Others built leisure palaces in which to spend their free time and indulge in the good life. Fortunately, the times of war are long gone, but the castles and palaces remain and act as reminders of the country’s history, as well as delighting cyclists as we cycle past in awe. And you don’t even have to be particularly interested in history to appreciate the imposing presence of these buildings. Let Eurobike take you on a journey into the past and listen to the stories these stone giants have to tell.
The castles of the Bavarian fairytale king
He went down in history as the fairytale king of Bavaria and lived up to this title because his castles could have sprung straight from a fairytale. The Bavarian King Ludwig II (1845-1886), younger cousin of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, was a passionate builder and admirer of the Middle Ages. He was a dreamer who liked to retreat to other worlds. He designed most of his castles in Germany, namely Linderhof Castle, Herrenchiemsee Castle, the Royal House on Schachen and Neuschwanstein Castle. However, the king’s hobby came at a high price – so high that his descendants had to pay for Ludwig II’s passion years after his death!
Cycle tours such as the Allgäu Tour or Romantic Road and Bavarian Lakes will take you to some of the castles of King Ludwig II. And whether you like it or not – the sight of these unique cultural gems will take your breath away.
Castles of the Loire
In total there are over 400 castles dotted along the Loire and its tributaries that are a delight to see. But these castles were not built to amaze our guests during cycle tours – the Loire formed a border during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453), the north of which was occupied by the English. The palaces, castles and fortresses along the border were built, expanded and developed to offer the French necessary protection. After the war, most of the fortresses fell into disrepair, until the Renaissance in the 16th century breathed life into them once more.
The many castles along the Loire are a real magnet for visitors nowadays. The castles of Amboise, Blois, Chambord and Chanonceau are particularly popular. We bet that you too will fall in love with the enchanting buildings of the Loire Valley when you cycle our Loire Castles cycle tour.
Incredible, but true – there are said to be around 25,000 castles in Germany alone!
The Salzkammergut – the Emperor’s summer retreat
It is no secret that Emperor Franz Joseph lost his heart to the beautiful Salzkammergut. The famous Imperial Villa with its extensive palace gardens was given to the emperor and his enchanting bride Sisi for their engagement. The emperor celebrated almost every one of his 86 birthdays in the rural idyll of Bad Ischl. Even today, on the 18th of August the whole town celebrates a festival in the imperial style in honor of the deceased emperor.
If you head just a few kilometres further, you will come across the venerable Orth Castle on the Traunsee – a complex of two castles – a lake castle and a country castle.
The Mozart city of Salzburg is not only known for its most famous son, but also for its stately fortress that towers over the city and offers the most breathtaking view of the whole city. The Hohensalzburg Fortress is Europe’s largest castle and dates from the 11th century. It is a must see!
History along the Danube
Our popular Danube Cycle Path tour is simply a jack-of-all-trades – whether that be in a cultural, sporty, traditional, culinary or historical sense, the Danube Cycle Path has something to suit every taste. And you will certainly not be surprised that on your way to Vienna you see historical castles and splendid palaces. The Aggstein castle ruins near Krems not only inspire our little guests with their hidden stairs, a knight’s hall and tavern. The ruin Dürnstein dates back to the 12th century AD and was the home of English King Richard the Lionhart who was imprisoned here for over a year.
The crowning glory of this trip, regardless of whether you have chosen the sporty, the leisurely or the classic variant, is undisputedly Vienna with the stately Hofburg, the romantic Schönbrunn Palace or the lovely Belvedere Palace. Vienna is always worth a visit!
The castles of Spain
The Alhambra is a world-famous castle near Granada that has made a name for itself because of its Moorish style. The most famous city castle in Andalusia has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984. Reason enough for us to include a visit to this unique building in our Andalusia cycle tour.
There is also a special jewel on Mallorca that amazes our guests. The Castell de Bellver is a fortress that towers over the capital Palma de Mallorca and from there, as the name suggests, you can enjoy a unique view over the island. The special thing about this castle is its shape. Unlike other fortresses, the castle is circular. It was practically built around the circular courtyard. Don’t miss out on paying a visit to the castle when you are staying in Palma during the Mallorca Loop Tour.
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