10 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World

Once the homes of kings and emperors, now popular tourist attractions. A list of some of the most beautiful palaces in the world.

10Pena National Palace
Pena National Palaceflickr/andreadg

Built in 1842 by King Ferdinand II, the Pena National Palace in Portugal is the oldest European castle in the Romanticism style. The palace was constructed on the ruins of a monastery severely damaged in the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755. Today, with it original colors of red and yellow restored, the Pena National Palace is one of Portugal’s most visited monuments.

Read more: Portugal Guide

9Mysore Palace
Mysore Palaceflickr/antkriz

Commonly described as the City of Palaces, Mysore in India has a number of historic palaces of which Mysore Palace is the most famous one. The palace was commissioned in 1897 after the old palace was destroyed in a fire during a wedding, and its construction was completed in 1912. During the Dasara festival in the months of September and October the palace is illuminated with more than 10,000 bulbs, offering a magnificent sight.

Read more: India Guide

8Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palaceflickr/khoogheem

The 1,441 room Schönbrunn Palace, comparable in grandeur to Versailles, is one of the major tourist attractions in Austria and Vienna. The palace was built between 1696 and 1712 at the request of Emperor Leopold I and turned into the imperial summer palace by Maria Theresa. The Palace Park offers a lot of attractions, such as the Privy Garden, the oldest zoo in the world, a maze and labyrinth, and the Gloriette (a marble summerhouse) situated on top of a 60 meter high hill.

Read more: Austria Guide

7Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is located 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from central Beijing and is mainly dominated by the Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. As its name implies, the Summer Palace was used as a summer residence by China’s imperial rulers – as a retreat from the ‘Forbidden City’. The gardens were substantially extended in 1750, reproducing the styles of various palaces and gardens from around China. Kunming Lake was extended to imitate the West Lake in HangZhou.

Read more: China Guide

6Topkapi Palace

When Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror took Constantinople in 1453, he first ordered the construction of a new residence. This was to become the palace later known as Topkapi. The palace would remain the imperial enclave of the Ottoman sultans for 4 centuries, from 1465 to 1853. Over the years the palace complex underwent constant modifications. Today the complex is made up of four main courtyards of increasing grandeur and many smaller buildings.

Read more: Turkey Guide

Read more: Topkapi Palace Guide

5Chateau de Chambord
Chateau de Chambordflickr/juanma36

This second most visited château in France (after Versailles), is a masterpiece of the French Renaissance. Chateau de Chambord features 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, and 84 staircases. Construction of the chateau started in 1519 by King François I so he could hunt in the nearby forests. The cold and massive rooms of the Château made it unpopular as an actual residence and François I himself stayed here for less than 40 days in total.

Read more: France Guide

4Palace of Versailles

Versailles was originally a hunting lodge, built in 1624 by Louis XIII. His successor, Louis XIV, expanded the site into one of the largest palaces in the world, and from 1682, used it to control France by absolute rule. The Palace of Versailles remained the official residence of the Kings of France until October 1789 when the royal family was forced to return to Paris during the French Revolution.

Read more: France Guide

Read more: Palace of Versailles Guide

3Alhambra

Part fortress, part palace and part garden the Alhambra is situated on a plateau overlooking the city of Granada in southern Spain. The palace was constructed during the mid 14th century by the Nasrid sultans and is a testament to the skill of Muslim craftsmen of that time. The Alhambra is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions and many visitors come to Granada just to see the Alhambra.

Read more: Spain Guide

Read more: Alhambra Guide

2Potala Palace
Potala Palaceflickr/reurinkjan

Situated on Marpo Ri hill, 130 meters above the Lhasa valley, the Potala Palace rises a further 170 meters and is the greatest monumental structure in all of Tibet. Although a palace was already built here in the 7th century the construction of the present palace began in 1645 during the reign of the fifth Dalai Lama and by 1648 the Potrang Karpo, or White Palace, was completed. The Potrang Marpo, or Red Palace, was added between 1690 and 1694. The Potala Palace remained the residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India, after the Chinese invasion in 1959.

Read more: China Guide

Read more: Potala Palace Guide

1Forbidden City

Located in the center of Beijing, the Forbidden City is the world’s largest palace complex covering 72 hectares. Built from 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 rooms surrounded by a six meter deep moat and a ten meter high wall . The distance between the Tiananmen Gate and the Gate of Divine Might is 960 meters. Twenty-four emperors reigned over the country for almost 5 centuries from the Forbidden City until the abdication of Puyi, the last Emperor of China.

Read more: China Guide

Read more: Forbidden City Guide

Map of Beautiful Palaces In The World

7 comments

  1. Frances G

    I do believe that the Palace of Versailles is the most incredibly beautiful palace on earth. It is amazing even to us today in the cold hard light of the 21st century. It is a testament to the wonderful taste of people living over three hundred years ago that it is still as divine today as it ever was!

  2. Janus

    I’m French but i think you’re missing two incredible Russian palaces, Peterhof and Catherine Palace.
    But good article otherwise.

  3. Chester

    The countdown is legit. Alhambra is significantly more impressive than Versalles. England and France have amazing cathedrals and palaces but for some reason I don’t understand why they rank them over the ones in Spain. Notre Dame Paris and Londons Cathedral are significantly less impressive than La Sagrada Familia and Many others in Spain and Italy. Castles props to France and England. Churches and Cathedrals Spain and Italy

  4. N. B. Cleveland

    The one no one seem to know about but should is “Umaid Bhawan”. Gorgeous Palace. If given the chance I would see it before Versille, Buckingham, Mysore you name it, Umaid Bhawan far outshines them all.

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