With hotel prices all but recovered from the recession that forced them to slash rates, it seems vacation rentals are an increasingly popular alternative. According to TripAdvisor, 49 percent of travelers have stayed or planned to stay in a vacation rental in 2013, up from 46 percent in 2012 and 40 percent in 2011.
With that in mind, we're on the lookout for some of the world's most fantastic rental properties (check out our story on vacation homes with amazing infinity pools). HomeAway.com, a leading vacation rental home site, tracked down several castles available for rent. One has 43 bedrooms and can sleep you plus 119 of your closest friends.
Prices are per week and vary by season.
Built in 1860, Carr Hall castle is nestled amidst a private deer park in the Yorkshire countryside and was named "Britain's Best Home." It has four bedrooms and sleeps 10 people. Price: $15,837 to $16,304 per week.
|Yorkshire Castle's Amenities|
Pictured here, the castle's indoor pool. It also has an outdoor hot tub, a terrace overlooking a lake and a household staff -- including a masseuse -- available to book.
|Elegant French Chateau, Normandy, France|
Straight from the pages of a fairy tale, this 16th-century French castle is framed by idyllic gardens and rolling countryside and has belonged to the same family for over 500 years. It has eight bedrooms and sleeps 15. Price: $10,113 to $12,167.
|French Chateau Amenities|
Amenities include a small, child-sized stone manor and a chapel. Vegetable gardens are housed in 19th-century greenhouses and the heated swimming pool is equipped with Roman steps. The grounds also include a covered game room, swings and a sand pit.
|Castle Wasserburg, Vienna, Austria|
The romantic, baroque-style castle outside of Vienna provides a truly authentic experience, including being surrounded by a pond (complete with a moat!) and a historic stone garden, along with modern conveniences. It has 10 bedrooms and sleeps 20. Price: $17,695 per week.
|Castle Wasserburg Amenities|
The castle includes a large dining room, swimming pool, bath house, sauna, tennis courts and a maid.
|Historic Vineyard Castle, Florence, Italy|
Comprised of 29 charming apartments decorated with hand–painted frescoes, the historic Tuscan castle is owned by a Florentine family and is nestled amidst the vineyards in the Chianti region. It has 43 bedrooms and sleeps 120 people. Price: $31,967 to $50,034 per week.
|Vineyard Castle Amenities|
The castle is surrounded by an English garden, vineyards, olive trees, lemon trees and plenty of beautiful flowers.
|Gothic Castle, Devon, England|
Rumored to be styled after Balmoral, the gothic-style Teignmouth castle boasts gorgeous views overlooking the sea and is rumored to have frequently hosted high-profile guests, including Hollywood legend, Vivien Leigh. It has five bedrooms and sleeps 10. Price: $1,091 to $2,789 per week.
|Tuscan Castle, Livorno, Italy|
A picturesque cypress and pine tree-lined lane leads to the enchanting Castle Mago, which is beautifully furnished with antique furniture, hand decorated ceilings, frescoes and numerous precious objects, along with extensive grounds, including a stunning rose garden and swimming pool, Jacuzzi and pool-side fitness center that overlook a terraced olive grove. It has six bedrooms and sleeps 12. Price: $18,171 to $21,079 per week.