Thanks everyone for keeping those ‘Castles and Palaces’ memories coming. As with other travel experiences, the most special memories are often formed by who you’re with, or a moment in time, rather than what you’re seeing and where it is. Or in this case, it is just about a remarkable Castle or Palace that Silver Travellers have visited along the way.
@Grey-Wolf – thanks for saying why you found Schloss Kufstein so special. I was there, just last summer, but would love to see it in the deep midwinter like you did:
They say you always remember the first one the most, so for me Schloss Kufstein in the Tyrol , Austria. Breathtaking alpine scenery, forbidding ramparts and its labyrinthine network of underground tunnels. A huge construction of a 13th century castle which I visited many many years ago in the midwinter. The castle has its own stage and theatre within the grounds and, museum of armour, artillery, animals and artefacts and 4,307 pipe organ, access over the Alps provided by cable car, a huge drop down to the river below. Given its age the construction has weathered well and stands as impressively today as it ever did with spectacular views of the Alps from its upper ramparts lending it a belonging of tomorrow, highly recommended for visiting in summer or winter. Often used as as film location for tales of yesteryore, jousting, romance and swordplay:
There are many beautiful castles and palaces in the world and I have seen a few. It would be lovely to explore a few more and I am sure the book would point me in the right direction. Of those that I have visited it is difficult to choose one as each has its own attractions and history but I have chosen one that I would like to return to.
I loved the Alhambra in Granada. It is in an amazing position in the mountains and very beautiful. You have to book to visit as it gets very busy and sadly on the day we chose it poured with rain. We had travelled a long way from the coast that day and started very early in the day. By the time we had toured inside and out, we looked like drowned rats. It did not stop me thinking that it was probably one of the most beautiful old palaces I have seen. I loved the history. Hopefully I will get to return on a sunny day and see it in its true glory
Kidwelly Castle in Camarthen, South Wales is definitley not in the same league as the 50 Greatest Castles and Palaces of the World but it has lingered longest in our family’s memory.
Back in the early 1990s we were on holiday in Wales and stumbled across Kidwelly Castle. There is no opulence, no furniture or paintings nor guarded like the rest of the well known castles and palaces. It was built in the 12th century and still well preserved. Our children, then 13 and 9, were not keen on visiting this castle, citing there was nothing to do or see inside. Were they wrong! They had the most fantastic time exploring the concentric castle with its square inner bailey to up and down the four towers. In fact they didn’t want to leave.
To this day, Kidwelly Castle is still the highlight of their holiday in Wales whenever we reminisce.
I think my first castle visit was Skipton Castle when I lived in this North Yorkshire market town.
Mayr Queen of Scots spent a night there on her way to Fotheringhay. As a child, like all children, I was fascinated by the privies, holes with drops into the moat, with the size of the chimneys and with the kitchen.
Since then I have visited many British castles and some abroad, from fairytale castles near Prague to huge constructions with over a meter thick walls, perched high on the mountains in Jordan. Do palaces count as castles? If so Versailles, Buckingham Palace, and the Doges Palace in Venice.
If I have to choose one that really springs to mind it has to be Altenburg Castle in Germany. I visited the year after the wall came down. The Russian soldiers were still there, there was very little in the shops and our hotel still had instructions for foreign visitors. I was expecting the castle to be in a poor state but no, it had been restored or maintained. I was amazed by it’s size, it’s grandure, the enormous and lavish ballroom, the incredible paintings, the chandeliers and the beautiful chapel with the organ once played by Bach. Yes, it has to be Altenburg Castle.
The Palace at Chiemsee in Bavaria Germany has remained in my memory for many years. It is so extravagantly beautiful. A miniature copy of the much larger French palace at Versailles. However it is also a poignant reminder that some of life’s ambitions we may never live to achieve. King Louis who built it tragically died before it was finished, so some of the rooms are bare in total contrast to the golden splendour of the completed ones. A place well worth visiting if you are in southern Germany and like Beautiful buildings and gardens.
Thanks everyone for all the interesting comments being posted about Castles and Palaces you’ve visited on your own travels.
This month’s Silver Travel Book Club choice is The 50 Greatest Castles and Palaces of the World by Gilly Pickup.
The book includes 11 in England, of which 2 are in Northumberland – Alnwick Castle and Chillingham Castle. How blessed this historical county is…..but berhaps no surprise, given its proximity to the Scottish border! I would happily have added Bamburgh Castle, on the Northumberland coast, just south of Holy Island, and Dunstanburgh Castle. To walk from Bamburgh, south along the majestic coastline, and stumble across the moody outline of the remains of 14th century Dunstanburgh Castle through enveloping mist, is magical. And to stroll further into tiny Craster for some smoked kippers or crab sandwiches completes the perfect day of heritage exploration in this wild place.
How to win a copy of The 50 Greatest Castles and Palaces of the World:
Which castles and palaces around the world – or here at home in the UK – have you visited, and which has lingered longest in your travelling memory? And why….?
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I have visited several castles and palaces in the UK, including Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, Warwick Castle and Blenheim Palace to name a few, some were part of school trips others were days out with the children. My favourite has to be Windsor Castle, living nearby by we would regularly take the kids for long walks around the grounds.
I love the Summer Palace in Beijing, surrounded by beautiful gardens and lakes,
with many wonderful pavilions and bridges. It incorporates the Long Corridor
(at 728m long, the longest in the world), covered in wonderful paintings.
And a highlight is the ‘Stone Boat’ made from marble – a replica of an original
wooden boat. You can spend many hours there, marvelling at the tranquility
only a few miles from the bustling city.
I am so sorry about the mistakes in the first line of my above post. Whatever I write, I read back at the end of each sentence.. It did originally say I have visited many castles over the world and this country. From now on I will read the whole thing back, not check as I go, because mysterious things happen to my words.