16 Jaw-Dropping Mountain Top Castles (Photos)

Castle Hohenzollern
Castle Hohenzollern

There’s something spectacular about mountain-top castles. The amount of work and cost that went into regular castles is mind-blowing. But the additional herculean effort and cost in building a castle on a mountain is a whole other ball game.

You have to see these architectural marvels. There are castles, and then there are mountain-top castles which are unto a class of their own due to the extreme difficulty in building them. Imagine all the hauling of materials and then working in very difficult conditions to build a massive structure. It boggles the mind.

We have a huge castles section on this site given many were at time homes to nobility and monarchs, and from those many castles we’ve researched, we hand-picked the most spectacular ones built on a mountain. Below you can scroll down and enjoy these truly incredible structures that will be enjoyed by people for many years. After all, the era of castles is over and so all we have are those built centuries ago.

Hochosterwitz Castle
Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered one of Austria’s most impressive medieval castles. Located in Sankt Georgen, Carinthia, the castle was believed to be founded in the 9th century. A deed issued by Louis the German, King of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg was found. The castle remained in the possession of the Archdiocese of Salzburg until Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle in the 11th century. The castle was then passed on to different noble families in the following centuries and currently, it is owned by Khevenhüller noble family.

About the Hochosterwitz Castle

  • Where: Carinthia, Austria
  • When: 9th century
  • Who built it: Osterwitz dynasty
  • Style: Medieval architecture
  • What is it now? Open to the public
  • Current owner: Khevenhüller noble family
Hohensalzburg Castle
Hohensalzburg Castle

The Hohensalzburg Fortress is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe. It was built at the behest of the Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg in the 11th century to protect their interests. It was then modified and extended during the following centuries and remained in the possession of the Archbishops of Salzburg for a long period of time before it was surrendered without a fight to French troops under General Jean Victor Marie Moreau during the Napoleonic War of the Second Coalition in 1800 after the last Prince-Archbishop Count Hieronymus von Colloredo fled to Vienna. Today, the castle is a popular tourist attraction and is one of the best-preserved castles in Europe.

About the Hohensalzburg Fortress

  • Where: Salzburg, Austria
  • When: 11th century
  • Who built it: Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg
  • Style: Medieval architecture
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction
  • Current owner: State of Salzburg
Hohenwerfen castle
Hohenwerfen castle

Hohenwerfen Castle, also known as the sister of Hohensalzburg Fortress were both built by the Archbishops of Salzburg in the 11th century. Together with Hohensalzburg, it remained in the possession of Archbishops of Salzburg for a long period of time until the last owner, Archduke Eugen of Austria sold the castle to the Salzburg Reichsgau administration in 1938 and today, the estate is now owned by the state of Salzburg.

About the Hohenwerfen castle

  • Where: Salzburg, Austria
  • When: 11th century
  • Who built it: Prince-Archbishops of Salzburg
  • Style: Medieval architecture
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction / Museum
  • Current owner: State of Salzburg
Kreuzenstein Castle
Kreuzenstein Castle

Kreuzenstein Castle, locally known as Burg Kreuzenstein is located in the city of Stockerau was originally built in the 12th century by the Counts of Formbach. The castle passed into the possession of the Counts of Wasserburg through marriage later on and became a property of the Habsburgs in 1278. During the 30-Years War, the castle was conquered for the first time in its history and fell into the hands of the Swedish Field Marshall Lennart Torstensson, who destroyed three parts of the castle on his departure. It was reconstructed later on by the Counts of Wilczek when it came to their possession. Count Johann Nepomuk Wilczek led the reconstruction in a style entirely different from the original Romanesque-Gothic style, as he rebuilt the castle mixing an old and new medieval architecture style. Today, the Kreuzenstein Castle was the former titular home of the Lazarus Union Knighthood of Honour and is a great tourist attraction owned by Johan-Christian Count Wilczek.

About the Kreuzenstein Castle

  • Where: Stockerau, Austria
  • When: 12th century / Reconstructed in the 19th century
  • Who built it: Count Johann Nepomuk Wilczek
  • Style: Neo-medieval architecture
  • What is it now? Museum / Tourist attraction
  • Current owner: Johan-Christian Count Wilczek
Cesky Sternberk Castle
Cesky Sternberk Castle

Located in Český Šternberk, Central Bohemian Region, the Český Šternberk Castle is a medieval Bohemian castle of the mid-13th century. It was built by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg, the family that owned the castle since its construction. Currently, the castle is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural legacy. It is one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles that attract thousands of tourists across the world.

About the Český Šternberk Castle

  • Where: Český Šternberk, Czech Republic
  • When: 13th century
  • Who built it: Zdeslav of Divisov
  • Style: Gothic style
  • What is it now? Tourist site / Sternberg family residence
  • Current owners: Sternberg family
Bouzov Castle
Bouzov Castle

Located in Bouzov, Czech Republic, the Bouzov Castle is an early 14th-century fortress constructed in the orders of the aristocratic Bůz of Bludovec family. The castle had to change its owner and it was passed onto the Lords of Kunštát, and later on acquired by the lords of Vildenberk, margrave Jošt, the Haugvic and the Pod Štatský families. The castle was also transformed from gothic style to renaissance and neo-gothic styles. It was finally acquired by the government of the Czech Republic after the Order of Teutonic Knights expressed an interest in the castle but got denied. Currently, it serves as a national cultural monument and is open to the public.

About the Bouzov Castle

  • Where:  Bouzov, Czech Republic
  • When:  14th century
  • Who built it: Bůz of Bludovec family
  • Style: Gothic style / Renaissance style / Neo-gothic style
  • What is it now?  Open to the public / Tourist site
  • Current owners:  Czech Republic Government
Ksiaz Castle
Ksiaz Castle

Founded in the 13th century, Ksiaz castle, also known as “The Pearl of Lower Silesia”, was home to many noble families for centuries. The Silesian duke Bolko I the Strict made this castle his residence. The Luxembourg king Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia also resided here for some time. For centuries, the castle belonged to the powerful family of Hochberg until the last Hochberg family owning the castle fell into debt and was forced to sell the property. Currently, the Seismic Station of Polish Academy of Sciences is holding some part of the estate, while some other parts are open to the public.

About the Ksiaz Castle

  • Where: Wałbrzych, Poland
  • When: 13th century
  • Who built it: Unclear
  • Style: Gothic style / Baroque architecture / Rococo architecture
  • What is it now? Tourist attraction / Hotel / Landscape park / Museum
  • Current owner: Książ Landscape Park and Castle Museum
Czorsztyn castle
Czorsztyn castle

The ruins of Czorsztyn Castle located in Czorsztyn, Poland was the old home of the noblemen and the customs office on the trade trail from Krakow and Sącz to Hungary. It was originally a stronghold built in the mid 13th century but was destroyed by a lightning strike in 1720, resulting in total neglect ever since. Today, the ruins of the castle are open to the public.

About the Ruins of Czorsztyn Castle

  • Where: Czorsztyn, Poland
  • When: 13th century
  • Who built it: Unknown
  • Style: Gothic style
  • What is it now? Ruins
  • Current owner: Republic of Poland
Stolzenfels Castle
Stolzenfels Castle

Schloss Stolzenfels, much commonly known as Stolzenfels Castle was originally built as a fortification by the Prince-Bishop of Trier, then Arnold II. von Isenburg in the 13th century. It became a ruined castle that was bestowed to Prussian Crownprince, Frederick William as a great gift in 1823. He ordered a rebuilt for the castle during the 19th century, turning it into a Gothic Revival style palace and now serves as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper Middle Rhine Valley.

About the Stolzenfels Castle

  • Where: Koblenz, Germany
  • When: 13th Century
  • Who built it: Prince-Bishop of Trier, then Arnold II. von Isenburg
  • Style: Gothic Revival style
  • What is it now? Currently part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper Middle Rhine Valley
  • Current owner: Rhineland-Palatinate
Eltz Castle
Eltz Castle

The Eltz Castle is a medieval castle located in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany still owned by a branch of the original Eltz family that lived in the castle for 33 generations started in the 12th century. Eltz Castle is one of the three castles on the left bank of the Rhine in Rhineland-Palatinate that has never been destroyed, the other two were Bürresheim Castle and Lissingen Castle. Today, the castle is open to the public.

About the Eltz Castle

  • Where:  Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
  • When: 12th century
  • Who built it: Eltz family
  • Style: Gothic style / Romanesque architecture / Baroque architecture / Medieval architecture
  • What is it now? Open to public
  • Current owner: Eltz Family
Castle Stolzenfels
Castle Stolzenfels

Stolzenfels Castle was originally built to protect the toll station on the Rhine ordered by Arnold II. von Isenburg in the mid-13th century. It was destroyed by the French troops during the Nine Years War and in 1823, the ruined castle was given as a gift by the city to Prussian Crownprince Frederick William IV of Prussia. He had it rebuilt as a 19th-century palace in Gothic Revival style, which is now known as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Upper Middle Rhine Valley.

About the Castle Stolzenfels

  • Where:  Koblenz, Germany
  • When: 13th century
  • Who built it: Arnold II. von Isenburg / Rebuilt by Frederick William IV of Prussia
  • Style: Medieval architecture / Gothic-revival style
  • What is it now? UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Current owner: General Directorate for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate
Hohenschwangau Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle

Schloss Hohenschwangau is the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria in the 19th century. It follows the style of Gothic Revival architecture located in the German village of Hohenschwangau near the town of Füssen, part of the county of Ostallgäu in southwestern Bavaria, Germany, which is very close to the border with Austria. Today, it is a popular tourist site in Bavaria.

About the Hohenschwangau Castle

  • Where:  Bavaria, Germany
  • When: 19th century
  • Who built it: King Maximilian II of Bavaria
  • Style: Gothic Revival style
  • What is it now? Currently a popular tourist site
  • Current owner:  Bavaria, Germany Government
Aerial view of the Pena Palace in Sintra National Park, Portugal
Aerial view of the Pena Palace in Sintra National Park, Portugal

Located in the municipality of Sintra, on the Portuguese Riviera, the Pena Palace is a Romanticist castle that was completed in the 18th century. It boasts an intentional mixture of eclectic styles including the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance making it so beautiful it was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is also serving for state occasions hosted by the President of the Portuguese Republic and other government officials.

About the Pena Palace

  • Where: Sintra, Portugal
  • When: 18th century
  • Who built it: Wilhelm Ludwig von Eschwege
  • Style: Romanticism architecture (mix of Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance style)
  • What is it now? National monument / UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Current owner: Portuguese Republic
Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle

Located in Bavaria, Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and in honour of Richard Wagner. The 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace was paid by Ludwig out of his own fortune rather than using Bavarian public funds. While the castle was built strictly as a home for the king, it was soon opened to the public following Ludwig’s death and since visited by 1.3 million people annually.

About the Neuschwanstein Castle

  • Where: Located above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany
  • When: 19th Century
  • Who built it: Ludwig II of Bavaria
  • Style: Romanesque Revival
  • What is it now? Currently open to public
  • Current owner: Bavaria, Germany government

You didn’t think we’d forget the most famous castle in the world, let alone most famous mountain-top castle, did you? Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria is nothing short of spectacular. Millions of people visit every year.

Return to all castles

Related: English Castles | Irish Castles | German Castles | Russian Palaces | French Chateaus | Scottish Castles | Dutch Castles | Polish Castles | Czech Republic Castles | Hungarian Castles | Belgian Castles | Indian Palaces | Castles in Portugal | Swedish Castles | Austrian Castles | Castles in Japan | Castles in Switzerland | Italian Castles | Castles in Romania | Castles in Denmark | Spanish Castles


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