Updated on August 14, 2020 by Asher Fergusson
While castles can be found over the world, there is perhaps no better destination to find them than Europe. Whether your castle trip takes you east, west, or anywhere in-between, our castle trip packing list will have you well prepared for the journey. You’ll also find sections on what to wear on a castle trip, what NOT to bring, and FAQs.
What to Pack for Castles Trip – 17 Essentials
Trekking from castle to castle often involves a lot walking. You may find yourself traversing narrow cobbled streets, crossing ancient bridges, or climbing stairways up steep hills. Make sure you stay hydrated. With a Lifestraw water bottle, you can refill on the go without having to worry as much about the dubious nature of public drinking fountains. The built-in water filter gets rid of 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites.
Wandering the hallways of castles and the gardens is a beautiful proposition—but it can also be a sweaty one, especially if you are traveling during the hot summer months. Even if you are visiting castles during winter or fall, you are bound to get hot simply from climbing up and down stairs and various walkways. Deodorant wipes help you keep fresh on the go.
One of the most spectacular aspects of castles is the view they offer. You’ll want to view the castle from afar, as well as take in the scenery from within its soaring towers. Make sure you bring a set of binoculars that will allow you to gather in all the breathtaking sights.
With thousands of castles across Europe to see, there’s no time to waste. You’ll want to be able to hit the ground running no matter where you’re coming from and where you land. Jet lag pills can help you get on the go more quickly, so not a moment of your vacation time is lost.
6. Neck Wallet
Make sure your money and documents are protected by stowing them safely away within a neck wallet. Not only do they prevent you from leaving your passport on a train, but they discourage pickpockets as well.
It is an often overlooked truth that you can remember to keep every other square inch of your body warm, but if you’ve forgotten your hands, you’ll still feel cold. Make sure your fingers are kept toasty warm with lightweight gloves. You’ll be glad to have them even during the warmer summer months, when evenings can still get chilly.
Whether you are traveling to Italy or Scotland, Wales, or Denmark doesn’t matter much—rain falls just about everywhere in Europe. If you are traveling to greener climates (such as Ireland) rain is almost a certainty. Make sure you are prepared for drizzle with a lightweight umbrella that is easy to carry.
From doorknobs to ticket kiosks, odds are that you will be touching a lot of public surfaces as you travel from castle to castle. Make sure you pack hand-sanitizing wipes to protect yourself from germs.
While you are checking the latest in your social media feed over a cup of coffee at a charming local cafe, something less charming might be occurring right under your nose—, thieves might be hacking into your system. Protect yourself with a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that will help you stay secure. Since you will probably be arranging flights and other travel accommodations while you are on the go, a VPN can be especially critical for protecting all your sensitive data, including your credit card or social security number.
From using foreign language apps, to mapping your favorite lunch spot, to following along with a museum’s online tour guide, your cell phone will probably take quite a beating as you travel. Make sure you have a compact charger to keep it going when you’ve used up all its battery.
13. Chilly Pad
During the summer months, long walks to and from castles can be quite a task. You’ll enjoy the stroll much more if you aren’t constantly longing for the nearest air-conditioned room (which, in castles, isn’t always a guarantee anyway). Stay cool with a chilly pad that stays cold simply by keeping it wet.
Your trek might take you across Europe, where you will encounter different cuisines, languages, customs, and let’s not forget —a variety of unfamiliar power outlet designs. Make sure you pack a power adapter that accommodate any country on your itinerary.
15. Packing Cubes
Stay organized on the go with packing cubes that not only keep things organized, but help free up precious space in your luggage. You’ll be surprised how much room these little storage cubes can free up!
Odds are, you won’t encounter any food that will leave you feeling ill while you are traveling. But if you do, you don’t want it derailing the rest of the trip. After all, there’s a lot of fabulous cuisine you have yet to encounter! Activated charcoal can help detoxify anything that isn’t quite agreeing with your stomach.
The chance that something catastrophic will occur while you are traveling is quite low, but if it does, it can be very expensive. Your primary health insurance might not cover many of the situations you could encounter traveling abroad. When it comes to travel emergencies, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Give yourself peace of mind with a solid insurance policy that addresses all of the unknowns that come with travel.
Other Castles Trip packing list items not to forget
Notebook or journal
TSA-approved travel-sized bottles
Re-usable storage bag
Trail Mix packed in Reusable Snack Bags
Shampoo bar & case
Flip-flops or Sandals
Re-usable storage bag
Swimsuit (for warmer climates)
Travel toilet paper
Electric hand warmer
Travel first aid kit
Stain remover pen
Waterproof phone case
What to Wear on a Castles Trip
If you are traveling in the winter your wardrobe will look much different than if you are traveling in the summer. There are a few rules of thumb that go pretty much year-round, however.
Cardigans, sweaters and other layers to accommodate a range of temperatures from day to night are a wise bet no matter what time of year you are traveling. Jeans might seem cliche but if they are your go-to comfortable jeans at home they are probably a solid go-to for traveling as well. You will be doing a lot of walking, so make sure you pack a good pair of comfortable shoes.
Along your stay you are sure to encounter some of the most gorgeous restaurants you could imagine, so be sure to pack at least one dressier outfit for evenings.
Are you staying overnight in any of the castles along your route? Keep in mind that evenings can be deceptively cool even during the hotter months. If you are traveling in the winter, you will surely find the wintery wonderland of castles in countries like Scotland and England charming—but remember to dress even warmer. That means packing a coat and winter boots.
Below is a sample women’s clothing list.(All items link to Amazon.com for your convenience).
Remember to consider the climate of your castles destination. Italy, for example, might conjure up images of castles in Tuscan valleys where you’ll partake of afternoon strolls through gorgeous vineyards. But during the winter, many of these regions enjoy blizzards just as much as any other wintery environ.
On the other hand, if you are traveling during the summer, you have to plan for strong heat and a good amount of sun.
Castles trip in SPRING – March, April, May
In general, Spring weather on your castles trip might invite a gorgeous array of flowers and that fresh, clean feeling that always comes after winter. But along with that beauty, there can still be a small remnant of winter cold, not to mention rain. Be sure to prepare for any unpredictability the weather throws at you with appropriate layers, water-resistant shoes (rain boots can also be wise), and a waterproof jacket. Don’t forget a warm scarf either — its a lifesaver when an unexpected chill arrives courtesy of a rogue wind!
Castles trip in SUMMER – June, July, August
– Summer is one of the best times of year to visit castles because you don’t have to worry about the wintery cold. But with the warmer climate comes greater crowds. Prepare yourself for potentially longer lines to access the most popular castles, and stave off the sun with layers, lightweight pants or shorts. You’ll be doing a lot of walking so don’t forget comfortable sneakers or sandals
Castles trip in FALL – September, October, and November
Fall is a magical time of year when nature begins to take on a full array of bold colors. Autumn months in Europe are colder in general, but can still be quite warm during the day. Play it safe with basics that can accommodate both extremes with a light jacket and scarf. Don’t forget your comfortable shoes!
Castles trip in WINTER – December, January, February
A castles trip in winter conjures up visions of long nights spent alongside warm hearths inside turreted castles. A castle laden with snow is truly a majestic sight, but to enjoy it, you want to be focused on the scenery and not on your frozen toes. A castles trip during the winter will require a full winter wardrobe, including a warm coat, scarf, convertible mittens, and winter boots.
Staying overnight in a castle: With their stone walls, castles are quite good at keeping themselves as cold as an igloo. If you are lucky enough to be staying inside one, it is truly a unique and enchanting experience—but protect yourself by keeping your feet warm with wool socks that will protect them from icy floors. Don’t forget pajamas that will help stave off the cold air.
Hiking: Some of the most beautiful castles are in such pristine condition because they are more remote. If you plan on visiting one of these more remote castles, prepare yourself for the trek to access them with appropriate hiking gear, such ass moisture-wicking pants and shirts, as well as a solid pair of hiking shoes.
Nightlife: Sometime during your trip you will likely enjoy a nice dinner with friends both old and new. If you are lucky, you might even get invited to dine with the locals! Be sure to pack appropriately for the occasion—depending on how fancy the restaurant is, you might want to wear a dress, or for a more casual look, pack a sweater and stylishjeans.
What NOT to Bring on a Castle Trip
2) Hairdryer: Most hotels, even the more rustic, include a hairdryer. If there isn’t one in your room you can often ask the front desk to borrow one. Save this room in your luggage for other more important items.
Clothing that is excessively revealing: Wearing skimpy clothes might get you crusty looks in some palaces. If the castle you are visiting is currently considered an active royal residence, certain rules of etiquette might apply. Dressing respectfully and/or modestly is sometimes at the top of that list.
“Tourist” attire: Not only does so-called “tourist attire” tend to make you stick out like a sore thumb, but it can also attract scam artists.
FAQs about Castle Trips
1. What is inside a castle?
What you will find inside a castle differs depending on the history of the structure. By its most strict definition, castles refer to the medieval-style fortresses. But some palaces and other elaborate residences and even manor houses are often referred to as a castle.
Depending on how the castle was used, you might discover all sorts of things inside, from lengthy stone hallways to historic chapels, to spiral staircases winding up and up and up. Other castles that served more as palatial residences might take your breath away with their valuable artwork, gilded decor, and elaborate furnishings.
2. Which country has the most beautiful castles?
With so many beautiful castles across Europe, it is difficult to name a specific region that lays claim to the most beautiful. Germany boasts the most castles, with some estimates claiming it is home to over 25,000 castles. Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the most famous castles in all the world, and is located in the Bavarian region of Germany. It is also considered one of the most beautiful castles. It even served as the inspiration for Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” castle.
3. Which country has the most famous castles?
No single country can lay claim to the most famous castles, with some of the most popular castles spanning worldwide in countries from Mexico to Japan. The most famous castles might include the aforementioned Neuschwanstein Castle, Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle, and England’s Tower of London.
4. What types of castles are there?
There are several castle types, but perhaps the architectural style you are most likely to see is called the “Rectangular Keep.” These castles are often better preserved than earlier styles and they feature very high and thick walls.
Of course, as the centuries went on and castles were used more as living quarters than as military vanguards, their designs took on all sorts of different architectural forms to accommodate lavish living quarters within.
5. What is the oldest castle in the world?
The oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world is Windsor Castle, a royal residence located in England. However, the oldest castle in the world might be the Citadel of Aleppo in Syria, which was built around 3000 BC.
6. Which are the most photographed castles in the world?
Eilean Donan, located on a small island at the meeting point of three lochs in the Highlands of Scotland, is widely considered the most photographed castle in the world.
7. Can you stay overnight in a castle?
Thanks to modern technology, many medieval castles have been converted into hotels you can stay in overnight. Having the opportunity to stay in an enchanting castle stay is one of the most magical parts of a castles trip. Not only do they offer unparalleled views, but they often offer unique on-site activities. From falconry school to art galleries, cooking classes to the history of a chapel’s stained glass windows, an overnight stay in a castle is not to be missed.
8. What is the castle route in Scotland?
Scotland’s castle trail begins in Edinburgh and weaves through Aberdeenshire; along the way, you can visit over 300 historic castles. Favorites along the trail include Craigieier Castle, which was the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle in the Disney animated film, and Dunnottar Castle, which was the filming location for the Zeffirelli film Hamlet.
9. Are there castles outside of Europe?
While castles are traditionally associated with Europe, there are many castles outside of Europe. From Japan’s affectionately nicknamed “White Heron Castle” to California’s Hearst Castle, Mexico’s Castillo de Chapultepec to Canada’s Chateau Frontenac, majestic castles can be found all over the world.