The Grandest Royal Palaces in Europe

Europe is known for many things, from historic sights to stunning landscapes to buzzing metropolises. Tying the three together are the grand palaces that have housed European royal families for generations, many of which are set on picturesque manicured grounds. Take a look at seven such architectural splendors spread across the European continent. We've also suggested some palatial hotels nearby so you can feel like royalty, too!


1. Château de Chambord, Chambord, France

Courtesy of Wikimedia/Patrick Giraud

Courtesy of Wikimedia/Patrick Giraud

France’s Loire Valley is known for its resplendent palaces, Château de Chambord the largest among them. Francis I built it not as his main residence, but as his hunting lodge. It went unused in the decades after his death, falling into ruin, but Louis XIV had the palace restored.

Where to Stay

2. Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna

Courtesy of Flickr/Craig Wyzik

Courtesy of Flickr/Craig Wyzik

The summer seat of the Habsburgs, this 1,441-room palace in Vienna was developed between the 16th and the 18th centuries. Its garden is not to be missed.

Where to Stay

3. Topkapi Palace, Istanbul

Courtesy of Wikimedia/Roweromaniak

Courtesy of Wikimedia/Roweromaniak

A residence for Ottoman sultans from the 15th to the 19th centuries, this grand palace reopened as a museum in 1924, after the end of the Ottoman empire.

Where to Stay

4. Palazzo Pitti, Florence

Courtesy of Flickr/Larry Koester

Courtesy of Flickr/Larry Koester

The famed Medici family purchased this home, formerly owned by banker Luca Pitti, in 1549, 101 years after the earliest parts of the palace were built. It once served as a base for Napoleon, but today it is a museum.

Where to Stay

5. Château de Versailles, Versailles, France

Courtesy of Flickr/Ninara

Courtesy of Flickr/Ninara

Certainly the one of the famous palaces in Europe, this grand château has 721,206 square feet of interior floor space, but it sits on a staggering 87,728,720 square feet of land. Originally built in 1623 by Louis XIII as a hunting lodge, the palace was expanded to its grand scale by Louis XIV.

Where to Stay

6. Buda Castle, Budapest

Courtesy of Flickr/Daniel Edwins

Courtesy of Flickr/Daniel Edwins

Hungarian kings called this palace home since it was completed in 1265. Over the site’s long history, many of its structures have been destroyed in wars and rebuilt time and time again.

Where to Stay

7. Peterhof Palace, St. Petersburg

Courtesy of Flickr/David Orban

Courtesy of Flickr/David Orban

Known as the Versailles of Russia, this palace was built by Peter the Great in the 18th century. It was largely destroyed during World War II, but restorations have since returned the palace to its original splendor.

Where to Stay

8. Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin

Courtesy of Flickr/Henri Sivonen

Courtesy of Flickr/Henri Sivonen

Unlike many of the palaces on this list, Charlottenburg was commissioned by a woman—Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Frederick I, King of Prussia. It is the largest palace in Berlin.

Where to Stay

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