13 Most Famous Palaces In The World

most famous palaces in the world

They were built by the monarchs of numerous countries, and in this post, you can discover the most famous palaces in the world.

Related: Check out some of the most amazing castles in Europe!

Most famous palaces in the world

1. Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is one one of the most astounding palaces ever built. It became the royal residence of France from 1682 until the start of the French Revolution in 1789 in which the royal family was forced back to Paris.

The palace as mainly built by Louis XIV and was meant to overwhelm, which eventually would lead to the demise of the monarchy. It’s most famous attractions are the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Opera, the Royal Residences, its immense garden and park with numerous fountains, and last but not least, the two castles located within the compound, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon, and last but not least, the Hameau de la Reine, built by Marie Antoinette.

palace of versailles famous palaces in the world

2. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is located in the City of Westminster in the center of London. It’s the royal residence and administrative headquarters of the monarchy of the United Kingdom and was originally known as the “Buckingham House” as it originally served as the immense townhouse of the Duke of Buckingham.

The original townhouse was constructed in the year 1703 and was acquired by King George III in 1761, after which it was transformed into the palace it is today, mostly during the 19th century.

east side of buckingham palace
East side of Buckingham Palace / Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0

3. Winter Palace

The Winter Palace is another palace that was built to emphasize the power of the leaders of Russia during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. It’s located in Saint Petersburg in the northwest of the country and was the official residence of the Russian Emperors from 1732 to 1917.

It’s one of the biggest palaces in the world and contains over 1,500 rooms, 1,886 doors, and 117 staircases. It was largely destroyed by a fire in the year 1837 and rebuilt in the typical 19th-century Rococo style. The palace now contains the hermitage museum.

Winter palace saint petersburg

4. Potala Palace

The Potala Palace is located in the city of Lhasa in the mountainous region of Tibet. It was the winter palace of the Dalai Lamas from 1649 to 1959. Its construction was commissioned by the 5th Dalai Lama and started in 1645.

The palace has been gradually expanded over the centuries and eventually became a massive palace containing over 1,000 rooms, over 10,000 shrines, and about 200,000 statues. It now serves as a museum and popular tourist attraction.

potala palace
Potala Palace / Xiquinho / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

5. The Alhambra

The Alhambra was originally built as a castle and small fortification on top of Ancient Roman ruins. It was turned into a palace in the 13th century by the Emirate of Granada in southern Spain and gradually expanded until the Christian Reconquista in 1492.

It eventually became the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella and the palace was partially redesigned in the Renaissance style but eventually fell into disrepair for centuries. It wasn’t until the defeat of Napoleon in the early 19th century that the palace was rediscovered and restoration works were undertaken to bring back its old glory.


6. Schönbrunn Palace

The Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence of the Habsburg Rulers and is located in the Hietzing district of the capital of Austria, Vienna. The construction of the current palace dates back to halfway the 18th century during the reign of empress Maria Theresa, the mother of Marie Antoinette.

The palace was continuously expanded and now contains 1,441 rooms and contains multiple architectural styles ranging from Neo-Classical to Rococo. The palace also has a massive garden with numerous fountains, sculptures, and additional buildings.

Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace / Thomas Wolf / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en

7. Mysore Palace

The Mysore Palace is located in the city of Mysore in the Indian State of Karnataka in the southwestern part of the country. It was constructed between 1897 and 1912 and served as the official residence of the Wadiyar dynasty and the seat of the Kingdom of Mysore.

The city of Mysore is referred to as “The City of Palaces” because there are 6 more palaces. The Mysore Palace was constructed on the location of the old fort and is considered to be the main palace. It’s now one of the most popular tourist attractions in India only just behind the world-famous Taj Mahal.

Mysore Palace

8. Topkapi Palace

The Topkapi Palace is located in the east of the Fatih district in the capital of Turkey, Istanbul. It was constructed in the 15th century after the Conquest of Constantinople, which marked the end of the Eastern Roman Empire in 1453, to serve as the main residence of the Ottoman Sultans.

Construction of the palace started in 1459 and it was originally called the “New Palace.” It wasn’t until the 19th century that it was referred to as “Topkapi” which literally translates to “cannon gate.” The palace as turned into a museum in 1924, shortly after the end of the Ottoman Empire a year earlier.

Topkapi Palace
Topkapi Palace / Carlos Delgado / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

9. Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is a large palace complex in the center of the Chinese city of Beijing. It was the official residence of the Emperor of China for over 500 years, from 1420 to 1924, from the Ming Dynasty, which is famous for constructing most parts of the Great Wall of China, to the end of the Qing Dynasty.

The enormous complex was constructed between 1406 and 1420 and covers an area of 72 hectares (over 180 acres). The complex consists of 980 buildings and exemplifies the traditional Chinese architectural style. The Forbidden City was turned into a museum in 1925 which welcomes millions of visitors every year.

10. Palazzo Pitti

The Palazzo Pitti, also referred to as the “Pitti Palace,” is a massive Renaissance palace in the center of the Italian city of Florence. It’s located on the south of the Arno River, not too far from the Ponte Vecchio. Above this bridge, there’s a walkway called the “Vasari Corridor” which connects the Palace with the Palazzo Vecchio through the Uffizi Gallery.

Most parts of the current palace were completed in the year 1458 and it was originally the residence of a rich Florentine banker named Luca Pitti, from who the building got its name.

It was bought the following century in the year 1549 by the Medici Family and served as the official residence of the ruling families of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The palace houses numerous works of fine art from artists such as Raphael, Rubens, Van Dyck, Caravaggio, and Verrocchio.

Palazzo Pitti
Palazzo Pitti / Zagreus / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

11. Peterhof Palace

Peterhof Palace was built in the early 18th century by Peter the Great, who was on a quest to build a new capital for Russia, Saint Petersburg. He founded the city in 1703 and started the construction of a summer residence just west of the city in 1709.

What originally would become merely a summer residence eventually became one of the biggest palace complexes in all of Russia. This was mainly because he had visited the Palace of Versailles in 1717 and wanted to replicate the extravagance of the French royal palace.

The original palace was completed in the year 1728, 3 years after Peter the Great had died. The work was continued by his successors, and mainly Elizabeth of Russia seriously expanded the palace to what it would become, a palace with the nickname the “Versailles of Russia.”

Peterhof palace

12. Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid is the largest functioning palace in Europe as it contains well over 3,400 rooms. It was originally a Moorish stronghold that was constructed in the 9th century and served as a fortification in the Middle Ages.

It wasn’t until the 16th century that the process of turning the original castle into a massive palace started, something that would take multiple centuries. Therefore, the palace consists of multiple styles such as the Baroque and Neoclassical. It also has several gardens and plazas surrounding it.

The palace has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain and welcomes about 1.5 million visitors every year. It houses a lot of art, contains an armory with unique pieces, a magnificent Royal Pharmacie, and holds the Crown and Scepter of Spain dating back to the 18th century as well.

Royal palace of Madrid

13. Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace is located in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf borough of Berlin, just west of the historical center of the city. It was constructed at the end of the 17th century by Frederick I and named after his wife Sophie Charlotte, who passed away in the early 18th century.

A few years after the original version of the palace was completed it was seriously expanded based on various other Baroque Palaces all across Europe. Its interior includes some of the most amazing Baroque designs ever built and numerous frescoes were painted on the walls of various rooms.

The palace was seriously damaged during World War II and it was feared it was about to be destroyed, but instead, it was completely rebuilt to its former glory. It’s now open to the public and has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin.

Charlottenburg palace

This concludes our list with the most famous palaces in the world, a great collection of enormous buildings that served as the residences of the rulers of various countries!

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