Castle Count

Cardiff Castle, Cardiff, Wales

I basically collect castles. In this Castle Count, I keep a running list of all the castle’s I’ve seen. And now, you can count the castles with me!

What Defines a Castle?

A castle is traditionally defined as a large building usually with high, thick walls and towers that was built in the past to protect against attack. It’s a term usually attributed to fortified buildings in Europe and the Middle East built for lords and nobles. This distinguishes castles from palaces, which are not fortified; fortresses, which are not residencies; and fortified settlements, which are public defenses.

Dunguaire Castle, Kinvara, County Galway, Ireland

But in the 17th century, particularly in Europe, it became a trend among nobility build great houses in the style of castles but without all the fortification measures. These great houses were built with Romantic interests, emulating the most desirable parts of the Middle Ages. For most, traditional means of fortification was no longer necessary. Thus, the definition came to mean a massive or imposing house, usually built in a Romantic or Gothic style.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Germany

And in America, these lines get even more blurred. American mock-castles are sometimes created as a great house, and sometimes they’re made with weird building materials simply for the purpose of looking cool.

Cagle Castle

So when does a castle “count”?

Deciding when a castle is a castle can be kind of tricky! Basically, I count a castle whenever I want to count a castle. But when I’ve come across the really weird ones (aka the American castles), I’ve explained my reasoning for counting the structure as a castle.

So click the links to learn more about each castle, and remember to check back to see what new castle I’ve been lucky enough to visit!

Castles in England

Castles in Ireland

Castles in Northern Ireland

Castles in Scotland

Castles in Wales

Castles in Germany

Castles in Italy

Castles in Czech Republic

Castles in the United States

Total Castle Count: 40

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The Best Castles to Visit Around the World