The 15 Most Unbelievable Castles You Can Actually Stay In

Traveling allows you to get to know many new places and cultures. Consider making the experience even more authentic by staying in a castle instead of a traditional hotel. Exploring the stone halls of the homes of former kings and queens and sleeping where some of the most powerful people in history did is an adventure in itself. Some of the castles have stood through centuries of war, attacks, and generations.

Gillette Castle, Connecticut

This stone castle is overlooking the Connecticut River. It looks like a classic fortress, but the interior is quite different. Ordered and partially designed by William Hooker Gillette, who played Sherlock Holmes onstage, the 24-room castle includes strange features – original doorknobs and locks, hidden surveillance mirrors, and about 60 images that pay tribute to his 17 cats. No two doors are the same in this castle. Gillette's own walking paths were constructed with near-vertical steps, stone-arch bridges, and wooded trestles. Activities include river camping, hiking and picnicking.

Balfour Castle, Scotland

This is the world's most northerly island castle available for exclusive use.  The Balfour Estate has a 5-star luxury and impressive sights over vast and captivating wilderness of natural beauty. The Castle is located on the small island of Shapinsay, which is famous for its sheltered bays that once offered safe harbor to Viking ships.

Relais Castel Porrona, Italy

This 12th century castle in the historic village of Porrona in Tuscany is like a small heaven on earth. Enjoy rolling hills of sunflower fields, olive trees and vineyards. The Castel Porrona has a fully-equipped kitchen in every room so you can cook your own meals if you want. You can also go horseback riding, play tennis or relax in the pool and sauna.

Amberley Castle, England

Amberley Castle, built about 900 years ago, is just 60 miles away from London. The castle has pretty much kept its original medieval architecture. Go behind the 60-feet walls and authentic portcullis to see hauntingly beautiful gardens, design, peace, and serenity. All 19 rooms feature whirlpool bathrooms so you feel like royalty. A magnificent original twin-tower gatehouse still stands. Visit the estate's unique tree house. Tennis courts and golf courses are also available. 

Chateau de Bourron, France

The luxury Chateau de Bourron, which is located just an hour away from Paris, is open all year round. It was built in the early 17th century in place of a feudal fortress.  The estate is a magnificent example of traditional brick and stone style. The stunning views of the private 40-hectare area surrounding it are only enhanced by the spring-fed moats.

Dalian City Castle, China

The humungous Dalian City Castle is in the sea side resort town of Dalian. It's actually very new – built with real stone and a brick in 2001. This grand estate is always lit up at night. As every modern hotel, the castle has a spa, pool overlooking the incandescent ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows, fitness center, beauty salon, 292 luxurious rooms, and 29 suites.

Skibo Castle, Scotland

Some call the Skibo Castle one of Scotland's best kept secrets. It is located in a remote corner of the famous Scottish Northern Highlands. Andrew Carnegie, a philanthropist, came to Skibo in 1898 and transformed the estate into what he described as "Heaven on Earth." The castle is home to one of the world's most prestigious private golf clubs.

Kronovalls Vinslott, Sweden

This is a wine estate so it won't be a surprise to name the room after famous grapes – NegroAmaro, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir. Each room of the Kronovalls Vinslott is unique, with furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries, decorated in style with the characteristics of the various grapes. The interior still looks like a centuries-old castle as opposed to a luxurious hotel in a castle-like building.

Pousada de Óbidos, Portugal

Óbidos is one of the world's best preserved walled cities. The castle started being built in 718 AD. It was finished to its current form in 1300's. The troops that defeated Napoleon for the first time were dispatched from the Pousada de Obidos. The rooms include canopy beds and stone walls. (Pousada is a traditional or historical Portuguese hotel.) Enjoy the nearby white-sand beaches of Silver Coast and sail the pristine waters. Hot air balloon rides are also an option.

Ashford Castle, Ireland

You'll be staying at a medieval castle built in 1228, the oldest one in the country. The Guinness family had bought the estate in the 1800's and significantly expanded it. The Ashford Castle still has everything you'd imagine a castle has – chandeliers and gilt mirrors, original turrets, armor, oak paneling, ramparts. Modern amenities include a spa, a huge wooded parkland and golf course. You can go fly-fishing, horseback riding or boating. Falconry, clay shooting and archery are also options.

Schlosshotel Kronberg, Germany

See what grandeur and elegance of a royal palace is all about. The castle "Schloss Friedrichshof" and the park were built in 1889 by Empress Frederick in the English Tudor style. In 1954 it opened to the public as a luxurious grand castle hotel. You can stay in the original castle of Victoria Kaiserin Friedrich, the mother of the last German emperor. "The words are not enough to describe this wonderful place, everything is incredible, the palace, the garden, the people," a review on TripAdvisor says.

Neemrana Fort Palace, India

While most heritage resorts near Delhi are born with the beauty and treasures of history, Neemrana offers a vibrant site for magical weekend getaways, feasts, celebrations, and conferences, according to the castle's website. Constructed in 1464, the palace was built on a hillside so the king can see his lands any time he wishes. The seven palace wings built over 14 layers tiered into a hill across 6 acres of garden-palace make the castle one of the most unique resorts in the world.

Castell de Cardona, Spain

Staying at Castell de Cardona is literally like traveling back to the Middle Ages. The fortress was built in 800 AD and still stands high atop a promontory and watches over the picturesque village of Cardona. The décor, fosses, towers, and walls still have gothic elements. The castle hotel has 53 guest rooms. The estate is attached to the famous Church of Sant Vicenç and Minyona Tower, both built in the 11th century. The views of the rolling hills and Cardona are a real gift every morning.

Thornewood Castle, Washington

This amazing estate has been nestled on several acres at American Lake, dotted with old growth fir trees, for the past century, but its interesting history dates back over 500 years. This English Tudor/Gothic mansion in which Thornewood Castle is designed is one of the few genuine private castles in the U.S. and the only one on the West Coast. It was built as a wedding gift from Chester Thorne, one of the founders of the Port of Tacoma to his wife, Anna.

Peckforton Castle, England

The original owner, John Tollemach, inherited the 36,000-acre land in 1840. He wanted to build a fortified home on top of the Peckforton Hills in a mediaeval castle style. The castle, which now has 48 stunning bedrooms, all individually designed, was used as a hostel during World War Two for disabled children. Peckforton Castle has been used as a filming location in blockbusters such as Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, and Doctor Who.