You don’t have to be a princess or prince to get treated like royalty. When you visit some of the world’s most amazing castles, the experience goes far beyond a visit within medieval stone walls.
Snooze like Sleeping Beauty in a tower overlooking a picturesque countryside from the precise spot where royalty and nobles did centuries ago — but, with modern luxuries like heated floors, deluxe spas and WiFi.
Here’s a look at world-class vacation spots that’ll leave you dreaming of “Game of Thrones.”
Swinton Park, Masham, England
Experience the English country lifestyle once enjoyed only by royals and nobles at Swinton Park. Learn falconry or hunting on more than 20,000 acres of heritage woodlands at the ancestral seat of the Earl of Swinton. Meander more than 60 miles of footpaths or bicycle the route of the Tour de France.
If your tastes lie more toward indoor pursuits, you’ll find plenty to do at the estate. Sip cream tea in the afternoon and Champagne before dinner. Dine on the seven-course Signature Tasting Menu in Samuel’s Restaurant. You can also enroll in a cooking course that uses fresh, local ingredients.
At the end of the day, kick back in a comfy room in the luxury castle hotel with all the modern conveniences. Rates start at $242 and come with a full Yorkshire breakfast in the morning. Include your evening meal for an extra $124.
Highclere Castle, Newbury, United Kingdom
If you’ve ever watched “Downtown Abbey,” you’ve seen Highclere Castle. The Emmy-winning TV series filmed its six seasons at the castle located just about 60 miles outside London.
Stay on the estate at its London Lodge from April through September. Although rates start around $996 with a two-night minimum, you can still travel like a VIP with the strong U.S. dollar.
While you’re there, enjoy light lunches, hot dinners and other refreshments that Mrs. Patmore would be proud to call her own. The food gets served up in the castle’s tea rooms between noon and 2 p.m.
Burg Wernberg, Wernberg-Köblitz, Germany
Local records show that the hilltop Wernberg Castle was built around 1280. Today, you can luxuriate in the castle’s offerings surrounded by 15th century rafters and 13th century masonry.
Planning a destination wedding? You can rent out the entire castle or just part of it. Have a religious ceremony of your choice in the chapel or outdoors in the picturesque moat. After the festivities, retire to the bridal suite overlooking the drawbridge and winter garden.
You’ll feel like a royal couple in the spacious suite, which offers a four-poster king bed, whirlpool tub for two and golden appointments. Prices for the swanky suite start at $295 per night, making it a fine choice for your affordable, romantic getaway.
Dornröschenschloss Sababurg, Hofgeismar, Germany
Deep in the Reinhard Forest, Dornröschenschloss Sababurg — better known in English as the Sleeping Beauty Castle — towers above the trees. The castle dates back to 1334 and was the inspiration for the famous fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.
Live out your own fairy tale with your handsome prince or lovely princess at the castle. Meander gardens and feast on rose-themed dishes made with the fragrant flower.
At night, snuggle up in a four-poster bed in the turret. Rates at the hotel start at $162 per night.
Pousada de Óbidos, Óbidos, Portugal
As if a romantic getaway in a castle isn’t enough, Pousada de Óbidos in Portugal comes with a particularly romantic history. The walled medieval town and its castle were a wedding present from King Dinis to his bride D. Isabel in 1282.
You can treat yourself to a luxurious vacation for as little as $180 per night. Sleep in a medieval tower in one of the hotel’s two-level suites. Exposed brickwork and village views through windows embedded in 80-inch-thick walls give you a taste of the past while enjoying 21st-century luxuries.
Ruthin Castle, Ruthin, Wales
Get a taste of royalty at Ruthin Castle, where you can live like a king for as little as $149 per night. If you want to splurge, though, book the Prince of Wales suite. The whole-floor suite has an original wood-carved fireplace and antiques coupled with modern amenities.
Party in the banquet hall patterned after the famous banquets held by the Earl of Warwick. Set aside your fork and plunge your dagger into spit-roasted meats, potatoes and veggies as you toast with mead and wine.
Amberley Castle, West Sussex, England
Sleep within ancient stone walls, where rooms combine modern elegance with historic architecture. In the morning, wake up to a full English breakfast.
Indulge in the Taste of Amberley Castle package for the royal treatment. Cream tea and homemade scones await your arrival. Then, treat your taste buds to a seven-course tasting experience with paired wines.
The Taste of Amberly experience costs $473 per night. However, you can save money on your European vacation by making dinner plans elsewhere and booking a room at Amberley Castle for as little as $230.
Fenton Tower, North Berwick, Scotland
Set atop a pastoral hillside 25 miles east of Edinburgh, Fenton Tower is the ideal place to enjoy a Scottish country getaway with all the privilege of royalty.
The ground floor of the castle houses a kitchen guests are free to use as well as a dining room where you’ll enjoy a full Scottish breakfast each morning. The castle’s remaining floors house suites, a living area and a library complete with a fireplace and modern accommodations.
Relax in an oversized copper tub in the Erskine and Stewart suites on the third floor, and enjoy sweeping views of Edinburgh.
Château de Bagnols, Bagnols, France
When powerful landowner Guichard d’Oingt built Château de Bagnols in 1217, he chose a scenic hilltop in the heart of Beaujolais vineyards. Subsequent owners improved on the chateau over the centuries, and today it is a five-star establishment.
Enjoy the best the hotel has to offer, from spa treatments to a buffet breakfast in a courtyard with fresh juices, pastries, cheeses, meats and fruits. Rooms couple a medieval ambiance with modern amenities and start at $263.
Castel Porrona, Tuscany, Italy
Gaze out over sunflower fields, olive groves and vineyards dotting the Tuscany countryside from a room or suite at Castel Porrona in Italy.
Step into the Agua Spa for pampering treatments to refresh your body and spirit. Sink into a wine therapy bath or get massaged with products created from local oils and wines. Or, experience a relaxing Moroccan-inspired hammam.
During the day, head out to enjoy pursuits like truffle hunting, horseback riding or walks through the Tuscan countryside. At night, retire to your suite and surround yourself in opulent Italian style. Rates start at 390 euros per night.
Parador de Oropesa, Toledo, Spain
The Parador de Oropesa is the ideal hub for exploring the folk arts of the La Vera region of Spain. You’ll be just a 10 minute drive from shops in Lagartera that still craft intricate embroidery.
Spend time learning about the castle’s rich history. Older parts of the castle date to Arabian construction in the 7th and 8th centuries. The “new” castle construction dates back to 1402 when the Counts of Oropesa lived there.
Parador de Oropesa’s rooms reflect the same sumptuous style the Counts of Oropesa enjoyed hundreds of years ago. However, you’ll enjoy free modern hotel amenities like WiFi and an outdoor pool for as little as $84 per night.
Peckforton Castle, Cheshire, England
Although Peckforton Castle looks like a medieval castle, its construction began in 1842. Since then, the castle has been featured in movies and TV shows.
Even though it doesn’t have a long history of royalty, it’s a favorite among today’s celebs. Singer Ciara married football star Russell Wilson at the swanky estate. The Kardashians, Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Rowland are other rumored guests.
Take in the picturesque setting with a falconry encounter or a hike along the Sandstone Trail winding through the castle’s 4,000 forested acres. Try your hand at air rifle shooting, archery and treasure hunting.
Book a night at the castle starting at $242. Choose from rooms with romantic four-poster beds or a suite with a cozy fireplace and claw-foot tub. Enjoy heated floors, WiFi and other comforts of modern living that blend flawlessly with the historic architecture.
Balfour Castle, Shapinsay, Orkney Islands, Scotland
Nestled on the southern coast of Shapinsay, one of Scotland’s Orkney Islands, Balfour Castle offers sweeping views of bays once frequented by Viking long ships. Savor the seaside view from rooms swathed in De Gournay silk wallpaper and Victorian charm.
Get pampered at Balfour Castle’s spa. Enjoy a facial or massage or head to restored Bothy houses for a swim. Jump into the relaxing hot tub and soothe your muscles while looking out at the Victorian walled garden.
Château d’Isenbourg, Rouffach, France
Pamper your palate at Château d’Isenbourg, found along the Alsatian wine trail. Besides fine local wines, you can enjoy gourmet dining with meal options specially designed for palates under 35 and over 60 years old.
Unwind in the hotel’s relaxation area: It includes an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and hammam. Or, visit the spa for a special treat. Experience a massage with chocolate from Alsace or savor a taste of home with a Californian essential oil massage.
Spend the night in modern rooms for as little as $132 nightly.
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Château d’Hassonville, Marche-en-Famenne, Belgium
Rumored to have been designed as a hunting lodge for King Louis VIX, Château d’Hassonville remains an ideal location for a vacation fit for a king. Book a gastronomic-themed stay where you’ll be treated to three- and five-course dinners in the Grand Pavillion and breakfasts in the wintergarden.
Pamper yourself by checking into the chateau’s most sumptuous suite. The Junior suite overlooks the surrounding park and costs as little as $311 per night.
Château de Mirambeau, Mirambeau, France
Tucked in the French countryside between Bordeaux and Cognac, Château de Mirambeau is an ideal place to steep yourself in local flavor. Book the hotel’s Discover New Tastes and Flavors package, which includes a three-course dinner served with wine. Afterward, retire to the hotel’s Cognathèque, where you can taste fine wines and cognac as you ease into an oversized leather chair.
Spend the night in a deluxe room decorated with antique furniture, luxe fabrics and views of the countryside, park and swimming pool. Awaken to continental breakfast served in your room or on the hotel’s veranda. Room rates start at $236.14.
Dromoland Castle, Clare, Ireland
Once home to the Kings of Thomond, Dromoland Castle remains a getaway for heads of state even today. George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela are but a few of the castle’s modern visitors.
Antique chandeliers glisten along sweeping staircases and hallways, reflecting the light from large elegant fireplaces. Blue limestone walls provide a fairy-tale backdrop for hand-in-hand walks through the castle gardens.
Unwind in a gazebo-covered hydro pool outdoors at the castle’s spa. Head indoors to soak up a pampering massage as you enjoy scented candles and fresh flowers. Rooms start at $309.
Ashford Castle, Cong, Ireland
When royal treatment means heading to the spa, look to Ashford Castle. The hotel and spa was named Ireland’s Best Hotel Spa at the 2016 World Spa Awards.
If the sprawling castle looks familiar, it might be that you’ve seen it while watching “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne or other movies. Former President Ronald Reagan visited the castle as did singers Barbara Streisand, John Lennon and George Harrison.
Grab your honey for two romantic nights at the castle when you opt for the B|Together Winter Spa Experience. Savor a full Irish breakfast each morning before getting massages. Spend the afternoon relaxing in the steam room, pool or fitness area before heading to dinner in the Dungeon.
Book a room for as little as $490. For a secluded getaway, check into the Hideaway Cottage, a redesigned boathouse on a tree-shrouded strip of lakeshore.
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