Not everyone can afford to buy a castle, but that doesn’t mean you can’t rent one.
Whether you want to roam the halls of a medieval Irish tower or watch the sun set over Lisbon from the private terrace of your Portuguese palace, here are five of the most extravagant chateaux, palazzi and castles you can have all to yourself.
Prepare for all your royal dreams to come true:
Lismore Castle, Ireland
When the Duke of Devonshire’s family is not in residence, all 15 bedrooms of this 12th-century Irish castle are yours to rent.
Nestled on the banks of Ireland’s Blackwater River, Lismore Castle has an extraordinary history – just ask Denis Nevin, who has served as the castle’s butler for more than 35 years. The castle has hosted some of history’s most celebrated figures, from photographer Cecil Beaton to former US president John F Kennedy and British painter Lucian Freud.
Outdoor activities include kayaking, tennis, golf, fishing and horse riding, while inside you’ll find a home cinema screen, library, games room and world-class art by Van Dyck and Ai Weiwei.
Price: From €14,650 per night
Palazzo Odescalchi, Rome
Currently owned by Princess Maria Pace Odescalchi, Palazzo Odescalchi has been recently restored and transformed into one of Rome’s finest rentals.
The decadent four-bedroom villa features 16th-century Flemish tapestries, Rubelli silks and brocades, intricate Murano chandeliers, 18th-century marquetry floors bearing the family coat of arms, and paintings by Baroque artists Bernardo Strozzi and Anthony van Dyck.
The palace is staffed by a butler and maid, but the real drawcard is access to the Odescalchi family’s elite black book, which includes academics in art and architecture, fashion designers, and experts on Italian cuisine, wine and gardens.
At an additional cost, guests can use these contacts to arrange exclusive tours of the historic city and even score a table at the family’s favourite restaurants.
Price: Available on request from uniquepropertiesandevents.com
Palácio Belmonte, Lisbon
Renovated by French-born landscape collector Frederic Coustols, this quaint 15th-century palace boasts light-filled interiors, antique tiled walls, and private terraces that overlook Lisbon’s stunning cityscape.
Rent the entire full-staffed palace and you have access to 10 unique suites, a ballroom, two libraries and a chapel, a music room, sauna, lush Mediterranean garden and a black marble swimming pool.
There’s no need for televisions at Palácio Belmonte (although there is wi-fi) when each room has its own character and is filled with priceless antiques interwoven with modern art that rivals even the local museums.
Price: €50,000 for 2 nights
Chateau de la Couronne, France
A beautiful blend of urban style and boutique French character, Chateau de la Couronne sits on two hectares of private parkland in southwestern France. Despite its traditional chateau exterior, its spacious interiors are a fusion of old and new.
There’s a private cinema, billiard room and bar, library, four salons, an open dining room and professionally equipped kitchen, and nine large bedrooms – each with a flat-screen TV. Among the formal gardens, you’ll find a 14.5-metre heated pool and a football pitch, plus a nearby cycling track.
Price: €2,200 per night
Warmatowice Sienkiewiczowskie Palace, Poland
Located three hours outside both Krakow and Prague, this charming pink palace has rich German, Polish and Czech histories. To reflect this, each of its five guest rooms is uniquely designed and decorated and come with their own modern bathroom.
Guests are free to roam five hectares of private manicured forest grounds, which are home to a range of animals including dogs, deer, chickens and ducks, donkeys and even peacocks.
Inside the Renaissance palace are three elegant banquet halls and conference rooms ideal for business conferences, weddings or social gatherings.
Price: on request from [email protected]
From Spain to Switzerland, we’ve rounded up five of the world’s finest (and dearest) dining experiences for your culinary bucket list.