Historic palaces come in all shapes and sizes. From ruined ancient palaces to medieval palace fortresses and later modern architectural wonders, those who rose to power through the ages have always sought to build residences which were literally fit for a king.
Today these historic palaces are some of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet and the list of palaces around the world contains some of the most recognisable buildings to have ever been built. While many of these palaces no longer house royalty, some are still active homes while others may serve as such for just a short time every year.
If you’re one of the millions of people who enjoy visiting historic palaces then this list of palaces around the world should help to provide some inspiration.
The Palace of Versailes was the residence of King Louis XIV and former seat of the French Government.
The Palace of Versailles was originally the hunting lodge of France’s King Louis XIII, but was transformed into a magnificent residence by his son and successor, Louis XIV. The ostentatious monarch built the Grand Apartment of the King and Queen which included the magnificent Hall of Mirrors before moving both his... Read More
Visually stunning, Hawa Mahal – which means the Palace of the Winds - is a striking 18th century royal palace in Jaipur.
Hawa Mahal, translated as the Palace of the Winds, in Jaipur in India was built in 1799 for the Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. Constructed of fiery sandstone with an intricate façade that rises into a curve, Hawa Mahal is a striking structure. One of the most prominent features of Hawa Mahal... Read More
Once the thriving centre of the Minoan civilisation, the archaeological site of Knossos contains the remains of the famous Knossos Palace, thought to have been the home of King Minos. It is one of the most intriguing and ancient historic palaces in the world.
Knossos or ‘ko-no-so’ was an important ancient site found on the outskirts of the modern city of Heraklion in Crete. It is believed that Knossos was first established a place of settlement in Neolithic times in around 7000 BC and then continuously inhabited until the Ancient Roman period. Knossos reached its... Read More
Ranked among the most famous palaces in the world, Buckingham Palace has been the royal residence of British monarchs since the reign of Queen Victoria.
Buckingham Palace has been the official residence of Britain's monarchs since 1837, at the start of the reign of Queen Victoria. With its 775 rooms, Buckingham Palace was originally built for the Dukes of Buckingham at the beginning of the eighteenth century. In 1761, Buckingham Palace, then known as Buckingham House, was... Read More
El Escorial is an impressive sixteenth century royal complex built under the orders of King Philip II of Spain. UNESCO listed.
El Escorial, the full name of which is The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial) is an impressive sixteenth century royal complex built under the orders of King Philip II of Spain. Intended to mark the celebration of Spain’s victory... Read More
One of the most enthralling entries on the list of world palaces, Hadrian’s Villa is perhaps the best-preserved Roman villa complex in the world and was the private palace of the famous Roman Emperor Hadrian.
Hadrian’s Villa, or Villa Adriana, is perhaps the best-preserved Roman villa complex in the world. Built in the early 2nd century, the villa was the central hub of power in the Roman world for the latter years of Emperor Hadrian’s reign. Hadrian’s Villa covers almost 250 acres and consists of over... Read More
Dolmabahce Palace is an opulent nineteenth century palace which twice served as the seat of the Ottoman Empire.
Dolmabahce Palace (Dolmabahce Sarayi) is an opulent nineteenth century palace on the Bosphorus which twice served as the seat of the Ottoman Empire. Begun in 1842 under Sultan Abdulmecit I, Dolmabahce Palace was completed in 1853 and first became the base of the Ottoman Empire as well as the home... Read More
Wilanow Palace is a late seventeenth century Baroque palace in Warsaw, built by King Jan III Sobieski, and an art museum.
Wilanow Palace (Palac w Wilanowie) is a pretty, late seventeenth century Baroque palace in Warsaw built by King Jan III Sobieski. Combining Polish architectural style with several others from around Europe, Wilanow Palace became Jan III’s royal home and eventually the place where this military leader died. Over the upcoming centuries,... Read More
The Agra Fort was a Mughal fortress and palace in Agra, India and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Agra Fort is one of India’s most impressive and important forts and palaces, close to the Taj Mahal. From fortress to city Primarily intended as a military structure, the Agra Fort is made up of 20 metre high walls with a circumference of 2.5 kilometres. However, the Agra Fort was later... Read More
Aigai in northern Greece was once capital of the Macedonian kingdom and the site where Alexander the Great was proclaimed king. Important remains at Aigai include the royal palace – which includes impressive mosaics.
Aigai in northern Greece was once the capital of the Macedonian kingdom and it was here in 336BC that Alexander the Great was proclaimed King of Macedon after the assassination of his father, Philip II. Though evidence of human occupation of the site stretches back to the 3rd millennium BC, it... Read More
Ajuda National Palace was once the official residence of the Portuguese royal family.
Ajuda National Palace (Palacio Nacional da Ajuda) was the official residence of the Portuguese royal family from the reign of King Louis I (circa 1861) until 1910, when Portugal became a republic. A neoclassical building with a lavish interior, Ajuda National Palace was built from 1802 after the devastating earthquake... Read More
One of the most picturesque palaces in the world, the Alcazar of Segovia embodies much of what is considered to be the ideal vision of a fairy-tale castle, complete with charming turrets and cliff-top perch.
The Alcazar of Segovia (Alcazar de Segovia) is an imposing medieval fortress which embodies much of what one would consider to be the ideal vision of a fairytale castle, complete with picturesque turrets and cliff-top location. It is thought that a fort has existed on this site since Roman times, but... Read More
The Alhambra in Granada, Spain was a fortified palace complex of the Nasrid Dynasty conquered by the Christians.
Calat Alhambra or the “Red Fortress” in Granada, Spain, is a complex of royal palaces, mosques, baths, shops and other buildings surrounded by an imposing two kilometer fortified wall. Originally established in 1238 by the founder of the Nasrid Dynasty, Muhammad Ibn al Ahmar, it was expanded in the 13th century... Read More
A Rococo style eighteenth century royal palace, Amalienborg Slot in Copenhagen is the winter home of the Danish royals.
Amalienborg Slot in northern Copenhagen is a Rococo style palace originally constructed under the orders of King Frederik V. Made up of four externally similar buildings built around a central courtyard, Amalienborg Slot was completed in 1760. The first residents of the palace were not royals, but rather wealthy families. However,... Read More
An ancient city of the Islamic Umayyad dynasty, which is listed by UNESCO, Anjar contains the remains of the great palaces which once stood there.
Anjar was a city of the Umayyad Islamic dynasty, founded in the early 8th century by Caliph Walid I. Over the course of this century, Anjar’s setting at the centre of two trading routes allowed it to flourish into a commercial hub. Yet, in 744AD, this prosperity came to an... Read More
A UNESCO-listed sacred ancient city in Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura contains the remains of several palaces and a host of other ruins.
Anuradhapura is a sacred ancient city in Sri Lanka which was founded in the fourth century BC and whose beautiful ruins are UNESCO-listed. Over time, Anuradhapura became one of the great capitals of Sri Lanka (then called Ceylon), garnering both political and religious significance. The third century BC saw Anuradhapura grow... Read More
Attingal Palace is an historic site located near Attingal, Kerala. It is one of the oldest palaces in Kerala.
Attingal Palace is an historic site located near Attingal in Kerala. It is one of the oldest palaces in Kerala and played a part in several of the key events of the region. The palace bore witness to many of the milestone proclamations of the ruling dynasty. In 1721 Attingal... Read More
The capital of Siam for around 400 years from the 14th century, the ruins of Ayutthaya include the remains of three royal palaces. A fascinating addition to our list of world palaces.
Ayutthaya, once known as Ayothaya, was an ancient city in Thailand and which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Ayutthaya was established as the capital of Siam in around 1350 by Ramadhipati, a Thai vassal who forced the original King to swear allegiance to him. It remained as such for... Read More
Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan and an impressive walled medieval city. Among other things, it is famed for the Shirvanshahs’ Palace, an imposing 15th century royal residence.
Baku, also known as Baki or The Ancient Walled City of Baku, in Azerbaijan was an ancient city inhabited by the Shirvani dynasty in the Middle Ages. Whilst the area in Baku is thought to have been inhabited since the Stone Age, Baku itself rose to prominence as the Shirvani capital... Read More
One of the most famous historic royal palaces, Balmoral has been the official Highlands home of the British royals since the reign of Queen Victoria.
Balmoral Castle has been the official Highlands home of the British royal family since the reign of Queen Victoria. Having fallen in love with the Highlands after their first visit in 1842, it was in fact Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who built Balmoral Castle between 1853 and 1856. Today, parts... Read More
Famous as the site of the execution of King Charles I, Banqueting House in Whitehall is is the only complete surviving building of the Palace of Whitehall.
The Banqueting House in Whitehall, near Horseguards Parade, is the only complete building of the Palace of Whitehall to remain standing. The original Palace of Whitehall was acquired from Cardinal Wolsey by Henry VIII and was a royal residence until James I came to the throne in 1603. The Banqueting House... Read More
Beihai Park is vast, well preserved imperial palace and garden dating back to the 1st century AD.
Beihai Park is an imperial garden and palace in Beijing, China established during the Liao Dynasty in the first century AD. Since then, Beihai Park has undergone significant changes and renovations, with each imperial dynasty making its mark on the gardens. In fact, Beihai Park has served as a haven... Read More
Though now in ruins, Berkhamsted Castle was once a large, fortified royal palace built by English King Henry I and often used by the royal family of the era.
Berkhamsted Castle was originally a timber castle constructed in the eleventh century by William the Conqueror’s half-brother, Robert of Mortain. This was in the aftermath of William’s success in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Located in the strategically important area of Berkhamsted, this motte and bailey castle was a vital... Read More
Beylerbeyi Palace is a nineteenth century palace built to house important guests.
Beylerbeyi Palace (Beylerbeyi Sarayi) was built during the reign of Sultan Abdulaziz in the 1860s. Serving as the residence of visiting dignitaries, Beylerbeyi Palace has played host to kings, shahs and princesses. It was also at Beylerbeyi Palace that sultan Abdulhamid II was kept captive for six years... Read More
A medieval castle in Hampshire built in the 12th century, the ruins of the medieval Bishop’s Waltham Palace can be seen in Hampshire.
Bishop's Waltham Palace is a medieval castle in Hampshire built in the 12th century, although the current picturesque ruins mostly date from the early 14th century works of the Bishop William Wykeham. In its time, Bishop's Waltham Palace acted as a residence for a series of the Bishops of... Read More
A beautiful historic palace, complete with stunning gardens, Blenheim Palace is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
Blenheim Palace was built as a gift to the Duke of Marlborough following his victory over French forces at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704. On 30 November 1874, it also became the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, one of Britain’s greatest leaders. Today it is home to the 12th... Read More
Bojnice Castle was a medieval fortification and royal palace, now seen by many as Slovakia's most romantic castle, with a history dating to the 12th century.
Bojnice Castle (Bojnicky zamok) is seen by many as Slovakia's most romantic castle, with a history dating to the 12th century. The castle has undergone many changes over the centuries. In its present form it is more similar to a French chateaux or Bavaria's Neuschwanstein than to other Slovak fortresses.... Read More
Buda Castle is a vast palace in Budapest’s Castle Quarter housing a series of museums including the National Gallery.
Buda Castle (Budai Var) is a vast palace in Budapest’s Castle Quarter housing a series of museums including the National Gallery. In the thirteenth century, the then separate cities of Buda and Pest were endangered by Mongol raids, to which Pest succumbed in the 1241-1242. A few years later, King Bela IV... Read More
Casa Rosada is the presidential palace in Buenos Aires from which Eva Peron addressed the people.
Casa Rosada is a presidential palace in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires. Literally translated as the “Pink Palace” due to its distinctive pink façade, Casa Rosada houses the executive branch of Argentina’s government. The area on which Casa Rosada is located was once by the sea and in the late sixteenth century... Read More
Castel del Monte is an impressive thirteenth century fortified palace, originally built as a hunting lodge by the Emperor Frederick II. It is now listed by UNESCO.
Castel del Monte in Puglia, Italy is a medieval palace originally built as a hunting lodge by the Emperor Frederick II and later used as his seat of power. Built in the thirteenth century and completed in 1240, Castel del Monte has been described by UNESCO, with whom it is... Read More
Clarence House has been the London residence of several members of the British royal family.
Clarence House has been the London residence of several members of the British royal family and is now the home of the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Built from 1825 to 1827 next to St James's Palace, the prime location of Clarence House has made it the perfect... Read More
Diocletian’s Palace was the place where this great Roman Emperor retired and is now an entire town.
Diocletian’s Palace in Croatia is remarkable in that this Ancient Roman emperor’s home evolved over the years to become an entire town, known as Split. Diocletian was a Dalmatian-born soldier who reigned as emperor from November 248 AD to May 305 AD. He is considered a great reformer, having restructured the... Read More
With one of the richest histories of any palace site, the Domus Augustana on the Palatine Hill in Rome was the palace of Ancient Rome’s emperors.
The Domus Augustana on the Palatine Hill was a magnificent palace used as the residence of Rome’s emperors. Built by the Emperor Domitian, the incredible remains of the Domus Augustana include a remarkable courtyard with the remnants of a fountain and many of its walls. The Domus Augustana should not be... Read More
Drottningholm Palace is a well-preserved 18th century royal palace in Sweden and a UNESCO listed site.
Drottningholm Palace (Drottningholm Slott) is a well-preserved royal palace in Sweden, renowned as the “Versailles of Scandinavia”. The first incarnation of Drottningholm Palace was built by King Johan III in the late sixteenth century. The king built it for his wife, Queen Katarina Jagellonika, hence its name “Drottningholm” means "Queen's... Read More
Among many fine sites in this historic city can be found the 15th century buildings of Sponza Palace and Ducal Palace, both of which have served important roles in Dubrovnik’s history.
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city on the Dalmatian coast understandably known as the 'Pearl of the Adriatic'. While many historical sources date its establishment to the seventh or even fifth century, Dubrovnik or its ‘old city’, which is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site, became a powerful merchant town in... Read More
Ducal Palace is a 17th century fortress in Lerma, built in the 17th century by its Duke, a favourite of Phillip III.
Ducal Palace is a 17th century fortress in Lerma, Spain designed by Spanish Renaissance architect Francisco de Mora. A small hilltop town, Lerma is a little off the tourist track, but has a variety of interesting sites to see, especially at its summit. Here stands the Ducal Palace (now a Parador... Read More
Dunfermline Abbey and Palace was a royal residence and the final resting place of many a Scottish monarch.
Dunfermline Abbey and Palace have a royal connection dating back to the eleventh century, when a priory was established there under Queen Margaret (now known as St Margaret). This was elevated to being an abbey in around 1150 by her son, David I. The picturesque remains of Dunfermline Abbey - now just... Read More
El Badi Palace was an opulent sixteenth century palace of the Saadi Dynasty destroyed by Moulay Ismail.
El Badi Palace was once the magnificent royal palace of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur of the Saadi Dynasty. Having taken twenty five years to build, El Badi Palace was a lavish, grand sixteenth century complex of buildings with over 350 rooms, courtyards, gardens and a large pool. Yet, today there is... Read More
Eltham Palace is a spectacular Art Deco palace built in the 1930’s alongside a 15th century medieval hall.
Eltham Palace is a spectacular Art Deco palace built in the 1930's alongside a 15th Century medieval hall. Medieval Eltham The medieval part of Eltham Palace is quite stunning for those who are interested in that era. The Great Hall of Eltham Palace is still extant and was originally built for the... Read More
Falkland Palace was the country retreat and hunting lodge of the royal Stuart dynasty.
Falkland Palace was the Renaissance country retreat and hunting lodge of the royal Stuart dynasty for around two centuries. Begun in 1450 and completed in 1541, Falkland Palace was the work of kings James IV and James V and was very much a favourite of Mary Queen of Scots. The highlights of... Read More
Fatehpur Sikri was the capital of the Mughal Empire for a short period in the sixteenth century.
Fatehpur Sikri near Agra was the short-lived capital of the Mughal Empire. Commissioned by Emperor Akbar in 1571, Fatehpur Sikri was built on the site where a holy man called Shaikh Salim Chishti was said to have predicted the birth of Akbar’s third son, who would become the leader of... Read More
Fishbourne Roman Palace hosts the remains of a huge Roman palace built in the 1st century AD. Today it operates as a museum and contains information, artefacts and mosaics.
Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex hosts the remains of a huge Roman palace complex which was constructed in the 1st century AD. Built on the site of a Roman supply compound, Fishbourne Roman Palace was a vast and impressive development which would have been built for the very highest echelons... Read More
The Flavian Palace on the Palatine Hill was where Roman emperors held official functions.
The Flavian Palace (Domus Flavian) on Rome’s prestigious Palatine Hill was an Ancient Roman palace built by the Emperor Domitian in the first century AD. A place where official functions were held, the Flavian Palace was the public counterpart to Domus Augustana, which served as the private home of Rome’s emperors. The... Read More
Frederiksborg Slot is a restored sixteenth century royal palace in Denmark and the site of the National History Museum.
Frederiksborg Slot or ‘Frederiksborg Castle’ in Northwest Zealand, Denmark, was originally built in 1560 by Frederik II and expanded by Christian IV. Following a fire in 1859, which ravaged much of the castle, Frederiksborg Slot was restored and now serves in large part as Denmark’s National History Museum. So, in addition to... Read More
The Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes was the base of the Knights Hospitaller of St John.
The Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes was the palace of the Knights Hospitaller of St John. Dating to the fourteenth century (circa 1309), the Grandmasters Palace would be the base of this famous Christian and military order until Rhodes was captured by the Ottomans in 1522. Under this empire the Grandmasters Palace... Read More
The Grandmasters Palace in Valletta has been the seat of power in Malta since the sixteenth century.
The Grandmasters Palace in Valletta has been the seat of power in Malta since the sixteenth century. It was in 1571 that the Knights Hospitaller of St John made the Grandmasters Palace their base, a role which it would fulfil until 1798, when this religious and military order left Malta. At... Read More
Hampton Court Palace is a medieval palace whch has served as everything from a royal residence to a prison.
Hampton Court Palace is a medieval palace once favoured by Henry VIII which has served as everything from a royal residence to a prison. The first buildings at what is now Hampton Court Palace belonged to the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem, a religious order founded in the... Read More
Hatfield House is a Jacobean country house built on the site of what was Queen Elizabeth I’s childhood home.
Hatfield House is a Jacobean country house built on the site of what was Hatfield Palace. Built in approximately 1485, Hatfield Palace was bought by Henry VIII and became the home of his children, particularly that of a young Elizabeth I. In the gardens of Hatfield House, one can visit... Read More
A stunning 19th century Bavarian palace, located on its very own 230-hectare island, modelled on the Palace of Versailles.
Herrenchiemsee Palace is a luxurious 19th Century Bavarian palace, modelled on France’s Palace of Versailles, which sits atop its very own 230-hectare island. Initially intended to serve no functional purpose other than as a shrine to absolute monarchy, Herrenchiemsee New Palace was modelled on the Palace of Versailles. Initial work on... Read More
Hofburg Imperial Palace was the winter residence of the Habsburg Dynasty, the Austrian-Hungarian imperial family.
Hofburg Imperial Palace, or just “the Hofburg”, is a grand palace in Vienna and was under the ownership of the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg Dynasty until 1918, when it passed to the Austrian Republic. Today it is a buzzing network of museums, restaurants and halls as well as the seat of the President... Read More
Holyroodhouse Palace is the Scottish royal residence famed as having been home to Mary Queen of Scots.
Holyroodhouse Palace has a history stretching back to the twelfth century. Now the official Scottish residence of the Queen, the story of Holyroodhouse Palace is intertwined with that of the monarchy, particularly that of Mary Queen of Scots. Holyroodhouse Palace is said to have been founded as an Augustinian monastery by... Read More
Originally part of the great royal Westminster Palace, home to English monarchs for over 500 years, The Houses of Parliament are now the home of the UK Parliament.
The Houses of Parliament or 'Palace of Westminster' is where both houses of the UK Parliament are located. Originally part of the great royal palace that had been home to English monarchs for over 500 years, Westminster Palace became the home of parliament in the 16th century after reign of King... Read More
Hunedoara Castle in Romania was a medieval fortress turned royal palace.
Hunedoara Castle, also known as Corvin Castle or “Corvinesti” in Hunedoara in Romania was originally a fortress, the date of origin of which is highly contested. Used as a royal stronghold until 1440, Hunedoara Castle was then expanded by the General Iancu de Hunedoara, who renovated it, turning into an... Read More
The Jaipur City Palace is an eighteenth century royal palace which houses several museums.
The Jaipur City Palace in the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, India, was initially built in the eighteenth century by Maharaja Jai Singh II. Comprised of a complex of palaces, including the Mubarak Mahal and Chandra Mahal, Jaipur City Palace includes a mixture of architectural influences and has been altered to... Read More
The Jaisalmer Fort in India was a heavily defended city of a warrior tribe built in the twelfth century.
The Jaisalmer Fort, sometimes called Sonar Quila, was a twelfth century fortified city which sits atop Trikuta Hill in Jaisalmer in India. Built in 1156, the Jaisalmer Fort was the creation of Rawal Jaisal, king of the fearsome Bhatti Rajput warriors. Within its impressive 30-foot high sandstone walls, which are defended... Read More
The Jewel Tower is one of the last remnants of the medieval Westminster Palace.
Originally part of the medieval Westminster Palace, the Jewel Tower was built in 1365 to hold the riches of Edward III, earning it the name of the 'King's Privy Wardrobe'. Following a fire in 1834, the Jewel Tower and Westminster Hall were the only buildings of the palace to survive. Today,... Read More
Kenilworth Castle is a former medieval stronghold and royal palace, most famed as the home of Elizabeth’s beloved Robert Dudley.
Kenilworth Castle is a former medieval stronghold and royal palace, most famed as the home of Elizabeth’s beloved Robert Dudley. It was King Henry I's treasurer, Geoffrey de Clinton, who built the vast Norman keep of Kenilworth Castle in the 1120s which can still be seen there today. ... Read More
Kensington Palace was the childhood home of Queen Victoria and the home of Diana, Princess of Wales, until her death.
Originally built for the Earl of Nottingham, Kensington Palace was acquired by King William III in 1689, after he and his wife, Mary II, had taken the throne from her father, James II. They employed Christopher Wren to rebuild and improve it. Other monarchs enjoyed the atmosphere at Kensington Palace. These... Read More
Kew Palace is a seventeenth century palace which once served as a royal residence.
Kew Palace was built around 1631 by merchant Samuel Fortrey. The 17th century palace is noted for its distinctive decorative brickwork and gables, and it is the oldest surviving building in the Kew botanical gardens. Kew Palace was the home of various members of the royal family between 1728 and 1898. Queen... Read More
The La Almudaina Royal Palace in Palma was a Muslim citadel turned into a Majorcan palace.
La Almudaina Royal Palace, also known as Palau de l'Almudaina, in Palma was a Muslim citadel turned into a Majorcan palace. This transformation occurred from 1281, after which it was used by monarchs of Majorca. Even today, the king of Spain uses La Almudaina Royal Palace as a summer residence. Inside... Read More
La Conciergerie in Paris is a former palace turned prison which now serves as a museum and government building.
La Conciergerie in Paris, France is located on an important site which once formed the seat of the city’s Roman leaders during their occupation of Gaul. La Conciergerie itself originally formed part of thirteenth century Palais de Justice, the royal palace built by King Philip IV. It served this role... Read More
The Lahore Fort is a vast fortified complex built by the Mughal Emperors and is UNESCO listed.
The Lahore Fort (Shahi Qila) in Lahore, Pakistan is a large complex of fortifications, marble mosques and palaces built by Mughal Emperor Akbar, known as Akbar the Great. Whilst there were buildings and fortifications on the site since the eleventh century and even before, it was under Akbar the Great... Read More
Leeds Castle in Kent was a twelfth century stronghold which has since served as a royal palace, a prison and as a stately home.
Leeds Castle was originally constructed as a fortification in 1119 by Robert de Crevecoeur, a lord under William the Conqueror. In 1278, Leeds Castle took on a different role, as a royal palace to King Edward I, who expanded it, adding further elements such as an impressive barbican. Leeds Castle passed through... Read More
Unique in design and style, the ornate 19th century Linderhof Palace exhibits exquisite Rococo ornamentation and is surrounded by beautiful landscaped gardens.
Linderhof Palace in Bavaria is a grand country home created by King Ludwig II of Bavaria – one of several grand building projects the king undertook. The only palace that Ludwig lived to see completed, Linderhof Palace’s origins are one of continual building and remodelling. Originally a hunting lodge owned... Read More
Linlithgow Palace was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and host to most of the Stuart kings.
Linlithgow Palace was built in the fifteenth century on a site with a history dating back thousands of years. Now a dramatic ruin, its royal connection makes it an enduring tourist attraction. It was James I who began building Linlithgow Palace in 1424. With its location between Stirling Castle and Edinburgh... Read More
Lobkowicz Palace is a sixteenth century palace and a museum of art, history and music.
Lobkowicz Palace (Lobkowiczky palac) is one of the museums of Prague Castle and almost certainly one of its most popular sites. It is named after the affluent and influential Lobkowicz family, to whom Lobkowicz Palace passed not long after it was built in the mid-sixteenth century. Inside Lobkowicz Palace are a... Read More
The Mehrangarh Fort is the well-defended former capital of the Rathore clan in Jodhpur in India.
The Mehrangarh Fort is a vast fortified palace complex in Jodhpur in India. It dates back to the mid-fifteenth century, when the leader of the Rathore clan, Rao Joha, decided to build a well-defended capital in place of the former capital, Mandore. Indeed, with 120 foot-high thick walls and with its... Read More
Musee du Louvre is a twelfth century fort turned palace and today stands as one of the world’s foremost art museums.
Musee du Louvre, also known as, the Grand Louvre or just The Louvre, is one of the world’s foremost art museums, exhibiting over 35,000 works from around the globe and throughout history. The Louvre’s eight departments cover an extensive array of historical periods and artistic genres, each represented through the museum’s... Read More
Mycenae is a well-preserved Ancient Greek archaeological site in the Peloponnese which formed the centre of the Mycenaean civilisation.
Mycenae is an important archaeological site in Greece which was once the city at the centre of the Mycenaean civilisation of between 1600BC and 1100BC. Believed to have been inhabited since Neolithic times, Mycenae flourished into a fortified city and was ruled at one time by the famous King Agamemnon. At... Read More
Built in the 18th century, this former royal palace was home to Denmark’s royals and now operates as a museum with an impressive range of exhibits about the country’s history and culture.
The National Museum of Denmark (Nationalmuseet) contains a range of exhibits about the country’s history and culture. There are eight main themes within the National Museum of Denmark from prehistory to present day. Going through the museum, visitors can learn about everything from the Vikings and other early Danish inhabitants... Read More
The Norwegian Royal Palace has served as the home of the Norwegian Royal family since the 19th century and is now open for tours and visitors for part of the year.
The Norwegian Royal Palace (Det Kongelige Slott) was begun on 1 October 1825 and inaugurated in 1849. Intended as a home for King Carl Johan, it would never serve this purposes as it was only completed after his death. It was designed by Hans Ditlev Franciscus Linstow. Over the years,... Read More
Nymphenburg Palace is a grand baroque palace in Munich and one the city’s most famous sites.
Nymphenburg Palace (Schloss Nymphenburg) is a grand baroque palace in Munich and one the city’s most famous sites. Originally built in the seventeenth century, Nymphenburg Palace was constructed in celebration the birth of Max Emanuel, the son and heir of Bavarian Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife, Henriette Adelaide of... Read More
The Palace of Septimius Severus was magnificent extension of the Domus Augustana on the Palatine.
The Palace of Septimius Severus on the Palatine Hill was an extension of the Domus Augustana and was built during the reign of the Roman Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus (193 - 211 AD). The Palatine Hill was closely linked with the foundation of ancient Rome and housed some of its most... Read More
Palacio del Infantado is a fifteenth century palace in Guadalajara built by the Mendoza family.
Palacio del Infantado (Infantado Palace) is a renaissance style palace designed by Juan Guas under the orders of don Íñigo López de Mendoza, the second Duque del Infantado. Palacio del Infantado is interesting both in terms of its stunning architecture and its status as a museum of fine art and archaeology.... Read More
A former royal residence of the French monarchy until Charles V moved the royal palaces to Marais in 1358, the Palais de Justice served as the court of the Revolutionary Tribunal.
The Palais de Justice in Île de la Cité in Paris is a vast and majestic gothic structure, the site of which was originally the home of governors of Ancient Rome. Palais de Justice then became the royal residence of the French monarchy such as Louis IX and remained as... Read More
Palais de Papes in Avignon in France was the fourteenth century seat of the papal court.
Palais de Papes (Popes’ Palace) is a medieval fortified palace in Avignon, southern France. A magnificent 15,000 square metre palace defended by ten towers, some might be surprised to find that this heavily protected complex was the fourteenth century seat of the papal court or “Curia” rather than a military stronghold.... Read More
Palais du Tau in Reims was where French monarchs would prepare for and celebrate their coronations.
Palais du Tau in Reims is a seventeenth century neo-Classical palace once used as the residence of each future French monarch the night before their coronation at Reims Cathedral. The monarch-to-be would also be dressed for the occasion there and the banqueting hall or “salle” of Palais du Tau, which is... Read More
Known as the birthplace of Rome, the Palatine Hill houses some of this ancient city’s most impressive sites, including several Imperial Palaces.
The Palatine Hill (Palatino) is considered to be the place where Rome was born. One of Rome’s seven hills, the Palatine Hill is closely linked with the city’s history and houses some of its most ancient and important sites. Legend says that the twins Romulus and Remus were taken to... Read More
Palazzo dei Normanni is a Norman palace expanded from a ninth century Islamic building.
Palazzo dei Normanni, also known as the Palazzo Reale, in Palermo in Sicily has been used as a place of governance for centuries and remains so today. In fact, it is currently the seat of Sicily’s regional government. Begun in the ninth century AD when Sicily was under Islamic rule, the... Read More
Palazzo Pitti was the home of the Medici family and now houses the Palatine Gallery.
Palazzo Pitti, translated as the Pitti Palace, is an incredibly grand building in Florence, Italy originally built in 1457 for Luca Pitti. Determined not to be outdone by the ruling Medici family, Pitti, who was an affluent banker, wanted to ensure that his home was as large and impressive as... Read More
Palazzo Vecchio has been at the centre of Florence’s civic life since the fourteenth century.
Palazzo Vecchio, translated as “Old Palace” and also known as Palazzo della Signoria, in Florence in Tuscany is an iconic fourteenth century palace. Completed in 1322, it served as the seat of the city’s governing body, a function it still fulfils today. In 1540, Palazzo Vecchio underwent a renovation campaign under... Read More
Pasargadae was the first capital of the Persian Empire and among these UNESCO-listed ruins are the still visible remains of several royal palaces.
Pasargadae was the capital of the Persian Empire from the sixth century BC until it was conquered by the Macedonians led by Alexander the Great in 330 BC. Now a town in Iran, Pasargadae was established by the first ruler of the Achaemenid Dynasty, Cyrus the Great. Amongst the sites still... Read More
Peles Castle was the summer home of Romania’s first king, Carol I.
Peles Castle (Castelul Peles) in Sinaia, Romania was the summer home of the Romanian royal family until 1947. Commissioned by Carol I (1839-1914), Romania’s first king, Peles Castle was constructed between 1873 and 1883 and built in a neo-Renaissance style with Fachwerk facades. It became the home of Carol I’s wife,... Read More
Polonnaruwa contains the UNESCO-listed ruins of what was the medieval capital of Ceylon.
Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka was initially a temporary royal residence in the eighth century AD. However in the late tenth century, it became a capital city of Ceylon (the former name of Sri Lanka) after the ancient capital of Anuradhapura was conquered and destroyed by King Chola Rajaraja I. The... Read More
Flourishing from around 1600BC to 1200BC, Qatna Archaeological Park contains the ruins of this Mesopotamian city. One significant part of the park which is now open to tourists is an area of the Royal Palace.
Qatna Archaeological Park in Tell Mishrifeh in Syria houses the ruins of what was the thriving ancient Mesopotamian city of Qatna. Known to have first been occupied in the third millennium BC, Qatna’s location on an important commercial and political crossroad connecting it to both the Mitanni empire and the... Read More
The Red Fort is a world famous fortified structure and palace in Delhi, India and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Red Fort (Lal Quila) in Delhi, India was originally built by the fifth Emperor of India’s Mughal Dynasty, Shahjahan in 1639, when he moved India’s capital from Agra to Delhi. The Red Fort, which derives its name from the red sandstone bricks which make up its protective walls, was built... Read More
Rosenborg Slot is a seventeenth century royal palace in Copenhagen in Denmark.
Rosenborg Slot (Rosenborg Castle) in North Copenhagen is a seventeenth century royal palace built by Christian IV. Construction of Rosenborg Slot began in 1606 with the intention that it become a summer home for Danish monarchs, a purpose which it served until Fredensborg Slot was built in the eighteenth century. Today, Rosenborg... Read More
The Royal Palace of Madrid was built in the eighteenth century and was the home of the Spanish royal family until 1931.
The Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official - although not the actual - home of the Spanish royal family. Now used mainly for ceremonial and public functions, the Royal Palace of Madrid is open to the public as a museum of the building’s and the country’s history. Prior... Read More
Once a focal point of Austrian political and social life, Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna is a famous 17th century royal palace which also contains magnificent gardens.
Schonbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) in Vienna was in the possession of the Habsburg Dynasty from the sixteenth century to 1918, when it passed into the hands of the Austrian Republic. Originally known as Katterburg, it was renamed as Schonbrunn in approximately 1642. The land on which Schonbrunn Palace sits was purchased... Read More
Schwerin Castle is a picturesque palace and once the home of the dukes of Mecklenburg.
Schwerin Castle (Schweriner Schloss) is a picturesque palace which seemingly floats upon Schwerin Lake. Whilst it is thought that there was a fort on this location as early as the tenth century, the beginnings of Schwerin Castle date back to 1160, when Henry the Lion (Henry III) built a castle... Read More
Shirvanshahs’ Palace is a fifteenth century castle complex in Baku in Azerbaijan.
Shirvanshahs’ Palace (Palace of the Shirvanshahs) is a fifteenth century castle and complex in the old city of Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. Originally constructed by the ruler Shirvanshah Khalilulla I and his son, Faruk, Shirvanshahs’ Palace had both royal and religious significance. However, Shirvanshahs’ Palace is somewhat incomplete as construction was halted... Read More
The Sirmium Imperial Palace complex holds the remains of a Roman imperial palace which was home to several Roman Emperors in the middle and late empire.
The Sirmium Imperial Palace complex in Serbia contains the remains of a Roman imperial palace which was home to several Roman Emperors, including Constantine I. Built at the end of the third or beginning of the fourth century AD, the complex has now been opened to the public as a museum.... Read More
St George’s Castle in Lisbon is a medieval castle which once served as a royal palace.
St George’s Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge) in Lisbon is a medieval citadel resting high atop one of the city’s highest hills overlooking the Tagus River. Historical research has shown that the hill on which St George’s Castle sits was inhabited as early as the sixth century BC, with the first... Read More
St James’s Palace has been the official residence of the British Sovereign since the reign of King Henry VIII.
St James’s Palace has been the official residence of the British Sovereign since the reign of King Henry VIII. In fact, it was under Henry VIII that the redbrick Tudor structure of St James’s Palace was begun in 1531 on the former site of a hospital. It was mostly completed by... Read More
Stirling Castle is an iconic royal palace, a medieval stronghold and a focal point for many of the most important events in Scotland’s history.
Stirling Castle is an iconic royal palace and stronghold, seen to represent Scottish independence and a focal point for many of the most important events in Scotland’s history. Famous Events at Stirling Castle It was the site of royal deaths such as that of King Alexander I in 1124 and William... Read More
Tchogha Zanbil is home to the impressive remains of the ancient city of Dur Untash, the holy capital of the Elamite Kingdom.
Tchogha Zanbil is home to the impressive remains of the ancient city of Dur Untash, the holy capital of the Elamite Kingdom. Located between Anshan and Suse, the city of Tchogha Zanbil would have been founded in 1250BC by King Untash-Napirisha. It would finally be abandoned in 640BC, following a devastating... Read More
Containing the remains of several palace complexes, Teotihuacan is a vast and well preserved ancient Mesoamerican city near Mexico City.
Teotihuacan was a holy Mesoamerican city built in around 400 BC in what is now Mexico and forms one of the country’s oldest archeological sites. Whilst the founders of Teotihuacan have never been definitively identified, it is thought that the city was inhabited by the Toltecs and was also an... Read More
Housed in what was originally a 13th century Hafside Dynasty royal palace, the Bardo Museum is most renowned for its collection of Roman mosaics.
The Bardo Museum (Le Musee National du Bardo) in Tunis is Tunisia’s national archaeological museum and contains artefacts from throughout the country’s history. From prehistoric items to Punic ceremonial artefacts believed to be connected with practices of human sacrifice and right through to art from the Islamic era, the Bardo Museum... Read More
The Brazen Palace was a grand structure built in the second century in the ancient city of Anuradhapura.
The Brazen Palace (Lovamahapaya) in Anuradhapura was once a magnificent structure initially built during the reign of King Dutugemunu of Sri Lanka (161BC-137BC). Rebuilt on several occasions, at its peak, it would have had over a thousand rooms and would have risen nine storeys. Today, the sole remains of the Brazen... Read More
The Doge’s Palace of Venice is a gothic structure which housed the government of the Venetian Republic.
The Doge’s Palace of Venice (Palazzo Ducale di Venezia) is a gothic style structure in St. Mark’s Square which served as the residence of each successive ‘Doge’ or leader of the Venetian Republic until its fall in 1797. The Doge’s Palace housed the Republic’s administrative center, hall of justice, prison, public... Read More
The Forbidden City in Beijing was a Chinese imperial residence for nearly five centuries and now houses the Palace Museum.
The Forbidden City, also known as the Imperial Palace or the Palace Museum, is a fifteenth century palace complex in Beijing. Sprawled over a staggering 720,000 square meters and very well-preserved, The Forbidden City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China and is on UNESCO’s list of World... Read More
The Grand Palace in Bangkok is an eighteenth century royal residence.
The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand has been a royal residence of the Chakri Dynasty since the reign of that house’s first monarch, King Rama I, also known as Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, during the eighteenth century. King Rama I ruled from 1782 to 1809 and moved the capital from Thonburi to... Read More
Containing the Winter Palace of Peter the Great as well as the beautiful Menshikov Palace, the Hermitage is now a world renowned museum in St Petersburg which includes a vast array of global exhibits.
The Hermitage is a vast museum complex in St. Petersburg housing around three million historic and archaeological artefacts, paintings, sculptures, numismatics and other works. It is one of world’s most well-renowned museums, with an astonishing array of exhibits ranging from the art and culture of ancient civilisations such as the... Read More
The House of Augustus on the Palatine Hill was the home of Rome’s first emperor.
The House of Augustus, located on the eminent Palatine Hill, was the modest home of Ancient Rome’s first emperor, Augustus. The grandnephew and heir of Julius Caesar, Augustus lived in this house for many years. The House of Augustus should not be confused with Domus Augustana, which was the later palace... Read More
The Kremlin has been the seat of Russian power for centuries and was the site of many significant historical events. Today it houses several impressive museums and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Kremlin (Kreml) is an iconic symbol of Russian statehood and forms the seat of its political power. Characterised by colourful domes and opulent buildings, this vast triangular shaped complex, together known as The Kremlin, spans an area of around 28 hectares and includes several beautiful palaces, numerous churches and... Read More
The Munich Residence was a focal point of Bavarian power for over four centuries.
The Munich Residence (Residenz Munchen) was a focal point of Bavarian power for over four centuries. Begun in 1385, the Munich Residence was initially a small castle, but slowly grew to be one of Germany’s most impressive palaces. From 1508, the Munich Residence took its place in the history books as... Read More
The National Palace of Mexico is an important landmark representing Mexico’s independence.
The National Palace of Mexico, or Palacio Nacional, was originally constructed in 1692 on a site which has been central to Mexico’s governance since Aztec times. It became the National Palace in 1821, following the Mexican War of Independence, and houses the bell rung by the priest and original leader... Read More
The ruins of the Old Ming Palace in Nanjing were once part of a magnificent fourteenth century palace complex.
The Old Ming Palace (Ming Gugong) in Nanjing is a ruin of the remains of what was once a magnificent palatial complex built by the first Ming Emperor Hongwu in the fourteenth century. At that time, Nanjing was the capital. Much of the Old Ming Palace has been destroyed, first by... Read More
The Palace of Monaco began as a medieval fortress, undergoing centuries of conflict and attack before becoming a royal palace.
The Palace of Monaco (Palais Princier de Monaco) began as a medieval fortress, undergoing centuries of conflict and attack before becoming a royal palace. One finds the origins of the Palace of Monaco in the 12th century, not long after the establishment of Monaco, when the Republic of Genoa... Read More
The Royal Palace in Amsterdam is a 17th century palace, once the largest secular buildings in Europe.
The Royal Palace in Amsterdam (Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam) was designed by architect Jacob van Campen in 1648 with the intention that it serve as Amsterdam’s city hall, which it did for 150 years or so. During this time, it was the largest secular building in Europe, though it was not... Read More
Topkapı Palace is a fifteenth century former residence of the Ottoman Sultans and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Topkapı Palace (Topkapi Sarayi) was the seat and residence of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire. Construction of Topkapı Palace began in 1459 under the orders of Sultan Mehmed II following the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. Built in a traditional Ottoman style, Topkapi Palace measured a staggering... Read More
Trencin Castle was the main seat of aristocrat Matus Cak, Lord of the Vah and the Tatras.
Trencin Castle (Trenciansky hrad) is a dramatic cliff-top castle above the Vah River, not far from the Slovakian capital, Bratislava, which held royal status from the 11th century. It was also at this time that the main current castle was built. The first buildings on the site date from the Romanesque... Read More
Tsarevets Castle in Veliko Tarnovo is a medieval fortress and was the centre of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Today it is open to visitors and also hosts sound and light shows.
Tsarevets Castle in the Bulgarian city of Veliko Tarnovo is a medieval fortress complex and was the centre of the Second Bulgarian Empire, which ruled the region from the 12th to 14th centuries AD. First constructed on the site of an earlier Byzantine fort, by the late 12th century Tsarevets Castle... Read More
Home to numerous palaces, the most famous of which is Palazzo Ducale, Urbino is a picturesque UNESCO-listed city which was a creative centre during the Renaissance.
Urbino is a beautiful walled city which was a creative hub during the Renaissance. Located in the Le Marche region of Italy, Urbino was first a Roman then medieval town. However, it was during the fifteenth century, particular during the time of Duke Federico II da Montefeltro, that Urbino flourished,... Read More
Originally the site of the papal palaces, the Vatican Museums now house a wide-ranging collection of artwork and historical artefacts from throughout history.
The Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani) house some of the most impressive and important historical artefacts and works of art in the world. Originally the site of the Vatican Museums was used for papal palaces, but they are now a series of galleries in Vatican City. From the exemplary collection of classical... Read More
Wawel Castle is an iconic fortified castle complex in Krakow and the former seat of the Polish monarchy.
Wawel Castle in Krakow is one of the most important historic sites in Poland. Located on Wawel Hill, which has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Age, Wawel Castle served as the seat of the Polish monarchy from the eleventh century and is now a vast museum. It was King Bolesław Chrobry... Read More
Windsor Castle is the oldest occupied castle in the world and the official home of the Queen.
Windsor Castle is the oldest occupied castle in the world. Covering an area of approximately 13 acres, it contains a wide range of interesting features. These include the State Apartments, Queen Mary’s dolls house and the beautiful St George’s Chapel. It is also the burial place of ten monarchs, including... Read More