France, Loire Valley

Beautiful Châteaus to visit in the Loire Valley

A girl walking through the gardens in front of a beautiful white castle

Ever thought of visiting some Disney-like fairytale castles in France? Then add the Loire Valley to your bucket list! There are endless châteaus in the Loire Valley to be explored! In fact, there are around 300 castles in the region!!

300 is a lot of castles, so the real challenge is knowing which ones to go to and which are worth your time. The good news is that the châteaus in the Loire Valley are all relatively close to each other, you can actually visit multiple during one visit. When we went, we were visiting 2 castles a day!

The other good news is, I have put together a list of my favourite castles from the region for you! Now you’ll know which out of 300 castles are worth the visit!

Here are 6 beautiful châteaus in the Loire Valley (a few of them also happen to be some of the most iconic castles in France)!

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

Tips for visiting the Loire Valley

🚂 You DO NOT need to rent a car! The train system in France is absolutely incredible. They run frequently and consistently and typically aren’t too expensive! Over 3 days, we visited 2 castles a day, all using the trains. And each train was no longer than 30 minutes! When booking train tickets in France, I always use Trainline to find the best prices. You can also refer to SNCF Connect!

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Best Train-Friendly day trips from Lille to Belgium

🏨 Where to stay: The main city of the region is Tours, which is where we decided to stay. It was very central, has a beautiful old town and you can visit many castles in around 30 minutes by train (apart from one castle on this list). I’d highly recommend basing yourself here!

🚲 You can also visit the region by bike. This is an incredibly popular and cool way to visit the region in the warmer months! As I said above, the castles in the Loire Valley are very close to each other making them very easily accessible by bike. There are many tours out there but you can go on your own adventure! I found this map to be very helpful and it is one of the official bike routes of the region.

 

6 Castles to visit in the Loire Valley   

Château Royal d’Amboise

A white french castle in the Loire Valley on a cloudy day

🚂 Around 20-minute train ride from Tours

🏰 The castle is a 15-minute walk from the train station

💰 Cost 15 euros for an adult

We spent 2-hours visiting

Château d’Amboise was our very first castle visit in the Loire Valley. Your ticket comes with an interactive tablet where you can learn more about the history of the castle. They’re called Histopads and they’re really amazing (I’ve seen them used in several historic monuments in France). You can point the tablet around the room to see what the space has looked like over the years. The town of Amboise is also located right at the foot of the castle, making it the perfect place to grab lunch after your visit.

You can book your tickets here!

 

Château du Clos Lucé

A collage of photos of the Chateau Clos Lucé in the Loire Valley, showing some of Leonardo da Vinci's work

🚂 Around 20-minute train ride from Tours

🏰 The castle is a 25-minute walk from the train station

💰 Cost 18 euros for an adult

We spent 2.5-hours visiting

Château du Clos Lucé was probably the most unique castle we visited during our trip to the Loire Valley and if you’re in Amboise, you have to visit. This is where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last 3 years of his life, and this is essentially the theme of the entire castle and grounds. The rooms are decorated to show where he worked, painted and invented. You can find models of his inventions and the science behind them. And then on the grounds, you can find life-size replicas of his inventions in action. Personally, I found the displays to be really well done, and definitely worth the visit.

You can book your tickets here!

 

HIGHLIGHT: Château de Chenonceau

A girl standing in front of the beautiful white castle of Chateau Chenonceau on a clear sunny day

🚂 Around 30-minute train ride from Tours

🏰 The castle is a 3-minute walk from the train station

💰 Cost 17 euros for an adult

We spent 3-hours visiting

This was one of my favourite châteaus in the Loire Valley. I personally found it to be so beautiful and pristine. It sits atop the river and has beautiful gardens surrounding it. This is one of the most popular châteaus in the Loire Valley so it might be crowded when you visit. I highly recommend visiting early in the morning and walking along the river and the grounds before leaving.

Fun fact about this castle, it is what it is today thanks to women-power! Over the years, the castle has been inherited by different women who put their love into it and worked to protect and restore the castle. The castle has been expanded and developed over the years, making it one of the most beautiful in France; all thanks to these women!

You can book your tickets here!

PRO TIP: You can also visit the Loire Valley as a day trip from Paris! Check out the tour below!

 

 

Château Royal de Blois

A collage of photos of the exterior of the Chateau de Blois, including the striking statue of the king on a horse.

🚂 Around 40-minute train ride from Tours

🏰 The castle is an 8-minute walk from the train station

💰 Cost 14 euros for an adult

We spent 1.5-hours visiting

There was a lot to see in this castle, but I didn’t have enough time to fully appreciate it.  Something we missed out on that looks super cool is the sound and light show. Throughout the Spring until Autumn, they have nightly displays starting at 10 pm. You can learn more about that here. This castle reminded me more like a museum compared to the other castles we visited. Inside the gorgeous, historic walls were tonnes of artefacts and items on display!

You can book your tickets here!

 

Château d’Azay-le-Rideau 

A girl sitting on a rock next to a lake looking at a white castle sitting just before her.

🚂 Around 20-minute train ride from Tours

🏰 The castle is a 25-minute walk from the train station

💰 Cost 11.5 euros for an adult

We spent 2-hours visiting

Château d’Azay-le-Rideau is the perfect half-day trip in the Loire Valley. There is a guided tour included with your ticket (we told our guide I was English, and she happily helped translate). I highly recommend taking the guided tour because there are no information panels inside. Having a guide helped make sense of everything.

I particularly liked the way they organized this castle. Each room was organized by the different centuries, so you could see the evolution in style and how the rooms were used. The grounds are also quite beautiful, I would make sure to walk around a bit before heading into town for lunch. Personally, we adored our lunch at the local crêperie, Le Boudoir!

You can book your tickets here!

 

Château de Chambord

🚂 You can read about the different ways to get to the castle here

💰 Cost 16 euros for an adult

It is recommended you need 2-hours to visit inside the castle

This is the only castle on my Loire Valley bucket list that I didn’t get to cross off yet. It also happens to be one of the most iconic châteaus of the Loire Valley, and in all of France for that matter.

If you’re planning a visit, I would expect to spend the day here. There is a lot to do and see! On top of visiting the castle, you can also visit the stables to see a horse show, the nature reserve as well as the gardens. It sounds like the perfect outdoor day for families! They also have lots of Christmas festivities around the holidays!

You can book your tickets here!

 

Planning a visit to France?

Although the Loire Valley is quite a popular destination, I do believe it is often overshadowed by places like Paris and the French Riviera. There is so much history to be explored in the walls of these castles. And to feel like you’re walking through a Disney fairytale, what’s not to love!?

Be sure to add these 6 castles to your France bucket list, they will not disappoint you! If you need more ideas or help planning your holiday in France, I am more than happy to help you explore more of this amazing country. I offer personalized travel itineraries and consultation calls, I hope I can help make your trip to France a memorable one!

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Caity Zagar

Travel Planner & Blogger

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