If you have ever dreamed of living in a fairytale, buying a castle might be one step closer to making that fantasy a reality. These days, there is no need to either inherit or conquer land in order to live in your own little kingdom: on any given day, centuries-old castles are put on the market throughout the world. Better yet, prospective buyers don’t necessarily need to be heiresses or even multimillionaires to afford one. For the same – if not less – amount of money as a typical modest condo in Manhattan or a small house in most major urban areas in North America, you could purchase a castle instead, complete with ancient fixtures, frescoes and sometimes even antique furniture, lots of land and views fit for royalty.
Living in a castle would be the ultimate dream for anyone who loves history, romantic novels and old architecture. Although the castles themselves are often remarkably affordable, most buyers will need to put in some elbow grease to polish up their newly-purchased castle; the buildings are, after all, hundreds if not a thousand years old. But the hard work might be worth it because, well, at the end of the day you can call a castle home.
Where does one start to shop around for a castle? Buying a castle will probably require the assistance of a local specialist in order to complete the purchase, as many of the buildings are historical and buyers need to have some awareness of local laws and regulations that regulate the properties. But a simple online search will turn up a myriad of castles on the market for a relatively reasonable 1 million dollars U.S. - or even much less than that; some properties are only $100,000 or $200,000, which is far less expensive than a standard property in any typical North American city or town. These castle properties are generally in all of the countries that you'd expect a storybook-style castle to be: France, Germany, Spain and Eastern Europe. There are also a few castles available in other countries, too, such as Canada and South Africa.
The following are a few regions that are home to stunning castles that are currently on the market. So, what will it be: a two-bedroom condo in a crowded, noisy city, or an idyllic castle on a sprawling estate?
10 The French Countryside
Although you’ll be hard-pressed to find an affordable castle estate near a major urban center like Paris in France, central France is home to some very affordable chateaux in its stunning countryside. Many of these small castles were built by the wealthy nobility for hunting, summer homes and more. A few of these romantic and royal residences are listed at under 500,000 euros, and many more are listed at under 1 million euros, or under $1.270 million U.S. These castles generally date back to the 16th-19th centuries and often are situated in tiny, idyllic French country towns in regions like Champagne. Imagine sipping wine in multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, verandas, orangeries and more. One 17th century chateau with three wings, a tower, multiple living areas, 12 bedrooms and sprawling grounds that is located near a tiny village and a river in the Champagne region is listed for about $1 million U.S. as per www.moulin.nl. For a castle with a more rustic Renaissance feel, a 5 bedroom chateau located in a quaint village in the Limousin region hosts a massive wine cellar that will hold 1,600 bottles of wine, and rustic features like wood beam ceilings and plentiful views over the property, a guest house and pool house. The historical property is listed for only 1.3 million euros according to www.moulin.nl.
Germany is a treasure trove for castle properties. The German countryside is home to stunning castles and majestic properties ranging from pristine condition (which will set you back millions of euros) to virtual ruins that only need a little TLC and can be purchased for only a few hundred thousand euros. Many of Germany’s castle properties are huge and have unique gothic features that are characteristic of the region. For example, a Neo-Gothic castle built of petrified wood near Leipzig was on the market at one time for only 790,000 euros, or around $1 million.
According to www.castles.glo-con.com this huge castle with turrets is only 925,000 euro or about 1.2 million U.S. Designed in the 1800s, this historical building has multiple stories and endless rooms and although it's designated as a historical property, it is ready to be renovated.
How about a beautiful classical-style 19th century castle in Belgium? The historic and imposing Hof ted Linden castle, built in 1880, is situated in a tiny, idyllic Belgian village near a scenic river.
According to www.castles-for-sale.com the house has several stories, multiple rooms, terraces, and is surrounded by the lush greenery of a park. The asking price? A relatively reasonable 1.115 million euros, or about $1.4 million U.S.
7 Czech Republic
Prague is home to some stunning architecture, and its surrounding region also has beautiful old castles. With 639,000 euros, a lucky person could call an 18th century Baroque castle located in the foothills of the highest mountain in Czech Republic home. According to www.castles.glo-con.com that property comes complete with a tower and a few neo-Renaissance details from the 19th century.
Then there’s an 18th century castle that features endless rooms sprawling over 5 floors, stables, and an extra house, plus a large garden and pavilion. The price of that castle is under $2 million dollars. If you are looking for a better deal, you might have to do some renovation work, but in South Bohemia, there is a castle that needs a complete interior renovation but will only set you back a purchase price of 150,000 euros.
Another place to stumble upon incredible, massive castles that are sold at low prices is Slovakia. A castle in the Cassoviapolis region that stands on a spot that used to be a monastery dates back to around the 17th century (or earlier), and used to be owned by a noble family. The castle has 25 rooms and a huge wine cellar, and it’s located in a park. The price for all of that?
According to castles.glo-con.com a mere 588,000 euros, or less than $750,000. If that price tag is too steep, how about a Gothic structure in the region of Bratislava for only a little over 400,000 euros? It also sits in an idyllic historical park and has 35 bedrooms for your closest friends to visit.
Hungary is another country to seek out stunning and historic castles at bargain basement (or should we say "bargain dungeon"?) prices.
A 3-story castle that is partially renovated and sitting on lots of land is currently running for 800,000 euros, or opt for a partially refurbished castle from the year 1790 on a lot of land near the Austrian border with a view of the Alps and nearby forests for a mere 319,000 euros as per www.casa-mia.at.
Some gorgeous architecture can be found in Spain, and despite its appeal to holiday travellers throughout europe, there are a few stunning castles on the market there as well. For example, Casas de Benitez in Spain is a 20th century art deco palace in great condition with beautiful views. It’s situated in a famous wine region in the province of Cuenca.
As per www.prestigeproperty.co.uk it can be yours for only 750,000 euros, or just shy of $1 million U.S. It’s a stunning palace with architecture that is characteristic of the region. It features four floors, 8 rooms, 6 halls, a living room and a main hall.
Italy is filled with stunning historic properties, but prices for castles, manors and Renaissance palaces in Italy are a little steeper than in other parts of Europe. There are still deals to be had for those with a little creativity. For instance, how about living in a castle tower? In a location with enchanting views of Perugia, a 12th Century tower, which was once part of an old castle, now has 3 levels of living space plus a terrace. As per www.prestigeproperty.co.uk it is currently going for a mere $377,600 US.
For those craving a real castle in Italy (and who have deeper pockets), San Remo’s Castle of the Knights of Rhodes from the 17th century is for sale for about $1.3 million. It is located in the historic hills of San Remo. It’s a huge country house that was once used as a castle by the Knights of Rhodes. In the 18th century, it was a convent. It has three levels plus terraces with a view of olive groves, valleys and the sea. Inside, the rooms feature original arcade ceilings and antique details. Oh, and there is plenty of land to build more houses on if you need.
2 South Africa
When most people think of castles, they think about Europe. But branching out to other parts of the world might be beneficial for buyers looking for a great deal on a castle property. For only $350,000 U.S., buyers could purchase Stratford Castle, which is located on a lake in South Africa.
According to www.castles-for-sale.com it comes complete with exquisite stained glass windows, an open rooftop with garden. A massive collection of antique armor and Persian rugs can be purchased for a small add-on fee. For an additional $150,000, the buyer could also buy the adjacent golf course.
Canada’s architecture often draws inspiration from European royal architecture and castles back in the Old World, so it’s no surprise that there are a few castles to be found in Canada. Some of these have even made an appearance on the real estate market.
Earlier in 2014, a castle in Moncton, New Brunswick with four floors was put on the market for $700,000 Canadian, or a little over $600,000 U.S. According to www.cbc.ca, it had 19,000 square feet, a chapel, beautiful vaulted ceilings, and stained glass windows.