Dotted amidst the towering Alps, Austria is home to a wealth of fairytale-like castles. In fact, Austria’s fortresses are so widely renowned, they inspired JK Rowling to create the fictional Nurmengard Castle in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. From Schloss Ort to the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, these are Austria’s finest castles.
In 1622, the Hungarian Esterházy family came into possession of the Schloss Esterházy, which, even then, was already 300 years old. It is still owned by the same family and is a popular visitor attraction in the easternmost province of Austria. The most famous room of the palace is the historic banquet hall, which is named Haydn Hall. In the 18th century, Joseph Haydn worked for 30 years as a conductor for the princely family. Appreciate the classical music of this composer and more at the Haydn Festival, held every September at the castle.
Until 1918, this Vienna castle was the political centre of Austria’s monarchy, where the Wiener Kongress met. Even today, it is still the centre for political business and the official seat of the president of the Republic of Austria. There are several buildings that form the Hofburg, including the Spanische Hofreitschule, the court’s school for its horses that is known around the world, and the Austrian National Library. If you’re around on a Sunday, pop into the Gothic Imperial Chapel, where the Vienna Boys’ Choir performs every Sunday.