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Castle De Haar: An extravagant vision of the medieval

Castle de Haar is one of the most fanciful castles I’ve ever seen, if you discount Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland. It’s got a moat, a formal garden, towers and turrets galore. Stunningly ornate, especially inside, it’s a medieval princess’s dream. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on one of them and…

Muiderslot Castle (a.k.a. Amsterdam Castle)

This entry is part 22 of 25 in the series Amsterdam Museums

When you were little, did you ever draw a picture of a castle? If you were like me, the castle in your picture was square, with a tower in each corner, crenellations along the walls and a drawbridge to an arched gateway in front. I’ve been to a lot of castles in my travels, but…

a typical fairytale castle: with a tower and defensive crenellations on its walls, perched high on a hill above the village visible in the foreground: Visiting Karlstejn Castle from Prague

Visiting Karlstejn Castle from Prague

It took me three tries before I got to visit Karlstejn Castle in Czechia. I’d wanted to see it ever since my terrifying flight in a teeny-tiny airplane from Czech Airport, when I got, quite literally, a bird’s-eye view of it. The first time I tried to visit I was on a road trip across…

This face looks like an animal, but with a human nose, a grimace, and big ears.

Crathes Castle in Scotland

A so-called “tower house”, Crathes Castle in Scotland has been added to and changed over the centuries. First built in the mid-16th century, it was the home of the Burnett family of Leys, who lived there for over 300 years. It’s one of the 14 castles in Aberdeenshire worth visiting. Crathes Castle still has its…

The castle extends across the whole photo, with a large blockish building on the left and a round tower on the right.

Visiting Cesky Krumlov Castle and UNESCO site

When we arrived at Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, it was almost dark and we couldn’t see much. Following our GPS, we found our hotel, checked in, and ate dinner at a nearby restaurant. Nothing too exciting so far, but we’d come because the town is a listed UNESCO world heritage site, a designation…

Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire

Dramatic Dunnottar Castle

As I wrote in my overview of Aberdeenshire castles, my expectation was that the Dunnottar Castle ruins would be worth about a half-hour’s visit. I’d seen photos, and its setting – on a cliff-edged finger of land extending out into the North Sea – made for some very dramatic photography. In those photos, however, it…

This half is 3 stories tall except for a tall, crenellated round tower at the corner.

Balmoral Castle tour: a review

If you’ve ever seen a film involving Queen Victoria, you’ve heard of Balmoral Castle. This is the place the queen used as her escape: her place in the country. She loved Scotland, and this location in Aberdeenshire is stunning, with its rolling hills and deep forests. As I was planning my October trip to Scotland,…

Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire is pastel pink!

Craigievar Castle, Scotland

There’s something about the fact that Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire is pink that makes it conjure fairy-tale visions. Or maybe it’s that it’s taller than it is wide: think “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair!” Either way, it’s an enchanting sight when you first spot it from a distance and do a double-take at its…

The tower part of Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

Aberdeenshire castles worth visiting

If you happen to be a regular reader of Rachel’s Ruminations, you’ll know I love castles. Scotland has plenty of them, and, conveniently, my son is currently studying in Aberdeen. That gives me a great excuse to visit, both to see him and to visit castles. This article covers all 14 Aberdeenshire castles worth visiting….

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