Indulge in these castle hotels


The mere thought of a castle evokes a sense of history and drama, a place where anything might happen. Why not step back in time and walk the corridors where legendary historical figures once strolled.

An aerial view of Ashford Castle in Ireland. Image credit: Ashford Castle.
An aerial view of Ashford Castle in Ireland. Image credit: Ashford Castle

Throughout Europe, there are hundreds of castles which are either still occupied by their founding families or have turned into welcoming hotels. Staying in a castle is an incredible experience, which is why renting a castle for your exclusive use or spending time in a castle hotel is immensely popular. They can be great places for memorable family celebrations or weddings.

Most castle hotel locations are definitely spectacular.  Some are perched high up on mountaintops, others by lakes, while others can be found in remote countryside.  Reaching them is no problem since you can always book a reliable Blacklane car service to get you to your castle destination in style.  

Enjoy royal castle hotel experiences in Ireland

From stone castles to gothic piles, castle hotels in Ireland are located amid beautiful countryside, fields and forests.

Ashford Castle – one of the top Irish castle hotels

If you find yourself in Mayo, why not opt for a stay in the ancestral home of the Guinness family. Ashford Castle is more than 800 years old and is now one of the top hotels in Ireland. Sumptuous décor with gleaming chandeliers and antique furniture make this the setting of one of the most luxurious castle experiences in the country.  Film buffs will immediately recognize it as the setting for John Ford’s 1951 Academy winning film “The Quiet Man”. In 2017, it was the venue for the wedding of golfer Rory McIlroy. Surrounded by acres of woodland and lawns, this is a hotel perfect for relaxation.

Dromoland Castle – An experience not to be missed

Dromoland Castle in County Clare seems to have an almost enchanted appearance as night falls and the castle reflection twinkles in the lake.  This was once the home of the O’Brien clan, who traced their ancestry back to Brian Boru, High King of Ireland more than 1000 years ago. Try out some royal activities, such as falconry or archery, or opt for something more modern like golf on the castle’s private par 72 course.  Go for a stroll through gardens reminiscent of the Palace of Versailles, before enjoying dinner and relaxing amid the opulent furnishings and four-poster beds.

Italian castle hotel splendor

Most castle hotels in Italy can be found throughout its northern territories which include popular places like Tuscany, the Italian Lakes, and the Eternal City itself.

Castello Sulla Spiaggia – perfect for beach holidays

Fancy a morning dip in the Mediterranean Sea? Castello sulla Spiaggia faces right onto Lazio beach.  Surrounded by a nature reserve, this seaside castle makes for a wonderfully relaxing destination, which you can hire for exclusive use.  Dating back to the 16th century, it can cater for up to 14 people making it a great place for a family reunion. Rome, the Eternal City is only 30 kilometers away, enabling you to enjoy the history

Castello Banfi Il Borgo –  a wine lovers paradise

For wine lovers, Castello Banfi is the perfect choice as the estate’s vineyards produce award-winning Montalcino wines. This is a serene, calm location where you can step away from archways lead into hidden courtyards and quiet corridors, before opening out onto views across the Tuscan countryside. Naturally, there is plenty of wine tasting to be had, but you can also embrace the culinary traditions of the area in its superb restaurants like the Sala dei Grappoli and La Taverna or discover the secrets of glassmaking.

Castello Banfi is hidden within the ground's vineyards. Image credit: Castello Banfi
Castello Banfi is hidden within the ground’s vineyards. Image credit: Castello Banfi

French castle hotel elegance and sophistication

France is a  land possessing a dramatic history, and this has resulted in the building of castles in every corner of the land.  Many of these have now become castle hotels in France.

Château du Bois Noir  – a stunning experience

The attractive honey-colored stone walls of the Château du Bois Noir, complete with massive rounded towers,  is a welcoming sight. Inside there are many ancient frescos and elegant staircases to explore. As the castle is surrounded by acres and acres of vineyards and landscaped grounds, it is hard to believe you are only a few miles outside Lyons in the heart of Beaujolais country.  With a spa and golf course, gourmet food and a wine museum on-site, it can be hard to take time away to discover the attractions of historic Lyons, one of the best shopping centers in France.

The exterior of Château du Bois Noir. Image credit: Château du Bois Noir
The exterior of Château du Bois Noir. Image credit: Château du Bois Noir

Chateau de la Caillotiere – your exclusive castle home from home.

This classic 18th century French Chateau de la Caillotiere, with its distinctive Tuffeau and pink brick façade, is a private residence still in the ownership of the original founding family and can be exclusively hired.  Choosing where to sleep is hard – how about the Chambre Bleue with its stunning bluebird wallpaper or wake up to the amazing views of the French garden from the Chambre des Anges. Why not explore some of the stunning Loire chateaux like Chaumont which comprise this UNESCO World Heritage site, visit the amazing gardens of Villandry or take a trip to the coast. AIf you are traveling as a family, take the children to the Puy du Fou theme park in Les Epesses near Nantes or discover steampunk creations at the Ile de machines in Nantes.

Sleep like royalty in these Scottish Castle Hotels

A visit to a castle hotel in Scotland is guaranteed to please.

Tulloch Castle Hotel – boutique magnificence

Traditionally, only Scottish Chieftains could stay in Tulloch Castle Hotel, in the Highlands of Scotland. Now a castle hotel, it welcomes a much wider group of travelers. An intimate hotel with just 20 rooms, it has a very atmospheric charm. Passing through the tall, medieval stone walls, and entering the 18th century Great Hall with its magnificent paneling, you feel as though you have stepped back in time.

With three Championship golf courses close by, plus 50 other courses, golfers are assured of a wonderful time. Alternatively, watch dolphins on the Moray Firth or discover royal history at nearby Cawdor castle, known for its links to Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”.

Borthwick Castle – where legends come to life

Over at Borthwick Castle, you can step back even further in time to another legendary ruler – Mary, Queen of Scots, who often came here with her entourage.  One of the bedrooms is named after her, while another is named after the Earl of Bothwell, her ambitious, but doomed, husband. Soft furnishings evoke the tapestries Mary Queen of Scots loved to embroider; creating a lavish, opulent environment.  Nowadays, traveling into Edinburgh to attend events at the Edinburgh Festival or to explore the historic center takes just 30 minutes by car.

Borthwick Castle is set among the rolling hills of Scotland. Image credit: Borthwick Castle
Borthwick Castle is set among the rolling hills of Scotland. Image credit: Borthwick Castle

From Knights to Poirot, castle hotels in England have surprises in store

Wherever you go, you are never far from a castle hotel in England. From the gentle Kentish countryside to the beauty of the Lake District, there are countless castles available either to hire privately or book as a hotel

Lumley Castle – a majestic castle adventure.

Knights in armour once strode these battlements and their armorial shields still adorn the walls. Nowadays, Lumley Castle near Durham is a much more peaceful place, where every bedroom is different and all have secret bathrooms.  For a majestic experience, opt for the King James Suite in the former chapel, which has a massive 20 feet tall four-poster bed and personal reception room.  Private dining rooms add a sense of exclusivity, ideal for special occasions away.

Tawstock Castle – perfect for coastal exploration

Further south in the West Country, Tawstock Castle is everything you can imagine a castle to be and privacy is guaranteed.  It stands high on a motte, surrounded by the ramparts of a walled outer bailey, offering magnificent views across the North Devon countryside towards the wild Atlantic Ocean. Climb the spiral stairs and sleep in one of the turret bedrooms just like a character from a fairytale. The superb beach at Woolacombe is superb for surfing, or you can seek out the mysteries of Agatha Christie at Greenway, her former home.

Fairytales come alive in castle hotels in Germany

Germany has some of the most dramatically located castles to be found anywhere in the world. German castles are perched high in the mountains, deep in forests or beside the great rivers such as the Rhine.  This is a land redolent of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel. It is easy to see why. Drive along twisting roads past stunning vistas of trees and mountains before reaching your chosen castle. This is an area where you can enjoy privacy and quiet, or follow enchanted trails through magical landscapes on your way to find castle hotels in Germany.

Schloss Sommersdorf – a Bavarian fantasy

Schloss Sommersdorf is located amid the Bavarian forests and is allegedly linked to the ‘mad’ King Ludwig II of Bavaria, creator of the castle of Neuschwanstein. According to the castle’s website, The 19th-century owner of the Schloss Sommersdorf, Graf Crafft von Crailsheim, played a leading role in attempting to have the king declared insane.

With mummified bodies in the crypt under the chapel, vintage cars, tower gardens, and lakes, Schloss Sommersdorf offers guests an extremely memorable stay at this castle bed and breakfast.  Guests enter via a stunning baroque tower and are accommodated high up in towers, or in buildings around the Castle Yard. The beautiful gardens encourage strolling in the twilight, to enjoy the fragrance of the roses.

A moat surrounds Schloss Sommersdorf. Image credit: Schloss Sommersdorf
A moat surrounds Schloss Sommersdorf. Image credit: Schloss Sommersdorf

Castle Liebenstein – a dramatic castle overlooking the Rhine

Castle Liebenstein is located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site amid thick forested slopes high above the Rhine river, where legends abound of Lorelei mermaids singing sailors to their doom.  Along with the dramatic setting, the medieval-style furnishings help create the feeling of stepping back in time when you stay here. Candlelit meals add to the period ambiance.

Splendid castle hotels on the Swiss lakes

Search out the lakes for castle hotels in Switzerland, for this is where you can find some of the most stunningly beautiful castle hotels.

Chateau d’Ouchy – Lakeside splendor in Geneva

Chateau d’Ouchy has had a chequered history, being restyled several times at the behest of different owners.  Only the great tower remains of the original 12th-century castle, built on the orders of Bishop Landri De Durnes, yet all the later extensions are reminiscent of its original styling.

The black and red patterned tiled roof and intriguing attic rooms, spires, and turrets instantly attracts attention.  Built on the edge of Lake Geneva, its gardens reach down to the waters edge. For guests wanting privacy and opportunities to explore a beautiful city, the Chateau d’Ouchy is ideal. It is also the perfect choice for travelers intent on business or the many cultural events held in Geneva. This is a city where many international organizations have their headquarters including the Red Cross and the International Olympic Committee.

The Riviera Suite at Chateau d’Ouchy. Image credit: Chateau d’Ouchy
The Riviera Suite at Chateau d’Ouchy. Image credit: Chateau d’Ouchy

Schloss Wartegg – a boutique castle hotel experience

Seemingly hidden among trees Schloss Wartegg offers an intimate, elegant castle stay. Wooded English-style grounds lead down to shores of Lake Constance and the landscape is carefully managed to make sure all the rooms enjoy beautiful views across the Lake.  Welcoming white walls and stepped gables surround a stone tower while inside the bright, spacious rooms are furnished in a contemporary modern style. There’s an abundant range of facilities on site, including a concert hall and a unique, oval indoor bath that was built in 1928.

Gothic castle hotel splendor in Austria

In a land of mountains, wild scenery, and music, castle hotels in Austria provide travelers with outstanding experiences for travellers seeking something different.    

Schloss Englar – A vista of Gothic splendo

Tucked away on a hillside in the South Tyrol, Schloss Englar has been in the ownership of the Counts of Khuen-Belasi for almost 400 years. Surrounded by ancient cedar trees, guests can relax amid the Gothic splendor of the West Wing. Admire the ducks on the pond, and the private chapel of St Sebastian. Go for walks in the countryside, or go visit neighboring towns. This castle hotel offers pure relaxation, with intimate, comfortable and spacious interiors, while also being just big enough for an exclusive family occasion.

Castle Bernstein – romantic and atmospheric

Remember the movie “The English Patient?” It was the exploits of Count Ladislaus Almásy of Castle Bernstein which inspired that story. Not surprisingly, momentos of his activities are evident throughout the building. Sited high on rocky outcrop facing the Hungarian lowlands, this is an intensely atmospheric place.  Roses bloom in the gardens, promising romance while the spacious rooms are lovingly decorated with antique furniture. Visit the historic sauna at Burgenland, hire an e-bike or go hiking in the beautiful countryside.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela Youngman

Angela is a freelance travel journalist and author based in Norfolk, UK. She writes about travel, leisure, culture, tourism, heritage, and food and drink and is always searching for stories that are unusual, different, and sustainable.