15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (2023)

Once home to kings and queens, palaces were built not only to act as royal residences, but to project power and prestige. As such, monarchs and emperors vied with one another, commissioning lavish summer homes and assembling exquisite art collections with which to fill their endless halls and royal chambers.

Besides the magnificent architecture and artworks, the former royal residences also boast gorgeous grounds and gardens, with plenty of fabulous fountains and flowerbeds on display. Due to their significant artistic, cultural and historical value, these beautiful palaces now make for some of the most popular tourist attractions and museums around.

15.Grand Palace[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (1)

Lying on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the Grand Palace can be found right in the heart of Bangkok. Built in 1782, the sprawling complex and its extensive gardens were once home to the Thai kings of old.

Now partially open to the public, the palace boasts lots of beautiful buildings, regal courtyards, and pretty pavilions, with a wealth of lovely Thai traditional architecture on show. The undoubted highlight, however, is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is the most revered Buddhist site in the whole of Thailand.

14.Lake Palace[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (2)

Now a luxurious hotel, Lake Palace once acted as a summer residence and retreat for members of the royal dynasty of Mewar in India. Built between 1743 and 1746, the sparkling white palace can be found in Udaipur – the ‘City of Lakes.’ Magically set upon an island in the middle of a lake, the palace makes for a very romantic sight.

Its elegant domes and facades are dreamily reflected in the surrounding waters. Besides its lavishly decorated suites, the hotel also has fantastic pavilions and courtyards for guests to explore, alongside lush gardens and merrily twinkling fountains. Thanks to its serene setting and marvelous architecture, Lake Palace really is a joy to gaze upon.

13.Peterhof Palace[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (3)© Lavendertime / Dreamstime

Nicknamed ‘the Russian Versailles.’ Peterhof Palace certainly rivals the Sun King’s royal residence in terms of its size, scale and splendor. Sprawling over a vast area, the palace and its landscaped gardens are set on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, just outside of Saint Petersburg.

Built between 1709 and 1756, the extravagant palace was commissioned by Peter the Great to symbolize and highlight the modernization and westernization of Russia. As such, each room is more exquisitely designed and decorated than the last, with the Throne Room and Chesma Hall being two of the most impressive.

(Video) 15 MOST Stunning Palaces in the World

Outside is just as astonishing; there are endless fountains and flowerbeds for visitors to wander around, as well as the fittingly named Grand Cascade. An artistic and architectural marvel, the Peterhof Palace complex is not to be missed out on.

12.Mysore Palace[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (4)

With its ornate facades, elegant arches, and magnificent marble domes, Mysore Palace in India really is a showstopper. Built between 1897 and 1912 to showcase the Wadiyar dynasty’s fabulous wealth and power, the palace is actually just one of seven in Mysore, which is fittingly nicknamed ‘the City of Palaces.’

Although so many amazing monuments and landmarks can be found around town, Mysore Palace’s arresting architecture and lush landscaped gardens make it Mysore’s most popular tourist attraction.

11.Palais des Papes[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (5)

Both a formidable-looking fort and elegant palace, the Palace of the Popes in Avignon is where the heads of the Catholic church used to reside in the 1300s. Due to its influential occupants, the palace had to project both power and prestige. In its heyday, it was one of the largest Gothic buildings in Europe.

Now an important historical and architectural landmark, the palace is fascinating to explore. Its thick walls and sturdy towers protect charming chapels decked in frescoes and murals. After the papal residence returned to Rome in 1378, the palace slowly fell into disrepair before later being used by Napoleon’s troops as a barracks and prison.

10.Buckingham Palace[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (6)

One of the most famous and photographed buildings on Earth, Buckingham Palace in London has long been the residence of the British monarchs. Originally built in 1703 to be a large townhouse, over the years, it was slowly enlarged and redesigned, with its famous facade added in 1911.

In total, the palace boasts 775 rooms, with many of them replete with fabulous furnishings, exquisite paintings, and age-old statues. Of these, the most impressive are the staterooms. These are opened to the public each August and September and are where visiting heads of state stay when in London.

9.Schonbrunn Palace[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (7)

(Video) 15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World

Lying on the outskirts of Vienna, Schonbrunn Palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole of Austria. Painted a warm yellow colour, the gorgeous Rococo palace was once the summer residence of the Hapsburgs, with Emperor Franz Joseph I born there.

While only 40 of its 1,441 rooms are open to the public, these are extravagantly decorated, with beautiful ballrooms on show alongside resplendent and refined artworks, tapestries, and sculptures.

Its endless gardens are just as delightful to explore. A marvelous botanical garden and orangerie can be found alongside the world’s oldest zoo, which was once the imperial menagerie.

8.Potala Palace[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (8)

Set in an absolutely epic location atop of Marpo Ri hill in the centre of Lhasa Valley, Potala Palace has long been one of the most important and impressive monuments in the whole of Tibet. Once the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, the striking red and white palace was erected in 1649, although earlier versions have stood in the same spot since at least the 7th century.

The colossal edifice contains over 10,000 shrines, with more than 200,000 statues thought to be dotted around its hallowed halls and ceremonial chambers. With towering mountains rising all around it, Potala Palace makes for an awe-inspiring sight and is an enduring symbol of Tibetan Buddhism.

7.Chateau de Chambord[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (9)

Nestled away in the Loire Valley, Chateau de Chambord is undoubtedly one of the pinnacles of French Renaissance architecture. Commissioned by Francis I to be a hunting lodge, its elaborate and enchanting design proudly showcase the monarch’s fabulous wealth and power.

Although much of its fantastic furnishings were stripped and removed following the French Revolution, visitors can still enjoy wandering around its elegant halls and chambers. All in all, the chateau’s turrets and towers make for a spectacular sight, particularly when contrasted with the lush lawns and reflective moat that lie around it.

6.Hawa Mahal[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (10)

Famed for its elaborate and ornate facade, Hawa Mahal delightfully translates to ‘the Palace of Winds’ in English. Completed in 1799, its pretty pillars, attractive arches, and dignified domes are mostly fashioned out of the wonderful red and pink sandstone that Jaipur is so renowned for.

(Video) 15 Of The BIGGEST Palaces On Earth

While the palace has some lovely buildings and courtyards for visitors to explore, as well as a fantastic archaeological museum, it is its honeycomb-like exterior that attracts the most attention. Set over five floors, the beautiful bays with their colored glass windows and intricate latticework look incredible and are the highlight of any visit to the palace.

5.Topkapi Palace[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (11)

Set in a beautiful spot on the banks of the Bosphorus, it is from Topkapi Palace that the sultans used to rule over the Ottoman Empire. Built in 1459 at the command of Mehmet the Conqueror, the palace boasts plenty of ornamented and ostentatious rooms, which feature some wonderful Islamic art and architecture.

Besides its breathtaking halls and courtyards, there are also the glittering gems and jewels of the Imperial Treasury for visitors to check out, as well as the endless and extravagant apartments of the Imperial Harem. Now a magnificent museum, Topkapi Palace is one of Istanbul’s most popular tourist attractions.

4.Palace of Versailles[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (12)

Although Versailles started out as a simple hunting lodge, it was turned into one of the greatest and grandest palaces ever seen under Louis XIV. The Sun King embellished and enlarged it before eventually turning it into his royal residence and the seat of his government.

Although many of its most precious artworks and treasures were removed and placed in the Louvre following the French Revolution, extensive renovations and restorations have seen the palace returned to its former glory.

Now one of the most popular tourist attractions in France, each year, millions of people come to see its sumptuous Royal apartments, as well as the glittering Hall of Mirrors and Royal Opera. In addition, its glorious gardens with their fantastic fountains and flowerbeds are also well exploring.

Due to all the world-changing events that have taken place in its shining halls, the Palace of Versailles is one of the nation’s most important historical, cultural, and architectural treasures.

3.Alhambra[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (13)

Perched atop a plateau overlooking Granada, Alhambra has long been one of the most renowned and recognizable palaces on Earth. Built by the Nasrid sultans in the 13th century, the large complex proudly exhibits lots of absolutely exquisite Andalusian architecture, with intricate designs and motifs wherever you look.

(Video) 12 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World - Travel Video

Wandering around its beautiful gardens, sturdy fortifications, and colonnade-lined courtyards is a delight, while the Museum of Fine Arts has a fabulous collection of artworks for visitors to peruse.

Among the many highlights are the magnificently carved columns and pretty pavilions of the Court of the Lions and the lovingly cared for flowers and fountains of Generalife. With the majestic Sierra Nevada mountains lying in the background and verdant trees rising around its beige walls, Alhambra certainly makes for a memorable sight.

2.Winter Palace[SEE MAP]

15 Most Beautiful Palaces in the World (14)© Vladimirleskov / Dreamstime

Once the residence of the Russian tsars, the Winter Palace now houses the world-famous Hermitage Museum. Built in an Elizabethan Baroque style, its seemingly never-ending green and white walls are said to house over 1,500 rooms, with each of them ornately designed and decorated.

The size and scale of the palace, not to mention the beautiful art and architecture on show, perfectly showcases the power and might of Imperial Russia.

The monarchy and empire came crashing down, however, in 1917, when the Winter Palace was stormed in one of the deciding events of the Russian Revolution. Nowadays, the palace and museum are one of the highlights of any visit to Saint Petersburg.

1.Forbidden City[SEE MAP]

Ever since it was built in 1406, the Forbidden City has dominated and defined the center of Beijing, as well as China itself. The imperial home of emperors from both the Ming and Qing dynasties, it was from here that they ruled over their extensive empire.

Set over a considerable area protected by a high wall and wide moat, the palace complex encompasses some 980 different buildings. These showcase lots of incredible Chinese palatial architecture, with the Hall of Supreme Harmony and Palace of Heavenly Purity just two of its must-see sights.

Since the abdication of the last emperor in 1925, the Forbidden City has been looked after by the Palace Museum, which has an astounding array of artworks and artifacts for visitors to enjoy. The culmination of over two thousand years of Chinese and East Asian art and architecture, the Forbidden City is one of the most important and impressive sights in not only Beijing but China.

(Video) 14 Of The BIGGEST Palaces On Earth

FAQs

Which is the No 1 palace in the world? ›

Comparison of world's largest palaces
RankNameFloor area
1Palace of the Parliament330,000 square metres (3,552,090 sq ft)
2Hofburg Palace240,000 square metres (2,583,339 sq ft)
3Winter Palace233,345 square metres (2,511,705 sq ft)
4Louvre Palace210,000 square metres (2,260,421 sq ft)
47 more rows

Which king has the most beautiful palace in the world? ›

The Palace of Versailles is one of the world's most historic and important buildings. It also happens to be one of the most beautiful palaces in the world. The Palace of Versailles started life as a hunting lodge. But King Louis XIV expanded it massively and turned it into his official residence in 1682.

Which is the biggest palace in India? ›

The Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Rajasthan is known to be the biggest palace of India. It is one of the largest private residences in the world.

What is the most visited palace? ›

The Forbidden City is a palace complex in central Beijing, China, which ranks as the world's most visited palace and museum.

Which city has the most palaces? ›

Paris. The city of castles stands magnificent and accurate to the word grandeur since Paris has 11 castles overlooking the town. The scent of their gardens alone are enough to draw visitors from around the globe.

Which palace is the most beautiful in Africa? ›

The most beautiful palace in West Africa is Azad palace, the Ohinoyi of Ebira Land Palace Okene, Kogi State. Okene is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of West Africa with the most beautiful palace known as Azad's palace it belongs to the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland (King of Ebiraland), Dr. Ado Ibrahim Atta.

Which city is known as city of place in India? ›

Kolkata is nicknamed as the "City of Palaces". The city has a number of stunningly beautiful mansions and palaces.

What is the oldest castle in the world? ›

The Citadel of Aleppo is the oldest castle in the world, with some parts of the structure dating back to 3000 BC. Built in 1070 AD, Windsor Castle is the oldest castle that is still actively used today. Prague Castle is the largest castle in the world at 70,000 square meters.

How many royal palaces are there in the world? ›

The British royal family isn't the only one with a real estate empire. Royal palaces around the world host ceremonial events, welcome dignitaries, and attract tourists hoping for a brief encounter with royalty. Here are 17 royal residences or palaces around the world that aren't part of the British monarchy.

What is the biggest palace in Europe? ›

The largest palace in Europe - Royal Palace of Madrid
  • Europe.
  • Spain.
  • Community of Madrid.
  • Madrid.
  • Madrid - Things to Do.
  • Royal Palace of Madrid.

Which is the most beautiful Mahal in the world? ›

World's most opulent palaces you can visit
  • 1/28. Buckingham Palace - London, UK. ...
  • 2/28. Hawa Mahal / Palace of the Winds - Jaipur, India. ...
  • 3/28. Jal Mahal / Water Palace - Jaipur, India. ...
  • 4/28. Hampton Court Palace - London, UK. ...
  • 5/28. Versailles, France. ...
  • 6/28. Sanssouci - Potsdam, Germany. ...
  • 7/28. ...
  • 8/28.

What is the difference between a palace and a castle? ›

The term 'palace' comes from Rome's Palatine Hill, where the rich and famous built their sumptuous homes in Roman times. So when we're wondering what's the difference between a castle and a palace, the most important difference is that a palace is not fortified.

Which is the 2nd largest palace in India? ›

2nd largest palace in India - City Palace of Udaipur.

Who is the best palace of India? ›

Top 10 Palaces in India You Must Visit Before You Die
  • Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur.
  • Devi Garh in Udaipur.
  • Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior.
  • Laxmi Niwas Palace in Bikaner.
  • Ranjit Vilas Palace in Wankaner.
  • Jai Mahal Palace in Jaipur.
  • Fernhills Royal Palace in Ooty.
  • Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad.
Jan 2, 2019

What is palace name? ›

A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence, or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word is derived from the Latin name palātium, for Palatine Hill in Rome which housed the Imperial residences.

What is the most popular place in the world? ›

1. Bangkok – 22.78 Million Visitors. Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is the most visited city in the world thanks to a whopping 22 millions international visitors!

Which is the richest palace in the world? ›

Buckingham Palace

With an estimated value of nearly USD 1.6 billion (Rs 82 billion approximately) as per a May 2022 Bloomberg report, the 775-bedroom official residence belonging to the British Royal Family, since 1837, is reportedly the most expensive house in the world.

Which is the 2nd largest palace in India? ›

2nd largest palace in India - City Palace of Udaipur.

Where is the biggest castle? ›

Malbork Castle (143,591)[SEE MAP]

Located in Poland, Malbork Castle is the largest castle in the world. The castle was founded in 1274 by the Teutonic Knights who used it as their headquarters to help defeat Polish enemies and rule their own northern Baltic territories.

Which is no 1 expensive house in the world? ›

Xanadu 2.0, Washington DC

If one of the richest men on earth won't live in the costliest house in the world, then what's the point?! Home to Bill Gates and Melinda Gates, this is a 66,000 sq. ft property. To design and build it took him 7 years and invested almost $65 million.

What is the smallest castle in the world? ›

Hermit's Castle is the smallest castle in Europe. In fact it may be the smallest castle in the world. Measuring less than 10m squared in area, the castle was built in the 1950s. It is to the Western headland of Achmelvich a map can be seen below of how to get there.

Who is the best palace of India? ›

Top 10 Palaces in India You Must Visit Before You Die
  • Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur.
  • Devi Garh in Udaipur.
  • Jai Vilas Palace in Gwalior.
  • Laxmi Niwas Palace in Bikaner.
  • Ranjit Vilas Palace in Wankaner.
  • Jai Mahal Palace in Jaipur.
  • Fernhills Royal Palace in Ooty.
  • Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad.
Jan 2, 2019

Which city has the most palaces? ›

Paris. The city of castles stands magnificent and accurate to the word grandeur since Paris has 11 castles overlooking the town. The scent of their gardens alone are enough to draw visitors from around the globe.

Which city is known as city of place in India? ›

Kolkata is nicknamed as the "City of Palaces". The city has a number of stunningly beautiful mansions and palaces.

What is the second most beautiful city in the world? ›

The 10 most beautiful cities of the world
  • 1.- Kyoto, Japan.
  • 2.-Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • 3.-St. Petersburg, Russia.
  • 4.-Prague, Czech Republic.
  • 5.-Cape Town, South Africa.
  • 6.-Bergen, Norway.
  • 7.-Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 8.-San Francisco, United States.

Which country has the finest city in the world? ›

1. Paris, France: Paris is the most beautiful and elegant of all cities, with its monumental squares, centuries-old cathedrals, famous boulevards, the Seine and its romantic bridges, majestic mansions, and Montmartre's cobblestone streets.

Is London the most beautiful city in the world? ›

As the most beautiful city in the world, it's no surprise that Paris is called “the city of love.”
...
Most Beautiful Cities in the World.
RankingCityCountry
1ParisFrance
2New York CityUnited States
3LondonUnited Kingdom
4VeniceItaly
46 more rows

What is the 2nd largest castle in the world? ›

Mehrangarh Fort- Oozing Culture and History

Perched upon a hill at 400 ft, Mehrangarh Fort is the second largest and one of the 10 most beautiful castles in the world. Built in the 14th Century by Rao Jodha, it covers as an area of about 81,227 square meters.

What is the oldest castle in the world? ›

The Citadel of Aleppo is the oldest castle in the world, with some parts of the structure dating back to 3000 BC. Built in 1070 AD, Windsor Castle is the oldest castle that is still actively used today. Prague Castle is the largest castle in the world at 70,000 square meters.

Which country has the most castles? ›

The country with the most castles is Germany! It's thought that Germany has around 25,000 castles within its borders.

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