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Castles by Country 2024

We often readily associate castles with medieval England, picturing knights, moats, drawbridges - perhaps even a damsel in distress and a dragon or two.

So it may surprise you to learn that, of the roughly one million castles in the world, Germany holds the most - 25,000 of them, to be exact! But though Germany takes the crown for sheer castle numbers, there are many castles around the world worth exploring.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Given Germany’s top spot in the castle count, it seems only fitting to start our journey with one of Europe's most-visited landmarks: Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned this fairy-tale-like castle as a personal retreat in 1868. It was designed partly as an homage to the operas of Richard Wagner, whom Ludwig invited to live in the castle when the composer went broke.

Windsor Castle, England

The world's oldest and largest inhabited castle, Windsor Castle has been an official royal residence since William the Conqueror built it around 1070. Situated roughly 30 miles from London, Windsor is also the home of St. George’s Chapel. In 1992, a fire destroyed nearly 100 rooms, though they have long since been restored.

Château de Chambord, France

A masterpiece of the French Renaissance, this 400-room Loire Valley castle was originally built as a “weekend hunting retreat” for King François I in 1519. The castle’s design, including its iconic double-helix staircase, is heavily inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. History holds that François ultimately found its excess distasteful and visited only occasionally during his reign.

Fasil Ghebbi, Ethiopia

Often referred to as the “Camelot of Africa,” Fasil Ghebbie was built by Emperor Fasilides in 1636. The castle complex fell into disrepair after being damaged in World War II. It was eventually listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 and restored.

Matsumoto Castle, Japan

Built in the early 1500s, Matsumoto Castle instantly conjures images of samurai warriors and feudal Japan. The daimyo’s unique three-towered structure earned it the nickname “Crow Castle.” Developers nearly destroyed it in 1872 before residents campaigned for the city government to step in and take ownership.

Much More than Medieval Fortresses

Whether you're a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply a lover of beautiful places, visiting castles is a unique way to celebrate and explore human ingenuity and architectural brilliance throughout the ages.

Which country has the most castles?

Italy has the most castles worldwide, with about 45,000 inside the country.

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