Austria’s castles: 15 of the most interesting and impressive castles
Austria is a European country that is famous all over the world for its luxurious palaces and formidable ancient castles. Here it is difficult to find a city, which would not be protected by a powerful citadel, because in the harsh Middle Ages it was an absolute necessity. During the reign of the Habsburgs on the territory of the country was built a lot of palaces and fortresses, which are very well preserved to this day. And just as hundreds of years ago, these ancient outposts silently keep their dark secrets. Our selection includes the best castles of Austria – 15 of the most interesting and impressive constructions.
Austrian castles: Kreuzenstein
The ancient outpost of the Habsburgs is located just outside Vienna. Construction of the castle began in the 12th century and some time after it was finished it became the property of the Habsburgs. During the Thirty Years’ War the castle was blown up and remained in ruins for a long time. The reconstruction of the castle started in 1874, following ancient blueprints, and 30 years later the castle was opened to the public.
Photo: Bwag (CC BY-SA 4.0)
One of the most beautiful and impregnable castles in Austria, Hochosterwitz is located on dolomite rock in Carinthia. The first mention of it dates back to 860. The castle is surrounded by four rows of massive stone walls, thanks to which no one could capture it. At the beginning of the 16th century the castle was given to the family of Kevenhüller, who own it to this day. With the permission of the owners, a museum of ancient weapons and armor was opened in the castle. There is also a chapel, where frescoes from the 16th century and ornaments from the 17th century have been preserved.
Photo: Johann Jaritz (CC BY-SA 3.0 at)
Castles of Austria: Schloss Hohensalzburg
The largest and best preserved medieval castle in Europe is located on the summit of the Festung mountain near Salzburg. The first castle appeared on this site in 1077, but only its foundations have survived. The castle got its present appearance in the 16th century. Around 1500, the world’s first funicular Railzug was built there.
In the castle there are historical exhibits about the life of the court. On the third floor of the fortress are the Princes’ Chambers, consisting of the Princes’ Hall, the Golden Room and the Golden Hall. The furnishings here are original and have remained unchanged since the early 1500s. Particularly impressive are the imitation night sky, consisting of gold stars on an azure and royal blue background, and the tile stove in the Gold Room. The Puppet Museum and the Rainer Regiment Museum also invite visitors to take a trip back in time. A magical theater and modern media stations add modernity to the experience!
Where Castle Hohensalzburg is located:
Photo: Zairon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
The ancient Hardegg Castle is very close to the Czech border, on a hill above the Tayatal valley. The castle, which is one of the oldest fortifications in Central Europe, has completely preserved its historic architecture. The main buildings of the castle – the palace, chapel and tower – date back to 1145.
Castles of Austria: Moosham Castle
The gloomy medieval castle Moosham is first mentioned in documents dating back to 1191. In 1285, the building was enlarged by the Archbishops of Salzburg, and from the 15th century it served as the residence of the burgrave. For many years the castle was a place of execution of the accused of witchcraft. There was also a prison for disgraced aristocrats. Today, the castle houses an impressive collection of antique furniture and works of art.
Photo: Renedrivers (CC BY-SA 3.0 at)
Photo: Ruebsal (CC BY-SA 3.0)
The ancient Hohenwerfen Castle, whose construction began in 1077, is only 40 kilometers from the capital, so it’s a great option for a day trip from Vienna. Over its centuries-long history, the castle has been the residence of the prince-bishops of Salzburg, a state prison, and a training camp for the Salzburg police. Hohenwerfen acquired its modern appearance in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Photo: Bwag (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Photo: Queryzo (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Castles of Austria: Lichtenstein
The ancient castle of Lichtenstein is located on a steep rock in the legendary Vienna Woods near the small town of Maria Enzersdorf. The castle was built in 1135 by Hugo von Lichtenstein. During its long history, it survived more than one siege and changed many owners.
Photo: Bwag (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Photo: Bwag (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Medieval Castle Riegersburg is only 55 kilometers from Graz. The first mention of the ancient outpost, which is located on a basalt hill, dates back to the XII century. The entrance to the territory is protected by seven powerful gates and numerous bastions. The luxurious interiors, which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, give an idea of Baroque life style.
Castles of Austria: Ambras Castle
The snow-white castle-museum is one of Innsbruck’s main attractions. The Ambras complex was built in the 16th century on the site of a medieval citadel commissioned by Duke Ferdinand II. Today, the exposition of the museum contains a rich collection of works of art, ancient weapons and books from all over Europe.
Photo: Pahu (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Photo: Zairon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
A Roman fortress once stood on this site. The castle, known as the “keeper of Wachau,” is first recorded in documents dating back to 1135, but it has been rising on a gloomy cliff above the Danube for over a thousand years. Schönbühel was originally the property of the bishop of Passau, but over the centuries it has changed several owners and today is privately owned by the descendants of Count von Oswald.
Photo: jggrz / pixabay (Pixabay License)
Austrian castles: Forchtenstein
The impregnable 14th-century citadel rises menacingly and lonely on the Burgfelsen rock massif in the small town of Forchtenstein. From 1622 to the present day the castle has been the property of the Esterházy family. The ancient castle walls offer a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside and Lake Neusiedlersee.
Photo: Bwag (CC BY-SA 4.0)
One of Austria’s most romantic castles is located on Lake Traunsee in Gmunden. The first building on the site dates back to 909, and the first written mention dates back to 1053. In ancient times, Ort Castle served as a fortress for defense, but a major fire completely destroyed it in 1626. The castle was rebuilt as it has survived to this day.
Photo: Bwag (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Castles of Austria: Rosenburg Castle
The powerful stone castle was founded in the twelfth century, but defensive structures existed on its site before. Rosenburg, which is located on the picturesque bank of the river Kamp, is interesting because of its knightly history. There are well preserved fortress walls, towers, courtyards and the central fortress.
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The construction of the castle on a hilltop to protect the trade route and the valley from enemy invasions began in 1253. The first constructions were a fortress wall, a prison and the main four-storey building. Later a second fortress wall and several other buildings were erected, among which was the Chapel of St. Henry.
Photo: Otberg (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Castles of Austria: Rappottenstein Castle
It is rightly considered one of the most impregnable castles in Austria – over the centuries of its history, which began in 1150, no one has ever managed to conquer it. In 1664 the castle was bought by count Abensperg-Traun, whose descendants own the ancient building even today.
30 best castles of Austria
The majestic Austria has a rich history and an amazing cultural heritage. Countless medieval castles take us into the atmosphere of knights’ tournaments and duels, luxurious balls. Delightful Alpine scenery gives a special flavor to these places. Almost every castle has its own historical legend. Mysterious walls hold the memory of many historical events.
In Austrian lands erected their castles many rulers of the Roman Empire, and later there were the houses of the Habsburgs. Nowadays most Austrian castles are open for tourists. There are also often cultural events such as historically recreated jousting tournaments and medieval balls.
Austria’s most beautiful castles
Medieval castles and royal palaces, list, photos with names and descriptions!
This ancient Romanesque castle was built more than nine centuries ago in Salzburg and was originally small in size, but over time it turned into a powerful fortress with towers and bastions. In the 16th century the world’s first Raiszug funicular was built in the castle, which delivered food and goods. The old castle is beautifully preserved till our time, and from its towers one can enjoy the amazing panorama of the city.
The unique palace, built in 1625 by Prince Eggenberg, is a World Heritage Site. The architecture of the castle reflects the Buddhist tradition. The 365 windows in the palace correspond to the days of the year, 52 rooms – to weeks, 24 service rooms – to the number of hours in the day, 12 gates in the park symbolize months, 4 towers in the castle indicate the four elements and the directions of light. The castle itself has a simple architecture, not typical of the Renaissance.
Situated on the banks of the Danube near Vienna the fairytale castle of Kreuzenstein has one of the largest collections of cold steel arms. The original appearance of the castle was quite different from today’s. Built in the XII century and belonging to the Habsburgs, Kreuzenstein was almost completely destroyed in the XVII century. The reconstruction of the castle was undertaken by Count Wilczek at the end of the 19th century, and in 1906 Kreuzenstein was restored to its former glory. Nowadays the Gothic castle is open for tourists.
The majestic ancient castle rises on a 160-meter high cliff. In the IX century, the castle belonged to the then Slovenian Duchy, now the Austrian territory – Carinthia. Later, in the XV century, was owned by Emperor Frederick III. The castle has two large courtyards – outer and inner, as well as a residential palace and a family chapel. The castle is still the property of a famous Austrian family, so tourists are restricted access to some parts of the castle.
The magnificent palace complex is situated on a hill by the river Inn. Outwardly resembling an administrative building, Ambras has huge collections of various exhibits, as well as a beautiful interior. Since 1919 the Château-Museum Ambras became a state museum. The Spanish Hall, the courtyard and the apartments of the Upper Castle were restored, and the Kunstkammer, the portrait gallery and the museum of arms were opened.
Built in the early 12th century in Graz, the castle was subsequently the residence of the emperors. From the fifteenth century until 1809 the castle was never captured despite Napoleon’s invasion attempts. On the territory of the famous castle there is a Clock Tower, a military museum with a huge arsenal of weapons and an open-air theater.
This beautiful and impregnable castle is situated in the town of Werfen on the top of a high hill surrounded by forests and mountains. This medieval castle, founded in the 11th century, can be reached on foot or by car. The interior of the castle almost did not survive. However, there are two museums in the castle. In addition to the usual museum of weapons and armor, there is a unique museum of falconry, also in Hohenwerfen was a dungeon.
Not far from Graz is located the ancient fortress Riegersburg, which well defended the Styria from the Turkish and Hungarian troops. Construction of the castle began in the XII century, but significant changes in the construction of the fortress received in the XVII century. Today, the castle holds various exhibitions relating to the history of the castle and one of its owners of the Lichtenstein dynasty. There is a museum of witches in the castle. In times gone by, witch trials were held here.
The first small building of the castle was built in the 14th century and did not survive. In 15th century Graz Castle began to acquire the architectural look that we are used to see now. For a long time the castle became the residence of the archdukes, and under the influence of the era it was rebuilt in the Renaissance style. Today the castle is the seat of the town government.
The old Romanesque castle of Rosenburg on the River Kamp is elegant and noble, and owes its restoration to the Spanish family who bought the castle in the 15th century. The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens with a hundred-meter wall of rose bushes, the Grass Garden has special fragrant plants, there is also a Lily Pond and the Falconry Museum. The Rosenburg, often called the Castle of the Roses, has a perfectly preserved knight’s court.
The castle was built in the early 13th century in the Feldkirche near Lichtenstein. There is now an automobile tunnel under the castle. The former residence of the Counts of Montfort is beautifully preserved to this day and conveys the way of life of that time. The castle museum has a vast collection of exhibits. Antique clothes, armor and weapons, church art and other antiquities are exhibited in eighteen rooms of the museum.
The history of the castle dates back to the 12th century, its owners were the Hartheim family. In the 16th century the castle was rebuilt in the Renaissance style. At the end of the 19th century, Hartheim belonged to the Catholic Church, which founded a hospital for the disabled and the mentally ill. During World War II, the Nazis set up a euthanasia center in the castle. The castle was reopened to the public in 2002 when it was restored.
The beautiful old castle is today in a state of disrepair. The Ossiach fortress was built in the early 11th century and belonged to the Count of Ozzi. Over the centuries the castle changed owners and names. The name Landskron is mentioned in the XIV century. One of the owners were the Habsburgs. In XVI century the castle was presented to the Order of St. George, but as a result of a lightning strike the castle was almost completely burned down. The Keuvenhüllers rebuilt Landskron. After 1812 the castle was no longer restored.
The graceful castle on the banks of the Danube, built in the 13th century, has a sad history. In the 19th century the castle became the property of the imperial house. Under Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the luxurious palace began to look as we are used to seeing it today. The Archduke d’Este entered into an unequal marriage with the Czech girl Sophia. They were murdered in 1914, and later their sons were sent to camps by the Nazis. Germany confiscated the castle. In 1949 Artstetten returned to Austrian possession.
The history of the castle goes back many centuries, starting in the eighth century. Today the castle is partially preserved. At the end of the XV century it belonged to Emperor Frederick III. Having changed a lot of owners, in the XIX century the castle became first a hospital, then a prison, and then turned into a soldier’s barracks. Nowadays the castle houses a museum that preserves the history of Upper Austria and of the city of Linz.
Romanesque fortress was built in the 13th century on the border of Austria and Bavaria. In the 14th century, disputes over ownership of Kufstein arose between the Austrians and the Bavarians. Disagreement turned into hostilities. For many centuries the fortress passed into the possession of Bavarian and Austrian lands. Nowadays there is a historical museum in the Austrian castle.
The first mention of the castle dates back to the XII century. The luxurious appearance of the castle gained under the owners of the dynasty of the counts of Herberstein. Inside the castle has the same splendor as outside. The castle is surrounded by numerous beautiful gardens. On the castle grounds there is a working zoo with many species of animals, a luxurious park and the Rose Pavilion, as well as the Geronkoli Museum.
Medieval castle was built in the 13th century. In different historical periods it belonged to the Austrians and the Hungarians. At the end of the XX century the castle became part of the Austrian Burgerland. In the castle there are well preserved medieval wall frescoes. Today, there is a Peace Museum in the castle, and stylized knightly tournaments are organized on the grounds of Schlaining.
The elegant and beautiful castle, standing directly on the lake, was built in the 16th century. Around the castle stretches an extensive English park, created at the end of the XVIII century. The castle had its Neo-Gothic style in the XIX century under the new owner, Count Alois von Stepper. The interior of the castle was remade in the English style. The castle is now a private property. However, the park around the castle is open to tourists.
The ancient fortress was built around the 11th century and consisted of the Upper and Lower Castles. The Lower Castle is well preserved to this day, while the Upper Castle was badly damaged during the construction of the tunnel. The fortress is distinguished by its tall and powerful tower, built on a rock. Nowadays Falkenstein is a private property in Carinthia.
The ancient castle, called Wachau’s guardian, has towered over the Danube for many centuries. The name of the castle first occurs in the twelfth century. In the 17th century, a monastery was built next to the castle. Surrounded by dense forests the majestic castle is no longer accessible to tourists as it is privately owned.
This ancient castle in the Burgerland lands is situated in a unique nature park. The castle retains the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. The Lokenhaus has a restored knight’s hall and castle chapel with frescos from the 13th century, a knight’s museum has been established, and there is even a torture chamber in the basement. The castle is in excellent condition, and many of the buildings have survived. You can see archery contests and knightly tournaments at Lokenhouse.
The castle, built in the Renaissance style, was erected in the 16th century. The luxurious castle is a jewel of Lower Austria. Schallaburg is distinguished by its rich interior. During World War II it was occupied by Soviet soldiers. In 1955 the castle was returned to the ownership of the Austrian lands and after restoration became a museum.
The Romanesque castle from the 12th century, belonging to the Lichtenstein dynasty, has an unusual architectural appearance. The narrow castle with jagged turrets and balconies stands on the edge of the Vienna Woods in Lower Austria. Over the centuries, the castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times. The castle is currently owned by the Lichtenstein family.
In ancient times this ancient Tyrolean fortress served as a place of rest during long military campaigns. In XII century on the territory of the castle a chapel was built. In XV century the castle was seized by Bavarian troops. During the ownership of the castle by the Fuggers, Matzen changed its Gothic style. The castle now serves as a six-story comfortable hotel and is privately owned.
An ancient castle in Kapfenberg in Styria was the starting point of the Stubenberg crusades to the East in the 13th century. Today the castle houses an armory and a torture chamber. Recently, archaeologists found an alchemical laboratory. Nowadays there is a museum in the castle and various cultural events are held there.
The magnificent castle, built in the 15th century, is situated in picturesque surroundings and is much loved by tourists. Today the fairy tale castle is a four-star hotel. From a small hunting chateau Prilau over time turned into a magnificent fortress. In the 20th century the Porsche family founded a high-class hotel there after considerable renovation.
The fortress was built on the river Inn at the end of the 13th century. During the Renaissance under Maximilian I, significant changes took place in the castle, and the medieval fortress acquired Gothic features. The castle enlarged considerably, the interior was changed as well. Now the castle is owned by the family of Count Hess-Entzenberg. However, the castle is a public museum.
The castle, built in the 14th century, is located near Vienna, on the border with Hungary, belongs to the land of Burgenland. In the Middle Ages the castle served as protection against raids of the Turks. In XVII century the castle greatly expanded. In the 19th century the castle acquired the status of a museum, which has a large collection of antiquities, as well as medieval weapons and works of art.
A medieval castle from the 12th century rises above the Danube in Lower Austria. The fortress is poorly preserved until the present day. However, many tourists want to find themselves in the ancient ruins and admire the beautiful scenery. In the castle there were many uprisings, there were long sieges, and some owners of the castle went down in history because of their greed and cruelty.