Find Your Inner Royalty at These Top Castle Destinations

Castles and palaces seem to have a certain allure to travelers; be it the ancient battles and love affairs that are still a part of the walls, or the dramatic outline they splatter across horizons, producing a sense of security and fear from the spiked fortresses and massive presence.

A senior trip to any location abroad is bound to take you close to a castle. These must-see attractions are very popular retirement destinations and can be quite the travel deal! There are so many castles and palaces dotting the moors and valleys of Europe that it may be difficult to choose which to visit during a senior vacation. There are many top 10 lists available online, but this one was developed through extensive research from multiple sources with the senior vacation in mind.

Chateau de Versailles

France – The Chateau de Versailles is world renowned for its famous Hall of Mirrors. It is also famous for its anchorage of gardens and lakes, fashioned by Marie-Antoinette, the last French queen to live in the chateau. The gardens stretch as far as one can see, and the gold spattered and statue littered interior of this classic palace bring you back to a time of haughty royalty and exquisite parties.

The Tower of London

England – This retirement destination was created in the early 1080s by William the Conqueror. Nothing like this cold stone tower had ever been seen before. As time continued, other monarchs added to the awe and frightening aspects of this once palace turned fortress and prison. There are senior tours available that take you through to see the Crown Jewels, as well as instruments of torture. Famous figures in the English monarchy met their infamous deaths here, including King Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, and the nine-day queen, Lady Jane Gray.

Mysore Palace

India – This palace is located in the vibrant city of Mysore, which religious stories tell us was created when the Goddess Chamundeshwari of Chamundi Hills killed the wicked buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasura. The Mysore Palace is home to the Maharaja and is erected against the sky with domes, turrets, arches, and colonnades. The rooms are draped with luxury; carvings, art from around the world, a jewel studded thrown and the ornate ceiling of the Durbar Hall make this retirement destination one of the most breathtaking palaces in Asia.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Germany – “The castle of the fairy-tale king” boasts one of the most visited castles in Europe, even with its secluded location by the Alpine foothills. This fairly recent castle was built in 1886 by King Ludwig II in an effort to gain some peace from the people. The romanticism structure of the castle was the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Chateau de Chillon

Switzerland – The Chateau de Chillon was built alongside the beautiful Lake Geneva and across from menacing yet beautiful mountains, creating picturesque scenery and a must-see retirement destination. The rocky islet on which the castle was built was chosen for its natural protection and strategic location controlling the movement between northern and southern Europe. The great tunnels running below the castle give way for countless legends and the chapel is a small architectural gem, flowing with murals from the 14th century.

The Bran Castle

Romania – This castle is more commonly known by the tantalizing name of Dracula’s Castle. It is one of many castles and villas that are marketed as home to the original sinner and offer an intriguing atmosphere for a senior vacation. Although it originated as a defense against Turks in the late 1300s, it is now a museum of medieval arts. Its main source of art and furniture was collected from Queen Mary.

Prague Castle

Czech Republic – The Prague Castle is the largest medieval castle complex in all of Europe. The struggle for power around this castle has helped create the mix of palaces, churches and fortifications of this complex, creating quite a sight for senior trips. The castle sits on top of Prague’s highest land point, keeping an eye out on all its subjects. On the hour every hour the changing of the guard occurs. The castle is now the home of the Czech president.

The Forbidden City Palace

China – This palace is one of the five world-famous palaces (another on this list being the Palace of Versailles). It was the home of 24 emperors that reigned over the country for over 500 years.  The palace is composed of two parts: the Outer Court and the Inner Court. The hallways now consist of beautiful art galleries for the public, including paintings, clocks, bronze wares and potteries. It is impossible to see the entire palace in one day, so traveling to The Forbidden City for an extended senior vacation is advised.

Edinburgh Castle

Scotland – Edinburgh Castle is the perfect trip for seniors who truly have the heart of a little boy or fairy princess. The castle is perched on top of the city of Edinburgh and looks like what every child dreams a castle should look like. Images of knights dueling and of lavish banquets will feast on your imagination. From any point in the castle you see a breathtaking view of the surrounding areas.

Alhambra Palace

Spain – This palace and fortress is a tantalizing senior trip experience. It was built in the mid 14th century by Moorish rulers but has more modern additions, like that of the Palace of Charles V, built by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1527. The combination of Islamic architecture with Christian building and gardening accents has created one of Spain’s major tourist attractions.