20 Commanding Cliff-top Castles & Fortresses

Like spectacular abandoned mansions, castles come in many shapes and sizes and can be found all across the world. From ancient to modern, ruined to preserved, miniature to mighty, their unmistakable forms dominate cliff-tops and mountainsides from Europe to the Middle East and beyond. This article explores a wide variety, from the rumoured birthplace of King Arthur to crusader castles and those that inspired Walt Disney. If there’s one thing these castles have in common, it’s their commanding positions, often precariously positioned on rocky outcrops towering over the surrounding land.

(Image: Jeff Wilcox, cc-3.0)

Browse the gallery via the links below or click the “return to the main article” link to come back to this page.

Château de Puilaurens: Cathar Castle in France

The Mighty Alcázar of Segovia, Spain

Gyantse Dzong: Preserved Fortress in Tibet

Argonese Castle in Ischia, Italy

The Ruins of Corfe Castle, Dorset

Chepstow Castle in Monmouthshire, Wales

Keiss Castle Ruin at Caithness, Scotland

Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany

Predjama Castle: Slovenia’s Castle in a Cave

Lichtenstein Castle in the Swabian Jura, Germany

Tintagel Castle: Birthplace of the Arthurian Legend

Citadelle de Bonifacio: Corsica’s Clifftop Fortress

Hohenwerfen Castle overlooking Werfen, Austria

The Castle of Venus at Erice, Sicily

The Commanding Guaita Fortress in San Marino

The Ruins of Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

Edinburgh Castle towers above the Scottish Capital

Duart Castle on the Isle of Mull, Scotland

Swallow’s Nest: A Decorative Neo-Gothic Castle

The Ruins of Dunnottar Castle in Scotland