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Fit For A King: The Best Palaces To Visit

Today we heard of the rather surprising news that the Queen may have to move house (temporarily) with plans for a £150m renovation of Buckingham Palace being put into motion. It is unclear how this may have an impact on the Palace from a tourists' perspective, but just in case we thought we'd compile a short list of excellent alternatives that you may choose to visit. Here are our top 5...

Palace of Versailles - Paris, France

Sitting pretty in Versailles, a short distance from Paris, this stunning Palace underpins the monumental period of French art in the 18th Century and has been on UNESCO's World Heritage list for over three decades. Part of Louis XIII's legacy, the Palace also boasts breathtaking gardens in it's grounds including impressive fountains surrounded by perfectly pruned hedges and bushes. A 'passport' ticket here can help you to explore all of it's 350 year history, giving you access to a variety of tours including Marie-Antoinette's estate and a musical fountains show (seasonal). 

See the glorious grounds for yourself and tie it in with a trip to Paris here.

versailles


Alhambra - Granada, Spain

Originally build as a fortress before it was converted, Alhambra is one of Spain's largest tourist attractions following it's significant renovation in the 19th century. Proudly exhibiting the country's most significant and prominent example of Islamic architecture, combined with following Christian influences to some of the buildings and gardens, Alhambra is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For a truly unique and memorable experience, take up one of the evening tours to see the Palace lit up as it takes full focus ahead of a clear night's sky. There are also a number of temporary exhibitions on show at any one time, so you may want to take a full day to explore completely!

Head to nearby Malaga to opt into a day trip to the glorious Alhambra.

alhambra

Pena National Palace - Sintra, Portugal

Situated atop the peak of a rocky hill in Sintra, this colourful Palace looms over most of the surrounding park and can be seen from Lisbon, making up an impressive backdrop in some areas of the city. Reminiscent of a castle, the building comprises of two wings, surrounded by a third including a drawbridge, a tunnel and watchtowers. Guided tours run daily and will show you the best bits of the palace, plus some simply breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty. A trip to the Pena National Palace will enhance any trip to Lisbon and shouldn't be overlooked.

Check out what holiday you can add the tour to here.

pena palace

Casa Rosada - Buenos Ares, Argentina

Literally translating as 'The Pink House', the Casa Rosada has undergone a number of transformations throughout the history of Argentina, though the site has almost always been the headquarters of successive political authorities who ruled the country. Starting out as a fort, it became the new customs house and post office palace prior to it's current state. The Palace has a daunting arched entrance to accompany it's emblematic colour and this is under watch by an honour guard which consists of Grenadiers. As you would expect, the interior is of the upmost luxury, though the covered patios encircling the building are the real showstoppers.

Find your perfect escape to Buenos Ares here.

casa rosada

Forbidden City - Beijing, China

Based in the very heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City was home to over 20 of the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was built to symbolise the power given to the emperors by God and at over 175 acres and is an imposing structure that is also strikingly beautiful. The palace has been closed to the world for hundreds of years and is now more of less empty with most of it's contents now on display in museums. Still, the grounds make for a fulfilling place to adventure and a unique experience to say the least, in no small part thanks to the incredible architecture and, of course, the history that lies beneath it.

Flights and packages to Beijing can be found here.

forbidden city
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