For a unique travel experience, there’s nothing like exploring an abandoned castle. Or, better yet, staying in one!
Europe is full of abandoned buildings and desolate landscapes that are so far off the beaten track of normal tourism that it’s possible to be the only tourists around for miles. Here are some outstanding castles and palaces long vacated by royalty and open to the public:
Lake Reschen, Italy
Submerged beneath the lake water stands a medieval church and donjon. The only part above the water is the majestic bell tower. During the brisk Tyrolean winter explorers can walk over the lake ice to the tower and listen for the bells that mysteriously keep ringing, even on a windless day.
Chateau de Noisy, Dinant, Belgium
Occupied and looted by the Nazis during World War Two, this imposing brick castle was taken over by the National Railroad Trust and eventually turned into a boutique hotel. A tour of the still-functioning clock tower is a must.
Gwyrch Castle, Abergele, Wales
This castle was turned into a fashionable hotel over a hundred years ago, but business quickly fell off due to paranormal disturbances — ghosts. Today rooms are still available from time to time, but they are quickly snapped up by researchers and those who want to commune with the dead.