The most beautiful palaces in the world

Hidden in different parts of the world lie some of the most amazing royal palaces you have ever dreamed of. Golden staircases, crystal chandeliers, classic paintings and jaw-dropping furniture. And don’t get me started on the gardens… and you know what else makes these royal palaces among the most beautiful and fascinating in the world? Their intriguing history.

The Winter Palace – Saint Petersburg, Russia

The Winter Palace was the official residence of almost all the Russian imperial family from 1732 – 1917, and it just so happens to be one of the most beautiful royal palaces in the world. With its Baroque style and 1500 rooms, 1786 doors and 1945 windows, this palace is one of the most fascinating you will ever see.

It’s so large, that it became clear that the palace was too big to be properly secured after the assassination of  Alexander the II, the last of the Tsars to genuinely use the Winter Palace as his main residence. From 1881 – 1917, Alexander the III and Nicholas the II both set up their main residences in the countryside, and the Winter Palace was used for official ceremonies and receptions.

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Chateau de Chambord – Loir-et-Cher, France

The Loire Valley is known around the world for having some of the most beautiful castles you will ever see. The epitome of beauty can be found ad Chateau de Chambord. This stunning royal palace was built by Francis I in 1519 and was completed in 1547. Although it was never considered an official residence for the French kings, it was considered a retreat and a place to welcome foreign guests.

The Palace has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, 13 great staircases and stables to accommodate 1200 horses. Chateau de Chambord is also surrounded by a wall of 22 miles of circumference, and about 1800 men used to be in the service of the chateau year round. Among the art you will see inside are fabulous touches by Leonardo da Vinci.

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Dolmabahçe Palace – Istanbul, Turkey

The Dolmabahçe Palace is one of the most glamorous palaces in the world and the first European-style palace in Turkey. It was the administrative center of the late Ottoman Empire with the last of Ottoman Sultans residing there.

The Dolmabahçe Palace is situated along the Bosphorus and throughout the decades it has been able to maintain its grandeur. It showcases original decorations, impressive golden chandeliers, furniture, silk carpets, jewellery and so much more.

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Versailles – Paris, France

Just 20 kilometers south of Paris, you will find the marvellous Château de Versailles, representing one of the most beautiful achievements of 18th-century French art.

From a simple hunting lodge, Chateau de Versailles became the official seat of power in 1682. Louis XIV transformed his father’s hunting lodge into the outstanding royal palace we know today. And each of the three French kings who lived there until the French Revolution added improvements to make it even more beautiful.  From the Hall of Mirrors, to the King’s Grand Apartments and Marie Antoinette’s Estate, Versailles is a must-visit location. It’s the symbol of royal absolutism and embodiment of French art.

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The Royal Palace of Caserta – Caserta, Italy

Built by the Bourbon King Charles III, the Royal Palace of Caserta was one of the most important buildings created in 18th century Europe to rival Versailles and the Royal Palace in Madrid. Today, the palace represents the largest royal residence in the world in terms of volume, with more than 2 million cubic meters covering an area of approximately 250,000 square meters.

The park is the latest of the great European gardens inspired by the creations of Versailles and the 16th century models of villas in Rome and Tuscany. The English Garden is one of the greatest, oldest and most important picturesque gardens created in Europe.

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Royal Palace of Madrid – Madrid, Spain

The origin of the palace dates back to the ninth century when the Muslim kingdom of Toledo built a defense that was later used by the kings of Castile, who, during the 16th century, built the former Alcázar castle. The current Royal Palace, was built on the site of the old Alcázar which was destroyed by fire on Christmas Eve 1734.

The Royal Palace of Madrid has 135,000 square meters of floorspace, making it the largest European royal palace by floor area. There are a total of 3,418 rooms and the palace’s interiors are known for their spectacular art, materials and decorations which include paintings from Caravaggio, Francisco de Goya, Velazquez and Tiepolo among others.

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Topkapi Palace – Istanbul, Turkey

Built in 1460-1478 under the order of Mehmed the Conqueror, Topkapi Palace served as the administrative, educational and art center of the Ottoman Empire for almost four hundred years, until Sultan Abdulmecid abandoned the palace for the Dolmabahce Palace in the 19th century.

Topkapi Palace is built in a 700,000 square meter area on an Eastern Roman Acropolis located on the Istanbul Peninsula, between the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn. The Palace, whose Main Gate is located at the Hagia-Sophia side, has gardens, squares and four courtyards which have passages between them.

You will find many different areas that were used for different purposes, one of the most striking and fascinating is the sultan’s Harem and Dormitory of the Halberdiers, as well as the fascinating area that contains the jewels, armour and scimitars.

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Alhambra – Granada, Spain

The world-renowned Alhambra is one of the most beautiful and characteristic palaces and fortress you will ever see, it’s truly breathtaking. Situated on top of La Sabika hill, the castle has a bird’s eye-view of Granada.

Often called “the red castle” due to the red stone that covers the thick walls of the castles, the Alhambra was an Arabic fortress built by the Moors in the 13th century. The palace was originally constructed as a small fortress on the remains of Roman fortifications, until the Moorish emir Mohammed Ben Al-Ahmar of the Emirate of Granada had it rebuilt in the 13th century. In 1333 the Sultan of Granada, Yusuf I, converted the fortress into the royal palace. From stunning gardens, arabesque art and stunning gardens, the Alhambra is truly a magical place to stop by.

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Schönbrunn Palace – Vienna, Austria

At the end of the 17th century, the talented Baroque architect Bernhard Fischer was commissioned by Emperor Leopold I to build the palatial hunting lodge for their heir to the throne. But it was not till half a century later that Schoenbrunn Palace because the focus of court life under Maria Theresa.

The stunning Baroque artwork that characterizes Schönbrunn Palace makes it Austria’s most visited sight. With its 1441 rooms, stunning intricate maze and labyrinth in the gardens and beautiful baroque artwork makes this palace one of the most important architectural, cultural and historical monuments in Austria. Not to mention that Mozart gave his first concert to the Empress in the palace’s Mirror Room when he was only 6 years old.

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The Summer Palace – Beijing, China

The Summer Palace in Beijing was first built in 1750 and later largely destroyed in the 1850s during the Second Opium War. It was then restored to its original foundations in 1886 by Emperor Guangxu for the use of Empress Dowager Cixi and renamed the Summer Palace.

The Palace, just 15 kilometers from central Beijing, represents a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design: the natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, bridges and temples to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value. This palace is also said to be the best preserved imperial garden in the world, and the largest to exist in China.

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Pena National Palace – Sintra, Portugal

Pena National Park and Palace is one of the most creative royal palaces of all time. Marvelled by the beauty of the former uninhabited monastery, King Ferdinand II decided to acquire the monastery along with its surrounding lands to create a summer residence for the Portuguese royal family.

Located high on a peak on the Sintra hills, Pena National Palace because the epitome of 19th century Portuguese Romanticism. The palace was built to resemble an opera and is styled with bright colors and beautiful stone carvings. Not to mention the stunning surrounding lands, featuring more than 500 species of trees coming from different parts of the world.

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Neuschwanstein Palace – Bavaria, Germany

If fairytale castles are your thing, then the jaw-dropping Neushwanstein Palace will blow you away. It’s so fantastic that Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle was inspired by it.

Built in the late 19th century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Neushwanstein Palace showcases a classic Romantic style, while the castle’s interiors are dominated by Medieval scenes of brave nights and maidens. Kind Ludwig II commissioned the building of the castle as a homage to Richard Wagner, but it was also intended as the kind’s personal refuge.

When the castle was finished, King Ludwig II was declared mentally unfit to rule and died in 1886. Right after his death, the castle was opened to the public.


I'm the daughter of an Italian family of diplomats, the second of three children, and a global citizen. I've lived in 7 cities around the world, I have a gigantic crush on Italy and my name has been mispronounced more times than I can remember.

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