6 Magnificent Medieval Castle Trails in Europe

Castles inspire romance, nostalgia, and historic reverence. They’re the sites of heroic battles and legendary stories, and their magic never seems to fade. Medieval castles are especially enigmatic, with their turrets, drawbridges, and ramparts, and they still dot the European countryside long after the last battle was fought. Of course, what makes a castle worth a visit is the state of the building, both inside and out, and that will narrow down your options a little bit. For a good mix of majesty, opulence, romance and accessibility, consider these six excellent excursions to some of Europe’s finest medieval fortresses.

North Zealand and Kronborg Castle, Copenhagen


Denmark is home to a selection of fairy-tale castles, with the scenery to match: floating islands, sprawling blue bays, and turrets that spear cool blue skies. In fact, a trip to Denmark is easily planned around the castles, since some of the best lie within reach of the big city centers. Such is the case with Kronborg Castle and Frederiksborg Castle, both a stone’s throw from the capital of Copenhagen. Kronborg Castle in Elsinore city was the inspirational location for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and the renaissance masterpiece has earned a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Frederiksborg Castle, built in the 17th century by King Christian IV, is a marriage of Renaissance elegance and Baroque flourish that houses some beautiful artistic artefacts and fine furniture.