 million renovation in 2015 and Red Carnation Hotel owners Stanley and Beatrice Tollman have spared no expense to make sure guests feel nestled in the lap of luxury. For active, outdoorsy types, the options are endless from trout and salmon fishing to horseback riding, and deliciously aristocratic pursuits like falconry and archery. Foodies can stage a private dinner or tasting in the dramatic wine cellar or watch a film in the plush red velvet and vintage-film poster-appointed screening room where the free popcorn and candy flows. The hotel owners have gone to great efforts to make their hotel feel not just grand but fun and unapproachable. Staff is never haughty and there is fun built into many of the offerings, whether the grownup fun of cocktails and billiards in the man cave Billiards Room or the retro time warp of an American-style diner with a soda fountain where you can dine on Elvis's favorite sammie. Visiting in the off-season post-summer means prices for a stay decrease significantly, and there is much to recommend scraping together your dollars or pounds for even one magical night at this one-of-a-kind property.

learn more

More photos after this Ad

4 / 47
Photo: Alisha Bube

Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

While not technically on Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan Castle is just across the bridge from the island, and worth a stop if you are driving the A87 to get to Skye. Built on a small tidal island, it is a picturesque stop along the way, or if time permits you can tour the stone fortress for around a $5 admission fee.

More photos after this Ad