Monday, June 30, 2014

Travel Inspiration: European Castle Hotels

As a lover of fairy tales and all things whimsical, I've dreamed of living in a castle since I was a little girl. When I went to the Magic Kingdom in Disney World for the first time, I remember asking my parents why we weren't sleeping in Cinderella's Castle and were staying in a boring old timeshare instead. :) I got to experience my first real castle when I studied abroad in Spain and took a weekend trip to Segovia to visit the Alcazar, and at 20 years old, I almost cried when it was time to leave.


Unfortunately, you aren't allowed to sleep over in the Alcazar. I've heard you can stay over in Cinderella's Castle in Disney {can anyone verify this?} but I'm not entirely sure. Fortunately though, there are plenty of European castles that also serve as hotels, so us adults who are obsessed with castles do have the opportunity to make our childhood dreams come true!! Today I'm going to share 9 gorgeous European castle hotels that aren't ridiculously expensive...I hope to stay in them all someday, and maybe get married in one! {Don't even get me started on that...}

Let's begin our journey across the pond...

1. Kilronan Castle, Ballyfarron, Ireland. Restored in 2006, this Irish castle was converted into a luxury hotel. Have you guys ever read the Outlander books? This is exactly what I picture Ireland looking like when I'm reading that series. :) Rates start as low as $170/night.



2. Privately owned castle, Galway, Ireland. I found this "little" castle on Airbnb. It's a bit more rustic than some of the others on this list, but you can't beat the price or location! Plus, there is a bathtub hidden under a secret door, which is just the type of thing that excites me. Rates start at $154/night.


3. Leeds Castle, Kent, England. Described as the "loveliest castle in the world," this baby is over 900 years old. I think of Boston as an old city, but it pales in comparison to this place. You can't stay in the castle itself, but they have 5 amazing rooms in a tower on the property that overlook the castle, so you get an unparalleled view. Also, they offer glamping, which is pretty much amazing. They will take you on hot air balloon rides and have a winery on the property, so I think I could stay here for a month and not get bored. Rates start at around $300/night.



Lets move on to France, which has so many castles to choose from that it was hard for me to narrow it down.

4. Domaine des Hauts de Loire, Onzain, France. A former hunting lodge, this vine-covered petit chateau is a breathtaking retreat in the Loire countryside. They have a pool, restaurant, tennis courts, hiking trails and fishing on site, so you'll able to rest and relax during your stay. Rates start at 250 euros/night.


5. Château de Noizay, Noizay, France. This castle features gorgeous stained glass windows, ornate woodwork and stately gardens to transport guests back in time to 1560, when Château de Noizay was the setting of an important episode in the French Wars of Religion. They offer massages and have a helicopter on the property, because, why not? Rates start at 340 euros/night.


6. Les Roches privately owned castle, Burgundy, France. This is another Airbnb gem, where the owners of this adorable castle rent out a private room complete with marble bathroom and balcony on the first floor overlooking the garden. It reminds me a bit of Beauty and the Beast, and I really want to get away from it all by visiting! Rates start at $217/night. 



Now, on to Spain & beyond!

7. Castillo de Arteaga, Gautegiz Arteaga, Spain. Situated between Bilbao and San Sebastian in northern Spain, this castle surrounded by 4 turrets is a quaint countryside escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Spend your days exploring the surrounding area, which include cliffs, rivers, marshland and meadows. In the evening, enjoy a delicious dinner in the castle's restaurant or a wine tasting in the well-stocked cellar. Rates start at just 140 euros/night.


8. Castelo de Óbidos, Óbidos, Portugal. The Óbidos Castle is referred to as one of the 7 marvels of Portugal, and I can definitely see why! Built in the 12th century, this castle mixes old with new by offering activities like hunting, golf, water sports, horseback riding, carriage rides and more. Its restaurant is listed on Fodor's 10 best castle restaurants, so you won't be missing out on great food while you're there! Rates start at 189 euros/night.


9. Villa Kyriakos, Crete, Greece. I guess this is more of a villa than a castle, but it looks amazing and I've always wanted to visit the Greek islands, so I included it on my list! Set in a quiet countryside location with a pool onsite, the villa is only a 20 minute drive to the beach so you can get the best of both worlds. Rates start at $168/night.



65 comments :

  1. I'll take a night in any of these or perhaps a night in all of these!! The one in Spain is amazing - well they all are!!

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  2. When I studied abroad, we lived and took classes in a Dutch "castle," but it was hardly as beautiful and elegant as these! And the room in Cinderella's Castle is unfortunately reserved for sweepstakes only :( And like, the Kardashians and other big-money celebs.

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  3. it's unbelievable...I live in Europe and I've never been in one of them!!!! :(
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