Because the island on which the castle was erected is separated from the shore by at least two bodies of water, artificial defences such as moats or shield walls were usually unnecessary if the castle was surrounded by flowing water. Such castles could therefore be very easily and cheaply built. Many island castles in lakes were, however, relatively easily captured in winter if there was an ice sheet thick enough to support attacking troops, because they were often rather poorly fortified.
The best-known island castle in Germany is Pfalzgrafenstein Castle near Kaub. The only Gothic water castle in Europe is Trakai Castle in Lithuania.
- Turnbull (2003), p. 39, refers to Trakai as an "island castle".
- Turnbull, Stephen (2003). Crusader Castles of the Teutonic Knights (1): The Red-brick Castles of Prussia (1230-1466), Osprey, Oxford. ISBN 1-84176-557-0.
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