Everyone’s got their reasons for wanting to travel the world. For someone, it’s to satisfy their hunger and sample some of the best food and beverages different cultures have to offer. For others, it’s to experience utter peace and solitude on some of the globe’s most gorgeous tropical islands. And some want to dive into a world of unique art and architecture in some of the finest museums on the planet. If your bucket list doesn’t include visiting some of the most beautiful castles in the world, feast your eyes on these stunning works of architecture steeped in history, power, and art.

1. Osaka Castle, Japan

castle

Image: Geoff Stearns/Flickr

This is one of the country’s most well-known castles, and it is a symbol of power and fortune. It’s a famous landmark and was crucial to the unification of Japan during the 16th century.

2. Mont Saint Michel, France

beautiful castles across the world

Image: Gilad Rom/Flickr

Located on a rocky island in Normandy, France, Mont Saint Michel is visited by more than three million people every year and is part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage sites.

3. Kilkenny Castle, Ireland

gorgeous castles

Image: christopher_brown/Flickr

Initially built for 4th Earl of Pembroke William Marshal in the first decade of the 30th century, Kilkenny Castle eventually became the residence of the Butler family for nearly 600 years.

4. Peleș Castle, Romania

castle

Image: young shanahan/Flickr

In the town of Sinaia in southern Romania, at the foot of the Bucegi Mountains, sits what many consider one of the most breathtaking castles in all of Europe. Peles Castle is a result of German new-Renaissance architecture.

5. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

castle

Image: Kevin Poh/Flickr

Located in Bavaria, Neuschwanstein is one of the most desirable tourist destinations in all of Europe. It was built by King Ludwig II, who was also known as the Fairytale King, and was even the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle.

6. Castle of Chambord, France

French castle

Image: Daniel Jolivet/Flickr

Chambord — chateau, park, and village — was once a retreat for the kings of France. The castle has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, and 13 staircases. Even Leonardo da Vinci couldn’t resist it: The artist paid a visit and added his own touch.

 

7. Windsor Castle, England

Windsor Castle

Image: jogep/Flickr

Windsor Castle has been housing British royalty for over 1,000 years, and it’s not only the oldest but also the largest occupied castle in the entire world.

 

*Featured Image: Bled Castle, Slovenia