While not all of us may be able to afford a trip to Europe, who doesn't dream of indulging that childhood dream of living like royalty for a few days in a centuries-old castle? Just in time for Valentine's Day, www.trivago.com brings you a collection of the most romantic castles across Europe that offer extraordinary accommodations equipped with everything you need to live out that romantic fairytale fantasy.
Visiting a castle is a delight itself, but staying in one adds a dimension of history and grandeur to a European vacation that one is unlikely to forget. Think green sprawling parks, stone archways, vaulted ceilings, regal four-post beds and sunning views crafted (truly) for kings. From the Devonshire English countryside to an eighth-century Spanish fortress to the Italian Adriatic coast, these 10 highly rated castles scattered across the European continent promise to offer more than just a comfortable stay.
1. Bovey Castle (Devon, UK-England)" width="52" height="52"/>
Set within 368 square miles of the stunning Dartmoor National Park, in the heart of Devon’s ancient moorlands, the Bovey Castle boasts 64 individually-designed bedrooms and two restaurants that offer traditional British cuisine. The hotel offers a plethora of facilities and activities to keep guests entertained, including a luxurious pool and spa, a widely acclaimed golf course, as well as courses in art, gin- and cider-making. The design of the castle’s interior is cozy and rustic, yet exudes a feeling of ultimate refinement. Couples should not miss out on the Bovey’s Valentine’s Spa Day special, complete with a two-course Edwardian lunch.
2. Palazzo Viviani Castello di Montegridolfo (Rimini, Italy)" width="52" height="52"/>
Resting atop a mountain in the clouds, the Monegridolfo castle (built in the 12th century) was fought over for centuries between the Malatesta family of Rimini and the Montefeltro lords of Urbino. Today, however, the property inspires romance, peace and ultimate tranquility. Inside the castle, frescos and wood canopy beds provide visitors with the feeling that they’ve traveled back in time through the middle ages. The fairytale gardens and stone courtyards of Monegridolfo offer an idyllic setting for any wedding or romantic evening. The hotel even offers a special Valentine’s Day package featuring a candlelit dinner, a live music performance, and a one-night stay in one of the 54 rooms -- at a delightfully affordable price.
3. Thornbury Castle (Bristol, UK-England)" width="52" height="52"/>
Stay in the former residence of Anne Boleyn, Queen Mary and King Henry VIII. This exquisite Tudor palace, built in 1511, promises to leave visitors breathless upon arrival. Get lost in the castle’s stone halls, wood-paneled drawing rooms and sprawling romantic gardens, while experiencing first-hand a very rich piece of English history. The property also has an excellent restaurant, spa and vineyard, giving guests the opportunity to begin or end a romantic evening with an unforgettable wine tasting.
4. Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club, (East Grinstead, UK-England)" width="52" height="52"/>
Ashdown Park Hotel & Country Club is the perfect place to cuddle up for the winter. This picturesque hotel is situated in the beautiful Ashdown Forest, the woodlands that inspired A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. Couples can relax in one of the most sought-after spas in the Sussex region or take a romantic walk through the expansive property grounds, stunning in both the winter and summer. The hotel features an indoor swimming pool, a lake, walking trails, bike trails, as well as golf and tennis courts. The property’s candle-lit restaurant, the Anderida, was recently honored with one of the 2013 Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence for its outstanding Champagne list. The Ashdown also features a special Valentine’s Day package at a reasonable price.
5. The Headland (Newquay, UK-England)" width="52" height="52"/>
The Headland hotel is located on the stunning Cornish coastline and prides itself as an icon of the region. This resort-like hotel has everything needed for an entertaining and relaxing winter stay. The hotel features 96 comfortable guest rooms and suites, many with stunning ocean views. For the month of February, the hotel offers an array of Valentine’s Day packages -- private dinners on the beach, proposal packages, spa treatments, chocolate and champagne -- the Headland is a property that covers all bases when it comes to romantic decadence.
6. Clontarf Castle (Dublin, Ireland)" width="52" height="52"/>
Although there has been a castle on-site since 1172, Clontarf Castle in its current form was built in 1837, making it one of Europe’s more modern castles. For years it ran as a popular cabaret venue -- up until the mid-'90s, when it was transformed into a four-star hotel. The design of its interior offers a chic blend of old and new with sensuous touches of red velvet and leather upholstery tastefully complimented by innovative lighting designs and minimalistic edges. Just a 10-minute drive from Dublin’s city center, the Clontarf is an ideal spot for couples hoping to maintain some privacy during their visit to the country’s capital, while still staying close to the action. Year-round the hotel offers unbeatable "Romance Packages," making it a perfect Valentine’s Day retreat.
7. Amberley Castle (West Sussex, UK-England)" width="52" height="52"/>
Amberley Castle is West Sussex’ best kept secret, hidden at the foot of the South Downs, beside the River Arun. Within the traditional 60-foot curtain wall and operating portcullis (medieval iron gate), are acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and a historic castle hotel, that dates back to the 12th century. Amberley Castle has 19 uniquely and traditionally-decorated bedrooms with luxurious en-suite whirlpool bathrooms and complimentary skin care products. The gardens boast medieval stonework, rose-covered arches, an impressive water cascade, and two nearby lakes to provide an unforgettable setting for your romantic castle getaway.
8. Airth Castle Hotel & Spa (Sterlingshire, UK-Scotland)" width="52" height="52"/>
The award-winning Airth Castle Hotel & Spa is one of Scotland’s most beautiful retreats, set in 14 acres of wooded parkland and landscaped gardens. Get lost with your Valentine in this grand estate, which incorporates 14th-century castle walls, 12th-century church ruins and 18th-century stables. Today the property has 125 bedrooms and suites, all with satellite television, luxury toiletries, down duvets and countryside views. The spa and leisure club features an ultra-hip indoor heated swimming pool, Jacuzzi, treatment rooms and state-of-the-art gym.
9. Hotel Alarcòn (Alarcòn, Spain)" width="52" height="52"/>
This medieval fortress of Alarcòn, situated atop the 200-foot high cliffs of central Spain, presents guests with a dramatic setting for a romantic holiday. Built by Muslims in the 8th century, the Alarcòn Castle has witnessed countless sieges and revolts and has been occupied by famous kings and writers of the region. Since being converted into a highly-acclaimed hotel, the castle has been known to provide exemplary service, stunning views and unforgettable dining experiences, featuring local delicacies of the region.
10. Langley Castle (Hexham, UK-England)" width="52" height="52"/>
The award-winning Langley Castle of Hexham dates back to the 14th century and is famed as one of the few medieval fortified castle hotels of England. This stunning edifice is set within its own picturesque 10-acre woodland estate, and the seven-foot thick walls and roaring log fires make it the perfect place to cuddle up next to your beloved during the winter months. The 27 luxurious en-suite guest rooms are individually decorated with rich and romantic color palates. Don’t miss a trip to the award-winning restaurant, Josephine's, which focuses on traditional English dishes with a modern twist.
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