Constructed at the beginning of the 12th century to the west of the capital, Vienna, standing 480 metres (1,570 ft) above sea level overlooking the banks of the Danube River are the ruins of Aggstein Castle. Today what remains of this medieval fortress is one of the most visited sites in the north east of the country, giving visitors incredible views over the Wachau Valley. Falling within the Wachau Cultural Landscape, the entire area including the castle has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
13. Burgruine Aggstein
Built in the early 12th century to the west of the capital, Vienna, to the south of the remains of Aggstein Castle on the banks of the Danube River is the Schönbühel Castle. Having been abandoned in the 14th century, this defensive medieval castle was left in a state of disrepair for over 400 years, before being partially rebuilt in the 19th century. This beautiful manor house looking structure falls within the Wachau Cultural Landscape, the entire area including the castle has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
12. Schloss Schönbühel
Dating back to the late 12th century, in the extreme north of the country right on the border with the Czech Republic is the medieval Hardegg Castle. Sitting high up overlooking the Thaya River surrounded by forest, this ancient fortification with it's stone facade and orange tiled roofs has cut a majestic figure for over eight hundred years.
11. Burg Hardegg
First constructed in the 12th century, north of the capital, Vienna, overlooking the Danube is the medieval Kreuzenstein Castle. Having remained unconquered until the Thirty Years War in the early 17th century it fell into the hands of Swedish Field Marshall Lennart Torstensson, who blew up most of the building in 1645 AD. From then it was re-built using sections of other medieval structures purchased from all over Europe, creating an authentic looking medieval castle that is both neo-medieval and original. With it's tall heavy stone towers and classic Romantic castle shape it is certainly one of the most picturesque in all of Austria.
10. Burg Kreuzenstein
Constructed in the the early 13th century, between Salzburg and Innsbruck, close to the German border in Austria's Tyrol region is the Kufstein Fortress. Passed between the rulers of conquering Empires for centuries, it was Emperor Maximilian in the early 16th century who added the substantial round tower that has become the most well known portion of the fortress. Having operated as a prison during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today it operates as a museum, and remains the most prominent landmark and attraction in the city of Kufstein.
9. Festung Kufstein
Built in the mid 12th century by Otto Von Machland and his brother Walchun, who together owned much of Northern Austria, is the superbly pretty medieval Clam Castle. Besieged many times over the centuries, it was never conquered, and thus never destroyed. Having been the home of the same family for over half a millennium, many items of furniture and a large number of historical gems have been preserved.
8. Burg Clam
Constructed in 1253 AD, at a elevation of 1,138 metres (3,734 ft) above sea level, protecting the route to the Radstädter Tauern Pass is the medieval Mauterndorf Castle. First constructed to collect tolls, the castle was significantly enlarged until the 15th century to it's current form. Wonderfully preserved, noted for it's 14th century frescoes and classic medieval shape, Burg Mauterndorf is a beautiful castle in wonderful natural surroundings.
7. Burg Mauterndorf
In the north of the country, north west of the capital, Vienna, is the enormous fortification of Rosenburg. Though there are many castles within Austria and Germany that hold the same name, it is understood that if the term is used without further specifications they are referring to this particular Rosenburg. First built in 1175 AD as a Romanesque castle, it was conquered and destroyed in the mid 15th century to be re-built in a Gothic style. Towards the end of the 16th century the Gothic castle was demolished and it was once again re-built, this time in a Renaissance style along with it's thirteen towers. Having expanded again and again throughout the centuries to include a tournament ground and forty-six arcades it is today one of the largest and most picturesque castles in the country. Hanging on a rocky cliff edge above the valley of the River Kamp, surrounded by dense forest within the protected Naturpark Kemptal, it's easy to see how the Renaissance Rosenburg has become one of the countries favourite castles.
Constructed in the mid 12th century in the northwest of the Lower Austria region is the medieval Rappottenstein Castle. Built to protect the area from invading Bohemians, the site held great importance from it's very beginning. Sitting high above the Little Kamp Valley this mountain castle was never conquered, and thus counts among the best preserved in the country. With it's Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance additions, complex fortifications with five towers and six gateways, Rappottenstein makes for one of the countries most imposing and picturesque fortresses.
5. Burg Rappottenstein
Built in the mid 12th century in the south west of the country, close to the borders of Hungary and Slovenia, is the medieval Riegersburg Castle. Situated on an ancient volcano some 482 metres (1,581 ft) above sea level, the castle complex cuts an amazing figure balancing on the rocky mountain high above the surrounding forests. Reached by a steep road through the forest, the castle today holds a museum, taking up 25 of it's 108 rooms.
4. Burg Riegersburg
Built in the late 11th century, sitting on a hill high above the beautiful city of Salzburg is the Festung Hohensalzburg, literally 'High Salzburg Fortress'. Unconquered and relatively unchanged through the centuries, it stands today as one of the best preserved castles in Europe. With a length of 250 metres (820 ft) and a width of 150 metres (490 ft) it is also one of the largest medieval castles in Europe.
3. Festung Hohensalzburg
Built in 1078 AD atop a 155 metre (509 ft) high rock above the town of Werfen, south of the city of Salzburg, is the beautiful Hohenwerfen Castle. Surrounded by the high peaks of the Berchtesgaden Alps and Tennenbirge Mountain Range this already visually striking medieval castle is made to appear even more impressive by the incredible landscape within which it stands. Certainly one of the finest fortifications in Austria, it also has to be counted among the finest on the entire continent.
2. Festung Hohenwerfen
First built in 860 AD in the south east of the country, north of the city of Klagenfurt near the border with Slovenia is one of Europe's most impressive, and one of Austria's finest medieval castles, Hochosterwitz Castle. Sitting atop and wrapping itself around a 172 metre (564 ft) Dolomite rock it has long been the regions major attraction. On a clear day it can be seen from up to 30 kilometres (19 miles) away, and from the castle itself if offers fantastic views across the surrounding landscape.