We all like to indulge in a little bit of showing off, especially when it comes to our holidays. What better way to impress your friends than to bring back holiday photos of your stay in a genuine castle? Whether youÂ're a history buff or looking to treat your partner to some fairytale romance, here is a selection of our favourite castle bed and breakfasts in Europe.
Castello di Galeazza in Galeazza di Crevalcore, Italy
Forty minutes north of Bologna lies Castello di Galeazza, an eco-friendly castle bed and breakfast with a tranquil setting and a friendly, community atmosphere.
The oldest part of the castello is the 14th-century tower. Those brave enough to climb its 159 steps are rewarded with incredible panoramic views of the surrounding landscape; on a clear day you can see to the Alps to the North and the Apennines to the South. Later additions to the castle continued into the 19th century, and the 4 guestrooms boast original features such as terracotta tiles and high ceilings with wooden beams or intricate frescoes.
Home to reading retreats, art exhibitions and concerts, the castle has a library of over 3000 books as well as an extensive music collection. Events are often held in the graceful entrance hall, with its marble floor, elegant columns and stained glass windows.
With a slightly bohemian feel, Castello di Galeazza is unique in that everyone, staff and guests alike, chips in to prepare dinner, usually a traditional Italian dish served with local wine. Much of the upkeep, including tending to the lovely garden, is done by volunteers.
Château de Vaulogé in Fercé-sur-Sarthe, France
Château de Vaulogé is a luxury castle bed and breakfast located at the heart of FranceÂ's Loire Valley.
The original 15th-century château was built by Jean III de Vaulogé, complete with wide moats and crenellated walls, and the town of Fercé-sur-Sarthe grew up around it. After the French Revolution a new castle was built around the old one, this time in the 19th-century troubadour style.
20km from Le Mans, the charming countryside setting lends a peaceful atmosphere to the château. The interior, which includes 5 spacious guestrooms, a library, a dining room and a salon, has been lavishly decorated in keeping with the fairytale exterior, while the gardens feature a swimming pool and a small chapel set at the edge of the lake.
Guests can play badminton or croquet on the lawn, or head further afield for boating, canoeing, fishing or golf. Château de Vaulogé is also perfectly situated for exploring the famous château of the Loire, including Blois, Chambord, Amboise, Chenonceau, Villandry and Cheverny.
Château de St. Michel de Lanes in France
Exuding old world charm at the heart of a medieval village is castle bed and breakfast Château de St. Michel de Lanes. A manor house during the reign of Henry IV, the property was granted château status under Louis XVI in the 18th century.
A renaissance sculpture of the Greek goddess Athena keeps watch over the extensive grounds from the grey slate roof. Inside, the castle is a palace of sculptures, mosaics, chandeliers, marble fireplaces and ceilings embossed with gold leaf. A wide staircase leads up to the four beautifully restored guestrooms, which boast tall windows and parquet floors, as well as en-suite bathrooms and antique furniture. The rooms are named after prestigious past visitors.
Château de St. Michel de Lanes is currently owned by Vicomte and Vicomtesse de la Panouse, whose attentive service provides a personal touch.
The château has an ideal location, an hour or less from Toulouse, Carcassonne, the Pyrenees and the beaches of the Mediterranean. It is also just 5km from the famous Canal du Midi.
Butler House in Kilkenny
Once the dower house of the famous Kilkenny Castle, Butler House offers an atmosphere of comfort and elegance. Sweeping staircases, ornate plaster ceilings and marble fireplaces can be found throughout the eighteenth-century building, while many of the rooms have graceful bow windows overlooking the lovely Georgian gardens and the castle itself.
Each of the thirteen guest rooms has been individually decorated in keeping with its unique character. Old and new complement each other in the blending of contemporary furnishings with original features, giving a sense of spacious refinement. Amenities include high-definition televisions, wireless internet access and hospitality trays, and a complimentary breakfast is served in the Kilkenny Design Centre.
Guests staying at Butler House have direct access to all the history of Kilkenny, starting of course with the castle which is located right at the heart of the city. The famous attractions of St. CaniceÂ's Cathedral and Rothe House are within easy reach, and the beautiful Kilkenny countryside is never far away.
Do you own a castle bed and breakfast? List your property for free on BedandBreakfastworld.com.
By Eleanor Brown