Throughout history, castles and palaces have been a symbol of power, government, and history that dot the landscapes of Europe. Train holidays that take you through some of the ancient historic cities are prime ways for you to see, visit, and experience the atmospheres of these architectural testaments. While on your trip across western Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, and finally ending in Hungary, be sure to visit some of the major castles in each country - such as the Topkapi Palace, Tsarevets Castle, Bran Castle, and Buda Castle.
Beginning your trip in Istanbul, Turkey, is an ideal way to start a journey that takes you to see some of the most interesting castles in Europe. Train holidays will embark from Istanbul, where before you board you should take time to visit the Topkapi Palace. The palace was the primary residence for the Ottoman sultans for over 400 years. Begun in 1449, this palace was built by Sultan Mehmed II, the sultan who conquered the city when it was known as Constantinople. Over the years, however, the royalty began to move away from the Topkapi Palace and chose to live at various mansions and palaces along the Bosphorus. Now the Topkapi Palace functions as a working museum.
After you pull out of the station in Istanbul and head across Europe, train holidays which take you west will deliver you to the Bulgarian city of Veliko Turnovo, where you can visit Tsarevets Castle occupying one of the city's three hills. This castle was begun in the 5th century and served as the second Bulgarian Empire's fortress and stronghold from 1185 to 1393. The entire complex is surrounded by a thick wall, with three gates leading to a further, inner wall that protected the king's palace. Reconstruction of the site began in 1930 with Baldwin's Tower, and has continued to make this hillside location one that should not be missed.
Once you have climbed down the hill and are re-boarded, you will continue west through Europe. Train journeys move through the countryside of Bulgaria and into Transylvania, where you will have the chance to visit one of the most famous castles in all of literature: Bran Castle. Near BraÅÂŸov, Bran Castle is a fortress that sits on the border of Transylvania and Wallachia and is famously known as 'Dracula's Castle'. It is often considered the home of Bram Stoker's charismatic vampire, Count Dracula. On a visit you can explore the castle, which was first recorded in 1377, by wandering freely in and out of the rooms - but try to avoid the chills that follow you around the building!
You may breathe more easily as you pull out of the station and head further into Europe. Train holidays will not abandon you in the vampiric homeland of literature, but will whisk you away to the historic city of Budapest where you can visit a castle that is traditionally a home to the living! Buda Castle was the historic home to the kings of Hungary. The original part of the palace was built in the 14th century, by the younger brother of King Louis I of Hungary. Over the years the palace has been destroyed and rebuilt, and today is part of Budapest's UNESCO World Heritage Site. It houses the Budapest History Museum and the Hungarian National Gallery.
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