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The fortresses dotting the European landscape are each worthy of their very own fairytale. These magnificent structures have survived wars, fires, dozens of generations, and stood the test of time. Here are 5 most underrated fortresses scattered throughout Europe that belong on every traveler’s itinerary.

1. The Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzaburg, Austria

The Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg, Austria

The Hohensalzburg Fortress is the most important fortress in central Europe, a fortified castle, located in a favorable position and the most important tourist attraction in Salzburg. The Hohensalzburg Fortress is a tourist attraction in Salzburg that must be visited if you are on holiday here.

With its history of almost 1000 years, it is the symbol of the city of Salzburg and dominates the panoramic image of the city, from the height of the hill on which it is built. The sights of special interest inside the Hohensalzburg fortress are the medieval princely chambers and the museum that it includes within its walls. Access to the fortress has been made, since 1892, with the help of funiculars or on foot.

2. The Golubac Fortress, Serbia

Golubac fortress, Serbia
With its crenelated towers and thick walls of stone and burnt tiles, the Golubać fortress preserves the romantic features of a fairytale castle. Looking at it from a distance, the medieval fortress, built on the site of the Roman camp Vicus Cupae, gives the impression that it has its roots in the waters of the Danube. The 8 notched towers (ridges) compete in beauty and grandeur with the limestone rock, and the walls that connect them make a unitary whole so that the fortress could be defended from all sides. The Golubac Fortress has ten towers and a defense moat and seems to grow naturally from the limestone rock in the mountains and get lost in the waters of the Danube.

3. Tsarevets Fortress, Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Tsarevets is a medieval fortress located on a hill of the same name in Veliko Tarnovo (northern Bulgaria). It was the primary fortress of the Second Bulgarian Empire, hosting the royal and patriarchal palaces.

An audio-visual show “Sound and Light” takes place every night; 3 lasers, various lights, dramatic music, and church bells are used to tell the story of the fall of the fortress in the face of the Ottoman attack, as well as other key moments in the history of Bulgaria.

As you enter, you will notice the thick walls that had a corridor inside them, but also the huge crossbows and catapults that have been used to defend the fog from various invasions over the years. A walk through this will reveal the beauty of the old fortress.

4. Alba-Carolina Citadel, Alba-Iulia, Romania

Alba Carolina Citadel rises in the middle of Alba Iulia as a silent witness to the rich history of the city, which is often called “the other capital” or “spiritual center of Romania“. Alba Iulia is the city where history is kept alive, from the Roman Apulum, to the Balgrad castle and to the city of the present. Alba Iulia managed to overcome time and keep that special charm, something that travelers really feel only when they reach the city center, in the Alba-Carolina Citadel.

5. Forte di Exilles, Turin, Italy

Forte di Exilles, Turin, Italy
Forte di Exilles is a castle with a great visual impact that was opened to the public in the 2000’s, after having undergone some serious repairs and was restored. The castle is built strategically here hosting a military garrison. It is a model of French architecture during the reign of the Savoy dynasty and surely has a lot of potential to be discovered by tourists who are interested in less-comercial destinations.

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