Queen for a Day
Collected by Lara Takenaga, AFAR Contributor
During my travels, I've always enjoyed seeing how the 1 percent of bygone eras lived: the opulence, the decor, the maze of rooms, the tapestries (so many tapestries). Travel back in time, and be a queen (or king) for a day at these castles and palaces around the world.
77300 Fontainebleau, France
A quick 40-minute train ride from the Gare de Lyon in central Paris takes you to one of the best day trips out of the city: a forest preserve surrounding a palace that dates back nine centuries. The Forêt de Fontainebleau offers a hundred square...
Dromoland Castle Hotel, Dromoland, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare, V95 ATD3, Ireland
Dromoland, with its towers, turrets, and suits of armor, dates back to 1014. Your room is appointed with ornate furniture, vibrant fabrics, and fairy-tale garden views. While you’re there, try your hand at the regal art of falconry. Dromoland...
Kutuzov embankment, 2, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186
It's so easy to take the hydrofoil from its dock near the Hermitage museum to visit Peterhof Palace about 20 minutes north of St. Petersburg. The Grand Palace, surrounding buildings and gardens, is sometimes referred to as the "Russian...
Pátio de Dom Fradique 14, 1100-160 Lisboa, Portugal
Palacio Belmonte is a masterpiece—the type of architectural stunner that is said to be ‘mumbling beauty’ in every one of its corners. Every piece of material used to restore it, as well as every piece of furniture inside of it (like these blue...
37150 Chenonceaux, France
This chateau is a personal favorite. Most of the photos you see of it show it show it lording over the Cher river, but I decided to use a photo showing one of the courtyards. As is typical with many of the wonderful chateaus of France there are...
Stonehaven AB39 2TL, UK
Dunnottar Castle is a dramatic and evocative ruined cliff-top fortress in a truly stunning setting. And just a half hour's drive from Aberdeen, Europe's oil-capital. William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots graced the Castle with their presence....
6230 Predjama, Slovenia
This treasured country is phenomenal Though this castle by far was the most impressive and seemingly almost undiscovered by the world. And I appreciate why. I felt like ( sadly) I was in a James Bond movie and this was the grand lux hotel. The...
Schloß Lichtenstein 1, 72805 Lichtenstein, Germany
I stumbled upon a photo of this castle on Pinterest from a fellow expat and was stunned at how, well, stunning it was - and that it was only a few hours away from where we live! So on our latest road trip, we made it a stop and were not...
41700 Cheverny, France
We were in the Loire Valley for the wedding of friends, and the one day when there were no real festivities, we planned to bike from Blois (where we were staying) to Chateau de Cheverny. It had been some time since I'd biked a long distance, let...
Freyr 12, 5540 Hastière, Belgium
With hundreds of castles and chateaux in Belgium, open to the public, it's hard to know which ones to visit. The castle of Freÿr, in Wallonia, is a great place to start. This grand building has remained in the same family for 20 generations and...
Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København, Denmark
Unfortunately I spent most of our trip to Copenhagen in soggy tennis shoes cursing the weather and complaining that we couldn’t picnic in the rose gardens of Rosenborg castle. To escape a sudden downpour we hustled inside the castle to quickly dry...
Calle de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid, Spain
Rruga Evlia Celebi, Gjirokaster 6001, Albania
Driving from Greece into Albania on a road trip whim, we found ourselves in the town of Gjirokastra, having been enchanted by a large hillside fort seen from the main road. A winding drive up into town leads to the base of the dominating...
Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany
Few sights encapsulate the magical feel of the Bavarian Alps like Neuschwanstein Castle. The impressive towers, vast halls, and mountain-top setting bring out your inner child, transporting you back to a time of bedtime stories and...
1 Ibrahim St, El Korba ,Heliopolis, El-Montaza, Cairo - Egypt, Please select 11757, Egypt
Multiple generations ago, when the suburb of Heliopolis really was a countryside destination, the man responsible for the urban planning of the district was given his own plot of land to build his home on. Fascinated with the Indian culture and...
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