Matt Westenburg Talks Travel

Throughout history, palaces have been symbols of defense and strength. Although they’re more commonly seen in princess movies today, Americans remain fascinated by castles. For an enchanting vacation, walk the grand halls of an old castle. Some of these royal rooms are even available to rent out for a night in the king’s bed. Wherever your travels take you, take check out these imposing fortresses around the world.

Russia

Known as the Russian Versailles, the Peterhof Palace boasts gorgeous fountains and impressive architecture. Located in Saint Petersburg, the palace was built during the time of Peter the Great during the 1700s. The Moscow Kremlin is another one of Russia’s stunning architectural complexes. The fortress actually holds five palaces and four cathedrals within its walls. The Kremlin is now the home of the President of the Russian Federation.

Japan

Hirosaki Castle was built in the early 1600s. Built by the Tsugaru clan, this palace is surrounded by thousands of cherry trees. When the trees are in bloom, the castle and the park attract visitors from all over the world. Japan’s Matsue Castle is supported by its original wooden structure. It’s one of the few medieval palaces that have not needed major restoration. Matsue Castle was built by Naomasa Matsudaira, whose decedents ruled for over ten generations.

Matt Westenburg

China and Thailand

The Forbidden City in Beijing, China is the world’s largest palace complex. This stunning fortress is guarded by the Gate of Heavenly Peace and is a glimpse into Imperial China’s regal history. For centuries Thailand’s royal family lived in an elaborate complex called the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace is still used for official ceremonies, but visitors can wander through the courtyards and gardens for a glimpse at royal history.

Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle located near the southern border of Germany is a romantic fairy tale come to life. This castle was influential in Disney storylines such as Beauty and the Beast and has been featured in numerous movies, video games, and photographs. The palace grounds are breathtaking, but the surrounding trails offer additional stunning views. Rising above the clouds, Hohenzollern Castle is Germany’s second most popular fortress. Once home to a line of emperors, this castle now a popular tourist destination.

Matt Westenburg

France

Châteu du Chambord is one of the most spectacular examples of a French Renaissance castle. This structure has everything a castle should, with elegantly designed spiral staircases, towers, gables, and turrets. Off the coast of Normandy, France Mount Saint-Michel stands as a fortress full of historical importance. The abbey is only accessible during low tide. At high tide, the fortress becomes an island, which was a key part of its defense throughout history.

Scotland

One of the world’s best examples of a medieval fortress, Edinburgh Castle overlooks Scotland’s capital from Castle Rock. Once the scene of many bloody battles, this castle now hosts tours and events. Scotland’s other famous royal abode is called Glamis Castle, which is said to be one of the most haunted castles in Europe. Glamis Castle was the site of royal murders and aristocratic drama. One of the most famous legends involves a deformed child who spent his entire life locked away. As the legend grew the child became known as the Monster of Glamis.

Include a stop at one of these royal fortresses during your next family vacation. Parents and princesses alike will appreciate the elegant designs and enchanting halls within a real-life royal castle.