9 European Castles You Can Actually Stay In
If you think touring ancient European castles is thrilling, try spending the night in one! Though most castles open to the public don’t allow you to stay over, there are dozens of private castles that owners have renovated into hotels. If you’re looking to treat yourself to a truly memorable stay, follow in the footsteps of nobility and book a night or two in one of the following castles on your next Eurail trip.
Castelo de Óbidos, Portugal
Most visit the walled town of Óbidos for just a few hours. Hang around after dark, and you’ll have much of this ancient marvel to yourself. The castle in Óbidos dates back to the 12th century and is the jewel in the crown of the town. It’s not only great to look at from the outside — it also happens to double as a hotel.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains between Lisbon and Óbidos on Portuguese Railways. The journey time is 2 h 15 min. There is a fairly steep walk from the station to the town, so arrange for a pickup with the hotel if you’re unwilling to walk.
Schloss Hornberg, Germany
This castle in the Black Forest was initially for knights in the 11th century. It changed hands in the mid-1500s and became a residence. These days Schloss Hornberg is a restaurant and hotel that you can stay overnight in. Its location makes it a perfect spot from which to commence a trip to this beautiful corner of Germany.
How to get there by train: You can reach the castle by train from Stuttgart in just under 3 hours. Choose to connect via Karlsruhe Hbf for the most convenient arrival point.
Parador de Oropesa, Spain
This 14th-century Spanish castle is in the idyllic foothills of the Sierra de Gredos. Myths and legends abound about the site, including that it was where Hercules’ soldiers first settled in 1716 B.C. Whether this is true or not is unclear, but an overnight stay in one of the castle’s rooms is sure to take you back to a different era altogether.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains to the castle from Madrid. Make sure alight at Oropesa de Toledo. They take approximately 2 hours.
Château d’Hassonville, Belgium
This 17th-century castle is a remarkable place to stay when in Belgium. It’s located in the heavily forested region of Ardennes, and France’s King Louis XIV used to hunt on these very grounds. The rooms stay true to their original layout and decor and the restaurant serves up traditional feasts, making this a thoroughly intriguing place to spend a night.
How to get there by train: There are hourly trains from Brussels to Marloie which take approximately 2 h 20 minutes. You will need to cover the last 2 kilometres on foot or arrange for a transfer.
Wartegg Castle, Switzerland
The Swiss castle of Wartegg was the one-time home of Zita of Bourbon-Parma, the last empress of Austria who was staying there while in exile. With stunning views of Lake Constance and several lavish rooms, it’s become one of the most luxurious and sought after castle hotels in Switzerland.
How to get there by train: Catch a train from Zurich to St. Gallen Bahnhof. The journey is approximately an hour long. Once in St. Gallen, you’ll need to take a 45 minute bus ride on line 242 to get to the castle.
Château de Mirambeau, France
You’ll find this dramatic Renaissance style castle idyllically located between Cognac and Bordeaux. This places you in the heart of wine country, though when you see just how impressive the castle and its grounds are, you may never want to leave. The opulent rooms also offer incredible views of the castle’s private 20-acre park.
How to get there by train: Take the train from Bordeaux to Hôtel de Ville, and connect there to Cenon. From Cenon, the castle is 30 minutes away by bus on line 17.
Hotel Schloss Leopoldskron, Austria
You may recognise Hotel Schloss from the famous 60s movie The Sound of Music. The 18th-century estate was home to the von Trapp family, and though it’s just received an extensive makeover, it still retains all of its original charm. Sound of Music fans can also check into one of three rooms themed after the iconic film.
How to get there by train: Hotel Schloss is located just outside the centre of Salzburg, a major rail hub in Austria. You can walk to the hotel from the centre or take a short bus or taxi ride there.
Burghotel auf Schönburg, Germany
A stay in this German castle is about more than witnessing history — many of the services on offer help you to relive it. There are lavish four-course dinners, rooms that stay true to their original style and design, and dramatic terraces that look out over the lush surroundings.
How to get there by train: There are regular trains from Frankfurt to Oberwesel that take 1 h 20 min. From Oberwesel station you are just 300 metres away from the castle.
Batthyány Castle, Hungary
Hungary’s Batthyány Castle may be some way away from the capital Budapest, but its incredible architecture and unique location are worth going out of your way for. First mentions of this estate date back to 1019, and there have been several notable castles on the property over the years. The current castle is approximately 300 years old and though it retains its old-world charms, its modern touches make it a comfortable place to spend a few nights.
How to get there by train: Take the train from Budapest-Déli to Keszthely which runs every two hours and takes approximately 3 h 1 min. From there, a short bus ride will connect you to Zalacsány.
Many of these castles are truly unique and serve as remarkable places to spend a night or two. Though the prices often match the grandeur of the destination, if you can stretch yourself on your Eurail trip it may just be worth it. If only to say that you’ve actually spent a night in a medieval European castle.
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