(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

There are so many royal palaces in Europe waiting to be discovered. Just about every European country boasts a famous castle or palace and many have lots more than one to be explored. In this post, you’ll get to learn about the best royal palaces in Europe to visit from some of the best travel bloggers in the business.

But be warned… after reading, you’ll definitely be feeling the itch for a European adventure!

Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links. I only recommend products or services I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. If you use these links to buy something, I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your continued support.

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The Best Royal Palaces in Europe

Château Royal de Blois

Loire Valley, France

The royal chateau of Blois is unique: it was built over four different reigns so you can see four distinct styles in a single residence, making it one of the great royal palaces in Europe to visit.

The first, on your left as you enter, is the 9th century fortress wing, of which little is left other than a tower and a great hall.

The second is from the time of Louis XII, a wing in the Gothic style, easy to recognize because its facade has a sculpture of the king on horseback.

The next wing was built by François I (also responsible for the gigantic Chambord palace). The king, upon his return from wars in Italy, applied the Italian Renaissance style to his chateau, most evident in the circular staircase that climbs one of its walls.

The final (Classical) wing was built by Gaston d’Orleans, brother of Louis XIII and heir to the throne. He had planned to tear down the other wings of the chateau and build something totally new but the arrival of an heir with the birth of Louis XIV disrupted those plans. Gaston was edged out and his funding revoked, a blessing in disguise that ultimately saved Blois.

Seven kings and ten queens lived here over the years. The castle is right in the center of town, which makes it easy to reach, even on a Loire Valley daytrip from Paris and only a few minutes’ walk from the main Blois railway station.

Contributed by Leyla from Offbeat France 

Buckingham Palace

London, United Kingdom

Buckingham Palace in London England is the principal residence of the reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth and probably one of the most famous royal palaces in Europe and in the world. Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to make Buckingham Palace their home after major rebuilding and remodelling by George VI which turned it into the stunning building you can see today.

Buckingham Palace is one of London’s most visited landmarks with tourists flocking to enjoy the pomp and ceremony of the Changing of the Guard. The Changing of the Guard generally takes place every other day and is one of the oldest ceremonies associated with the Palace. For a few months of the year (July – September), when the Queen departs to her Scottish residence at Balmoral,the State Rooms of the Palace are open for visitors. Unfortunately only 19 of the 660 rooms are open but this is still a popular event with tickets often selling out months in advance.

If you visit Buckingham Palace and are wondering if the Queen is in residence look for the flag flying above the palace. If the Royal Standard (which has 3 gold lions on a red background) is flying it indicates that the Queen is in residence. 

Contributed by Tracy from Tracy’s Travels In Time

A garden with red flowers in the foreground and a palace in the background

Buda Castle

Budapest, Hungary

Buda Castle is a historical palace complex that was once inhabited by the Hungarian Kings of Budapest. It is located at the southern side of Castle Hill, overlooking the Pest side and the Széchenyi Chain Bridge.

In the past, Buda Castle was often referred as Royal Castle or Royal Palace. It was first completed in 1265 but the complete palace complex that stands today was built between the 1740’s to 1770’s. The architecture combines Baroque and modernist style with a touch of Gothic and Renaissance.

Today, the castle houses the Hungarian National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. It has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making it one of the best royal palaces in Europe to visit. 

Walking around the courts and courtyard of the palace complex is completely free which makes it one of the best things to do in Budapest on a budget. The museums, however, have an entrance fee of 2,600 HUF for the Hungarian National Gallery and 2,000 HUF for the Budapest History Museum.

As there are not many choices of accommodations available in the Castle Hill District, it is better to stay in a hotel in the city center of the Pest side and take the Castle Hill Funicular to get to the palace complex.

Contributed by Antoine and Marielle from Offbeat Escapades 

Catherine Palace

St Petersburg, Russia

Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate a gorgeous ornate palace, Catherine Palace in Pushkin, Russia is a must-visit of the royal palaces in Europe.

Catherine Palace is known as the “summer palace” for the Russian tsars. The palace is named after Catherine I, who had commissioned a much more modest palace than the one we see today. Her daughter, Empress Elizabeth, is responsible for the opulent palace that exists now.

Empress Elizabeth had over 100 Kilos of gold used to decorate Catherine Palace! However, the Amber Room is, perhaps, what Catherine Palace is most famous for. This room is exactly what it sounds like – a room decorated in real amber panels. (Please note: no photos are allowed in this room.) 

Unfortunately, the original Amber Room was lost in WWII due to looting by the Nazis. The room you see today is a reconstructed version that was done after the war. At this time, the Amber Room’s location is a still mystery.

It is a good idea to reserve your tickets to Catherine Palace ahead of time, as the lines for tickets can be hours long, and there’s no guarantee you’ll be allowed inside if you show up the day of your visit. 

Staying in a hotel in St. Petersburg and then taking a day trip to Catherine Palace is what most visitors do. You can take public transport, hire a taxi (easily done via your hotel) or by booking a guided tour. 

Contributed by Lindsey from Have Clothes, Will Travel

Château de Chambord

Loire Valley, France

Château de Chambord is the biggest castle in the Loire Valley and also the most impressive. This beautiful 16th-century château, built in Renaissance style, was commissioned by King François I for his hunting parties in the forest of Chambord. For his new château, King François I hired the best Italian architects and masons of their time, and he wanted it to be a demonstration of his political and cultural power in Europe.

Château de Chambord is square, and it consists of a central keep, with the royal rooms and other impressive rooms and halls flanked by four towers square in shape. The towers and keep are connected by galleries with beautiful views over the gardens and the canal. Today, some of the rooms are furnished with period furniture so visitors can get an idea of how life in the castle was.

Château de Chambord is surrounded by beautiful French-style gardens great for a stroll after the visit inside.

Most of the Loire Valley day trips from Paris include Château de Chambord and other famous castles nearby. Visitors who prefer public transportation need to take a train to Blois and from there take the bus #118 or #2 to Chambord.

Relais de Chambord is a beautiful place to spend a night or two. This boutique hotel is located on the castle grounds and some of the rooms come with views over the château.

Contributed by Elisa from France Bucket List

Drottningholm Slott

Drottningholm, Sweden

Drottingholm Slott is an exquisite royal private palace located on Ekero island, which is actually a peninsula. Lake Lovon forms part of the Ekero municipality providing a charming ambience to the palace surrounded by swans. The island of Lovon had its own autonomy until 1952 but then joined the Ekero municipality.

Drottningholm Slott can easily be reached by metro and bus from central Stockholm, but also a boat tour can be taken from Stockholm City Hall. Built in the 16th century, nowadays the palace is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular tourist attraction. The palace is equivalent in beauty to places like Schonbrunn or Versailles, though it was never as popular, making it one of the less crowded royal palaces in Europe.

Surrounded by Baroque Gardens and a Chinese pavilion, Drottningholm even features a church and theatre. Lime and chestnut trees dominate the Baroque Gardens while the English park is decorated with two ponds and lovely bridges.

The mesmerising gallery of the palace will take you on a fun hunt for a lion, discovering plants and flowers or a gold hunt with the aim of finding each of these items in the palace’s interiors.

The entrance fee for Drottningholm is 130 SEK, but it is included on the Stockholm Pass. There is an additional fee for a guided tour. Any professional photography equipment at the Palace is not allowed.

Contributed by Gabi from Under Flowery Sky

Visit to Drottningholm - Emma Jane Explores

El Escorial

Madrid, Spain

The Royal Complex of El Escorial, one of the most impressive palaces in Europe, is an important landmark in Spanish culture and history. Less than an hour from Madrid, El Escorial has served as a center of education, religion and the home of Spanish monarchy.

Today, El Escorial serves primarily as a museum, functioning religious center and royal resting place. The Spanish royal crypt, deep within the complex, is the final resting place of most of Spain’s recent kings and queens. It is a striking, eerie display of artistry and prestige.

El Escorial appears daunting and stoic from an external standpoint. The interior, however, is ornate and adequately designed for royal residents. Frescoes and murals adorn the ceilings and walls, respectively, and the grandeur of the palace only grows as you wander throughout.

El Escorial is easy to reach from Madrid, and is perfect for an easy day trip away from the big city. Admission is €12, and tickets can be easily purchased on site. The small town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial also makes for a pleasant place to wander.

El Escorial is overshadowed by other more famous, elaborate royal palaces in Europe, but it is worth a visit for what lies within and the cultural significance to Spain.

Contributed by John Paul from The Hangry Backpacker

Kensington Palace

London, United Kingdom

From the birthplace of Queen Victoria to Princess Diana’s homely retreat, Kensington Palace is a must visit for families in London. You can pay to take a tour through some of the rooms, including that which Queen Victoria was born in. There are interactive displays and some wonderful photographs depicting the palace through the ages which all the family will enjoy.

One of the most fascinating areas of the house is dedicated to Queen Victoria’s childhood toys including dolls houses and clockwork toys that would have been revolutionary for the time. If you don’t want to pay to go into the palace it is still worth a visit as there’s plenty to do here for free. Stroll around the palace’s grounds, take tea in the cafe and browse through the brilliant shop, packed full of Royal memorabilia. The wider grounds in Kensington Gardens is wonderful.

The lake here always has families with model boats on it and people cycling through. The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground is one of the best playgrounds in the world and perfect for a visit if you have kids. Stay at the Royal Garden hotel, one of the best London hotels for families which is right on the grounds overlooking the palace.

Contributed by Nichola from Globalmouse Travels

Paleis Het Loo

Apeldoorn, The Netherlands

The Netherlands has been a monarchy for a long time, resulting in many stunning palaces around the country. Palace Het Loo is one of the most beautiful royal palaces in Europe to visit, especially since it was used until recently.

Het Loo has been connected to the Dutch royal family for centuries, even before The Netherlands had its first king. One of the ancestors of the current king bought Het Loo in 1684. His descendants expanded the old castle, creating the royal palace with its baroque gardens you can visit nowadays. The royal palace was a royal (summer) residence until 1975, after which it was restored and opened as a museum. When visiting the palace, you’ll also see the private rooms of this last residential period.

Het Loo is located in the east of the country which might not be on your itinerary for The Netherlands, but is definitely worth a detour. The area just south of the palace is known as the Veluwe, one of the most popular weekend and holiday destinations among locals. The Veluwe National Park is one of the highlights of any visit to the Netherlands. If only for its unique Kröller-Müller Museum in the heart of the nature reserve, home to the second-largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world.

Contributed by Maartje & Sebastiaan from Tidy Minds 

Hofburg Palace

Vienna, Austria

The Hofburg Palace is in central Vienna, near many other attractions, including St Stephen’s Cathedral and the museum district. It is a stunning complex of buildings with lots to see while visiting. The Hofburg Palace used to be the main residence of the Habsburg dynasty during the winter, hence it being called the winter palace. Nowadays, this is the official residence of the President of Austria.

The Palace was originally built in the 13th-century, however the palatial complex grew lots since then with many additions. St Michaels Wing of the palace is the most distinctive, it has 3 green domes and looks very ornate, this is the rear entrance from the city centre. The main Entrance has a very ornate gate and sizeable gardens with some very nice architecture. The complex has many statues, squares and ornate features to peruse for free.

Visitors can also opt to go on a tour of the complex, you can choose either an audio tour or a guided tour. These include access to the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Apartments, and the Silver Collection inside. Tickets are available on their website or at the ticket office onsite. There are many nice places to stay nearby, however for budget travellers Hotel Odeon just outside the centre is a great option.

Contributed by RJ from RJ On Tour

Holyrood Palace

Edinburgh, Scotland

When in Edinburgh, you must visit Holyrood Palace.  It’s the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II when she is in Scotland. You can take a self-guided audio tour through the Palace, Abbey, and Gardens and learn about hundreds of years of history.

It’s fascinating to see the Royal Dining room, Throne Room, Great Gallery, some of the rooms Mary Queen of Scots used, and more.

After seeing all the rooms inside, move on to the ruins of Holyrood Abbey directly behind Holyrood Palace.

This 12th century church was used for royal ceremonies, including the coronation of James V and Charles I.  By the 16th century, the Abbey was one of the largest in Scotland.   Then, in the 18th century, the roof collapsed.  They never repaired it as there were other churches nearby that could be used.

Lastly, go for a walk in Holyrood Gardens.  The Queen throws a Garden party here each year. While you may not be able to get an invite to the party, you can take in the spectacular views of the Palace, Abbey, and Holyrood Park (also known as the Queen’s Park).  You might even be able to see some hikers walking up Arthur’s Seat.

Holyrood Palace is located at the end of the Royal Mile across the street from the Holyrood Scottish Parliament building.

Contributed by Anisa from 2 Traveling Texans

Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh (photo by Two Travelling Texans)

Neuschwanstein Castle

Füssen, Germany

There are few palaces in the world that are as recognisable as Neuschwanstein. Its turrets rising high into the sky and the perfect Bavarian scenery it is nestled in make it the top of many people’s bucket lists. Visiting Neuschwanstein from Munich is one of the most popular day trips people take and to see it with your own eyes is truly magical

While many a castle including a very well-known Disney one has been modelled on it none quite match the magnificence of Neuschwanstein.

As you are arriving it looks so small with the large mountains in the background but as you get closer you realise how big the castle is. You can either decide to walk up to the castle or you can take the horse and cart from Schwangau (the town at the bottom) to the entry of the palace.

If you do decide to walk there are a few tracks you can take. One will take you to the Marienbrucke Bridge where you can get the iconic picture of the castle.


Once you have arrived (you do need to purchase your tickets in advance) you are then taken on a guided tour of the Palace in your chosen language. It is here you can really see the beauty and the time and care that was put into constructing such a building. The magnificent and ornate decorations that adorn the walls, halls and bedrooms are stunning. You can also see what happens when something so magnificent is not able to be finished. There are rooms in the Palace that are unfinished due to King Ludwig dying during the construction.

Contributed by Bec from Wyld Family Travel

Nymphenburg Palace

Munich, Germany

Munich’s Nymphenburg Palace is tucked away on the west side of the city. This area was once the countryside, and the palace and park became a “country palace” for royals to escape the city.

The palace rooms are opulent masterpieces, every inch trimmed in gold and fanciful moldings. See where the royals lived, slept, and entertained, each room featuring beautiful paintings, silk wallpapers, and expensive furnishings.

Admire King Ludwig I’s Gallery of Beauties, filled with portraits of beautiful women in the west wing. Even the stables are full of golden coronation carriages and bedazzled snow sleds as well as the palace’s porcelain museum.

Four additional mini-palaces are a short stroll into the park. Don’t miss the rococo sensation, Amalienburg. The main room is a mini-Hall of Mirrors a la the Palace of Versailles in France, and the kitchen is decorated entirely with hand painted Asian tiles.

Snag the 15 combo ticket to see it all: the palace, the Marstallmuseum in the stables, and the park and mini-palaces. Exhibit signs are in both German and English.

Take Tram 17 from Munich’s Central Station to Nymphenburg’s front entrance. When staying in Munich, pick a hotel near public transport as this is the perfect jumping off point for day trips around Bavaria. There are a wide variety of accommodations for all budgets: hostels, mid-range, and 5-star luxury.

Contributed by Rachel at Means to Explore

Oslo Palace

Oslo, Norway

A visit to watch the surprisingly casual changing of the guard ceremony Oslo Palace is totally free, making it a great activity if you’re visiting Oslo on a budget!

The Oslo Palace was completed in 1849 and is still the home of the Norweigan Royal Family. Visitors to Oslo are welcome to walk up to the palace to marvel at it from the outside at any time, but the changing of the guard ceremony takes place at 1:30pm daily, and lasts for approximately 40 minutes.

The interiors of the palace are open to visitors in summer, and guided tours run frequently. Since the palace is only open to visitors for a few months of the year, places on the guided tours get booked fast, so it’s best to reserve your place as soon as possible. On the tour, you’ll get an insider look into some of the most beautiful rooms of one of the best royal palaces in Europe, and the guided tour shares many fascinating facts about the history of the palace and the Norwegian royal family. The tour takes approximately 1 hour, and tickets cost 135 NOK.

For budget accommodation nearby, you can’t beat the SmartHotel Oslo, which is incredibly cheap (for Norway!) whilst still being of great value and very clean.

Contributed by Ella from Many More Maps

 

The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes

Rhodes, Greece

The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, also known as the Kastello, is located in the Old Town of Rhodes in Greece. This triple walled medieval fortress was constructed by the Knights of St. John, in the 14th century under the rule of Grand Master H. de Villeneuve.

What is remarkable about this castle are the spherical towers, the arched gate, exquisite multi-coloured marbles, the gothic touches, but most impressively is that this castle has survived the Ottoman and Italian conquests of Greece, several earthquakes, a devastating explosion in 1865 and it still stands impeccably.

This castle was once the residence of the governor and administrative centre in Medieval times, then a fortress during the Ottoman invasion and a prison while the Ottomans ruled Greece, while during the Italian conquest of the Dodecannese it served as a holiday residence for the King of Italy Victor Emmanuel III and for Benito Mussolini.

Today the castle serves as a museum to visitors of Rhodes, who can visit the museum every day from 8am to 8pm, with an entrance fee of €8. You can also purchase a combined ticket for €10 that includes a visit to the archaeological museum, the church of Our Lady of the Castle and the Decorative Arts.

A highly recommended accommodation located on a 10-minute walk from the Old Town of Rhodes is the Mitsis Grand Hotel, a large beachfront resort located in the New Town.

Contributed by Elena from Travel Greece Travel Europe

Peleș Castle

Sinaia, Romania

Nestled at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains, at the gateway to Transylvania, Romania’s Peles (Peleș) Castle is one of the most impressive royal palaces in Europe.

Built for King Carol I, the country’s second monarch, Peles was inaugurated in 1883 and designed by a German architect, Johannes Schultz. The Saxon-Alpine design is totally unique and predominantly Neo-Renaissance in character, but references a number of European styles and bears some similarities to Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein.

The interior is positively palatial: Hand-painted murals, Baroque wood carvings, rich tapestries, ivory and porcelain cover every surface. The palace, which was predominantly used as a summer residence and to host guests (including Franz Ferdinand I), has more than 170 rooms in total, some with a dedicated theme (the Florentine Room, the Moorish Room, etc.).

Peles and several other buildings on the estate were seized by Romania’s Communist Regime, and the main castle only reopened to the public as a museum after the 1989 revolution. Visitors can enter on a guided tour of the ground floor for 30 RON (6.6 Euro), but it’s more than worth paying double to visit the first floor on a ‘complete tour’, which covers some of the most lavishly decorated sleeping chambers.

Located two hours from the capital by train, Peles is an ideal day trip from Bucharest or a place to stop on the way to Brasov. If visiting in winter, it’s even more impressive to see the palace wrapped in snow, making it one of the best royal palaces in Europe to visit in the colder months.

Contributed by Emily from Wander-Lush

Pena Palace

Sintra, Portugal

An ideal day trip from Lisbon or a stop on a road trip from Lisbon to Porto, the iconic Pena Palace is easily one of the best royal palaces to visit in Europe. Yes, it has become a major tourist attraction (along with other landmarks in the city of Sintra), but if you love colorful fairytale castles, this one is a must-visit.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, the Pena Palace was built in the 19th century on a hill overlooking the entire valley. While visiting, you can enjoy the scenic views, admire the mix of architectural styles (like Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance) and vivid colors, and see some of the rooms, including the dining room, bedrooms, and the Great Hall.

Even if you’re on a road trip, the best way to get to the Pena Palace is by bus from Sintra’s city center, and ticket prices vary depending on whether you also want to visit the Pena park and gardens (which cover over 200 hectares) or just the palace. It’s recommended to book your ticket in advance, but if you plan on visiting other landmarks in Sintra, you can purchase a combo ticket that will give you a certain discount.

By Or from My Path in the World  

The Royal Alcázars

Seville, Spain

The Royal Alcazar of Seville is the residence of the Spanish royal family when they are in the southern city. Commonly referred to only as the Alcazar, this royal palace is an incredible piece of architecture, and if there is one single building to represent Spain at its most vibrant and exotic, it must be the Alcazar.

The Alcazar is a wonderful blend of Moorish and Spanish styles. The most prominent feature running throughout the Alcazar is the use of Moorish tiles and Islamic design elements which blend effortlessly with Gothic and Romanesque elements from Christian Spain.

Highlights of visiting the Alcazar is the incredible Salon de Embajadores, or the Ambassador’s Hall. This square room features a golden dome which symbolises the universe. Looking up at the dome, it almost seems to be breathing!

The immaculate formal gardens surrounding the Alcazar is an extension of the building itself. Game of Thrones fans might recognize some parts of the Alcazar and its gardens, as this was the shooting location of the House of Dorne.

The Alcazar, together with the adjoining Seville Cathedral, must be on any Seville itinerary. To enjoy visiting the Alcazar, it’s recommended to come first thing in the morning, before it gets too busy. Hours are from 9:00-17:00 in winter and 9:00-19:00 in summer.

The nearby Joya del Casco Boutique Hotel with its inviting outdoor pool is the perfect place to stay while in Seville visiting one of the best royal palaces in Europe. 

Contributed by De Wet & Jin from Museum of Wander

Royal Palace of Amsterdam

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

When people think of Amsterdam, many don’t think about the Royal Palace. It is located right in the centre of Dam Square and is arguably the most striking building in the square. You are able to buy tickets and actually explore the insides of this stunning structure.

The ceilings are works of art that you can spend HOURS looking up at. From the authentic dinner table setting on display to the diplomatic suites there is so much history and art to explore within this Palace. Make sure to check out the massive statue of Atlas, carrying the weight of the world (literally).

While this Palace is not imposing like other European Palaces, what is amazing is that even in today’s modern times, this is a REAL working Palace.  When the Royal family are in town, they use this palace as their residence and they also host state diplomates here as well.

It’s really exciting to be able to walk into rooms that are still being used by the heads of state. There is a TON of history in all the corners, but we really loved standing in the foyer with all the windows streaming in sunlight and being able to really absorb the simplistic beauty of the location.  The cost for entry is 10.00 Euros for adults and 18 and under are free. 

Contributed by Sophia and Aarmir from Fly Eat and Repeat

Royal Castle

Warsaw, Poland

The Royal Castle in Warsaw is a pretty unique place to visit and one of the top attractions in the Polish capital. What you can see now is a reconstructed version of the place.

Originally, it was built in the 14th century for the Masovian Dukes but when Warsaw became the capital of Poland in 1596 the Warsaw Castle became the seat of the King. Over the centuries the place has seen numerous important events, such as signing the 1791 Constitution (the oldest document of this kind in Europe and second oldest in the world).

After World War 2, the Royal Castle in Warsaw was completely destroyed – the reconstruction process finished in 1984 and today the beautiful castle is one of the most popular landmarks in Poland.

You can visit the castle inside; during your excursion you will see beautiful interiors and will admire valuable artworks, such as Rembrandt’s paintings. Keep in mind that even if the castle feels like an old monument it is actually fairly new – this makes the whole building much more interesting.

Visiting the castle is possible from Tuesday to Sunday and on Wednesdays entry is free of charge. The Royal Castle together with the Warsaw Old Town were included in UNESCO World Heritage List as an exceptional example of nearly total reconstruction of destroyed historical places.

Contributed by Kami from My Wanderlust

Royal Palace of Brussels

Brussels, Belgium

One might not necessarily equate the little kingdom of Belgium with spectacular palaces. Seeing the relative size and the fact the nation is very young (founded in 1830) this line of thought is understandable, though about to be debunked!

The Belgian Monarchy has two palaces in Belgium: The working palace (in the heart of Brussels) and their private residential palace (in the Laeken area just outside of Brussels). Both palaces can be visited during selected periods in the year. The most spectacular of both palaces is the residential palace, which was saved from demolition by none other than Napoleon who gifted it to Josephine.

Once the Kingdom of Belgium had been established, the monarchy took up residence in this palace. Leopold I, the first king of Belgium) added the amazing Art-Nouveau style greenhouses to the property. These greenhouses can be visited during three weeks in spring, when the flowers are in full bloom and the garden gives off 100 different fragrant floral smells. Make sure to check out the official website to see when the gardens are open. 

If your weekend in Brussels happens to coincide with the opening of the Royal Gardens make sure to squeeze in some time to visit the gardens. Getting there is easy from the centre of town, simply hop on Bus nr 230 or 231 and get off at the stop Serres Royales/Koninklijke Serres. Get there before 09.00 to ensure you are at the front of the line when the doors open.

Contributed by Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer

Schönbrunn Palace

Vienna, Austria

Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, is one of the most important cultural monuments in Austria. With its Baroque architecture, exquisite gardens, breathtaking interior, and the world’s oldest Zoo on the palace grounds, Schönbrunn Palace has been one of the best things to in Vienna since the 1960’s.

Schönbrunn Palace was the main 1,441 room summer residence of the Habsburg rulers, and today is one of the Europe’s most impressive Baroque palace complexes. Each room inside the palace is full of outstanding examples of decorative art. The ceilings will take your breath away; each room with an original gold design. 45 rooms can be visited and give you a great look at how members of the Habsburg Dynasty lived and worked.

There are several tour and ticket options to choose from, depending on how much of the palace and Schönbrunn Group attractions you want to see.  Make sure you buy your tickets in advance to reduce your wait times.

The Hotel Nestroy Wien is a half hour bus ride (or twenty minutes by car) to Schönbrunn Palace and is also an excellent overall location for exploring the popular sights, dining and recreation options in Vienna.

Photography is not allowed inside the Palace.

Contributed by Debbie from WorldAdventurists.com

Stockholm Palace

Stockholm, Sweden

One of the most striking palaces that is fun to explore is the Stockholm Royal palace in the historic district. What makes it fun is also watching the daily changing of the guards with all the pomp, beautiful horses, band and pure showmanship you get to see right on the palace grounds.

Afterwards, you can take a docent lead tour or your own DIY tour of the rooms open to the public which basically all the public rooms visitors to the palace get to see including some of the backsides like the kitchen and some of the private rooms of the palace. Another fine touch is the added museum below that houses all the stunning jewellery and royal regalia including all the armory and other objects royalty uses for public events.

It really is a nice experience to see all of the history, culture and grand styled rooms in the palace along with the art, sculpture and other finery on display. While visiting Stockholm and looking for places to visit, check out the top 20 things to do in Stockholm for more details with images of the best things to see and do around this wonderful city.

Contributed by Noel from Travel Photo Discovery

A guard standing outside the Stockholm Palace

The Palace of Versailles

Versailles, France

Chateau Versailles was the opulent residence of French royalty and centre of power from 1682, under King Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. Over the years, a succession of kings transformed what once was a hunting lodge into a sprawling palace decked out in gold and lavish furniture.

When you go on a tour inside the Palace of Versailles, it’s easy to see why the citizens of France became resentful of how the royals lived. Marble walls and ceiling murals are framed in gold, sparkling chandeliers and delicate busts line the halls, and grand canopy beds take centre stage in the royal bedchambers. Even the palace grounds are impeccable, with symmetrical gardens and artistic fountains.

Although it can be hard to shift your attention away from the palace’s decadence, visiting is also a great opportunity to learn more about the history of France, especially the palace’s role in the revolution.

To visit the palace you have to buy an admission ticket but access to the gardens is free. You can choose to join a guided tour or explore the palace on your own with an audio guide.

Contributed by Rhonda from Travel? Yes Please!

Windsor Castle

Berkshire, United Kingdom

Windsor is one of the best-known castles in the United Kingdom. The royal residence holds the titles of largest inhabited palace in the world along with the longest-populated castle in Europe. It was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror and is currently the favorite weekend home of Her Majesty, the Queen of England. Windsor Castle follows a traditional motte and bailey design where the castle keep is situated on a hill directly adjacent to fortified courtyard which housed all the building necessary to running and maintaining the castle.

Along with being a well-preserved example of early Norman fortifications, Windsor Castle is an architectural time capsule. Charles II had the castle interior rebuilt in 1660 using Baroque elements that are still visible today. George III and George IV renovated the castle during the 18th century, remaining true to Charles II’s designs while adding their own finishing touches of Gothic, Baroque, and Rococo furnishings.

Windsor Castle is open to the public for tours throughout the year. Admission is £23.50 per adult. Along with beautiful architecture, visitors will enjoy viewing priceless works of art, walking the grounds of the castle, and exploring St. George’s chapel.

Contributed by Erin from Traveling Thru History

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Exploring Europe's Royal Palaces and Castles - Emma Jane Explores
Exploring Europe's Royal Palaces and Castles - Emma Jane Explores

8 Comments

  1. Katy

    Oooooh I love visiting castles. I’ve been to a lot of castles in Europe but I’ve never even heard of most of these. I have been to Peles Castle in Romania, however. Fun Fact: Peles Castle is featured in the Netflix “A Christmas Prince” movies. I admit it’s cheesy (but I got a big kick out of it during my visit).

    Reply
    • Emma Jane Explores

      OMG is it?! Haha those movies are soooo cheesy but definitely a fun watch at Christmas time!

      Reply
  2. Alma

    Beautiful palaces! I’ve seen a few and love walking through their gardens as well, but there are so many more to explore.

    Reply
  3. Elina

    I’m definitely feeling the itch for a European adventure! 😉 Although, to be fair I visited a few castles from the list, mostly those in the UK. But still I so much want to explore all others!

    Reply
    • Emma Jane Explores

      Lucky you! There’s something so magical about those grand Royal Palaces that I just love 🙂

      Reply
  4. Krista

    I love visiting castles and palaces when I travel around Europe, and I haven’t been to a few on your list it looks like! Loved reading about them all.

    Reply
    • Emma Jane Explores

      There’s so many in Europe I feel like it is almost impossible to see them all!

      Reply

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