The Adventures of Kiara Yew, the traveling cat, are always meticulously planned. So, just like in her stories, here we are, forethinking about the year to come. Could it be better timing than now, when we are close to our family and friends for Christmas, to plan for a vacation? Yes, we thought so… Having been charmed by fairytale castles, we explored the map for some of the most intriguing and fantasy-like castles in Europe. These are five suggestions for a quick visit that will totally catch your children’s curiosity. If you are ever on a holiday family trip in Europe or just one of the countries mentioned below, don’t miss out on these surreal European castles.
The Kelburn Castle in Scotland
There are many castles in Scotland and England to visit with children. In fact, the tradition of open castles and historic properties is still kept. However, the striking Kelburn estate and castle is one in a million. Combining the modern urban art and culture with medieval walls this European castle stands out from the many found in the UK.
Interestingly enough, the Kelburn is probably the oldest castle in Scotland where the same family has been living for centuries. In the last 40 years, Kelburn’s grounds and gardens have been opened to the public. Surprisingly, in 2007 the Earl of Glasgow agreed to have a team of graffiti artists together with the Brazilian street artist Tristan Manco paint the walls of the castle. Two years after, the estate opened the gardens and the secret forest for a marvelous garden festival. For a tour of the castle, July is the best month of the year. Needless to say that the Kelburn estate is one of the best holiday destinations for toddlers.
The Clay Castle in Romania
No trip to Romania should exclude a visit to one of Transylvania’s mysterious castles. Nor should you skip the Hobbiton hotel in the Valley of the Fairies. Officially known as the Clay Castle, it is ideal for a short trip from Sibiu or Făgăraș. This special castle is made out of clay, straw bales, gravel, sand, and wood. Many tourists and travelers come here to frame the tallest Carpathian mountains in the background for a perfect fairytale picture. Your kids will love this hobbit-like castle, soon to become a hotel in the middle of Transylvania.
Pena Palace in Sintra
One of the most famous castles in the world is the Neo-Moorish Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal. Painted in beautiful bright colors it awaits to steal your look away from the top of the Sintra Mountains. Fortunately, for those who arrive on the Portuguese Riviera, they will discover the coolest castles in Europe.
It will be like walking in the exotic Dornish lands from Westeros. At least that’s where our imagination carried us. Visit the entire municipality of Sintra and its majestic remains of Romanticism and you and your kids will be charmed. Equestrian shows seem to be quite a summer entertainment in the Parks of Sintra. So, you can add it to your list of European castles to visit with your kids.
Christopher Columbus and European Castles
This fantastic castle built between 1987 and 1994 and designed by a medical doctor, is, in fact, the largest monument in the world dedicated to Christopher Columbus. Everything from the coat of arms of the gentry and monarchs that joined him in his expeditions to the shape of his ships takes part in this architectural wonder.
Castillo de Colomares in Benaládena, Spain, was consecutively a reptile center and falconry, at some point in its existence. Nowadays it is a place of remembrance for the most adventurous Spanish navigator and explorer of the 15th century. Likewise, it is one of the best places in Europe for kids. They can learn about ocean navigation, colonization and even imagine that they are pirates in the Carribean Sea.
The Disney Inspiring Neuschwanstein Castle
Germany is another country with Romantic and excellently preserved castles. One of them is the most famous German castle. It is even called the Walt Disney castle in Germany. You are probably wondering why. Well, because it inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle design and featured several iconic movies. Some would rather prefer this alternate name to the Schloss Neuschwanstein, which is difficult to pronounce.
Because it is one of the most beautiful castles in Europe, the Neuschwanstein receives about 6000 visitors per day during peak season. That is why we recommend you book a tour off-season or on weekdays. Just like with Dracula’s castle, you’d first have to arrive in the small downhill town with the only route to the castle: Hohenschwangau. As to spending the winter holidays in the region, the little town of Füssen is the perfect fairytale choice.
Europe with your toddlers should be fun and carefree. That is why we come to your rescue with family road trip advice and recommendations for the most child-friendly eye-catching places in Romania and Europe. The Adventures of Kiara Yew wishes you Happy Holidays!