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20 Most Popular Palaces in the World

Most Popular Palaces in the World

The most popular palaces in the world to visit range from art-laden royal palaces to fairy tale-esque hilltop castles. The list of top palace destinations is based on users of the popular travel app Visited, which includes bucket list destinations around the world. You can mark off where you’ve been and get a customized travel map using the Visited app. Browse and save top travel destinations and optimize your travel plans using the Visited app.

For those looking to visit European Palaces, check out Best of Europe.

These are the 20 most visited palaces in the world, according to Visited:

1. Palais Du Louvre

The Palais Du Louvre in Paris is the number one palace to visit in the world. Palais Du Louvre was built in the 12th century by King Philippe Auguste as a fortress. Later, the fortress was torn down, and in 1546, King Francis I started building the new palace to make it his royal residence. The palace was built in the popular French Renaissance style. While the 12th-century fortress formed the core of the Louvre, it wasn’t entirely demolished. Portions of the original structure were incorporated into the later expansions, including the foundations and some lower walls of what is now the Louvre Museum.

Related Post: Top 7 Palaces to Visit in France

2. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is an icon in London that symbolizes the British royals. The original building was constructed in 1703 as the Buckingham House for the Duke of Buckingham. Construction started in 1825 to turn the Buckingham House into the ornate palace it is today, with the palace undergoing several phases of construction and expansion throughout the 19th century. Neoclassical architecture, inspired by ancient Greco-Roman architecture, dominates the exterior. Buckingham Palace remains the administrative headquarters of the British monarchy and a major tourist attraction in London.

3. Tower of London

The third most visited palace is the Tower of London in England. The tower has a striking blend of architectural styles that evolved over centuries, incorporating elements of Norman, Medieval, and Tudor styles. Construction of the Tower of London began in 1066 under William the Conqueror. The Tower acted as a fortress and gateway to London. Some of the biggest royal rulers stayed in the Tower of London, such as Queen Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, Edward I, and Anne Boleyn. Later, the Tower of London was used as a prison until 1952. Today, the tower houses the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

Related Post: 10 Most Popular Towers in the World

4. Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster, also known as the House of Parliament, is a neo-Gothic masterpiece that was built in the mid-19th century. The stunning London landmark showcases a revival of Gothic style, featuring soaring towers, intricate stonework, and stained glass windows. The iconic Elizabeth Tower, housing the legendary Big Ben clock tower, is a world-renowned destination. The Victoria Tower and the Elizabeth Tower rise from either end of the Palace, offering stunning views of London and symbolizing the continuity of British monarchy and democracy. 

5. Château De Versailles

The Château De Versailles is a grand palace with stunning French Baroque architecture and ornate gardens. The opulent palace is located in Versailles, France. The building started as a simple hunting lodge for Louis XIII and his family in 1624. After his death, his son King Louis XIV turned it into a chateau and began construction from 1661 to 1715 to make it the Chateau De Versailles that it is today. Versailles served as the royal residence for the French monarchy from 1682 to 1789 until the French Revolution.

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6. Prague Castle

Prague Castle is a breathtaking building that symbolizes the Czech Republic and houses the office of the president. Founded in the 9th century, Prague Castle has seen over a thousand years of Czech history. The majestic palace has a unique mix of architectural styles, with Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque elements. The castle houses the Bohemian Crown Jewels, a dazzling collection of gems and gold representing the power and prestige of Czech monarchs. The palace is nestled in the hills of the Czech Republic, overlooking the Vltava River and offering a 360-degree view of its surroundings. 

7. Royal Palace of Amsterdam

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam, also known as Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam, began as the city’s grand Town Hall in the 17th century. In 1806, it was turned into the Royal Palace of Amsterdam by King Louis Bonapart, who moved into the Palace and ruled until. The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is located in the center of the city in Dam Square and is a prestigious royal residence for official functions while also remaining open to the public as a historic monument and tourist attraction.

8. Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid, also known as Palacio Real de Madrid, is a grand symbol of the Spanish monarchy. The massive palace covers over 135,000 square meters and has 3,418 rooms. The opulent palace is a popular tourist attraction that’s open to the public. The lavish interiors include works by famous Spanish artists such as Velázquez, Goya, and El Greco. The palace’s architecture blends elements of Baroque and Neoclassical styles, creating an eclectic and elegant aesthetic. 

9. Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is perched atop the imposing Castle Rock, an extinct volcano, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Archaeological findings suggest human activity on the rock as far back as the Iron Age, and parts of the castle date back to the 12th century. The palace includes a mix of architectural styles, with a medieval fortress and elegant Renaissance additions. It’s one of the oldest castles in Europe and has been used as a fortress, royal residence, military, and prison.

10. Schonbrunn Palace

Schonbrunn Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Vienna, Austria. The distinct yellow palace is a Baroque architectural masterpiece. Schonbrunn served as the summer residence of the Habsburg dynasty for over 160 years, and the luxurious castle reflects the royal ties. The palace is home to the dazzling Austrian Crown Jewels and the Imperial Carriage Collection, which showcases ornate carriages used by the Habsburgs.

11. Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is an opulent palace located above the River Thames and on the edge of Saxon hunting grounds in Berkshire, England. The castle has been the home of British monarchs since it was completed in 1086, 16 years after William the Conqueror’s construction started in 1070. Over 900 years of British royal families have lived in the castle. Today, 150 people call Windsor Castle home. The palace’s Changing of the Guard is a popular ceremony outside the castle, with the colorful marching of guards in their traditional red tunics and bearskin hats. 

12. Palais Royal

Palais Royal in Paris was completed in 1639, and French Baroque architect Jacques Lemercier was the mastermind behind it. Originally built as a residence for Cardinal Richelieu, it later became a royal palace for the Duke and Duchess of Orléans. The Palais Royal has long attracted artists, writers, and philosophers. Rousseau, Colette, and Baudelaire all found inspiration within its walls, and it continues to host cultural events, exhibitions, and even street performances.

13. Royal Palace of Brussels

The Royal Palace of Brussels is a beautiful palace located in the historic Kunstberg district of Brussels, Belgium. The neoclassical-style palace was built under the reign of King Leopold II. The palace has some contemporary touches with rooms like the Mirror Room, which has mirrored walls and a chandelier made from millions of jewel beetles. Although the King and Queen of Belgium reside elsewhere, the palace houses their official office, throne room, and facilities for hosting state dignitaries and official functions.

14. Grand Palais

The Grand Palais was built for the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. The elegant building has a stunning blend of Beaux-Arts classicism and Art Nouveau elements. The palace has an expansive glass roof covering the central nave that allows natural light to flood the interior, creating a spacious and airy atmosphere. The intricate metalwork supporting the roof adds to the ornate design. The spectacular exhibition hall and Beaux Arts Museum attract over two million visitors per year.

15. Galleria Degli Uffizi

Galleria Degli Uffizi is home to a collection of masterpieces of Western art from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Cosimo I de’ Medici commissioned the Uffizi to be built in 1560 in Florence, Italy, and the Uffizi was completed in 1581. Originally intended as offices for magistrates, the building was later transformed into a treasure trove of artistic wonders. The gallery exhibits classic Italian Renaissance art such as Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Birth of Venus, and ancient sculptures like the Portrait of Lucius Aelius.

16. Neuschwanstein Castle

Perched atop a rugged hill in Schwangau, Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is an architectural marvel and looks like a fairytale brought to life. Commissioned in 1868 by the eccentric King Ludwig II of Bavaria, construction began in 1869 and continued in stages until the King’s untimely death in 1886. While never fully completed, the towers and much of the exterior were finished by 1892, leaving behind a breathtaking silhouette that has captivated millions. Neuschwanstein’s architectural style is a captivating blend of Romanesque Revival and Neo-Gothic, and it is said to be the inspiration for Disney’s signature fairy tale castle.

17. Doge’s Palace 

Doge’s Palace in Venice, Italy, is a majestic building with an elegant pink and white marble facade that showcases the intricate beauty of Venetian Gothic architecture. Construction began in 1340 under the commission of Doge Francesco Foscari, but the palace wasn’t fully completed until 1424. Popular for its grandeur and intricate architecture, the Doge’s Palace has a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, and Byzantine styles. Delicate arcades and statues adorn the facade, while the opulent interiors feature gilded ceilings, mosaics, and paintings by renowned Venetian artists like Tintoretto and Veronese.

18. Buda Castle

Perched atop Castle Hill in Budapest, Buda Castle is the largest Gothic palace in Hungary. The majestic palace has a storied history. Founded in the 13th century by King Béla IV of Hungary, its core took shape by 1265. Yet, the grand Baroque structure that stands today owes much to two major transformations. In 1749, under Habsburg rule, the Gothic palace underwent a dramatic makeover, adopting the elegant symmetry and classical grandeur of the Baroque era. Then, between 1765 and 1769, further renovations expanded the palace and added beautiful details that continue to draw visitors from around the world. 

19. Palais Des Tuileries

The Palais Des Tuileries in Paris is no longer standing in full form, the palace has played a significant role in French history and life. In 1564, Catherine de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry II, commissioned the building of Palais De Tuileries, and it wasn’t fully finished until the early 17th century. Only the Pavillon de Flore and Pavillon de Marsan remain standing after a fire destroyed the palace in 1871. Fragments of the Palais’ foundations and gardens can be found within the lush Tuileries Gardens. Renowned gardener André Le Nôtre designed the adjoining Tuileries Garden, a masterpiece of French formal garden style, adding to the palace’s grandeur and offering a serene escape for Parisians.

20. Hofburg Palace

Hofburg Palace was built in the 13th century in the center of Vienna. The sprawling palace was expanded several times over the centuries. The palace was the winter home of the Hapsburg dynasty. The grand palace has 18 wings, 19 courtyards, and 2,600 rooms. The majestic building has a mix of architectural styles, ranging from Baroque to Gothic to Renaissance. Hofburg Palace is currently the workplace and home of the president of Austria.

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