Though vacation fantasies can be elaborate, you’ve likely written off the possibility of an overnight stay in a castle — after all, a night or two spent in a castle should be reserved for the likes of Meghan and Harry or Kim and Kanye, right? Actually, no: Lucky for us plebeians, the hospitality business is ever-changing, and what might have been an unoccupied or scarcely visited family castle in the past, might now be a rentable accommodation of today. No, this isn’t a trick, and no, I’m not taking a creative liberty when I use the term “castle.” You can rent an affordable room in a castle, or book out an entire castle, and live out your fairy tale dreams for the same price that you’d spend on an average hotel room.
In the U.S., hundreds of modern, castle-style dwellings offer rental options for non-royals. Maybe you’ve been to a wedding at one, seen one on Instagram, or visited a winery that was on the property. But in Europe, there are ~real~ fortified dwellings that were built mostly for royalty and nobility and for years, have sat uninhabited or as a landmark, until now.
Vacation rental sites like HomeAway and AirBnb have a variety of rental options for such castles, giving renters the ability to rent the entire castle in some listings, or rent a room in others. Both of which, you might be very surprised to see, are extremely affordable. So affordable, I’m not sure why you’d opt to stay in a hotel if you’re in the area. No this is not a drill, yes we are living in a time where it’s cheaper to stay in a castle than a hotel so let’s just take advantage of it while we can. Here are some uber-affordable castle stay options for you to live out your best fairytale fantasy in:
Lisheen Castle, Tipperary, Ireland
Montalto Castle, Tuscany, Italy
Price per night: $283, Airbnb
Get access to the castle grounds by staying at the two-story apartment located on the main manor, also know as Torre del Vescovo. That means getting to enjoy the swimming pool, tennis court, bocce ball court, laundry facilities and private garden areas. The “apartment” aka tower, is decorated with traditional medieval touches and is all yours for only $283 a night. Breakfast is included with all rentals to boot!
Alexis de Tocqueville Castle, Barfleur, France
Price per night: $658, HomeAway
The Pavillon du Chateau de Tocqueville is a 4,300 square foot castle with five bedrooms that you can have to yourself for $658 a night, on average. It’s the home that French diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville resided in, so you’re getting a piece of history and a touch of luxury at the same time. Minimum stay is two nights.
Melville Castle, Midlothian, United Kingdom
Price per night: $101, Airbnb
A room in this epic 18th century Melville Castle is cheaper than most hotels, and the fact that it’s only 20 minutes from the Edinburgh Airport makes it a no-brainer. But if you need another reason to stay there: all guests get free breakfast.
Le Donjon, Puy du Fou, Les Epesses, France
Price per night:$385, HomeAway
This medieval tower, called Le Donjon has five bedrooms and three baths and is surrounded stunning garden that guests are welcome to enjoy. It also comes with access to a heated pool and stunning views and might be your only chance to stay in a luxurious dungeon, ever.
Couffins Castle, Asques, Aquitaine, France
Price per night:$64 per person (for 16 people), Airbnb
The Couffins Castle is located only 20 minutes away from Bordeaux, and is situated on a stunning vineyard that guests can visit. To rent the entire castle, roundup a group of 16 (there are 13 beds) and pay only $64 a night, per person. Be crafty, get a group together, it’s worth it!
Castle Olive Mill, Umbria, Italy
Price per night: $252, HomeAway
The Olive Mill Castle is a cozy guest house on the Castello di Montegiove property. The main castle has been around since the 12th century, so no need to sight see for history. The guest house sleeps six guests, with three bedrooms and two baths. If you ~want~ to leave, the location puts you in great spot to explore all that Tuscany has to offer. But honestly, I don’t know why you would.
Cahercastle, Galway, Ireland
Price per night: $170, Airbnb
Cahercastle was built in the 1400s and according to guests who have stayed there and written reviews on AirBnB, it’s more than still standing. “A perfectly preserved national treasure” and “a magnificent restoration” are just a few standout reviews that you’ll find. As if you needed any convincing, you can get a room with two beds for just $170 a night.
Price per night: $100 per person (for 20 people), HomeAway
This Austrian dream castle, also known as Castle Wasserburg is over 11,00 square feet and sleeps 20, comfortably. If you have a lot of friends or family who are willing to have an epic castle adventure with you, you can stay here for just over $100 a night. Family reunion, Austria 2019 anyone?
Torre Trasita, Positano, Campania, Italy
Castrum of Serravalle, Vittorio Veneto, Veneto, Italy
Price per night: $146, Airbnb
The Castrum of Serravalle evokes some major Rapunzel nostalgia, and at only $146 a night, and over 60 perfect five star reviews, I don’t know why you’d stay anywhere else. AirBnB guests have called it “magical” but that seems obvious, doesn’t it?