Fit for a king or queen—or your whole royal family—these castles located in delightful destinations around Europe invite you and your kin or friends for an unforgettable stay in settings right out of a history book.
Rentals don’t get more historic than Duns Castle, a 12-bedroom castle an hour south of Edinburgh. Dating in parts from 1320, it played a role in the movement to protect Scotland’s freedom of worship in 1639. At the heart of a vast estate, it features its own nature reserve and forest trails and offers bespoke activities including falconry, archery, clay-pigeon shooting, nature tours, and wine and whisky tastings. Or if you’re here to simply hang out and have fun with your clan, head for the croquet lawn, tennis court, or full-size billiards table.
Gorgeously renovated, this 10-bedroom red-brick château boasts an array of sociable spaces, from an elegant dining room to an outdoor swimming pool, a billiards table, and a vast games room with table tennis, pétanque, and more. But there are also plenty of options to carve out some “me” time, including a fishing pond and a wellness space with a massage room, sauna, and steam room. Rooms are vast, with polished wooden floors and stylish classical decor. There’s also a sleek modern kitchen for entertaining—though Burgundy’s capital, Tournus, just nine miles away, lures with its Michelin-starred restaurants.
Live like Victorian aristocrats in this splendid country retreat with 12 sumptuous bedrooms and bathrooms, nestled amid the dramatic scenery of the Peak District. The perfect party pad, it has three dining tables, each seating 32 (including one in the light-flooded conservatory and one outside on the patio), open fireplaces, a home theater, a bar-lounge, and a games annex in the former coach house. The outdoors also beckons vacationers to play croquet on the lawn; stroll around the private parkland, formal gardens, and ornamental lake; or simply sneak a Pimms on the terrace.
Utterly unique, this turreted Art Nouveau castle in Catania combines classic interiors with to-die-for views of both the Ionian Sea and Mount Etna. For the best vista, bag a bedroom in one of the two turrets, or head for the roof terrace. Sleeping 10, the property lies in gardens lush with a lemon orchard, bougainvillea, rose bushes, and palm trees, plus a sparkling outdoor pool filled with mineral-rich water from a nearby well and surrounded by loungers. While feeling hidden away from the world, you’re within strolling distance of a beach, bathing decks, and local restaurants, gelateria, and bars.
Lord over the green hills of Munster from the vantage point of this imposing 19th-century castle. Sleeping up to 16, the Castle of Lisheen is surrounded by its own elegant grounds. Impeccably restored and oozing character, it combines antique furnishings with all the mod cons you need for the perfect getaway with family or friends, including a professional kitchen for those who don’t wish to use the optional catering service. The location means it’s easy to explore much of central and southern Ireland on day trips, with nearby attractions including the Rock of Cashel, Kilkenny Castle, and Holy Cross Abbey.
Endowed with vaulted frescoed ceilings, vast airy rooms, and a rustic kitchen, this one-of-a-kind apartment sleeping nine is part of a picture-postcard 12th-century castle with a tower modelled on the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, just a short hop away. Set on an extensive estate of vineyards and olive groves with enchanting views over the surrounding Chianti region, the castle features 18th-century gardens with a swimming pool, plus its own restaurant. For provisions, the charming little village of Montagnana is just a few minutes’ walk away.
Fabulous for family reunions, birthday parties, and all manner of celebrations, this positively palatial five-star château in the depths of the countryside in central France sleeps a whopping 60 people in comfort and style. Spaces in which everyone can spread out and do their own thing include an outdoor pool (lit up for evening dips), a tennis court, a Jacuzzi, a fitness room in the former orangery, a putting green and driving range, and several bars and terraces. There’s also the private estate with its parkland and forest for wandering at will.