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-   -   The Best European Castles (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/the-best-european-castles-34554/)

Kari Nov 14th, 1998 02:36 PM

The Best European Castles
 
Hi all. I'm trying to inspire a group of high school students to travel to Europe and keep it fun and educational. The kids have expressed a huge interest in European Castles (they know about Neuschwanstein, Windsor, etc). They want a historical view. What are the best ones to see that kids will like?

tom Nov 14th, 1998 05:21 PM

Kari, my wife and I have seen a number of castles including Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, Windsor, Warwick, a number along the Rhine, and a favorite called Burg Eltz which is located along the Mosel River near Trier, Germany. In addition, we have seen a number in the Highlands of Scotland. However, the absolute best in our opinion was Edinburgh Castle.This castle which sits atop a volcanic outcropping in the middle of Edinburgh is surrounded on three sides by cliffs and the fourth leads right down the "Royal Mile" to Holyrood Palace. It has never been conquered by force, but it was captured by Robert the Bruce's(or perhaps William Wallace, can't recall which...but it was definitely one of the two) men when the English occupied it. The views are tremendous, from downtown Edinburrgh, to the Firth of Forth Bridge, to Bass Rock in the North Sea. It is also host to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The Tattoo, an incredible evening of pipers and drums in the castle esplanade is a wonderful sight. This castle has been the sight of many of Scotland's successes and failures. Runner-ups include Warwick, where Kings have been made by the Earl of Warwick and Burg Eltz which <BR>sits in a protected bend of a little stream, and looks exactly like a real castle should look.

Jeff Holcomb Nov 14th, 1998 08:42 PM

I too am a castle lover. I think Edinburgh Castle is spectacular as well, but my favorite castle is also a Scottish fortress. It's Glamis Castle in Forfar. The tour is definitely worth your time and there is a lot of spooky history surrounding it which adds to the intrigue. The grounds are beautiful and the setting is very serene. I think you'd love it. I have to say that of all the countries castles I've visited, I like the Scottish ones the best.

Maira Nov 15th, 1998 01:38 AM

Kari: To learn European histoy by relating it to the history of their castles is an excellent idea (lucky students!). <BR> <BR>From what I understand, castles in Europe were product of the feudal system and typically of dual nature; a residence and a fortress. So, it is tough to beat the Edinburgh Castle as an example of a castle that would ilustrate this historical fact so incredibly (they will not forget it!). <BR> <BR>Another suggestion is to present this topic in terms of the evolution of Castle Building in Europe. For example: <BR> <BR>- Early Earthwork and Stone Castles <BR>Tough to beat Scotland (again!) on this one; Urquhart Castle (Inverness; Loch Ness; magical!), Castle Sween (Strathclyde; original home of the McSweeney's Clan), etc... <BR> <BR>- Tower castles. Best examples of this may be some of England's castles. <BR>(I'm sure somebody on this forum can tell you more about this!) <BR> <BR>- Artillery Fortifications. Best examples may been in Germany. <BR> <BR> - Royal Palaces. Tough to beat France on this one; Versailles, Fountainbleau, the variety of Loire Chateaux..... <BR> <BR> - Residential Palaces (center of art and social life). This is best ilustrated by some of the Italian palaces, specially those of the Renaissance period (Venice!!!, Florence!!!) <BR> <BR>...but if I had to name a castle just for its purely magical, romantic, misterious, spectacular setting, I'll have to say, The Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Absolutely fascinating!

Aurora Nov 15th, 1998 07:14 AM

In Denmark: Fredericksborg, not far from Copenhagen. In Germany: any of those confections from King Ludwig. In France: Fontainbleau and/or Versailles. <BR>In Spain: the Alhambra. In Portugal: Sintra and/or Queluz, near Lisbon. In Italy: the Palace of the Doges, in Venice, and all of Vatican City. In Sweden: Drottningholm, outside Stockholm. In Britain: Pennryn, not far from Carnaervon, in Wales; Windsor; and all those "stately homes." <BR>

Kelsey Nov 18th, 1998 09:44 AM

In Falaise, France is the William the Conqueror Castle, actually built by his son in the early 12th century. It has recently undergone interesting renovations: existing elements were recemented, etc., and some conjectural elements (drawbridge, floors, etc.) have been added in a modern style so a visitor can distinguish between existing and conjectural elements. It would be a great place for kids. It is wide-open for exploration, from the top of the turret to the basement treasury. It really feels like a castle.


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