Which Country Has the Most Castles?

A castle is a vast building made to protect the people who live inside it. Castles were home to lords, princes, and kings who would rule the land from them. They would have soldiers to defend the castle from attackers and lots of servants, like cooks, cleaners, stable hands, and blacksmiths, to keep the castle running smoothly; this meant that castles could be very busy, loud, and crowded places to live.

Castles are iconic landmarks of European history. We can learn so much about the past by visiting these impressive monuments, such as how they were built, who lived in them, and what significant events happened within their walls.

There are more than 10,000 castles or ruins in Europe today. Keep reading to find out which countries have the most castles!


The country with the most castles in Germany! It’s thought that Germany has around 25,000 castles within its borders. Why does Germany have so many castles?

If a country has many castles, it is usually a sign that it has had a turbulent history with frequent fighting. Germany didn’t become the country it is today until 1871. Before that, it was a collection of small states. Many powerful lords and knights built their castles to protect themselves and their families from attackers; this also helped them to control their land.

Let’s have a closer look at some of Germany’s most famous castles:

Meersburg Castle

Meersburg Castle is thought to be the oldest inhabited castle in Germany. Its central tower was built around 630 AD. The castle is perched on a rocky outcrop in the area of Baden-Württemberg. Today parts of the castle are open to the public.

Wartburg Castle

Wartburg Castle was built around 1067 by a Thuringian count called Louis the Springer. The Thuringians were a Germanic tribe that founded a kingdom in central Germany during the 10th century.

The castle has had some famous visitors, including the monk Martin Luther who stayed there in 1521. He had been declared an outlaw and translated the Bible into German during his time at Wartburg. Today the castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most famous castles in Europe. Its name means ‘New Swan Stone Castle.’ It was built in Bavaria by Ludwig II in 1869.

As it was built after defensive castles were needed, this castle was the ultimate lavish fairytale dream. It’s thought to have inspired Disney’s Cinderella castle. Ludwig II wanted to create a fairytale castle where he could retreat from his kingly duties.

Neuschwanstein Castle is the most famous castle in Germany, with over a million visitors yearly.


While Germany may have the most amount of castles, Wales is the country with the most castles per square mile. Despite its small size, Wales had over 600 castles. Today over 400 castles still stand and are waiting to be explored by visitors.

Caerphilly Castle

It is the largest castle in Wales and the second largest in Britain. It was built in 1268 by Gilbert de Clare, who feared the rise of Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd.

The castle has impressive moat defenses, thick walls, and tall towers, making it an imposing fortress. It even has its leaning tower, the White Tower, which leans more dramatically than Italy’s famous Tower of Pisa!

Harlech Castle

Harlech is a dramatic castle perched on a rocky crag near the mountainous area of Snowdonia in North Wales. It was built around 1282 by Edward I, who made a series of castles in Wales during his invasion of 1277 to 1283. Edward, I created these castles to conquer all of Wales. Having strongholds throughout Wales helped him to control the country more easily.

Edward, I ordered the building of around 17 castles in Wales, including castles at:

  • Beaumaris
  • Caernarfon
  • Conwy

These castles became known as the Iron Ring, which encircled the Welsh resistance in North Wales until 1283, when the last Prince of Gwynedd, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, was captured and executed.

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Castle has a monumental 2000 years worth of history locked within its walls. It’s nestled amongst the busy heart of the capital of Wales and was lived in by the Bute family until 1947, when it was given to the city of Cardiff.

A Norman castle was built on the site of a Roman fort. Remains of parts of the Roman wall and Norman castle can still be seen today. A Norman keep stands on a 12-meter high mound (also known as a motte).

Over the centuries, additions were made to Cardiff Castle, including medieval defenses and a more comfortable Victorian stately home. The inside of Cardiff Castle was redesigned by William Burgess, who created luxuriously decorated gothic-style rooms for the Marquis of Bute and his family. Today Cardiff Castle is a popular tourist attraction and frequently hosts events in its courtyard, including concerts and exhibitions.

What European Countries Have Castles?

Although Germany has the most important castles and Wales has the most castles per square mile, many European countries have some fantastic castles. Each one has its own unique, exciting history and secrets to tell. Here are some more interesting European castles to explore!

Alcazar of Segovia

It’s thought that Spain once had 10,000 castles thanks to its warring past. Today there are at least 2500 castles in the country.

One of the most impressive is the Alcazar of Segovia, originally a Moorish fort. When the Christian Spanish captured the defense in the 12th century. It has been a royal residence, prison, and military academy, and now it’s open to the public as a museum.

Bran Castle

Romania’s Bran Castle inspired the gothic castle in Bram Stoker’s novel ‘Dracula.’ It’s perched high on a hill in Transylvania and has seen many battles and armies since it was built in 1226.

Although the castle fell into disrepair during the 1800s, it was restored by Queen Marie of Romania during the 1920s. Now it’s a national monument and a popular tourist attraction.

Chateau de Chambord

It is one of France’s largest castles. A huge hunting park home surrounds the castle to many deer and wild boars. The size of the castle’s estate is the same as the French capital of Paris. Originally the castle was a hunting lodge for Francis I of France to enjoy some time away from court.

Chateau de Chambord has some breathtaking Renaissance architecture that is thought to have been inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches. Construction of the castle began in 1519 on the marshy ground of the Loire valley and was finally completed in 1685.

Eilean Donan

Scotland is home to hundreds of castles, and one of the most recognized is the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle. It sits on the island of Donan. In 617, a church was founded on the island, followed by the castle in the 12th century. Eilean Donan has seen more than its fair share of battles and was partially destroyed in 1719.

Renovation work on the castle began in 1919 and was finished in 1932. Today Eilean Donan is one of Scotland’s most iconic castles.

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