There are (nearly) as many castles—and castle-like manors—as there are folk tales in Scandinavia, Europe's most northerly region known for its gorgeous coastal cities, deep fjords, and long winters. At these 8 fortresses-turned-hotels, you'll live like medieval royalty.
Kokkedal Castle, Denmark
There’s nothing stuffy about this 1746 coastal Renaissance castle 30 minutes north of Copenhagen, whose interiors—all crystal chandeliers, gilded mirrors, and Nina Campbell fabrics—feel more country manor house than castle. Its regal white façade looks over an 18-hole golf course and acres of verdant parkland; inside, 62 rooms are divided between the castle and nearby lodge (connected by underground passage), all with modern white walls, parquet floors, and bathrooms stocked with Acqua di Parma amenities. The spa is equally luxurious, with its Piet Boon chairs and sauna and Jacuzzi. The hotel's best asset is the Castle Cellar Restaurant, housed in the restored cellar, complete with vaulted ceilings, wooden wine racks, and flickering candles (don't miss the foie gras terrine followed by the roasted quail au confit). On Sundays, head to the Garden Salon for afternoon tea overlooking the gardens, accompanied by a harpist.
Södertuna Slott, Sweden
A beautiful hedge-lined drive leads visitors to Sweden’s Södertuna Castle, tucked away in the quiet countryside outside the tiny town of Gnesta, 90 minutes' drive from Stockholm. Though guest rooms, which are split between the castle wings overlooking the lake or garden, are simply furnished, its public spaces are far more lavish. In the center building, you’ll find an elegant dining room with a gold-leaf ceiling and ornate wooden chairs, a moody lounge awash in velvet upholstery and lit by candelabra wall sconces, and a modern spa with its own indoor pool. The grounds are just as pretty: borrow one of the hotel’s bikes and explore the surrounding paths, which wind around a lake—open for fishing or ice-skating in colder months.
Görvälns Slott, Sweden
There’s a lot to love about this 17th-century converted manor house on the banks of Sweden's Lake Mälaren. First, there’s the grounds: 900 bucolic acres include a central lake where guests gather to fish, swim, and waterski. Then there are the rooms: just 38 of them—kitted out with Baroque flourishes like furred lampshades, gilded antique headboards, and Louis IX chairs that make you feel like you’re one of a handful of guests at an intimate royal gathering. Finally, there's the restaurant, where the tasting menus spotlight seasonal, locally sourced dishes like Swedish duck with pumpkin and cranberries paired with wines hand-selected by an on-site sommelier.
Dragsholm Slot, Denmark
Dragsholm looks straight out of a Disney fairytale—an eye-popping 13th-century estate on the ocean whose interiors channel today's minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic. The 34 rooms are stylishly spare and dispersed between the U-shaped central hilltop castle and adjacent annex. (Go for the more traditional rooms, which have four-poster Hästens beds and garden views.) The food is a big draw, here: Chef Claus Henriksen, formerly a sous-chef at Noma, lends his gastronomic expertise to creative tasting menus on New Nordic cuisine at the hotel's more formal Castle Kitchen as well as house-made comfort foods at his casual Eatery—think fried sausage, skyr yogurt, smoked lard, and apple juice freshly pressed from the castle orchard.
RELATED: The World's Best Castle Hotels
Rantalinna Hotel, Finland
Finland’s lakeside Rantalinna Hotel, 30 minutes from the Russian border, has direct ties to royal blood—it was a former Art Nouveau residence of a Russian tsar (Romanov Prince Oldenburg, to be precise). Every space from the restaurant to the guest rooms (think cushy armchairs, tiled fireplaces, and patterns everywhere) overlooks Lake Saimaa which, come summertime, is filled with boaters who dock at the hotel's pier to dine at the Finnish-Russian restaurant.
Åkeshofs Slott, Sweden
This sleep is easily Sweden’s most accessible castle hotel—all you have to do is hop on a subway for the 20-minute ride from Bromma—but it retains all the charm of a countryside getaway. A lakeside nature reserve is the pastoral setting for the canary-yellow country home, whose interiors read like your typical regal digs—glittering chandeliers, tiled chimneys, muraled walls, and cozy rooms with pale wooden floors and thick toile drapery. During the dark Swedish winters, warm up in the sauna or wine cellar, which hosts regular whiskey tastings.
Dronninglund Castle, Denmark
Benedictine nuns founded what’s now known as Dronninglund Slot in 1264, but the building's life as a monastery was short-lived. After the Reformation, Dronninglund fell into the hands of the Crown and became a royal residence first for Queen Charlotte Amelie (wife of King Christian V) in 1690, who then passed the estate down through her family. Much of the still-standing structure (including its corner towers) still date back to the 16th century, though the 22 simple yet comfortable guest rooms are modern with plush four-poster beds and cushy armchairs. JS Tip: the banquet hall, with its barrel-vaulted ceilings and gated wine cellar, is a great setting for anyone looking to tie the knot in Denmark's Vendsyssel countryside.
Kronovalls Vinslott, Sweden
With room names like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Negroamaro (with appropriately coordinating color schemes), Kronovalls Vinslott is all about wine. Curated weekend packages at the castle include afternoon tea complemented by Italian sweets, five-course dinners revolving around seasonal delicacies, and expertly paired wine tastings. (Because you won't find too many vineyards in this part of the world, you'll be treated to award-winning international varietals.) After you've successfully fallen into a food and wine coma, retreat upstairs to one of 15 guest rooms, all of which have plush four-poster beds cloaked in romantic 18th-century canopies.