1. Leeds Castle - Kent, England
This stunning castle was built on the site of a 9th century manor house in 1119. It became an official royal palace in 1278 when Kind Edward I of England decided to call it home. It was passed down through the royal line, and miraculously escaped destruction during the English Civil War and World War I.Leeds Castle — Photo courtesy of Jim Bowen
Purchased by Lady Baillie, an American heiress in 1926, the castle was used as a hospital to treat injured airmen during World War II. When Lady Baillie passed away, she left the castle to the public to enjoy. It's about 42 miles SE of London.
2. Alcazar of Segovia - Segovia, Spain
The Alcazar of Segovia may look ancient, but the structure you can see today was actually built in 1882 after the 800 year-old castle was destroyed by a fire. The original castle had been home to a string of royals, all of whom added their own flourishes and additions to the palace - including European and Moorish elements.Alcazar of Segovia — Photo courtesy of Frank Kovalchek
3. Warwick Castle - Warwickshire, England
Constructed in 1068 by William the Conqueror, the Warwick Castle was placed on a bend in the River Avon on top of a sandstone bluff. It was originally constructed in wood and was renovated into a stone castle in the 12th century. In the 17th century the beautiful grounds were turned into a garden and the impressive castle was even able to withstand a siege during the English Civil War. Warwick Castle — Photo courtesy of Paul Englefield
Today the castle is owned by The Tussauds Group. (Yep, the same Tussuads.) It is open to the public as a tourist attraction and was also named one of Britain's "Top 10 Historic Houses and Monuments." The Tussauds Group holds archery contests and fairs on the castle grounds throughout the year. Warwickshire is 94 miles NW of London.
4. Eilean Castle - Donan, Scotland
Located on a small island in the western Highlands of Scotland. Eilean Donan castle was built in the 13th century, and was sadly almost completed destroyed in the 18th century. Although not much remained of the once-grand castle, Lt. Col. John MacRae-Gilstrap restored the entire building between 1919 and 1932, paying tribute to the original design.Eilean Castle — Photo courtesy of David Sanz
Today, you can explore every part of the castle on a day trip to Donan, about 193 miles NW of Edinburgh.
5. Chateau D'Usse - Amboise, France
Dating from the 15th century, this gorgeous white castle is said to have been the inspiration for Charles Perrault's famous tale, La Belle au Bois Dormant - Sleeping Beauty for those of us who read in English. It is also rumored that Walt Disney designed his parks after the incredible gardens at Chateau D'Usse, created by the same architect that designed Versailles. Amboise, France is about 140 miles SW of Paris. Chateau D'Usse — Photo courtesy of Elliott Brown
6. Eszterhaza Palace - Fertod, Hungary
Built on the Austrian and Hungarian border in the mid 1700s, Eszterhaza Palace was geographically isolated – a surprising choice of location for Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy. Modeled after the Schonbrunn palace in Vienna, it was also home to the composer Joseph Hayden for 24 years. While there, he composed symphonies for the Prince's orchestra. Fortod lies about 250 miles SE of Prague. Eszterhaza Palace — Photo courtesy of Zyance
7. Vaduz Castle - Vaduz, Lichtenstein
Lichtenstein may be a tiny country of only 62 square miles, but it knows how to do castles right. The Prince of Lichtenstein resides in Vaduz Castle in the capital city of Vaduz. Vaduz Castle — Photo courtesy of Clemens v. Vogelsang
Unlike many ancient castles, this one is still actually in use. Most of the royal family in Lictenstein uses the castle as their home. Since it still functions as a castle, it unfortunately is not open the the public. But the gorgeous location makes it easy to appreciate from a distance. And it's only 68 miles SE of Zurich.
8. Hluboka Nad Vltavou Castle - Hluboka Nad Vltavou, Czech Republic
As far as castles go, this one is on the young side. Built in the late 1800s, it was only occupied for a few years before being taken over by the Czechoslovakian government after the end of WWII. It's now open to the public and has tours in both Czech and English. Don't miss the castle's incredible wood-worked ceiling. Hluboka Nad Vltavou Castle — Photo courtesy of MONUDET
This lovely castle is only 95 miles south of Prague and makes for an excellent day trip.
9. Chillon Castle - Veytaux, Switzerland
Perched on the shored of Lake Meman, this castle was the subject of a famous poem by Lord Byron, the Prisoner of Chillion. The 17th century poet even carved his name into a pillar in the castles dungeon. Veytaux anchors the eastern end of gorgeous Lake Geneva; namesake city Geneva - only 64 miles away - anchors the lake's western tip.Chillon Castle — Photo courtesy of Erik Charlton
10. Neuschwanstein - Hohenschwangau, Germany
When you think of fairytale castles, Neuschwanstein immediately comes to mind. Many of Disney's castles were modeled after this one, and it's easy to see why.Neuschwanstein — Photo courtesy of Jiuguang Wang
Built in the 19th century by the king of Bavaria Ludwig II, the castle was created in honor of the composer Richard Wagner. Ludwig was a devoted supporter of Wagner, and the extravagant castle he commissioned was just one of many eccentric public work projects he organized during his reign.
Today it is one of the most popular tourists sites in Europe and attracts 1.4 million tourists every year. It lies 80 miles from Munich.