World's 10 Most Captivating Castles
They're grand, historic fortresses, and to see the best of them you have to go to Europe -- or check out these photos.
Windsor CastleWith a Queen Victoria statue and a flow of tourists in the foreground, Windsor Castle is the official residence of the royal British family in Berkshire. At 900 years old, Britain's Windsor Castle is the largest occupied castle and oldest royal residence in the world.
Château de ChambordThe castle of Chambord is the largest of the Loire castles. It was built between 1519 and 1547 near a bend in the river Cosson, a tributary river of Beuvron which then throws itself into the Loire. In 1981, it was named a World Heritage site by UNESCO. 960 1280
Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CAPerched above the California coast, Hearst Castle is a 70,000-square-foot Spanish-inspired castle built for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The largest house at Hearst Castle, known as Casa Grande, is composed of 115 rooms, 38 bedrooms, 30 fireplaces, 42 bathrooms and 14 sitting rooms. 960 1280
The Neptune Pool, Hearst CastleThe Neptune Pool is designed with marble and serpentine tiles and antique elements, including Mediterranean-style sculptures. The pool contains 345,000 gallons of water, which is enough to fill 15 average-sized pools. 960 1280
Celestial Suite, Hearst CastleLocated at the top of the Hearst Castle tower is the Celestial Suite, which was once described as being “inside a jewel box.” Adorned with gold accents, the 16th- century suite has beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding grounds and California coastline. 960 1280
Villa Belvedere, San FranciscoVilla Belvedere, located 4 miles from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, has 7 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms and wraparound terraces boasting 360-degree views of the San Francisco Bay, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito and Alcatraz. 960 1280
Master Bathroom, Villa BelvedereThe villa’s master bathroom was designed using Calcutta marble and limestone materials, and has an unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge. 960 1280
Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NCLocated in Asheville, NC, Biltmore Estate is America’s largest private home. Designed by George Vanderbilt, the 250-room, chateau-inspired estate opened in 1895, and sits on 8,000 acres of land in the Appalachian’s beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. 960 1280
Observatory, Biltmore EstateThe 2-story observatory is located at the top of the main entrance tower in the center of the house, and was designed so Vanderbilt and his guests could enjoy views of the estate’s grounds. The lower level of the observatory (pictured above) features a sitting area that provides views of the front of the house. 960 1280
Old Westbury Gardens, Old Westbury, NYLocated in Old Westbury, NY, Old Westbury Gardens is the former home of Carnegie Steel executive John S. Phipps. The English-inspired mansion sits on more than 200 acres of beautifully landscaped property that consists of gardens, fountains ponds and woodlands. 960 1280
The Mansion at MGM Grand, Las VegasLocated on the grounds of the largest hotel in the US, The Mansion at MGM Grand is a 290,000-square-foot, 18th-century, Tuscan-inspired villa with a 125-foot-tall glass domed atrium. If The Mansion is not being occupied by members of the royal family, celebrities or high rollers, rooms can be rented at a cost between $5,000 and $20,000 per night. 960 1280
Private Courtyard, The Mansion at MGM GrandMansion guests will be picked up from the airport in a Rolls-Royce Phantom and will be greeted by a chauffeur upon their arrival through The Mansion’s private courtyard gates. 960 1280
Mega Mansions Pictures 22 Photos