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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…

Another view of Burghausen Castle

Lovely Burghausen Castle

I love castles, especially the medieval kind. I wrote about this attraction to everything medieval a few years ago, trying to get at why we like it, when that historical period was clearly such a terrible time in Europe. But anyway, as a result, I visit castles pretty much whenever I can. So this summer,…

The ornate, enormous, white Himeji Castle looms.

Things to do in Himeji for a Day

As I stepped off the train for a day of sightseeing in Himeji, I said to myself, “I’ll look for the tourist information office first and ask how to get to the castle.” (And, yes, traveling solo for so long, I did sometimes say things like this out loud!) While there are other things to…

Matsumoto Castle, including both of the added wings

Matsumoto: My first Japanese castle

I chose to visit Matsumoto because I love castles. I’ve seen many in Europe, so this was an obvious choice in Japan. There are a few other things to see in Matsumoto, but the castle is the big draw, and, judging by the hordes of tourists shuffling through the castle with me, it’s a popular…