Built in 1290 AD in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, is the medieval Akershus Castle, one of the most important fortresses in the countries history. Built to protect and provide royal residence for the city, throughout the centuries it has been used as a military base, a prison and government offices, including that of the current Norwegian Prime Minister. Successfully having survived all sieges, primarily by the invading Swedish, Akershus Castle remains to this day one of the finest fortresses in Norway.
10. Akershus Slott
Built by the Swedish in the 15th century under the name Olofsborg, literally meaning Olaf's Castle, is the Olavinlinna, one of the most important fortifications in Finland. Situated north east of the capital, Helsinki, close to the Russian border, it is the northernmost medieval stone fortress still standing. Situated on a small island surrounded by a network of lakes, it was the first Swedish castle built with thick circular walls that could withstand cannon fire. As such the castle withstood several sieges by the Russians during the First and Second Russian-Swedish wars, where it has survived to this day. It's rich history makes Olavinlinna one of the countries most important surviving castle structures.
In the far south of Sweden, just north of the city of Malmo is the privately owned Trolleholm Castle, having changed it's name in 1755 from Kattisnabbe. Built in the mid 15th century, the estate surrounding it today comprises of 110 houses within a 50 square kilometre (19 square mile) area. Unfortunately, since the castle is privately owned visitors are only permitted to view this beautiful castle with permission from the land owners.
8. Trolleholm Slott
Completed in 1709 after 172 years in the making, to the west of the Swedish capital, Stockholm, is the lakeside Gripsholm Castle. Today, still belonging to the Swedish royal family, this picturesque palace operates as a public museum, containing paintings and other works of art. Part of the castle houses the National Portrait Gallery, famed for being one of the oldest portrait collections in the world. It's proximity to the capital city has made Gripsholm Castle the most visited fortress in Sweden.
7. Gripsholm Slott
Originally built in the 13th century, heavily restored in the 19th, to the west of the Swedish capital, Stockholm, is the medieval stronghold of Orebro Castle. Standing on a small island within the Svartå (Black River), this classic style medieval fortress has kept watch over the centre of Sweden for over 700 years, to this day it remains to be one of the countries finest castles.
6. Örebro Slott
Built in the 17th century in the north of Zealand as the royal residence for King Christian IV Of Denmark, the Frederiksborg Castle complex is the largest Renaissance style residence in Scandinavia. Situated among three small islands in the Slotssøen, or castle lake, the castle is joined to a large Baroque style landscape garden.
5. Frederiksborg Slot
First constructed in the 12th century, in the far south east of Sweden is the medieval Kalmar Castle, considered one of the prettiest castle structures in Scandinavia. As well as it's aesthetic qualities, it also holds significant historical importance. In 1397 AD the Kalmar Union was formed within Kalmar Castle, declaring Margaret I of Denmark monarch of the Kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. Restored heavily from the 18th century onward, this coastal fortress reminiscent of Denmark's very own Kronborg Castle, remains a most beautiful medieval fortress.
4. Kalmar Slott
In the south of Denmark's central island of Funen, directly south of the city of Odense, is Egeskov Castle, a wonderful building surrounded by parks and forests, and one of Europe's best preserved water castles. The Renaissance garden is a place of fountains and topiary figures, whilst the Fuchsia garden is one of the largest in Europe with over one hundred different species on show. There are also four mazes, one of which is over one hundred years old, and another which is the largest bamboo maze in the world.
3. Egeskov Slot
Completed in 1624 within the Danish capital, Copenhagen, is the incredibly picturesque Rosenborg Castle, standing within the lovely surroundings of the Kings Garden. Inside the castle there are a few notable displays, including the Crown of King Christian IV, and the Throne Chair of Denmark, guarded by three life size silver lions. Legend had it that the throne was made from Unicorn horns, though in reality it is made from Narwhal tusks.
2. Rosenborg Slot
Built in the early 15th century at the extreme north eastern tip of the Danish island of Zealand is Kronborg Castle, immortalised as the inspiration for Elsinore, the castle from William Shakespeare's, Hamlet. Situated at the narrowest point within the Øresund strait, this beautiful Renaissance styled castle is a mere 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) from Helsingborg, mainland Sweden. Considered one of the most important Renaissance castles in northern Europe, the picturesque Kronborg Castle has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.