Versailles, Schönbrunn, Sanssouci – these magnificent royal residences rank as some of the most famous palaces in Europe. However, whilst none of them disappoint and all are worth visiting, there are many more beautiful buildings of this kind throughout the continent waiting to be explored. Our new brochure for 2018 includes some great ideas for what to do in Europe’s most popular cities and these attractions all made the list.
Mirabell Palace, Salzburg
This is one of the main highlights in the magical city of Salzburg, home to The Sound of Music. It was built in the early 17th century by prince-archbishop Wolf Dietrich as a gift for his lover at the time. Since then, it has seen a young Mozart and his father play their music and is used during the annual classical concerts. The main hall has also become a highly sought-after wedding venue.
Whilst the palace itself is stunning, it is the gardens that garner the most attention. They are laid out according to Baroque design and point towards the direction of the city’s fortress. Used during the filming of The Sound of Music, the gardens feature magnificent fountains, a rose garden and an orangery.
Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen
Dominating the small island of Slotsholmen in Copenhagen city centre, Christiansborg Palace is still used by the Danish royal family from time to time and is the current seat of the country’s parliament. Amongst the areas you can visit are the Royal Reception Rooms, where the queen receives foreign dignitaries and where new monarchs are crowned.
One of the highlights of this resplendent royal residence is the selection of tapestries that line the walls of the Great Hall. Based on sketches by the artist Bjørn Nørgaard, they show 100 years of Danish history.
Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn
Built as a summer residence for the royals of the 18th century, Kadriorg Palace is regarded as one of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in the whole of Estonia. With three levels at the front and two at the back, it fuses different styles but was originally based on the elaborate palaces being built in Italy during this time. As Estonia was under Russia’s rule at this time, it was Peter the Great who decided to build this palace in Tallinn for his wife Catherine. However, once he passed away in 1725, the Russian royals showed only a fleeting interest.
Today, Kadriorg houses the Estonian Foreign Art Museum. The main focus is on paintings from Europe and Russia, including works by the Dutch and Italian masters between the 16th and 18th centuries.
Schloss Weikersheim, Germany’s Romantic Road
The Romantic Road, a tourist route that winds its way through southern Germany, is full of charming towns and breathtaking sights. Whilst Neuschwanstein Castle is definitely a stand-out attraction, another highlight comes in the form of Schloss Weikershiem. Located about 45 minutes’ drive from Würzburg, the starting point for many travelling the Romantic Road, Weikershiem is characterised by church spires, vineyards and a cute market square.
The palace was constructed in 1586 under the orders of Count Wolfgang of Hohenlohe, who didn’t approve of the castle which once stood in its place. One of its most famous features is the impressive Knights Hall, known for its intricate hunting morals on the ceiling. The gardens offer a serene setting for peaceful reflection and feature a beautiful orangery. There is also a collection of Baroque statues depicting former members of Count Carl Ludwig’s court, gods such as Apollo and Diana, and grotesque figures that lurk in the dark corners.
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover
Having been destroyed during World War II, Herrenhausen Palace was finally restored in 2013 after a long debate over whether or not it should be resurrected. The new building was created in the same spot and using the original plans but mixes a neoclassical exterior with a modern interior. Whilst the central part of the palace is now used for business meetings and commercial seminars, visitors can still explore the museum in both wings and the fantastic gardens.
The museum looks back on the relationship between Hanover and Great Britain, whilst also showing how monarchs often used Baroque art to demonstrate their wealth and prowess. Meanwhile, the historical gardens are some of the most important in Europe. They include the famous orchid collection and the beautiful Grosser Garten edged by a manmade river known as the Graft.
Royal Palace, Stockholm
Stockholm’s Royal Palace is the only one on this list to still be the official residence of its country’s monarchy. As one of the largest palaces in Europe, it boasts 600 different rooms, some of which can be viewed by the public. These include the Hall of State, where you will see Queen Kristina’s silver throne; the reception room, decorated in the styles of the 18th and 19th centuries; and the Halls of the Orders of Chivalry.
The history and splendour of the palace are displayed in three different museums, along with the Armoury and the Royal Stable. Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities is home to more than 200 sculptures, many of which were bought by the king during his frequent trips to Italy. The Tre Kronor Museum displays objects recovered from a castle of the same name which once stood where the palace does today. This defensive structure was originally built by the Vikings but was ravaged by a fire in 1697. The third museum is the palace’s treasury, housed in the cellar and featuring glistening regalia that belonged to monarchs of the past.
If you would like to visit any of these stunning royal residences, we can help you plan your European city break. Our tailor-made packages are created to perfectly suit you, including when you want to go, how long you want to go for and anything else you want to see whilst you’re away. Call us on 0800 988 3369 to speak to the team.