10 Top Must-Visit European Palaces Worth Exploring

european palaces

With more places of rich historical heritage opening since the pandemic, you now have the opportunity to explore these majestic European palaces with its enchanting blend of art and architectural marvels.

Here’s the thing, the mysteriousness and fascination of European palaces are like time travelers, taking us on an enchanting journey through the annals of history.

They’ve seen it all – the rise and fall of mighty empires, the triumphs of awe-inspiring monarchs and the pivotal events that have shaped the very essence of this continent.

So why are European palaces intriguing? The moment you set foot into these living relics, you’ll get the feeling like stepping into magical portal to the past. 

You can’t help it but feel like you’ve been invited to walk in the footsteps of kings and queens, to imagine the grand ceremonies that once unfolded within these hallowed halls.

Each palace in Europe is a treasure trove of captivating stories. Now is the perfect time to explore these magnificent palaces if you appreciate history and its remarkable legacy.

Here are 10 unsurpassed royal residences that will enthrall you to explore on your next vacation.

Best Palaces In Europe To Explore

1. Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey

Constructed in the 15th century by Sultan Mehmed II known as Mehmed the Conqueror, this palace represented the glory of the Ottoman Empire.  

Admire the intricate tile work and dazzling collection of jewels and immersing yourself in the sultans’ opulent lifestyle. You can’t go wrong by ticking this European palace on your bucket-list. 

You can book the palace tour in advance which allows you to skip the lines and explore its extensive grounds, including the Harem, Treasury, and Imperial Council Chambers.

Address: Cankurtaran Mahallesi, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey. Situated on the Seraglio Point overlooking the Bosphorus Strait.

2. Palace of Versailles, France

This iconic French gem is an absolute must-visit for anyone seeking a glimpse into the extravagant world of the French monarchy. And guess what? To make your visit even more unforgettable – securing these tours in advance is a pretty great idea.

The moment you step foot into the opulent State Apartments, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time to an era of lavish splendor.

The exquisite details and regal ambiance are pretty cool. But the real showstopper is definitely the world-famous Hall of Mirrors. Standing there, surrounded by the glistening reflections, you can’t help but feel like a royalty yourself.

Strolling through the meticulously manicured pathways, you’ll be treated to the most captivating water displays. The Neptune Fountain and the Apollo Fountain are nothing short of stunning.

Address: Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France. Located in the city of Versailles, approximately 20 km southwest of Paris.

3. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey

Another one of Turkey’s remarkable palace to visit – Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Actually, it’s not classified as a palace, but trust me, it’s a must-see gem that oozes historical and cultural significance.

It’s a startling architectural wonder that has witnessed the rise and fall of empires, transforming from a Byzantine church to a magnificent mosque, and finally resting as a astonishing museum. 

Before you get excited, ensure to check the tour prices and secure your spot in advance. This unique place of attraction draws tons of crowds, and you surely don’t want to miss out on exploring every nook and cranny of this timeless place of interest.

Address: Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Ayasofya Meydanı, 34122 Fatih/Istanbul, Turkey. It’s located in the historic Sultanahmet district of Istanbul.

4. Buckingham Palace, London, UK

Step into a brilliant world of regal opulence at none other than the famous Buckingham Palace, the iconic abode of the British monarch and sensational scandals.

if you love living like a king, journey through the lavishly adorned State Rooms, where every inch exudes luxury and grandeur.

And finally, the Coup de Grass – the timeless Changing of the Guard ceremony! Witness the age-old tradition, a mesmerizing display of precision and pageantry that has captivated hearts for generations.

Address: Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom. Situated in the City of Westminster, London.

5. Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria

The magnificence of Austria’s crown jewel, Schönbrunn Palace is an absolute must-visit on your European palaces exploration.

To make the most of your experience, grab a combined ticket that grants you access to both the grand State Rooms and the breathtaking gardens.

These gardens are a true masterpiece, meticulously landscaped to perfection. But there’s more!

Tucked away within the palace grounds lies the renowned Schönbrunn Zoo, where you can get up close and personal with fascinating animals from all corners of the globe.

Address: Schönbrunner Schlossstraße 47, 1130 Vienna, Austria. Located in Hietzing, Vienna, about 6 km southwest of the city center.

6. Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Alhambra, Granada Palace

The Alhambra in Grenada will transport you back in time as you step foot into this delightful Moorish palace complex, where the splendor of Islamic and Christian architectural styles blend in harmony.

You wouldn’t want to miss out on exploring the mesmerizing museum-like palace and wandering through the exquisitely landscaped Generalife Gardens.

Address: Calle Real de la Alhambra, s/n, 18009 Granada, Spain. Perched on a hilltop overlooking the city of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain.

7. Peterhof Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia

Get ready to be spellbound by the unusual charm of the “Russian Versailles” – Peterhof Palace.

Once you step foot inside the Grand Palace, you’ll find yourself surrounded by exquisite interiors and stunning artwork that will transport you back in time to the Russian royal era.

The Lower Gardens will leave you breathless with their meticulously designed beauty, adorned with magnificent fountains, including the famous Grand Cascade.

As you take a leisurely stroll through the Upper Gardens, you’ll come across charming pavilions and manicured flower beds that will make you feel like you’re in a fairytale.

Address: Razvodnaya Ulitsa, 2, Petergof, St. Petersburg, Russia, 198516. Located in Petergof, about 29 km west of St. Petersburg.

8. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle Germany

With the breathtaking view of the Bavarian Alps and rising like a fairytale dream, the Neuschwanstein Castle is like a locale that pops straight out of a storybook.

In a bid to retreat from public life following his loss of power in the Austro-Prussian war, the enigmatic “fairy-tale” king, Ludwig II of Bavaria, commissioned the creation of the breathtaking Neuschwanstein Palace.

If you are a romantic, this dazzling architectural masterpiece stands as a symbol of his desire for seclusion and his deep love for the ideals of medieval living.

Address: Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany. Nestled in the Bavarian Alps near the town of Füssen in Southwest Bavaria, Germany.

9. Catherine Palace, Pushkin, Russia

Be captivated by the sheer beauty of Catherine Palace renowned for its stunning Baroque architecture and the legendary Amber Room.

You wouldn’t want to leave Russia without laying eyes on the Amber Room’s dazzling splendor. Explore the palace’s opulent interiors, including the dazzling Great Hall and the ornate Blue Drawing Room.

Stroll through the landscaped gardens, adorned with elegant statues and charming pavilions. Admire the grandeur of this imperial residence, marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship of the Amber Room, and delve into the history of the Russian Empire.

Address: Sadovaya Ulitsa, 7, Pushkin, St. Petersburg, Russia, 196601. Located in the town of Pushkin, about 25 km south of St. Petersburg

10. Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid, Spain

european palace in Madrid

Stepping inside the Royal Palace of Madrid, you’ll find yourself surrounded by lavishly decorated State Rooms fit for kings and queens.

The palace houses an impressive art collection that will leave art lovers utterly delighted. From exquisite paintings to captivating sculptures, each piece is a testament to the rich cultural heritage that the Royal Palace embodies.

The iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony, a centuries-old tradition that adds a touch of pomp and grandeur to your visit. It only happens on Wednesday and Saturday without fail, usually from 11am to 2pm.

It’s a sight to behold and a rare glimpse into the customs that have been part of Spanish royal life for generations.

Address: Calle de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid, Spain. Situated in the heart of Madrid, near the Plaza de Oriente and the Royal Opera House.

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