Medieval fortresses are a worldwide tourist attraction, not only for those interested in their history, but also for those who want to appreciate the impressive buildings, the architectural details and the landscapes they form. 

Thus, there are many castles that during the 10th and 14th centuries fulfilled defensive functions and that, even today, are preserved as vestiges of history and transport visitors to medieval times. For this reason, National Geographic has made a selection of the 15 most spectacular castles of this historical stage.

The 15 most spectacular medieval castles

The first of these is the castle of Eltz , in Germany , specifically, between Koblenz and Trier. Perched on a rock and surrounded by hills, this building stands 70 meters above the Moselle River. To this day, this medieval castle still belongs to one of the branches of the family that lived there in the 12th century.Eltz Castle

Saumur Castle, in France and on the banks of the Loire River, is another of the medieval fortifications featured on this list. It is located in the French city of the same name and dates back to the 10th century.Saumur Castle

Ranked number three is Dunnottar Castle , also medieval and sitting onthe Scottish coast . Its buildings date from the 14th and 15th centuries, playing a fundamental role during the Middle Ages thanks to its strategic position for maritime transport.Dunnottar Castle

Located in Ireland , Ashford Castle is also of medieval origin. Itslandscape is decorated by the forests of County Mayo and Lake Corrib. It dates from the 13th century and, precisely, it is the oldest castle in Ireland. Ashford Castle

Stahleck Castle , in Germany , is a fortified building dating from the 12th century. It is built on a hill 160 meters above sea level and its name means “impregnable castle on a rock”. It was destroyed in the 17th century, but was rebuilt in the 20th century and is currently a hostel.Stahleck Castle

Hohenwerfen Castle , an impressive medieval fortification located in Austria, is built in the vicinity of the Salzach River and dates back to the 11th century. As it was used as a hunting base, today the first Austrian falconry museum is located inside it.Hohenwerfen Castle

Bran Castle is located in Romania . This medieval fortification is one of the most attractive tourist spots in the country due to the popular belief that it was the former residence of Dracula himself, but also because of its architectural value and antiquity. Bran Castle

Chillon Castle is located in Switzerland , is of medieval origin and is on the shores of Lake Geneva. Its maximum height reaches 25 meters and it is one of the most attractive tourist spots in this area. Its oldest part dates from the 13th century and is Gothic in style.Chillon Castle

Cardiff Castle is in the city of the same name, in Wales, United Kingdom. It was founded by the Normans in the 11th century, although more recently it has been rebuilt again, specifically in the 19th century, by the architect William Burges. Cardiff Castle

You have to travel to Japan to discover the next castle, Himeji . It is located in the coastal city of the same name and is one of the oldest buildings in medieval Japan, for which it was declared a World Heritage Site. Himenji Castle

Guimarães Castle dates from the 10th century and is located in the city ofthe same name, in Portugal. It is declared a National Monument and was chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal . It has been rebuilt several times, the last in 1940. Guimaraes Castle

Loarre Castle is located in the town of the same name, in Huesca, Spain . It is a Romanesque fortification from the 11th century and is in a good state of preservation. Sitting on a promontory of limestone rock, it served as a defensive fort. It is also surrounded by a wall with towers.Loaree Castle

The castle of the Alcázar of Segovia , also in Spain , dates from the 12th century and was the residence of kings until the 19th century. The stamp that forms this monument makes it one of the most visited, being one of the most characteristic medieval castles in the world, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Alcazar Of Segovia Castle

Edinburgh Castle , in Scotland , is built on a rock of volcanic origin, the Castle Rock. It dates from the 12th century and has been used as a defensive building ever since. This is the most visited paid tourist attraction in Scotland.Edinburgh Castle

Warwick Castle is a medieval fortress located in the city of the same name, in England . It is close to the River Avon and during the Hundred Years’ War the frontage facing the town was refortified in the 14th century. Currently, it has been converted into a theme park to travel to the middle ages.

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