In this post, we’re covering everything you need to know about the region and the 3 best castles you should visit in the Loire Valley, France.
The Loire Valley and its castles are an incredible European travel destination and an unforgettable bucket list item to check off.
Located in central France, along the river Loire, it is easily reachable within a 2,5 hour’s drive from Paris.
The 800 square kilometer region of the Loire Valley is famous for its vineyards, spectacular chateaux, and of course the dry white wines.
The main cities are Orléans, Angers, and Tours. Other smaller towns include Blois and Amboise, which I highly recommend you visit. In fact, Amboise was the town we chose as our base for our trip to the Loire Valley due to its perfect location, close to the main castles and wineries.
Is Loire Valley worth visiting?
Whether you’d enjoy sipping a sauvignon blanc on the sunny terrace of a cozy French village or taking a tour of the castles in the region, you will always find something exciting to do in the Loire Valley.
Regardless of how much time you have for your trip to the Loire Valley, these are the 3 best castles to include as part of your tour in the region.
As they are located relatively close to each other, you could visit them all in 1 day, but I would highly recommend dedicating a bit more time to your visit to this region. This way you can truly experience it and enjoy it at a more relaxed pace.
Best Castles To Visit On The Loire Valley
1. Chateau Chambord – the most spectacular of the Loire Valley castles
If you only have time to visit only one castle, make it this one.
Chateau Chambord is probably the most famous and most spectacular of the castles in the Loire Valley. And it’s easy to see why. The impressive Renaissance architecture, massive halls, and perfectly designed gardens make it the best first destination for your tour of the region.
The castle was built under the orders of French King Francois I in the 16th century. While it was not meant to be a permanent residence (but more of a hunting or recreational one), it became a symbol of his power and had been proudly shown off to foreign diplomats of the time.
It is truly impressive to visit. To me, this is the best chateau in the Loire Valley and an absolute must-see.
ADDRESS: Château, 41250 Chambord, France
SCHEDULE: open daily between 9-5/6 pm
TICKET PRICE: 14.5 EUR
2. Chateau de Chenonceau
An exceptionally beautiful castle, surrounded by gorgeous gardens, Chateau de Chenonceau is definitely not to be missed.
It is quite smaller in size compared to Chateau Chambord, yet just as stunning in beauty. I think its uniqueness comes from the overwater layout which makes it such an impressive place to visit.
As you arrive, you will walk along a green alley with tall trees on both sides, almost like a tunnel, concealing the surroundings, only to reveal the beautiful castle a few steps further.
Have a look inside, walk in the footsteps of queen Catherine de Medici, and then head over to her gardens, for an even more impressive view of the castle.
Don’t miss the Italian maze, also designed by Catherine de Medici, with its small beautiful gazebo in the middle.
ADDRESS: 37150 Chenonceaux, France
SCHEDULE: open daily between 9-5/6 pm
TICKET PRICE: 15 EUR
3. Chateau Amboise
Let’s continue now your tour of the Loire Valley castles with Chateau Amboise.
A spectacular, historical site, Chateau Amboise was the residence of many French kings from the 15th to 19th century.
Its location just in front of the river Loire brings a bit of extra charm and beauty to the castle so make sure to walk along the bridge in front of it for some great views of the entire chateau.
ADDRESS: Mnt de l’Emir Abd el Kader, 37400 Amboise, France
SCHEDULE: open daily between 9-6.30 pm
TICKET PRICE: 13,5 EUR
Which chateau is the best in the Loire Valley
Having seen all the major 3 castles, my choice has to go to Chateau Chambord. I think this is the best and most famous castle in the Loire Valley.
Of course, there are more to visit, like Chateau Blois, Villandry, Chateau Sully-sur-Loire, but if I were you, I’d start my castles tour with Chambord. 😉
Where to Stay in Loire Valley
If you are wondering what would be the best place to stay when planning a tour of the Loire Valley castles, my recommendation is Amboise.
It is a charming little town with a perfect location in the heart of the Loire Valley, just 15 minutes drive from Chateau de Chenonceau and one hour away from Chambord. And of course, you will have Chateau Amboise right at your feet. Not to mention spectacular sunsets over the Loire river.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short guide to the Loire Valley and its castles, and I hope it has inspired your next trip to France! Happy travels!
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