Castles have long captured the imaginations of European royalty, who dotted the Old World with them starting in the 9th century. The enduring appeal of such grand estates lies not only in the muscular nature of their design—which often feature moats, keeps, and battlements—but in their downright palatial size, some clocking in at thousands of square feet and encompassing hundreds of acres. We’ve rounded up the five most majestic properties currently on the market, from a $3.4 million Victorian-era estate in the Scottish Highlands to a $17.8 million fortification north of Bordeaux.
Set amid 408 acres a couple of hours northeast of Bordeaux, the imposing Château de Montbrun dates from 1179. Although pillaged then rebuilt in the 1430s, the 16-bedroom manor nonetheless retains its original eight-story crenellated tower and medieval moat, while its current owners have added luxuries like radiant-heat floors and an elevator, cinema room, and sauna. Listed as a historic monument, the site is where Richard the Lionheart is said to have died from a wound sustained during a siege of a nearby castle.
Dating from 1885, this storybook Victorian pile is located outside Glasgow, at the edge of the Scottish Highlands. The current owners acquired the 11-bedroom retreat, dubbed Craigallian, in the 1990s, maintaining original decorative features such as inlaid oak paneling, fleur-de-lis plasterwork, and elaborate cornices while modernizing spaces like the kitchen—which was outfitted by kitchen-design firm Clive Christian. A veritable sporting haven, the rambling 340-acre property features a large trout-stocked lake and boathouse, horse stables, and a charming two-bedroom sandstone cottage with its own conservatory and garden.
To help safeguard Spain’s southern coast in the 1620s, King Philip IV ordered a fortress be built on a nearby mountainside overlooking the Mediterranean. In 1929, with the stronghold long abandoned, the Count of Mieres asked the French firm Lahalle et Levard to craft a majestic 27,000-square-foot neo-Moorish palace on the 1.5-acre parcel. Refurbished as a luxe eight-key hotel a decade ago, the property retains original elements like Mauméjean stained-glass windows, wrought-iron chandeliers, and marble floors—not to mention the ancient ruins, now presiding over the lush terrace.