Vallø Slot

Southern Zealand

Red-brick Vallø Slot ticks all the ‘proper castle’ boxes, with pointed metal-capped turrets and a moat filled with lily pads and croaking frogs. The building has retained its original 16th-century style, although much of it was rebuilt following a fire in 1893. While the castle itself is not open to the public, visitors are free to amble into the central courtyard area and right through the beautiful woods and gardens that extend all the way to the sea.

On her birthday in 1737 Queen Sophie Magdalene, who owned the estate, established a foundation that turned the castle into a home for ‘spinsters of noble birth’. Unmarried daughters of Danish royalty unable to live in their own castles were allowed to live at Vallø, supported by the foundation and government social programs. The last new residents arrived in the 1970s with the castle-estate's remit broadened since 1976 to one of a more general public charity. But a handful of ageing blue-blooded stiftsdamer women remain in residence.