07/31/2010 11:03 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The World's Most Spectacular Castles (PHOTOS)

From the storybook splendor of Germany's Neuschwanstein to the delicate scope of Japan's Himeji, castles inspire fantasy, adventure, excitement and even horror the world over.

For some, seeing a castle brings to mind a fairy tale ball where a beautiful blond princess met her brawny beau; for others, strolling inside the ramparts is a way to experience firsthand the more serious -- not to mention dark and violent -- aspects of history.

Though the world is filled with a countless amount of these achingly beautiful structures, we've narrowed the slideshow below down to a few of our favorites. Vote for the world's most amazing castle, and be sure to let us know which impressive palaces we've neglected.

The World's Most Amazing Castles