69 Abandoned Castles You Can Actually Explore [MAP]

Last Updated on November 29, 2020 by Urbex Underground

Do you love old abandoned castles? If so, you’re in the right place. In this article we’ll explore 69 abandoned castles across the world that you can plan trips to. Feel free to check out the map below.

Last Updated on November 29, 2020 by Urbex Underground

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If you’re looking to dive deeper into the world of urban exploration, this book is for you. Learn how to uncover more abandoned places and the techniques used to capture their beauty.

1. Takeda Castle

abandoned castles in japan

Often referred to as ‘Japan’s Machu Picchu’, Takeda-jo-seki is one of the most isolated and well known abandoned castles in all of Japan. From a distance the castle ruins almost appear to float above the clouds.

The castle was originally built in 1441 by Otagaki Mitsukage who eventually become lord to the property. After changing hands a few times, the last lord of the castle, Akamatsu Hirohide fought during the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He was eventually accused of arson after the war and chose to commit seppuku. Since his death the castle has been abandoned for nearly 400 years.

Getting to the ruins is about a 40 minute hike from the top of Yamajiro-no-Sato.

2. Hugstein Castle

abandoned castles in eastern france

In 1227 Hugo (Hugues) de Rothenbourg built this castle into the unforgiving hillsides of eastern France. Over the years this castle has fallen victim to failed restorations, and family quarrels about money and property.

This quarrel drug on for years and left the castle in a state of disrepair during the dispute. Ironically once the courts decided who would inherit the castle, lightening had stuck the fortress, causing even further damage. Eventually, the castle was turned into a prison in the 1700s where witches and Lutherans were locked up

3. Azuchi Castle

Unlike many abandoned castles scattered across the world, Azuchi Castle wasn’t built for war, it was built for luxury. When Niwa Nagahide constructed this castle in 1576 for Oda Nobunaga, he wanted to both impress and intimidate his rivals by blending opulence directly into his fortress.

Behind the 5 meter thick walls were private chambers, audience halls, and countless religious artwork and artifacts. The castle eventually stretched beyond just a single structure and slowly walled in the surrounding areas. Here Nobunaga could keep his generals and soldiers safe.

In the summer of 1582, Nobunaga died and the castle was captured by Akechi Mitsuhide, who had betrayed him years earlier. A few weeks later the castle was set on fire. No one is sure exactly who burned it down, but historians theorize that it was either looting townspeople, or possibly Nobunaga’s own son.

Today only a few lone walls and a large stone foundation are left of this once grandiose castle.

4. Fort San Lorenzo

abandoned castles in panama

Sitting quietly on the mouth of the Chagres River in Panama is Fort San Lorenzo. Back in the 1500s you couldn’t just get next day delivery on all of your gold and spices, so having a well protected trade route was key to growing any empire. King Phillip II knew this, and ordered the fort to be constructed to ward off the increasing number of pirates that were attacking nearby ships.

The fort was completed in 1601, but only 69 years later (nice) it was destroyed by Sir Henry Morgan. Mr Morgan was long from a proper ‘sir’ and was notorious for pillaging settlements and wiping out villages along the nearby islands. Ten or so years later the fort was restored and also served as a makeshift prison.

As piracy declined and the steamboat became more popular, the usefulness of Fort San Lorenzo began to dwindle. The fort has been left abandoned since the mid 1800s.

5. Fort Alexander

An abandoned castle in russia

In the Golf Of Finland an ominous looking fort rises above the water. This now abandoned castle was constructed in 1838 to serve as a strategic armament against attacks from the Baltic waterway. Surprisingly this fort never saw battle, and was used to store ammunition in it’s early life.

This now abandoned castle did however fight a different type of enemy. The plague. In 1897 the fort was retrofitted to become a plague prevention and research facility. Working conditions were far from safe, and it’s reported that two people died due to lack of proper equipment. The lab was shutdown in 1917.

The fort has been abandoned ever since. You can now take boat tours to explore the castle for yourself.

6. Dunnottar Castle

abandoned castles in scotland

This picturesque castle is located off the northeastern coast of Scotland, about two miles south of Stonehaven. Dating back to the mid 15th century, only castle ruins remain on the cliffside. Since then the castle had fallen into decline starting in the late 17th century.

Dunnottar Castle was famously known for being the place where the Scottish crown jewels were hidden from Oliver Cromwell’s army in the 17th century. With only one way to approach the castle, and protected by a 160 foot cliffside, this made for a near perfect defensive position.

Today some of castle features have been restored, and it is open to the public for exploration.

7. Kilchurn Castle

Another stunning fort on the Scottish coastline is the ancient Kilchurn Castle. Built in the mid 15th century this castle had seen its fair amount of abuse. Between several serious battles over the years, the abandoned castle had fallen victim to lightening damage as well as severe flooding from the nearby Loch Awe.

By 1760 the entire castle was abandoned due to unrepaired damage over the years. While the castle is in ruins, it is protected by the Historic Environment Scotland group.

8. Dunstanburgh Castle

abandoned castle with sheep in England

Surrounded by lazy sunbathing sheep, Dustanburgh Castle ruins is tucked between two small villages in northern England. The castle was built in the early 1300s utilizing the landscapes natural defenses as well as the remnants of ancient Iron Age earthworks.

The castle changed hands many times over the years and played a key strategic role in the Wars of the Roses, where Dustanburgh was used as stronghold. 19th century folklore depicts a knight ‘Sir Guy the Seeker’ who rescues a noble lady who was trapped in a crystal tomb. Many variations of this story involving wizards and other

The castle was eventually sold as private property and became abandoned in 1920 as the last owners could no longer afford to maintain the castle.

9. Dunluce Castle

abandoned Dunlunce castles in ireland

At the tip of Northern Ireland sits Dunlunce Castle where the McDonnell Clan once ruled and resided. The castle was constructed in the 13th century and once boasted two 30 foot drum towers at it’s east end.

Legend has it that as the castle fell into disrepair, the entire kitchen collapsed into the ocean below. The only survivor was a young boy who was perched on a chair in a corner that didn’t collapse. Over the next hundred years more of the north and east wall would succumb to erosion.

10. Bewcastle Castle

Bewcastle Castle protrudes from the flat English countryside as sheep periodically graze the surrounding area. The first castle built on this land dates back to 1092, when the Romans used this same plot of land for their defenses.

The castle was nearly destroyed in 1173, but then rebuilt towards the end of the 14th century. Over time the castle again would face decay and neglect only adding to its demise. Locals took advantage of the free resources and used much of the abandoned castle for their own buildings and land.

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11. Penrith Castle

Not much is documented about Penrith Castle, we do however know that it was likely to have been built by the Romans between 1399 and 1470 to defend against Scottish raiders. It had served many families before being sold to the Lancaster & Carlisle Railway company in in 1787.

It was used mostly for storage by the company until the abandoned castle was acquired by the district council who turned the land into a park.

12. Brougham Castle

Built in the early 13th century, Broughham Castle was a hardy stone keep that played an important role in the Wars of Scottish Independence. In 1296 the castle was outfitted with reinforced stone walls and defenses for protection from the Scots.

While the defenses were impressive, they could not withstand the persistent attacks from the Scottish, and in 1388 the castle was captured and ransacked. Later on the castle would take on a few private owners, but would ultimately fall into decay in 1592.

It was briefly restored in the late 1600s only to be left completely abandoned in 1714.

13. Workington Hall

This building resembles more of a fortified house than a castle, but has lasted just as long. Constructed in 1404, Mary, Queen of Scots wrote a letter from Workington Hall to Queen Elizabeth I after disguising herself has an ordinary women to reach Workington.

The castle was repurposed into a war office at the beginning of WWII and suffered serious damage from an accidental fire. It has been largely unused ever since.

14. Lowther Castle

abandoned castles in England

While this castle isn’t abandoned it was way too stunning not to at least mention. John Lowther rebuilt his family home in the 17th century into now what is known as Lowther Castle.

During the World War II the property was used by a tank regiment Luckily the castle didn’t suffer any damage during the war. The property sat empty for many years and all of its contents were removed in the 1940s.

Today the property is preserved by English Heritage as well as the original owners, the Lowther Estate.

15. Barnard Castle

ruins of Bernard castle

This castle was built in the 12th century by a man by the name of Bernard de Balliol, whom both the castle and town were named after. After the castle was passed down a number of generations in the Balliol family, it eventually fell into ruin.

The entire site is now protected by the English Heritage group.

16. Brough Castle

Brough Castle is yet another ancient ruin that’s scattered across the English countryside that was dates back to the time of the Romans. In 1092 Brough was built to protect a key trade route that existed through the Pennine Mountains.

In the 1260s the castle was purchased by a family who wished to live in it. During a Christmas party a fire broke out that partially destroyed the entire building. The castle was abandoned for nearly 400 years until it was renovated and repaired in 1659.

Oddly enough another fire broke out in the newly renovated castle in 1666 and left the property uninhabitable. Today the castle is recognized as a protected site and it managed by English Heritage.

17. Pendragon Castle

Just on the bend of the Eden River in Cumbria England lies the remains of the Pendragon Castle. Despite it’s name there were no dragons, at least none that could be verified. Legends states that the castle was constructed by Uther Pendragon, who was the father of King Arthur.

Historians put the construction of Pendragon somewhere in the 12th century and have even found roman coins and other artifacts dating back over 500 years. After being attached by Scottish raiding parties in 1541 much of the castle was destroyed. Repairs would be done in the 1660s until the owner passed away. The heir to the castle had no desire to keep it and removed everything of value, event stripping the down the lead roofs. This further accelerated the castles decay.

Pendragon now sits on private property, but can be viewed from a public road.

18. Burneside Hall

The towering mossy walls of Burneside Hall have stood the test of time for 700 years. Unlike most abandoned castles on this list, Burneside remained in Braithwaite family for the next seven generations. The castle is now part of an active farm and remains at risk to decay and erosion.

19. Kendal Castle

This abandoned castle has a quite short and uneventful documented history, but that doesn’t take away from it’s ruined beauty. Kendal Castle was built at the turn of the 13th century for the Lancaster family, who were well known Barons of Kendal.

As time went on, marriages and other events should slowly grow the family apart. This also distanced them from their castle home, leaving it abandoned. 700 years of weather and neglect has left only ruins standing.

20. Hazelslack Tower

Hazelslack is not only a fun word to say, but is also one of those abandoned castles you wouldn’t quite expect to stumble upon. This Pele tower was built in the late 14th century and was initially part of a much larger structure that was connected to it’s east side.

Today, sheep roam the castle yard and the castle remains abandoned. The farm is on private property, but it easily visible from a nearby path.

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21. Arnside Tower

Arnside Tower was built right on the border of England and southern Scotland in the mid 15th century. Its position on the border was purposeful, and meant to deter what were known as ‘Border Reivers’, which were essentially angry Scottish raiders on horseback.

The tower once stood 50 feet tall and 34 feet wide, making this an intimidating sight for anyone would be bandit. The tower had been mostly abandoned since the late 18th century, and is currently considered vulnerable to further damage.

22. Gleaston Castle

The abandoned Gleaston castle has suffered a long history of neglect and abandonedment, almost as if no one had really wanted it. The castle was constructed in the 1400s for 1st Baron John Hartington. The castle was passed down through the Hartington family until eventually falling into the hands of William Bonville through marriage. William must have been a baller, because he completely deserted it and left it to decay.

Throughout the 1500s the property was depicted as being left in ruins. Today what’s left of the castle isn’t open to the public, and several archeological digs have taken place on the land.

23. Olsztyn Castle Ruins

abandoned castles in poland

What remains of the Olsztyn castle impressively towers over the Polish farmlands, and seems to almost grow out of the mountain side. The now abandoned Olsztyn castle was just one of many fortifications constructed by King Casimir III in the 14th century.

Embedded directly into the limestone rock, this fortress would have been incredibly difficult to seize or assault. However this did not stop several invasions during the 15th century. As warfare advancements were made, the castles defenses were found to be obsolete, thus leaving it to become abandoned.

24. Aughnanure Castle

This abandoned castle is not only impressive, but it’s a complete mouthful to say. Constructed on the western edge of Ireland in the 1600s, Aughnanure was just one of many castles the wealthy O’Flaherty family had owned. After being captured in 1572 by Sir Edward, the castle saw a bit of action during military maneuvers that took place by the nearby lake.

Private owners foreclosed on the castle and it was eventually taken by Lord St George. Since then the castle had been abandoned, and is now cared for by the Office of Public Works.

25. Criccieth Castle

Located in North Whales, this decaying castle built all the way back in the 1230s and served originally as a Welsh stronghold. After that, the castle became home to a Welsh constable who’s nickname as Howell the Axe, who earned that name during at battle in 1356. The castle served as both his home, and a prison.

In 1404 the castle was captured during a rebellion. Rather than keeping it, the rioters set fire to the castle. The fire was so intense you can still find evidence of the arson on some of the stone walls.

26. Minard Castle

Watching over the Irish Sea, Minard Castle is one of just a few 16th century castles that are still standing to this day. Not much is left of the castle today, however in its heyday the structure once stood nearly 5 stories tall. In 1650 Cromwell’s army attempted to destroy the tower with explosives but ultimately failed. Talk about tough!

If you ever find yourself in Dingle town, be sure to stop by and give old Minard a visit.

27. Ballycarbery Castle

overgrown abandoned castles in Ireland

Moving to the southern end of Ireland you’ll find the old abandoned Ballycarbery castle covered in moss, one of my personal favorite abandoned castles in Ireland. Ballcarbery’s early history is a bit spotty, but best estimates put the current stone castle at around the 16th century.

The castle once came under cannon fire during the War of the Three Kingdoms in 1652 and emerged nearly unscathed. The mossy beast now its on private land, but is viewable from a nearby parking lot.

28. Carew Castle

Carew Castle was constructed in the 12th century and is great condition considering its age. The castle was even turned into luxurious apartments in the late 15th century. Over years the castle would change hands but eventually come to be owned by the Carew family once again.

Time would eventually have its way with the castle, and in the early 1600s the southern wall collapsed completely. The de Carew family was the last to officially occupy the castle, and they stayed in the uncollapsed section until 1686. It has been abandoned ever since.

30. Fort Mahon

Also known in France as Fort d’Ambleteus, Fort Mahon faces seaward on the beaches of northern France ready to protect the shoreline. Constructed in 1680, Mahon was a unique castle-like fortification that could only be accessed when the tide was low.

The castle remained mostly quite until German forces used Mahon as a prison for forced laborers during the occupation of France in World War II. Later in 1945, two sea mines were detonated on the outer wall, causing significant damage. This was later repaired and restored to its original form. Today, Fort Mahon is one of only a small handful of preserved coastal forts left in the region.

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31. Krzyztopor Castle

abandoned castle in poland

Not much is known about the original creation of Krzyztopor Castle, but best estimates put Krzyztopor’s construction in the early 1600s. The castle had a nice life, that is until the Swedes invaded Poland in 1655. Krzyztopor was so badly pillaged that the damage was deemed to expensive to repair. The occupants moved to the better preserved western-wing, and left the other side abandoned.

Later 1770 in castle would be captured again, this time by Russians. The Russian forces finished off Krzyztopor and left it completely in ruin. By 1787, the entire castle was deserted. To add insult to injury, the compounds was raided again, this time during World War II.

Maybe the castle was cursed from the start? Historians have discovered evidence of black magic within its walls. The architecture is odd and doesn’t follow any known patterns of building for that time and it’s unique symmetry has been thought to obscure hidden meanings and symbols.

32. St Catherine’s Castle

St Catherine’s Castle was built in the mid 1500s due to rumors and fear that France would invade England. The D shaped fortress looked out onto the River Fowey and could easily spot oncoming vessels or advancing troops.

Over the years this defensive castle was updated multiple times during many different conflicts. Once closed in 1815 it was reopened to service in the Crimean War, and then updated again as a defensive measure in World War II.

Rather than becoming abandoned again, the castle was restored to it’s original 1500s condition and is now managed by the English Heritage group as a tourist attraction.

33. Altenstein Castle

abandoned castles in germany

This massive fortress lies in the Lower Franconia region of southern Germany, and is truly a testament to how grand ancient architecture can be. Dating back to 1220, Altenstein was home to at least eight families in its earlier years. While this might seem like a lot of people, you have to keep in mind just how large this compound was.

Due to neglect and the unstable subsoil the castle was especially prone to collapse and damage. It the castle was abandoned a handful of time over the years, but ultimately was donated to the district of Hassberge in 1972.

34. Pidhirtsi Castle

In western Ukraine the Pidhirtsi castle remains almost frozen in time. This unique castle architecture was first brought to life around 1640 and was considered one of the most valuable palace garden complexes on the eastern seaboard.

The castle was extravagant inside with nearly 200 paintings and portraits covering the walls from top to bottom. Marble floors covered nearly all of the first floor with Persian rugs in every room. Spoils of war could frequently be found displayed on bookcases and display tables.

Skip ahead to 1939, Prince Sanguszko anticipated losing much of the treasure to Nazi or Russian forces. Its at this time he packed nearly all the valuables inside and sent them to Romania. After World War II soviets turned the castle into a tuberculosis ward for some time.

The final blow for the castle came in 1956 when the castle almost burned completely down. The fire was so intense it lasted for three weeks, destroying $12 million dollars worth of property. When Ukraine regained their independence from the Soviet Union, there were plans to restore the castle and turn it into a presidential residence. As you can see, that never happened and the castle remains mostly abandoned.

35. Heidelberg Castle

abandoned heidleberg castle

One of the best preserved abandoned castles in all of Germany is Heidelberg Castle. Not only is this castle a key landmark of Heidelberg, but its one of the most Renaissance era structure north of the Alps.

The earliest section of Heidelberg was built in 1214 with multiple additions and repairs spanning over 500 years. It was truly a palace fit for kings, and that’s exactly what it was used for. For hundreds of years the castle remained in operation and under the care of multiple kings and royals. That is until the Fall of 1620.

After a massive defeat during the Battle of White Mountain, Frederick V fled the battlefield and disbanded his troops. As he retreated into Heidelberg the Holy Roman army wasn’t far behind. They laid siege to the castle complex leaving it in complete ruin. The last person to leave the castle ruins lefts in 1649.

French author Victor Hugo strolled through the ruins in 1838 and reflected on this thoughts of the castle.

What times it has been through! Five hundred years long it has been victim to everything that has shaken Europe, and now it has collapsed under its weight.

Victor Hugo 1838

Mark Twain also wrote about Heidelberg Castle in his 1880 travel guide, A Tramp Abroad. He described the castle as having ‘cavernous room like open toothless mouths’ and spoke extensively about how nature had reclaimed this now abandoned castle.

Due to its exposure, this castle is likely one of the most popular abandoned castles in the country.

36. Fleckenstein Castle

This abandoned castle is located in the lush northern tip of France atop a limestone summit. Fleckenstein has a long history starting all the way back to 1165 when the Fleckenstein family first inhabited this stone fortress.

The family remained in private hands until being peacefully captured by the french in towards the end of the 17th century. Life in the castle was peaceful up until 1689 when General Melac completely destroyed the castle. Later restoration attempts were carried out in the late 1800s and again in the early 1900s.

37. Frœnsbourg Castle

Only ruins remain of this abandoned French castle that is firmly built into the side of the cliff side. Much documentation is missing about this castle, however the first mentions of the Frœnsbourg Castle were discovered in 1235. The castle was located in an area where banditry and raiding was prevalent, which resulted in the castle being sacked and sieged multiple times across its lifetime.

Although the castle suffered raids extensively, the castle remained intact until 1677 when it was completely destroyed by the French.

38. Schöneck Castle

This medieval abandoned castle dates all the way back to 1155 and mostly sits in ruin today. The site was the birthplace of the famous painter and sculptor Micheal Pacher, who painted Gothic style scenes and carved ornate wooden sculptures.

Not else is much known about the castles history. Today the castle is privately owned and the chapel hosts some a fresco of Pacher himself.

39. Spiš Castle

In the valleys of Slovakia are the abandoned remains of Spiš Castle, an impressive 12th century fortress built atop a steep hill. The jagged hill was a key strategic point in the region and provided ample defense from invaders across the eastern part of the country.

Over time, renovations were done, the most notable taking place in 1470 by the Zapolya clan. They completely transformed the castle into a more luxurious Gothic style design. Over the years the castle would change hands again until being abandoned by it’s final owners in the 18th century because it was ‘too uncomfortable.’ What pansies.

In 1780 a massive fire ripped through the castle destroying nearly everything inside. The cause for the fire was unknown, but some theorize the fire was actually accidentally started by soldiers making moonshine within its walls. Whatever the reason, the fire sealed the fate of Spiš leaving it abandoned ever since.

40. Wasenbourg Castle

The obscure ruins of Wasenbourg Castle are located in Germany on a hillside just outside the town of Reisberg. While most historians can’t agree on an exact time this castle was built, many believe it was constructed around 1273.

It’s life as a castle was quiet until 1525 when it sustained serious damage during the Peasants’ War. Many think the only thing that saved the castle from total destruction was its impressive shield walloverhangings which were nearly 55 feet tall and 9 feet thick. Abandoned castles like Wasenbourg are known to dot the Germany countryside, but only few are this well preserved.

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41. Greifenstein Castle

This 12th century castle was built by the Greifenstein family among a rocky outcrop above a small village. Rudolf von Greifenstein lived here until he was ordered by the Pope to join the crusades in penance for murdering a Bishop in 1243

By 1300 the Greifenstein family had disappeared without a trace. Whether the family remarried or died completely out is unclear. In the late 1300s the castle was taken over the Matsch family, who were robber knights and used the castle as a base of operations for planning raids. The Matsch bandits were eventually driven out from the castle.

As the bandits were forced to leave, no one took ownership of the castle. By 1550 the castle was noted as completely abandoned, with the roof caving in and collapsing much of the surrounding walls.

42. Grand Geroldseck Castle

In the woods of Alsace, France lies the ruins of Grand Geroldseck Castle. Constructed by Lord Geroldseck himself in the 12th century, this now abandoned chateau served as a feudal residence and defensive position against bandits throughout much of its life.

43. Freudeneck Castle

Overlooking the Mossig river, Freudeneck Castle served as a monitoring castle in ancient times. These smaller castles would serve as an early warning system to alert the larger castles of an impending attack. Today the mossy castle tower is all that remains of this medieval ruin.

44. Nideck Castle

ancient castle ruins of nideck in England

Nideck Castle, (not to be confused with Neideck Castle in Germany) is a fortification first built around 1264 and served as a home for the Bishop of Strasbourg. The castle seemed to always get caught up in regional conflicts but always escaped unscathed. In 1816 the ‘Legend of Nideck’ was featured as a fairy tale in The Brothers Grimm called The Giant’s Daughter.

The story went that giant’s little daughter walked far out into a field and found toys that seemed to be alive. When she brought the ‘toys’ back her father explained that they were actually human men, and were there to tend to the fields to the giants could eat.

45. Guirbaden Castle

Guirbaden Castle is just one of many abandoned castles across France that lies in ruin on private property. Constructed in the 11th century, Guirbaden has suffered hundreds of attacks and assaults over a particularly turbulent 500 year period.

46. Kagenfels Castle

In the forest of Obernai, the crumbling remains of the abandoned Kagenfels Castle can barely hold itself up. Built by Albrecht von Kage in the 12th century. It was passed down throughout his family and then eventually sold. During the Thirty Years War the castle was eventually destroyed and recorded as abandoned in 1664.

47. Dreistein Castle

Dreistein Castle is just one of three castles from the 1300s that line the rocky French promontories. Little is known about these overgrown ruins other than the period they were built, and what can be found through archeological digs.

48. Birkenfels Castle

The rocky remains of Birkenfels Castle are nestled away in the commune of Ottrott in France. Historians place the birth of Birkenfels Castle somewhere around 1260. Hundreds of years ago this castle kept a watchful eye over a critical old Roman road that was heavily used for trading and transportation.

Like many castles in the area, this structure also fell victim to raiding and bombardment during the Thirty Years War. The castle never quite recovered, and has been in a state of disrepair ever since.

49. Andlau Castle

The monolithic ruins of Andlau Castle (Château d’Andlau) are located in none other than the small French town of Andlau. Constructed from hardy granite blocks in 1246, this castle has survived both the tests of time, and the destruction of man.

After being abandoned multiple times, the property was eventually seized as a national asset, and then sold to an private owner. The owner began to dismantle the castle and sell it piece by piece. in 1818 Antoine-Henri d’Andlau purchased the castle, saving it from being disassembled completely.

This is one of the few examples where abandoned castles will get a second chance at life through private ownership.

50. Bernstein Castle (Château du Bernstein)

Bernstein castle in France is among the oldest standing castles in all of Alsace, it’s northern surrounding wall can be dated all the way back to prehistoric times but most of the upper castle dates back to the start of the 11th century. The castle eventually became property of the local Bishop around 1580, whom let it crumble and decay ever since.

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51. Frankenbourg Castle

Located atop an ancient roman site, Frankenbourg Castle boasts a breathtaking view of the plains Alsace. From above you can also see what remains of a pagan wall that was built nearby that dates all the way back to the Iron Age. The 12th century castle has been protected by the French Ministry of Culture since 1898.

52. Échéry Castle

Built by the Duke of Lorraine in 1250, Château d’Échéry was constructed on the peak of a rocky cliff side that had superior view of the land around it. The castle survived two sieges during the 1300s, but would soon find itself in a different kind of quarrel.

Two new families movies in as the original owners passed away. These families fought so viciously that a wall as constructed in the castle to separate them from one another. The castle was well protected by the Knights of Andolshiem and for good reason. The occupants inside were know to be involved in banditry and thievery.

The castle was abandoned during the Thirty Years War and suffered greatly from both neglect and the shifting terrain below it.

53. Castle of Saint-Ulrich

abandoned 16th century castle

Rising above the lush hills of Ribeauvillé, the Castle of Saint-Ulrich has remained firmly planted on the hillside for over 900 years. The design and building techniques used to create the castle is one of the best examples of military architecture from the Middle Ages.

The Ribeaupierre family was the last family to live in the castle during the 16th century, with most of the castle being dismantled and lost during the Thirty Years War.

54. Castle Wineck

abandoned tower in france

Castle Wineck stands tall among acres of vineyards in the French countryside. Wooden and metal scaffolding are the only things keeping this 13th century structure from falling in on itself. In 1866 a historic preservation group purchased the castle and now keeps it maintained.

55. Morimont Castle

castle abandoned during the thirty years war

No one knows for sure when this castle was first constructed but the first mention of Morimont was in 1271 with documents pointing to the first owners of the castle being the Morimont family. Between 1445 and 1468 the castle was heavily damaged during a war between Basel and Swiss. Whatever was left standing was further destroyed in the Thirty Years War when the French blew it up in 1637.

56. Vipava Old Castle

a holy roman era castle left abandoned.

In 1100 Vipava Castle was constructed on the top of Mt. Nanos, a perfect defensive position that had been used since prehistoric times. The castle has had many owners over the years including the ambassador of the Holy Roman Empire to Russia.

During the 1500s Ottomans had raided and seized the castle many times. Over the years the castle became abandoned after sustaining years worth of damage from war and raiders.

57. Fort of Malamot

Fort Malamot is an old abandoned castle located in the northern Cottian Alps. Unlike most abandoned castles on this list, Fort Malamot is much younger than most of the mentioned castles.

Built in 1889 by the Italian Regio Esercito the fortress was designed to house up to 200 soldiers. The fort was again reinforced during the construction of the Alpine Wall in 1940.

After World War II, the need for the fortress waned, and due to it’s extremely dangerous and isolated road, quickly eroded and was abandoned.

During World War II many abandoned castles were used for storage, or as temporary bases.

58. Chateau D’Alleuze

abandoned makeshift prison castle

Alleuze Castle was built in the 13th century by constables who served the Auvergne clan. The castles downfall first started when it was captured by the English during the Hundred Years War. For seven years the castle was used as a base of operations to carry out raids and hold people ransom.

The towns people in the nearby village of Saint-Flour were not happy with this, and set it ablaze in 1405. The original owner was distraught to see his castle destroyed, and decided to rebuilt it based on it’s original design. Later on the rebuilt castle would be captured again in 1575 and turned into a makeshift prison.

After the war, the structured was just one of many abandoned castles scattered across France.

59. Mortella Tower

old destroyed fort on the water in

Designed by the prominent Italian architect Giovan Giacomo in 1563, this massive stone fortress was built to deter and defend attacks from the Barbary pirates who terrorized the region. In 1794 two British warships tried to destroy the tower from sea, but were unsuccessful. Eventually the tower would be sized by a ground invasion.

After continued bombardment the castle tower was left abandoned. When the British were withdrawing from the area in 1796, they blew it up before leaving, leaving it in it’s current state.

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60. Rocca Calascio

abandoned castles in italy

Located in the inhospitable mountain ranges of Abruzzo, Italy, Rocca Calascio was one of the highest fortresses in the area during the 13th century. Built for strictly military purposes, constructions started off as early as the 10th century, and started with a single watchtower and expanded upon over time.

While this castle was fortunate enough to have never seen battle, it was tested by mother nature. In 1461 a whopping magnitude 8 earthquake collapsed much of the castle. The structure was never repaired and left abandoned on the mountain top.

61. Loarre Castle

abandoned castles in spain

Constructed in Spain during the 11th and 12th century, this castle proved to be an important defensive position during the conflicts between the Christians and Muslims. Exactly why this castle was left abandoned is unclear. The castle did get a shot in the limelight as it was featured in the 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven.

62. Crac des Chevaliers

11th century castle ruins

Literally translated to “Fortress of the Knights” this 11th century fortress rests on a risen plateau that overlooks the plains of western Syria. It’s widely recognized as one of the most important preserved medieval castles in the world.

A group called the Knights Hospitaller controlled the castle once it was built in the mid 11th century. This group controlled many castles in the region, but had their work cut out for them maintaining the massive structure. Overtime the Ottomans would take control of the castle. The castle’s purpose took a strange twist when a community was formed inside the castle.

The structure housed over 500 residents who lives inside and around the now abandoned castle. The French gained control over the property, and kicked everyone out in an attempt to repair damages and restore the castle to its ancient condition.

63. Oka Castle Ruins

abandoned castles across japan

High in the mountains overlooking the Japanese village of Taketa, Oka Castle was constructed in 1185 for the famous samurai Minamoto Yoshitsune. Castle housed the Minamoto clan for many years until Shiga Sadatomo took control of the castle in 1332. He expanded on the castle, walling in more of the mountain and making additional improvements.

The castle had this cycle of being captured, and being improved upon until disaster struck twice. In 1769, a massive earthquake struck, damaging much of the castle, and completely destroying one of the Sankai turrets. Only a few years later a fire would break out, destroying many of the buildings inside. By 1871 the castle town was decommissioned. Rather than abandoning the castle entirely, much of the stone and materials were repurposed and dismantled.

64. Golconda Fort

abandoned castles in india

Our next castle takes us to Hyderabad India, where this castle served as an ancient capital city for the Qutb Shahi dynasty in the 15th century. In ancient times the area flourished due to it’s proximity to several resource rich areas. It’s most famous export was diamonds. Some of the largest and most famous demands were discovered in the region.

Jewelry like the Blue Hope diamond and the colorless Koh-i-Noor were all found in the area. These rare diamonds were even dubbed Golconda Diamonds. The castle would stand for hundreds of years until being captured by emperor Mughal of Aurangzeb after an eight month long siege.

Of all the abandoned castles on this list, Golconda Fort is the only castle that served within a capital city.

65. Fasil Ghebbi

abandoned Ethiopian castle

Located in northwest Ethiopia, Fasil Ghebbi was built as a royal fortress in the 17th century for Emperor Fasilldes, and was the home of many other Ethiopian emperors throughout its history. Emperor Fasilldes broke his tradition of progressing to new lands, and built this home to eventually settle the city of Gondar.

66. The Ruins of Talisay

abandoned castles in the Philippines

Commonly refereed to as just ‘The Ruins’, this shell of a modern day castle sits quietly in Talisay City in the Philippines. After sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma lost his wife, he set out to built a massive Italianate style mansion in her memory.

During WWII the mansion was burned to the ground by US backed Filipino guerrillas. The United States wanted to prevent the invading Japanese forces to use the building as a stronghold. Although the fire raged for two days, the sturdy rock frame remained standing, and still stands to this day.

Although this is one of the more modern abandoned castles on this list, it still remains as one of the most impressive structures in the local area.

67. Gwrych Castle

abandoned castles in Wales

On the coast of Wales is one of the most beautiful abandoned castles on our list. Constructed between 1810 and 1825, this residential castle was built by the Lloyd family in the early 1800s in memory of the Lloyd family’s ancient ancestors. The castle ruins that stand today incorporated an even older structure that dates back to the Lloyd’s ancient ancestors from medieval times.

There were even rumors that a flying headless monster roamed the area. Upon further investigation, this headless monster turned out to be nothing more than a black sheep and a trick of the eye. Although this myth was debunked, locals still avoided the road leading to the castle for some time.

During World War II, the castle was used by the government as a part of the Kindertransport program, and housed over 200 Jewish refugees. In the 1980s the castle was a popular hang out spot for scooterists across Britain, unfortunately these crowds would often get drunk and hang from the chandlers or drive their scooters through the stained glass windows.

After being bought and sold many times by eager developers, restoration plans fell through every time. In 2018 the castle was purchased by the Gwrych Preservation Trust who now maintain the grounds.

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68. Restormel Castle

abandoned castles with circular design

Over looking the River Fowey, this circular castle is a rare style of fortification built during the 12th and 13th century. To this day there are only 71 known examples of this type of architecture, with Restormel being the best preserved. The castle was sized several times and saw many battles during the time of Henry III.

Restormel Castle had been abandoned many times throughout its life. In 1337 the castle was abandoned and then again in the early 1400s it was left by its previous owners. In the 1970s it a propsal was made to restore the castle, but that decision was strongly apposed. The ruins are now free for anyone to photograph and explore for themselves.

69. Bannerman Castle

abandoned castles in new york, bannermans castle

On a tiny island in the Hudson River is an ornate castle that seems to have escaped the effects of time. Francis Bannerman VI immigrated from to the United States from Ireland in the mid 1800s. The family had purchased surplus military gear at the close of the American Civil War, and sold these goods in their military surplus store.

As his business grew, so did his needs. Francis needed a place to safely store his thirty million cartridges and explosives, and New York City wasn’t cutting it. In 1900 he purchased the tiny island in the Hudson to safely store his munitions. He constructed the castle strategically to be noticed from traffic towards the west, which helped his sales even further. After Bannermans death in 1918, 200 pounds of shells and power exploded in a building nearby, damaging much of the castle.

As federal regulations limited the sales of explosives to civilians, the businesses slowly came to a halt. After one of the only ferryboats taking people to the island sank in 1950, the island and it’s castle were left completely abandoned. In 1967 the island was purchased by the State of New York, and all explosives were removed.

Today the castle is crumbling in on itself. It has survived fires, vandals, and the harsh Midwest winters. The island is off-limits, but occasionally has hardhat tours provided through the state trust.

So there you have it, 69 abandoned castles you can explore and plan your next trip to. Do you know of any castles that were worthy of the list? Let us know in the comments below.

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