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The World's 50 Best Palaces to Get Your Royal Travel Fix

United Kingdom France India China Czech Republic Italy News Art + Architecture
by Eben Diskin Jun 2, 2022

The US is still reeling from a long Memorial Day weekend, but the UK, not to be outdone, is looking ahead to a holiday weekend of its own – and it’s not merely three days, but four. The Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is being held from June 2 through June 5, in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne. 70 years. That’s longer than The Simpsons and South Park have been on the air combined. When Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, people primarily got their news from the radio, made calls on rotary phones, and the internet would have sounded like a far-fetched futuristic joke. You get the point. She’s been on the throne a long time – longer than any other monarch – and has earned a party.

It’s a good time to be in the UK right now. You’d be able to celebrate the Queen’s reign with a wide range of events, like parades, horse races, concerts, and pageants. If you’re not in the UK, or simply can’t bring yourself to party with the gusto of a a 96-year-old woman, you’re in luck. You can still get your dose of regal pomp and circumstance by checking out some of the world’s coolest palaces, which might just inspire your next trip.

Researchers at Roofing Megastore, a renovation and building design specialist, analyzed search data on Google and Instagram to discover which palaces are the most popular. They’ve even included color palettes for each palace’s interior. 50 are ranked in total, but we’re breaking down the best of the best. From the UK to France, India, and the Czech Republic, these are the most famous royal palaces in the world.

Buckingham Palace, UK

Buckingham Palace seen from St. James Park in London, royal family

Photo: I Wei Huang/Shutterstock

The administrative headquarters of Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace is perhaps the best-known palace in the world. Originally built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, it was purchased by King George III in 1761 before being expanded in the 19th century. It became the London residence of Queen Victoria in 1837, and now of Queen Elizabeth II, home to 775 rooms and the largest private garden in London.

Windsor Castle, UK

Windsor castle near London, United Kingdom, royal family

Photo: sloukam/Shutterstock

Located in the county of Berkshire, just outside London, Windsor Castle was built in the 11th century and has been used by the reigning monarch ever since. It’s the longest-occupied palace in Europe, with influences ranging from Gothic and Baroque to Rococo and Victorian. It’s the main residence of Queen Elizabeth II.

Kensington Palace, UK

Kensington palace and Queen Victoria monument in London, UK, royal family

Photo: Mistervla/Shutterstock

A residence of the British royal family since the 17th century, Kensington Palace is the current London residence of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess Cambridge. Historic parts of the palace are open to the public, and the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection is also housed here.

The Palace of Versailles, France

September 2018 - Versailles, France - Versailles Palace facade near Paris

Photo: Stockkbym/Shutterstock

The most famous palace in France, Versailles is a former royal residence in Paris built by Louis XIII and expanded by Louis XIV. Louis XIV made the palace the seat of his court and government in the late 17th to early 18th centuries, effectively making Paris’ entire socio-political scene revolve around the palace. Versailles has been designated a World Heritage Site for its cultural significance.

Mysore Palace, India

Mysore Palace royal palaces India

Photo: Foofa Jearanaisil/Shutterstock

Spanning 72 acres, Mysore Palace is the most visited tourist attraction in India after the Taj Mahal. Located in Mysore, Karnataka, it was built inside the Old Fort in the 14th century and reconstructed several times after multiple fires. The current building was constructed between 1897 and 1912 and still serves as a royal residence.

The Forbidden City, China

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The Forbidden City might sound like the villain’s lair in a sci-fi movie, but it’s actually one of China’s most fascinating and culturally rich sites. Built in 1420, the Forbidden City was home to emperors and their families throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. The last emperor who resided there was expelled in 1925 when the area was turned into the Palace Museum, though it remains one of China’s most important cultural heritage landmarks, receiving thousands of visitors per day.

Hampton Court Palace, UK

Located in the London borough of Richmond upon Thames, Hampton Court Palace was built starting in 1514, and quickly became one of King Henry VIII’s favorite palaces. Now one of Queen Elizabeth II’s palaces, it’s known for its gardens, maze, historic royal tennis court, and being home to the largest grape vine in the world.

Prague Castle, Czech Republic

Prague Castle and Saint Vitus Cathedral, Czech Republic. Panoramic view, Prague art and culture

Photo: Travel Faery/Shutterstock

Built in the 9th century, Prague Castle served as the seat of power for the kings of the Holy Roman emperors, Bohemia, and the presidents of Czechoslovakia. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the castle as the largest ancient castle in the world at 750,000 square feet. Currently, it’s the official office of the President of the Czech Republic and houses the Bohemian Crown Jewels.

Palazzo Pitti, Italy

Pitti palace royal palaces Italy

Photo: MidnightTrainToHwt/Shutterstock

Italy is home to some of Europe’s oldest and most eye-catching medieval castles, but Palazzo Pitti in Tuscany Is among the most famous and celebrated. The structure dates back to 1458 and became the main residence of the ruling families of Tuscany when it was purchased by the Medici family in the 16th century. Now the largest museum complex in Florence, the palace is separated into several principal galleries and museums.

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