Dwelling legends: Europe’s high 10 palaces

Historical structure, lush gardens, and timeless legends: Europe’s stunningly-preserved palaces have the facility to move you again to occasions of opulence, intrigue and journey – from Germany’s famed fairytale fortress to a lustrous Roman palace in Croatia and a storied aristocratic mansion beside Corfu’s glowing sea. Discover a various array of vibrant cultures and interesting histories on an immersive tour of Europe’s high 10 must-see palaces, all positioned in among the continent’s most charismatic cities and accessible through direct flights.

prague sunrise

1. Buckingham Palace – London, United Kingdom

Some of the acknowledged palaces on this planet, Buckingham Palace is a good way to start out your tour of Europe’s grand residences. Beginning out as a small townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham, it was bought by William III as a personal residence for Queen Charlotte, earlier than changing into the official royal residence of Queen Victoria and all subsequent English monarchs. Architects John Nash and Edward Blore created the 2 facet wings earlier than Queen Victoria added the entrance part, finishing the quadrangle and giving us the well-known balcony the place the royal household often greet the crowds.

buckingham palace

Highlights embrace the Image Gallery, which options works by Italian artist Canaletto and Dutch grasp Vermeer, and the White Drawing Room the place you may uncover the mysteries of the palace by discovering the key door. Every year a special exhibition is held inside the Ball Supper Room, displaying some beautiful treasures from the in depth Royal Assortment. For an intimate take a look at the palace, guide an expertly guided personal tour with a champagne reception and stroll out through the well-known entrance gates – a privilege that few get to expertise. To increase your palatial encounter, take the Royal Day Out tour, which incorporates entry to Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews and the Queen’s Gallery.

2. Palace of Versailles – Versailles, France

Journey throughout the English Channel to the Palace of Versailles, which in its 17-the century heyday was an inspiration for monarchs throughout Europe, and at present stays synonymous with opulence and luxurious. Set only a 30-minute drive from Paris, the palace is completely positioned for a full-day tour that features the Trianons and huge gardens, and loads of time to return to the Metropolis of Lights for dinner.


A focus of the French Revolution,  the palace turned the Museum of French Historical past in 1837 and is now seen as central in presenting the pre-revolutionary regime. The palace’s legendary landscaped gardens have been not too long ago resown to duplicate the format of the gardens beneath Louis XIV. As you wander the grounds, uncover the Petit Trianon, the favored retreat of Marie Antoinette and residential to a weird mini village, full with a windmill and dairy. One other spotlight is the Corridor of Mirrors, a gilded bronze chamber with over 300 mirrors, designed to show the political, financial, and creative excellence of Louis XIV.

3. Royal Palace – Oslo, Norway

From Paris, fly direct to Oslo to see the Royal Palace, a concrete image of Norwegian historical past embodying the magical world of Norse mythology. The interiors replicate various Nineteenth-century kinds, from Pompeian frescoes within the Banqueting Corridor to Neo-Rococo within the White Parlour. Within the breathtaking Fowl Room, designed by Johannes Flintoe within the Nationwide Romantic model, gaze up at greater than 20 completely different species of birds and butterflies in a chamber painted to resemble an open courtyard, with brilliant blue skies and landscapes that evoke the nation’s distinctive pure magnificence.

oslo palace

4. Neuschwanstein Fort – Füssen, Germany

Let’s journey from the fairytale landscapes in Norway to a fortress impressed by historic folklore within the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm. Nestled on a rugged cliff, Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s fortress. Commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in tribute to his ancestors and Wagner’s opera sagas, the fortress is considered one of many main works of European historicism, with its mixture of Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine kinds, which Ludwig fused collectively to realize his romantic very best of the Center Ages. A synthetic cave with uninterrupted views of the Alpine foothills, Singer’s Corridor was constructed solely because the setting for Wagner’s Tannhäuser, and offers the proper backdrop to this musical masterpiece.

germany neuschwanstein castle

A two-hour journey will get you from Munich to Füssen; in case you have time, spend a couple of days exploring the city’s historical past as the middle for violin manufacturing.

5. Achilleion – Corfu, Greece

The title could conjure photographs of an historic Greek temple, however truly Achilleion is a Nineteenth century palace with a tragic story. The palace was constructed on the island of Corfu as a retreat for the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who was mourning the loss of life of her son, the Crown Prince Rudolf. The Empress is alleged to have described Achilleion as “worthy of Achilles, who despised all mortals and didn’t concern even the gods”. The palace was designed because the Empress’s tribute to Greek language and tradition, born from her need to go away the realities of the royal courtroom and her grief behind. The constructing alludes to the legendary place of Phaeacia and the architectural motif facilities on Achilles. The statue Dying Achilles by Ernst Herter is the principle function of the palace gardens, which additionally provide panoramic views of the island out in the direction of the Ionian Sea.

corfu palace

To delve deeper into Corfu’s mythological connections, take a personal tour of the island. Attain Corfu both with a direct flight from Rome, or cease to discover the colourful metropolis of Athens for a couple of days first, touring to Corfu both by aircraft or overland, stopping at Delphi en route.

6. Hadrian’s Villa – Tivoli, Italy

From Corfu, fly to Rome and take a 35-minute switch to Tivoli, dwelling to Hadrian’s Villa. An unlimited villa complicated with swimming pools, baths, fountains, and wilderness gardens, the positioning is a residing archeological web site the place treasures are nonetheless being found. In 2013, archeologists unearthed an incredible community of underground tunnels, presumably for servants and employees to maneuver about with out disturbing the idyllic surroundings overhead. What attracts folks to this villa is the Maritime Theater, a novel piece of Roman structure which isn’t a theater in any respect, however relatively a villa inside a villa. Historians have debated the aim of this theater, with many arguing it was constructed as a house for Hadrian and his lover, Antonius. Antonius tragically drowned while within the Egyptian metropolis of Canopus, and Hadrian had his personal River Nile constructed within the grounds of his villa, as a reminder of what he had misplaced. Really feel the love and grief constructed into the villa as you wander by way of this idyllic retreat bathed in emotion undiluted by the centuries.

rome hadrians palace

7. Diocletian’s Palace – Cut up, Croatia

Journey forwards in historical past to 305 AD as you head to Cut up to discover Diocletian’s Palace, the world’s most full stays of a Roman palace. Constructed by the eponymous emperor for his retirement, the palace doubled as a navy garrison and contains about half of Cut up’s outdated city inside its labyrinthine partitions. Set in a major harborside location, the complicated seamlessly combines outdated and new with open markets, genuine shops, conventional taverns, and boutique inns standing alongside an historic cathedral and shining marble flooring. In an unique tour, delve beneath the palace’s floor with a neighborhood speleologist to find the surprise of Roman engineering amid an historic aqueduct. A metropolis in contrast to anyplace else, Cut up actually deserves its UNESCO World Heritage standing.

split palace

8. Prague Fort – Prague, Czech Republic

Touring up into central Europe, head to Prague Fort, the world’s largest coherent fortress complicated on this planet. In-built Romanesque model across the tenth century, the spectacular construction continues to dominate Czechia’s skyline. The fortress was dwelling to key historic figures together with Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor and Maria Theresa, the one feminine ruler of the Habsburg monarchy.  In 1942, throughout WWII, German governor Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated by members of the Czech resistance – an incident eerily harking back to the age outdated delusion that any usurper who wears the crown of Bohemia will die inside the yr. At this time, the Bohemian Crown Jewels stay hidden inside the fortress partitions, and the legend of their curse lives on.

prague castle

9. Palacio Actual – Madrid, Spain

Open to guests through the summer season months, Palacio Actual is a working palace the place King Juan Carlos often hosts state visits.  It began out as an Alcazar constructed within the sixteenth century, a Moorish fortress erected beneath Islamic rule. Sadly, a lot of this unique construction was misplaced and in 1755 Philip V oversaw the constructing of the present construction, which is made solely from stone. Highlights embrace the library, which homes the primary copy of Don Quixote, and the ceiling portray by Anton Raphael Mengs, the “German Raphael”, discovered within the Comedor de Gala (Gala Eating Room). Discover the in depth gardens of the palace earlier than heading in the direction of Parque del Oeste to seek out the Egyptian Temple of Debod, the place locals picnic on native produce from certainly one of Madrid’s quite a few markets. Because the solar begins to set, gaze out over Madrid’s intoxicating skyline because the Palacio Actual glistens within the night’s golden hues. For a bonus palace, head south to Granada and discover the inimitable Alhambra, a Moorish gem that completely primes you to your subsequent cease in North Africa.

madrid palace

10. Bahia Palace- Marrakech, Morocco

Although not technically in Europe, Marrakech is well accessible from Spain and easily can’t be disregarded. Hearsay has it that the Bahia Palace is called after Ba Ahmed’s favourite spouse, al-Bahia, that means “the sensible”, and it actually lives as much as its title. THe spectacular palace is positioned alongside the northern fringe of the Mellah and the southern fringe of the Medina,  surrounded by the hustle and bustle of town’s well-known souks, the place locals promote their wares and sip espresso and mint tea on road corners. Inside, the Bahia is an oasis of tranquillity, its piecemeal development by quite a few grand viziers and sultans making a maze of partitions, home windows and alcoves adorned with stunning decorations. Meander by way of the corridors and courtyards, ingesting on this good instance of conventional riad structure, and uncover the Grand Riad, whose typical symmetrical design has a relaxing impact on the eyes and the soul.

marrakech palace

Europe is dwelling to among the highest palaces on this planet. When visiting these palaces’ grand halls, ornate rooms, and luscious gardens, you’ll be impressed to delve deeper into the historical past of those residing legends.