Sitting atop a tall hill in northern Croatia, Trakošćan Castle looks like a castle out of a fairytale, proudly peeking its spires out above the tree line, but on closer inspection the signs of neglect have started to mar the centuries-old fortification.
Originally built in the 13th century, the large manse was not the product of some lord’s need for a grand home but was instead created as a defensive fortification. Despite its martial background, its position on top of a verdant forest hill has given it a distinctly romantic appeal. Down the centuries the castle has been added to and rebuilt a number of times giving it a bit of a varied design sense, but losing none of its beauty. While the original owner of the castle is unknown, the estate was passed down among a series of Croatian nobles before finally being turned over to the Croatian government in the 1950s.
In 1953 Trakošćan Castle was opened to the public as a museum housing a number of historical displays about the area, the castle, and Croatian history in general. A man-made lake was also built at the foot of the hill making the view from the castle all the more spectacular.
In recent years the grounds have been neglected and signs of wear and age are beginning to appear. Despite this, if you have to choose just one to visit while you are visiting Croatia, you can’t beat Trakošćan Castle for sheer storybook looks.