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Plan a Castle-Packed Trip to Austria

by Debra Bokur

Nov 9, 2023

© Alexander Tolstykh | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

Does your family include a princess or a knight in training? Travel to Austria may not include any fire-breathing dragons or magical frogs, but if soaring castles will suffice, the country definitely has plenty to offer. With hundreds of castles and palaces to visit, selecting just a few can be a challenge. As a bonus, many offer lodging accommodations.


We’ve got a few suggestions sure to please, with imposing and fabulous addresses ranging from Middle Ages and Renaissance architecture to the glamour of Baroque design — each with its own tale to tell.


A UNESCO World Heritage site, Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna was once home to Austrian Emperor and King of Hungary Franz Joseph and his wife Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Explore the palace’s opulence and history, then settle in for the night. The Schloss Schönbrunn Suite, in the East Wing of the palace, can accommodate up to four persons and consists of two bedrooms, a salon, living room, kitchenette and two bathrooms. Views from the windows overlook the palace park and the Gloriette, Neptune Fountain and the Privy Garden.


In the state of Tirol, Schloss Fernsteinsee rests atop a hill overlooking Fernsteinsee Lake. Its existence can be traced to 1519 and among its past occupants was Ludwig II. Surrounded by nature and filled with restored antique furnishings, it’s also available for overnight guests. In addition to Hotel Schloss Fernsteinsee within the main structure, visitors traveling in family groups can opt for the property’s mountain chalet, located a short, five-minute walk from the hotel.


A former hunting palace, Schönau Castle in Lower Austria was built above a labyrinth of subterranean caves. Set amidst a park of landscaped gardens and ancient, majestic trees about 15 miles south of Vienna, the property features the Temple of the Nights — an underground grotto sure to fuel your family’s imagination. The castle is available for weddings and events.


At Burg Clam in Upper Austria, records date back to 1149. Over the centuries, the Counts of Clam expanded the original property to include a nuclear shelter in one of the castle’s cellars, several farmhouses, forested land and a riding school. Stay overnight in the bed-and-breakfast facilities and explore the grounds and museum, now under the direction of real-life ancestor Count Carl Philip Clam Martinic. Choose a restored bedroom with original 18th-century interiors and other historic features, or a modern, renovated suite.


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