Special Report

Europe’s Most Beautiful Castles

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Trakai Island Castle
> Town or region: Trakai (Lake Galvé), Lithuania
> Century: 14th-15th

Built on an island, this castle was a center of medieval Lithuanian power. It was restored in the mid-20th century by Lithuania’s government when the country was still part of the USSR, despite the opposition of the Soviets.

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Glamis Castle
> Town or region: Glamis, Scotland
> Century: 14th-17th

Depicted on the Royal Bank of Scotland’s £10 notes, this well-preserved castle has been said over the centuries to be haunted by ghosts, monsters, and devils.

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Castillo de Coca
> Town or region: Coca, Spain
> Century: 15th

With elements of both Moorish and Gothic architecture, this moated brickwork castle in central Spain was the birthplace of Theodosius I, the late-Roman emperor who established Christianity as the empire’s official religion.

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Vufflens Castle
> Town or region: Vufflens-le-Château, Switzerland
> Century: 15th

Overlooking Lake Geneva, this medieval redoubt was built on the site of an older castle established around 1100 and later destroyed. Vineyards surrounding the complex today produce an acclaimed chardonnay.

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Olavinlinna
> Town or region: Savonlinna, Finland
> Century: 15th

This impressive island fortress, the northernmost medieval stone structure of its kind still in existence, is the site of the annual summertime Savonlinna Opera Festival.