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Castle Hunters

Castle

“How strange and beautiful it looked in the late afternoon light! I can still recapture that first glimpse – see the sheer grey stone walls and towers against the pale yellow sky, the reflected castle stretching towards us on the brimming moat, the floating patches of emerald-green water-weed.”

Dodie smith on Castles
Check out where our castle hunts have taken us
Our Master Castle List

How we became Castle Hunters

Our fascination and love of castles, in effect, started on our very first day in Ireland. It was the inspiration that led us to coin ourselves, Castle Hunters. Simply put, it was love at first sight. We have never wavered since on that energy and passion we found at our first castle, Trim Castle in Ireland.

The privilege to explore these magnificent architectural wonders is truly a gift. They capture your imagination in ways it is difficult to put into words. Fairy tales are based on these whimsical structures for that reason. The mighty walls of these majestic fortifications have stood proud for centuries.

These epic structures transport you back to a time where life was simple yet harsh. Even in the most elaborate of Medieval structures, life was cold, dark, and austere. These were the fortified residences of royalty and nobility. In fact, existence was quite difficult for these castle residents. Nonetheless, there is something so romantic and charming about them and their inhabitants.

Castle designs were about protecting their owners and kingdoms from their enemies. As a result, the Medieval castle was the core of military defense for a thousand years. They were fortresses that took horrific beatings; however, they remain standing today in all their glory.

Ryan living the Castle Hunters dream Lowther Castle, United Kingdom

So you ask, are they not all the same?

To our surprise, the answer is no. These massive structures did not have the modern machinery available today or the highly educated engineers with computer models. Yet they remain standing, always captivating. They are iconic, a testament to time—many in extraordinary settings.

On the top of mountains or deep in a forest. On beaches or in the middle of a river. In the heart of a city or on treacherous precipices. Even wearing a small backpack can prevent you from visiting some locations as the passages are extremely narrow. Despite this, our ancestors somehow built these structures with no cranes, vehicles, or modern technology to carry the stones.

Each castle holds a unique character, style, stone, architecture, and magic. You sense its soul, its heartbeat, and you feel the life in it while you begin to hear the voices that once echoed through these huge chambers of stone. Your imagination will transport you if you let it tell its story.

Even the simplest of ruins still capture our hearts. All of a sudden, in our minds, we can see it in all its glory.

Make no mistake about it. We love everything castle. Without a doubt, it is a bit of an obsession.

Ed Sheeran’s song Castle on the Hill speaks to their presence to this day. There is nothing like spying on that castle on the Hill to make the heart happy.

To conclude, we hope our fascination with castles is contagious and that you find the magic “within their walls” as well. Once in a while, give them a try. In time they will steal your heart and imagination, and you can become part of the Castle Hunters tribe. Join us on the hunt!

Trim Castle Ireland

Our Running Castle Hunters Count

306

Check out our master castle list HERE


Did you know?

Medieval castles

The Normans constructed the earliest Medieval Castles. These castles were built between the 5th and 15th centuries. Though records are poor, it is estimated there were 75,000 to 100,00 Medieval castles in Western Europe built during this period. There were three distinct styles.

1. Concentric Castle
A concentric castle has two or more concentric curtain walls, where the outer wall is lower than the inner and can be defended from it. These castles resemble one enclosure within another, normally without a central free-standing keep. There is often a strong tower projecting from within the inner Castle.
An example of a Concentric Castle is Harlech Castle in Wales, 1292.

2. Motte and Bailey Castle
A motte-and-bailey castle is a fortification with a wooden or stone keep situated on a raised area called a motte. There is a walled courtyard, or bailey, surrounded by a protective ditch and a protective fence. It was the most common castle built in the 11th century.
An example of a Mote and Bailey Castle is Gravensteen Castle in Ghent, Belgium, 1180.

3. Stone Keep Castle
A stone keep was the central feature of this castle, with thick walls and few windows. The entrance to the keep was stone steps leading to the first floor. Keeps were foremost for the castle’s defense, which is a fortified tower built within the castle. It was the last refuge if the castle fell to an enemy.
An example of a Stone Keep Castle is Trim Castle in Ireland, our very first castle!

Gravensteen Castle, Ghent, Belgium
Gravensteen Castle, Ghent, Belgium

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Squaremouth.com

Our favorite travel insurance site!

If you are booking a trip, don’t forget to get travel insurance within 14 days of your first booking. We could not be stronger advocates of being well insured. Not for the little stuff but the big stuff like medical emergencies. We never leave home without it. Over the years, we have used many sites but have now found our go-to place. Squaremouth.com does a fantastic job; it has a user-friendly interface, they use top-rated and reputable insurance carriers, and most policies cover Covid medical issues and cancellations. They also mediate on your behalf if you have problems with your policy.

MedjetAssist

Medical transport back home from anywhere in the world

They are the premier global air medical transport. One caveat to travel insurance is that medical evacuation usually gets you to the closest facility to care for you. Medjet gets you back to the US to the hospital of your choice once you are stable enough to fly. They cover Covid-related transports as well.

Medjet carries its own policies. The policy is only for transport and no other aspects of travel insurance. They have individual trip policies starting at $99 and annual policies for $295. Most of their policies limit the age to 74 and younger. Prices are not based on age below that.

Expedia.com 

Hotels, home rentals, BNBs, flights, and other transportation & tours 

Expedia is a US-based company whose mission is to power global travel for everyone and everywhere. Whether planning a family vacation, booking for business, or organizing the trip of a lifetime, they are a fantastic resource. Wanderers Compass focuses on independent travel, and using sites like Expedia makes that possible. Every aspect of travel you would need, from airfare, accommodations, rental car, cruises, to activities to do at your destination, can be booked on Expedia.  

Booking.com

Hotels, Home rentals, BNBs, Flights, and other Transportation & Tours 

Booking.com connects millions of travelers to memorable experiences, various transportation options, and incredible places to stay – from homes to hotels and much more. It is one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes.

We always start with Expedia to check prices, but it sometimes says it is sold out. We then try Booking.com, and we find it lists plenty of rooms. It could be they are a Europe-based company. Try both before booking accommodations.

Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO)

Traveling with a family or having an extended stay at your destination?

With over 2 million bookable vacation rentals, VRBO connects homeowners with families and vacationers looking for something more than a hotel for their trip. The VRBO community offers families or groups various rental property types such as condos, cabins, lake rentals, beach houses, etc.

VRBO is under the Expedia group ownership now, which many were worried about, but it hasn’t panned out to be a concern. It is a massive network that also has access to all forms of lodging should issues arise. Joelle has used VRBO for many years with her family, with no problems to date.

Tripadvisor

Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform, helps hundreds of millions of people each month become better travelers, from planning to booking to taking a trip. Travelers around the world use the Tripadvisor site and app to discover where to stay, what to do, and where to eat based on guidance from those who have been there before.

With more than 1 billion reviews and opinions from nearly 8 million businesses, travelers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodations, book experiences, reserve tables at delicious restaurants and discover great places to see nearby. We use them for guidance and research on every trip, it is a valuable app for the independent traveler.

Rail Europe

Discover Europe by Train

Rail Europe sells train and bus tickets for travel across Europe. They cover 24 countries, 105 rail operations, and 20,000 stations. They are the official rail and bus operations agents in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Rail Europe continues to add coverage all the time.

It is a fast, easy and economical way to purchase train and bus tickets for Europe. Eurail passes are also available to buy through their site.

Amazon.com

An excellent source for travel essentials and guides

Amazon is one of the most extensive shopping online sources in the world. On behalf of their customers, teams worldwide provide lower prices, better selection, and rapid delivery. They offer a vast inventory, and it is their 1.7 million small and medium businesses worldwide selling on Amazon.com that provide extensive options for customers.

We buy most of our travel books, accessories, and luggage from Amazon. We have ordered up to two days before travel and get what we need.

Travelpro Luggage

Thoughtfully Designed | Meticulously Constructed | Quality Guaranteed.

We have used this luggage for years, left briefly to try others, and returned to Travelpro. Travelpro luggage is carried by crews from over 90 airlines worldwide.

Travelpro takes the time to learn what travelers want and need, then builds it. The key factor for us is that it must be lightweight upfront and very resistant to rough handling. Their luggage is the best, and we could not recommend it enough. It is our go-to luggage.

iVisa

Travel documentation made more accessible

iVisa.com is dedicated to providing customers with a simple, fast, and reliable way to get travel documentation for their journey. Their online application process makes getting visas, health declarations, or passport photos a breeze, all from your home’s comfort. As a leading independent company in the travel documentation industry, they take pride in making global travel more accessible for everyone. In the end, it is a simple and affordable travel resource to get the necessary entry documents complete for your international travel.

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