Eilean Donan, Scotland

Eilean Donan castle is in Scotland, situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet, and surrounded by some pretty dramatic scenery, particularly in winter.

Available to rent on a by-the-day basis, although the owners suggest hiring it during the winter if you want to avoid crowds of tourists. Originally built in the 13th century, the castle has been demolished and rebuilt several times over the years and the current incarnation has starred in many films, including Highlander and James Bond - The World is not Enough.

Dracula’s Castle, Romania

This is often referred to as Dracula’s castle, although the real name is Bran castle. Perched on a cliff near Brasov in central Romania, it is a major tourist attraction, largely because of its ties to Prince Vlad the Impaler, the warlord who inspired Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, “Dracula.” Legend has it that Vlad spent one night at the castle in the 1400s . The castle was returned to it’s “rightful” owners, the Habsburg family after the fall of communism. Arch Duke Dominic Habsburg immediately offered the castle back to the Romanian government for $80 million but the offer was rejected. It then went on the open market, and it is still available. Baytree Capital, the firm representing the family are of the opinion that the castle will eventually sell for $135 million, although it seems this is a little ambitious - especially with Romanian lawyers still fighting over the the decision to return it to the family in the first place.

Castello di Mazzè, Turin, Italy

This beautiful castle in Turin is available for hire to cater wedding parties at around 2,500-5,500 Euros a day and for sale at around 15 million Euros. (Negotiable). Notable visitors in the past include: King Vittorio Emanuele II di Savoia, Count of Cavour, Zar Nicola II, Count Brunetta d’Usseaux, Francesco De Sanctis and Benito Mussolini. Originally constructed in the 12th century and rebuilt in the 15th, the founder of the Italian Olympic movement, Count Eugenio Brunetta d’Usseax also lived here.

Bled Castle, Slovenia

Perched atop a cliff seems to be a popular position, and this next castle dates back to 1004, making it one of the oldest in Slovenia. The oldest part of the castle is the Romanesque tower, although additions have been made over the years. During the Middle Ages more towers were built and other buildings were added during the Baroque period. The chapel in the upper courtyard was built in the 16th century, and renovated around 1700, when it was painted with illusionist frescoes. This one is not currently for sale or rent, but is a popular tourist destination.

Biniés Castle, Huesca, Spain

This next one is interesting because currently being used as a residence and the owners have spent some considerable time and effort renovating. Originally constructed in the 11th century, Biniés Castle is perched above the village with spectacular views of the valley. For Sale by owner.

Walton Castle, Somerset, England

This castle was originally built for Lord Poulett, a Somerset member of Parliament, back in the days when only the landed gentry were allowed to run for office, although, as it seems, things haven’t really changed in that regard - Now you need to have been to the right university and have friends with money behind you. Walton castle has been completely restored by the current owner and is for sale for £4.5 million, and if you want to “try it on for size” available for short-term rental.

Nakatso-Jo Castle, Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture, Japan

Current Owner Masayuki Okudaira, placed the castle up for sale recently for the sum of $3 million. This seems like a bargain, but the horrendous cost of maintaining the building means that is not necessarily the case. The city of Nakatsu is deciding whether or not to buy the local tourist attraction, where visitors can also view heirlooms from local governing families of past eras exhibited inside. Originally constructed around 1587, the current five-tiered castle was rebuilt in 1964 after being destroyed by fire in the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion.

Villa Castiglione, Capri, Italy

The Villa Castiglione in Capri is for sale at $38 million. It has - eight double bedrooms, five bathrooms with fittings of the finest Italian marble and gold taps, several rooms for entertaining and a rich history including a brief spell as a British naval base during the Napoleonic wars. And unlike its Scottish brethren, you won’t need a small forest of wood to keep the building heated during the winter.

Mock Castles :
Not all castles are fortified, and during the Gothic Revival in architecture, many “castles” were built. These castles had no defensive capabilities, but used elements of earlier castles, such as castellation and towers for purely decorative purposes. These features were personified in the Scottish Baronial style and many of them were country houses. These “mock castles” were particularly common in the UK and Ireland, Belfast Castle and Castle Oliver being two such examples. Famous revival castles in other countries include Neuschwanstein in Germany, Miramare in Italy, and Castillo de Chapultepec in Mexico. The castle in the photograph below is Neuschwanstein in Germany and this photo was voted one of wikipedia’s finest images

Castle Neuschwanstein at Schwangau, Bavaria, Germany


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