Cape Coast Castle

Top choice castle in Cape Coast

Image by Tom Cockrem Getty Images

Cape Coast’s imposing, whitewashed castle commands the heart of town, overlooking the sea. Once one of the world's most important slave-holding sites, it provides horrifying insight into the workings of the trade. Staff conduct hour-long tours, during which you’ll visit the dark, damp dungeons, where slaves waited for two to 12 weeks, while contemplating rumours that only hinted at their fate. A visit to the dungeons contrasts sharply with the governor’s bedroom, blessed with floor-to-ceiling windows and panoramic ocean views.

There’s also an excellent museum on the first floor, detailing the history of Ghana, the slave trade and Akan culture.

First converted into a castle by the Dutch in 1637 and expanded by the Swedes in 1652, the castle changed hands five times over the 13 tumultuous years that followed until, in 1664, it was captured by the British. During the two centuries of British occupation, it was the headquarters for the colonial administration until Accra was declared the new capital in 1877.