Discuss as:

Stunning castles around the world

Chrisusc / Travel + Leisure

Partially destroyed in a Jacobite uprising in 1719, Eilean Donan castle lay in ruins for the best part of 200 years until Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap bought the Scottish island in 1911 and restored the castle. After 20 years of work, the castle was re-opened in 1932.


We dare you to find a traveler who’s left Scotland without at least a few castle photos. The countryside is riddled with hundreds of majestic, if sometimes crumbling, castles, and they capture our imagination like no other architectural wonder.

Slideshow: See where to find spectacular castles

Take Scotland’s iconic Eilean Donan Castle. When illuminated at twilight, with the distant hills cast a shadowy black, it conveys all the intrigue associated with castles. This is just one of the eye-catching images we turned up when we searched the submissions of Travel + Leisure community members to find their most beautiful and varied castle photos.

Some have the fairy-tale charm of 19th-century Neuschwanstein Castle, which actually inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. Travel + Leisure community user gikltd pulled back to capture its dramatic surroundings in Germany’s Bavaria region: thick woods, snowcapped Alps and placid water. Meanwhile, in Japan, Travel + Leisure community member bratbee79 gave added drama to the traditional flared tile roof of 14th-century Shuri Castle in Okinawa by shooting it from slightly below. 

Photography techniques influence the look of other beautiful castles featured in our community album. We encounter Germany’s Cochem Castle from within thanks to a photo of an interior stained-glass window and a decorative wall panel. Alternatively, an expansive shot of fortress walls along the Dalmatian Coast of Dubrovnik highlights the castle’s impenetrable, intimidating nature as it towers on rocks above the Adriatic Sea.

Castles in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom, are naturally well represented.

Yet while we may not have royalty in the U.S., that hasn’t stopped the construction of beautiful castles on our side of the pond. A photograph of New York City’s Belvedere Castle, which offers panoramic views of Central Park, was submitted by raveille. (The castle’s name comes from the Italian for “beautiful view.”) 

Check out all the photos of enchanting castles (and a few palaces) around the world to find the one that most inspires you. And after your next trip, upload your photos for a chance to win Travel + Leisure’s monthly photo contest and to be featured in a slideshow.

More from Travel + Leisure