The idea of living in a castle is a romantic notion that has been harbored by many for centuries, since the days the great castles of Europe were originally built. From the fairytale Cinderella to recent TV phenoms like Downton Abby and Game of Thrones, our imaginations have been brought to life as the stories portray the privileged upper-crust lifestyle or the fanciful intrigue that might have played out in the grand, historical estates. Although you might not have a palace of your own, you can still experience a taste of royalty and sleep in a castle!
Castles of Ireland
There are dozens of castles scattered about the windswept hills and lush green countryside of Eire. They range from ominous ruins that you can wander through to regally restored fairytale fortresses where you can actually sleep in a castle. The best way to see the castles of Ireland is to rent a car and self-drive so you have the flexibility to explore as you like. Covington’s Ireland Specialist can help you map out your route in advance and pre-reserve your castle stays. Here are some favorite castles in Ireland where you can stay overnight:
- Ashford Castle, County Galway – Nearly 800 years old and spectacularly maintained, now a richly decorated 5-star hotel
- Ballynahinch Castle, Connemara – Casual country elegance in an intimate 4-star hotel set in 350 acres of woodlands
- Barberstown Castle, County Kildare – One of the oldest castles in Ireland you can overnight (13th century) and within 30 minutes of vibrant Dublin
- Dromoland Castle, County Clare – One of Ireland’s finest castle hotels mixing old world elegance with modern day comforts
From the sun-dappled valleys of the Loire Valley to the rolling vineyards of Beaujolais, there are over a thousand places you can sleep in a castle or historic property in France! The original purposes of the many castles, or chateaux, was quite diverse, ranging from defense fortresses to hunting retreats. The French monarchy lived in unsurpassed beauty and elegance that today’s traveler can but glimpse. Of the hundreds of choices, here are but four standouts where you can experience the style of French nobility.
- Château de Bagnols, near Lyon – The finest five-star deluxe château hotel in France and regarded by many as the finest vineyard château hotel in the world
- Château de Bourron, near Paris – A privately-owned 17th century castle with elegant accommodations and a spring-fed moat
- Château d’Audrieu, near Caen – Ideally situated to explore historic Normandy and its memorials
- Château de Jallanges, Loire Valley – Built in the 15th century by King Louis X1 featuring seven bedrooms and superior table d’hôtes dining
Pousadas de Portugal
In the 1950’s, the government of Portugal created the first Historical Pousada by converting a 13th-century castle at Obidos to accommodations where travelers can overnight. There is now a network of 35 historical buildings, monuments, castles, convents and monasteries where travelers can experience the ambiance of the grand – or in some cases austere – accommodations of centuries past. Pousadas fall into one of four categories:
- Historical Pousadas – accommodations in historic buildings
- Historical Design Pousadas – accommodation in historic buildings with modern architectural elements
- Nature Pousadas – accommodations in calm and relaxing places
- Charming Pousadas –accommodations in typical buildings and palaces
Until you marry into royalty and regularly sleep in a castle of your own, you can still live the life of nobility, if only for a few nights on vacation. Let Covington Travel’s vacation specialists help you arrange a castle vacation fit for a queen!
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