Skip to content

Five Beautiful Palaces Around the World You Can Visit in 2023

Take centuries-old inspiration from these opulently Rococo and Baroque palaces around the world

Bookmark article to read later

By House & Garden South Africa | September 17, 2023 | Travel Leisure

When travelling overseas, one of the best ways to understand the culture, architecture, and history of a city is through the palaces that once housed the nation’s ruling family. European opulence from Rococo-era sensibilities gives visitors a glimpse into the over-the-top lives of the aristocracy and Oriental antiquities reveal historic crafts of bygone eras.

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, India

Hawa Mahal or ‘Palace of the Winds’ might give the Taj Mahal a run for its money with its striking pink and red sandstone façade. Today, the Hawa Mahal is the tallest building in the world that was built without a foundation. Perched in the city of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal is only five stories tall but its majesty in its honeycomb-like design is grand. Built in 1799, Hawa Mahal the palace’s architecture allows a cool breeze throughout the Mahal, which contrasts the tiny windows in the façade, for the royal ladies were not allowed to be seen by the public. Today, the best time to visit the palace is in the early morning when the sun enters the Mahal through the Windows, and illuminates with golden rays of sunlight.

The Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, India is also called the ‘Palace of the Winds’ for the breeze it lets into the building. Image via Unsplash

Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm’s Drottningholm Palace today stands majestically as a UNESCO's World Heritage site and was completed in the 1600s. Today, it remains the official residence of the King and Queen of Sweden. Like many other castles in Europe, Drottningholm Palace’s architecture was Influenced by French Châteaus, through its Baroque design and perfectly manicured gardens. One of the unique spots at Drottningholm Palace is the Chinese Pavilion, a summer palace that was secretly built as a birthday gift for Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1753. At that time, all things Chinese were the latest fashion, and the Chinese Pavilion was filled with tea, spices, silk, porcelain and artwork as China was seen as an exotic, mythical country.

Drottningholm Palace is a UNESCO's World Heritage site and remains the official residence of the King and Queen of Sweden. Image via Pexels

Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau, Germany

Schloss Neuschwanstein, more commonly called Neuschwanstein Castle is one of Germany’s most famous medieval castles that looks like it was lifted right off the pages of a fairytale book. But what’s interesting about Neuschwanstein Castle’s architecture is its marriage of different styles from Gothic, Byzantine-era, and Romanesque styles. But, the Neuschwanstein Castle holds a history of secrets. During World War II, a Nazi task force responsible for looting artworks in nations occupied by Germany hid artwork in the palace. Many art collections were taken from Paris during 1941–45, and stored inside Neuschwanstein Castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany was once the home to a King, and later became a hiding place for stolen Nazi art. Image via unsplash

Palace of Versailles, France

It’s hard to believe that one of the world’s most famous palaces started out as a quaint hunting lodge for French royals before 1607 when France’s Dauphin, the future Louis XIII took a liking to the location before moving in a few years later. The Versailles estate spans more than 800 hectares, comprised of the Palace, the gardens, the Park, the Trianon estate and several buildings in the surrounding town. Visitors get to witness the awe-inspiring lifestyles of the hundreds of residence who once called Versailles home, and most infamously Marie Antoinette. The most famous area of the palace is The Hall of Mirrors, which was built to replace a large terrace that opened onto the garden.

The Hall of Mirrors was initially built to replace a large terrace that opened onto the garden. Image via Unsplash