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The Complete Guide to Exploring Over 25 Exquisite Palaces in Europe

25+ Beautiful Palaces In Europe, The Complete Guide



# **25+ Beautiful Palaces In Europe, The Complete Guide**

*Need some destination inspiration for a trip to Europe? Here’s our guide to the most beautiful palaces in Europe. No one does palaces quite like Europe. They are unrivaled in their opulence and grandeur. So, if you need a dash of royalty or some guilty pleasure escapism in your life, this guide should do the trick. Once (or still) home to kings, popes, emperors, and aristocrats, these palaces represent Europe’s finest and most lavish architecture.*

**1. Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria**
The Schönbrunn Palace is a swishy Renaissance palace in Vienna. It was the summer home of the Hapsburg dynasty, which governed the Austro-Hungarian empire for almost six and a half centuries. With a whopping 1441 rooms, Schönbrunn now opens its doors to the public, allowing access to 40 of them. Visitors can explore 22 rooms during the ‘Imperial Tour,’ including the splendid imperial chambers of Emperor Franz Joseph and the renowned Empress Sisi. For those opting for the ‘Grand Tour,’ 18 additional rooms are accessible, showcasing the 18th-century interiors from the era of Maria Theresa, the visionary behind Schönbrunn’s creation. Notably, the Mirror Room is where Mozart famously performed his debut concert at the tender age of six. If you want to skip the line, you can book a [skip the line ticket](insert link).

**2. Pope’s Palace, Avignon, France**
From 1309-77, the popes lived in the Palais des Papes in the enchanting riverside town of Avignon, rather than in Rome. This period was known as the “Avignon Papacy.” Built between 1335-52, the Pope’s Palace is the largest Gothic building in western Europe. Its imposing facade resembles medieval fortified churches. Highlights include the Pope’s private apartments, the Matteo Giovannetti frescoes, and the soaring chapel. The Pope’s Palace is the 10th most visited site in France. [Book a guided walking tour that includes the palace](insert link).

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**3. Schloss Neuschwanstein, Schwangau, Germany**
Clad in glistening limestone and strategically perched in the Alps, Neuschwanstein Castle is the most visited palace in Germany and one of Europe’s most popular sites. With its majestic turrets, decadent interior, and dramatic backstory, Neuschwanstein is essentially the embodiment of a fairy tale. This fairy tale was spun by a daydreaming king, Mad King Ludwig of Bavaria. Neuschwanstein took 24 years to build and is a prime example of 19th-century Romantic style architecture. Inside, it’s full of vibrant color and depicts scenes from Richard Wagner’s operas. The highlights are the Throne Room, Singer’s Hall, and Ludwig’s fancy bedroom. Take a virtual tour of Neuschwanstein on [Google Arts & Culture](insert link) or on the [Neuschwanstein website](insert link).

**4. Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal**
Pena Palace is a fancy 19th-century palace in Sintra, just a short 30-minute day trip from Lisbon. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a famous spot in Portugal. People adore Pena Palace because it’s the most romantic palace you can imagine. What makes it special is that it’s super colorful and mixes all sorts of different architectural styles. It’s like several castles mashed together. You’ll see onion domes, turrets, walls with gaps on top, and funny-looking gargoyles. Pena Palace was commissioned by King Ferdinand II in 1842, possibly in an attempt to rival Neuschwanstein Castle. The palace’s facade serves as a color-coded legend, with each color representing a different architectural influence. Book a [skip the line ticket](insert link) to visit Pena Palace.

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**5. Royal Chateau de Chenonceau, Loire Valley, France**
Built in the 16th century, the Chateau de Chenonceau is the most famous and romantic of chateaux in the Loire Valley. It spans the River Cher with picturesque palace arches for boats to glide under. Chenonceau housed and was influenced by many famous women over the centuries — Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de’ Medici, and Louise Dupin. Hence, it’s nicknamed the “Ladies Chateau.” Highlights of the meticulously maintained chateau are the lavishly decorated ceilings, the ornate chapel, the Grand Gallery, the bedroom of Diane de Poitiers, and the Medici Gallery (now a museum). The museum houses Old Master paintings by Rubens, Pouissin, and Tintoretto. Take an extensive virtual tour, read stories about the historic chateau, or examine the art collection on [Google Arts & Culture](insert link).

**6. Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia**
The Winter Palace was the official home of the Russian imperial family until the Russian Revolution in 1917. Commissioned by Empress Anna, construction of this monolith began in 1732. When Catherine the Great took the throne in 1762, she completely redid the interiors. The palace continued to be embellished through the 19th century. Today, the Winter Palace houses the State Hermitage, one of the world’s best museums. Explore the second largest museum in the world with a slew of masterpieces, including Faberge eggs, sculptures, and jewelry.

**7. Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France**
Built by the Sun King Louis XIV, the Palace of Versailles is the most ornate and famous royal palace in France, located just outside Paris. Its renowned Hall of Mirrors is a dazzling room adorned with 357 mirrors, magnificent chandeliers, and majestic windows that reflect the grandeur of the past. Other highlights include the king’s apartments, the queen’s apartments, the royal chapel, and the rooms of Hercules and Mars. The vast, meticulously manicured gardens offer fountains, sculptures, and expanses of pristine lawns, along with the charming Hamlet, Petit Trianon, and Queen’s Hamlet, once private sanctuaries of Marie Antoinette. Take a digital tour of the Palace of Versailles [here](insert link).

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These are just a few of the stunning palaces Europe has to offer. Each one is filled with history, beauty, and stories waiting to be discovered. Plan your visit to these magnificent palaces and immerse yourself in the grandeur of Europe’s architectural masterpieces.

**Frequently Asked Questions**

**Q: How do I book skip the line tickets for these palaces?**
A: You can book skip the line tickets for these palaces through the provided links.

**Q: Are guided tours available for these palaces?**
A: Yes, guided tours are available for most of these palaces. You can book them through the provided links.

**Q: Can I take virtual tours of these palaces?**
A: Yes, many of these palaces offer virtual tours that you can explore online. Check the provided links for more information.

**Final Thought**
Visiting the beautiful palaces of Europe is like stepping back in time and experiencing the splendor of bygone eras. These architectural wonders are a testament to the creativity and craftsmanship of the past, and they continue to captivate visitors from all around the world. So, make sure to include these stunning palaces in your European travel itinerary and create memories that will last a lifetime.



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