Staying in a castle is a romantic dream, but you can make it a reality. These castles across Europe are open to the public as bed and breakfasts.
England's Langley Castle Hotel, which offers 18 guest rooms, has retained its architectural integrity since the reign of King Edward III in the 1300s. A local historian purchased the property in 1882 and set about to restore it. One of the castle's unique features is the Southwest Garderobe Tower, which is home to a dozen garderobes (medieval latrines).
Chateau de Tennessus is an authentic French castle, dating back to at least the 1300s. Through the years, it has been owned by various families and at several points in history was ordered to be destroyed. Four guest rooms (each with a modern private bath) are available in the main castle, each about 10 x 10 meters and virtually unchanged from the 14th century.
Four miles north of Aix-en-Provence, France, guests will encounter Chateau de Grimaldi. The entire 17th-century chateau, with 11 bedrooms and nine baths, is available for rent and features extensive gardens and terraces, a 16th-century 1,700-square-foot chapel, a 12th-century tower, antique fountains, a tennis court, and an outdoor pool bordered by 17th-century palace ruins.
Chateau de Jonvilliers has five guest rooms in a wooded area not far from Paris, Versailles and Chartres. It is located in Ecrosnes, southwest of Paris.
France's Loire Region is home to Chateau de Ranton, a 14th-century building, with accommodations for 12 guests in seven bedrooms, which can be rented in its entirety. Encircled by a dry moat, the castle's ramparts enclose the property's main structures and the courtyard gardens.
A 17th-century castle that can be rented in its entirety is Chateau de Villette, located 35 minutes northwest of Paris near Versailles. This chateau provides 11 bedrooms, 11 full baths, and three half baths as well as a professional gourmet kitchen. On the 185-acre grounds, guests can enjoy the tennis court, outdoor pools and fountains, gardens flanked by two lakes, chapel and reception rooms, guest house and horse stable.
Located on 350 acres in Recess, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland, Ballynahinch Castle overlooks the Ballynahinch Salmon River and is surrounded by the Twelve Bens Mountain Range. There are 40 rooms (standard, superior and luxury rooms and riverside suites) in this luxury hotel.
Cregg Castle, north of Galway City, Ireland, was constructed in 1648. It was the last fortified castle -- high walls and turrets -- built west of the river Shannon. The castle sits on 165 acres of woods and farmland but is only 15 minutes from Galway City's shopping and nightlife.
It's not difficult to understand the lure of staying in Darver Castle, a 15th-century building located 40 minutes from Dublin International Airport. The courtyard is approached through a medieval arched gateway and the castle allows guests to experience the life of nobility in centuries gone by. Today, Darver Castle offers nine bedrooms, including three with Jacuzzis, plus a Swedish spa in a castle tower and a gym with a sauna.
Rebuilt in 1969 on the site of the original castle, Dupplin Castle (in Perth, Perthshire, Ireland) stands on 30 acres of private parkland. Guests can enjoy many activities nearby, including visits to other castles, distilleries, polo, golf, salmon fishing and pheasant hunting. This inn offers individual guest rooms or the entire castle can be rented for family or party occasions.
At the medieval Castello Ripa d'Orcia in San Quirico d'Orcia, Siena, Italy, there are six guest rooms (with continental breakfast included) and seven self-catering apartments.
Located near Tobermory on the northern tip of the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland, the 1860 Glengorm Castle provides five B&B rooms, all with lovely views. The photo gallery on this site boasts spectacular shots of the ocean, sky, meadows, forests and other attractions near the castle. There are also two self-catering flats in the castle and six self-catering cottages on the grounds; children and dogs are welcome at the cottages.