The 10 most beautiful castles in Austria

30 best castles in 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. The breathtaking 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 knightly tournaments and medieval balls.

Austria’s most beautiful castles

Medieval castles and royal palaces, list, photos with names and descriptions!

Hohensalzburg

This ancient Romanesque castle was built more than nine centuries ago in Salzburg and was originally small in size, but over time it became 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.

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Eggenberg

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.

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Kreuzenstein

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.

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Hochosterwitz

The majestic old castle rises on a 160-metre high cliff. In the IX century the possessions of the castle belonged to the then Slovenian principality, now 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.

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Ambras

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 arms museum were opened.

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Schlosberg

Built in the early twelfth century in the city of Graz, the castle later became the residence of the emperors. From the fifteenth century until 1809, Schlosberg was never invaded despite attempts by Napoleon’s army to invade the castle. 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.

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Hohenwerfen

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.

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Riegersburg

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.

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Graz Castle

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.

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Rosenburg

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.

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Schattenburg

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 the eighteen rooms of the museum.

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Hartheim

The history of the castle goes back to the 12th century, it was owned by the Hartheim family. In the 16th century the castle was rebuilt in Renaissance style. At the end of the 19th century, Hartheim belonged to the Catholic Church, which built 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.

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Landskron

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.

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Artstetten

The elegant 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 its owner, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the sumptuous 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.

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Linz Castle

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.

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Kufstein

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.

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Herberstein

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.

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Schlaining

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.

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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.

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Falkenstein

The ancient fortress was built around the 11th century and consisted of an upper and lower castle. The Lower Castle is well preserved to this day, and 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.

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Schönbühel

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.

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Lokenhouse

An old castle in Burgerland is located in a unique nature park. The castle retains the atmosphere of the Middle Ages. In Lokenhaus the Knights’ Hall and the castle chapel with frescoes of the 13th century have been restored, 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.

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Schallaburg

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.

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Liechtenstein

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.

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Matzen

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.

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Oberkapfenberg

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.

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Prilau

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.

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Tratzberg

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.

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Forchtenstein

The castle, built in the 14th century, is located near Vienna, on the border with Hungary, belongs to the Burgenland. In the Middle Ages the castle served as protection against attacks 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.

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Aggstein

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.

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