Europe is home to some of the most hauntingly beautiful castles in the world—and quite a few that are actually haunted, as well.
These castles have survived for centuries, through violent wars, grisly murders, family drama, and dark secrets. It’s not surprising there’s an angry spirit or two lurking in one of the old towers. In fact, these stunning castles may take on an even greater legend with a scary, spine-chilling tale behind it.
Zvíkov Castle (Czech Republic)
Known as the “king of Czech castles,” the stunning Zvíkov Castle sits on a remote promontory at the confluence of the rivers Vltava and Otava in the Czech Republic. Built in the 13th century, the heavily fortified castle has gone through countless bloody battles, fires, and deterioration.
Legend says that the castle is haunted by a ghost known as Zvíkov’s imp, who frequents the ancient tower Markomanka. Visitors often tell creepy stories of strange photos, eerie noises, and technological issues. Many superstitions surround the Zvíkov Castle, but one of the most chilling is that anyone who sleeps over at the main tower is said to die within a year.
Zvíkov Castle is open to tourists from spring to autumn every year.
Bran Castle (Romania)
Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle, is one of the most infamous castles in the world. It used to be thought of as the setting of Vlad the Impaler’s bloody atrocities with some even saying he was imprisoned here during his capture in 1462. The castle found renown with the publication of the novel Dracula, which was greatly inspired by Vlad III Dracula and his brutal habit of impaling victims.
While historians now widely believe that Vlad the Impaler never actually set foot inside Bran Castle, it’s still a worthwhile stop during a haunted house or castle journey across Europe. After all, locals say that the countryside surrounding the castle is actually haunted by undead souls at night.
Dragsholm Castle (Denmark)
Built in the 12th century, Dragsholm Castle in Denmark is an imposing estate that was converted into a prison for noble and ecclesiastical prisoners. Some of the prisoners are James Hepburn, who was the 4th Earl of Bothwell and Mary Queen of Scots’ third husband, and former Dragsholm owner Joachim Rønnowand—both of whom are said to be among the 100 ghosts stalking the castle to this day.
Another famous castle ghost is the White Lady, the desolate spirit of a young lady dressed in white who wanders through the corridors at night. As the tale goes, she was the daughter of one of the castle owners and fell in love with one of the commoners who worked in the castle. When her father found out about the affair, he locked her up in a dungeon, where she eventually died.
Now, Dragsholm Castle is a luxury hotel with a Michelin-star restaurant.
Burg Eltz (Germany)
Burg Eltz or Eltz Castle looks straight off a fairy tale, tucked in the forests above the Moselle River in Germany. It is one of three islands in the region that’s been intact for 850 years, having stayed in the same family the entire time. Locals say ghosts of medieval knights are seen marching throughout the beautiful castle.
Moosham Castle (Austria)
The imposing Moosham Castle played host to one of history’s bloodiest and most brutal witch trials in the late 17th century. Hundreds of accused witches were imprisoned, tortured, and executed on the medieval castle grounds. In the 1800s, werewolf hunts were also conducted in the area.
With such a sinister history, it’s unsurprising to learn that Moosham Castle is believed to be extremely haunted with visitors constantly hearing blood-curdling screams and seeing restless spirits all over the castle.
If you want to explore castles that aren’t steeped in tragic tales and scary legends, there are many to discover in Europe. Book a Loire Valley Castles Tour with KKday to see two exquisite castles in France.
*Featured image sourced from Pixabay