From extravagant European landmarks to intriguing Asian hideaways, incredible royal palaces are all around the world. Unlike Australia, which is short on royal abodes, these palaces exude rich history and culture, along with extravagant luxury, making any visit an unforgettable experience.
Buckingham Palace, London
Though parts of London's Buckingham Palace are kept off limits to the public, the building's 19 spectacular State Rooms (which serve as the setting for ceremonial occasions and official entertaining) open to paying visitors each summer. Lavish and extravagant, they are generously decorated with artworks and other treasures from the Royal Collection.
Built for King Ludwig II, Neuschwanstein was meant to serve as a refuge in the mountains. It opened to the public just seven weeks after his death in 1886 and is now one of the world's most popular palaces, welcoming about 1.4 million visitors each year.
The Royal Palace, Madrid
Though not the official residence of the King of Spain, Madrid's Royal Palace still hosts official banquets, ceremonies and notable national events and remains one of the country's most imposing buildings.
Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna
A UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and Austria's most-visited attraction, Schonbrunn Palace's many residential and ceremonial rooms give remarkable insight into the life of its former residents.
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
Dating from 1460, the intricately detailed Topkapi Palace was an administrative, educational and cultural centre for nearly 400 years.
Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
The Queen's official residence in Scotland, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is one of Edinburgh's most popular tourist attractions. The Great Gallery is decorated with 96 portraits of kings past.
Beiteddine Palace, Lebanon
Lebanon's 19th Century Beiteddine Palace took 30 years to build and the level of detail in its rooms and corridors is staggering. Visitors can expect to see intricate mosaics and intriguing harems.
Grand Palace, Bangkok
Standing on an artificial island, Bangkok's Grand Palace is today mostly used for state events and ceremonies.
Winter Palace, St Petersburg
A royal residence until the early 1900s, St Petersburg's Winter Palace is now better known as the Hermitage Museum; the art gallery is one of the world's most respected cultural institutions.
Forbidden City, Beijing
Beijing's immense Forbidden City sprawls over a 72-hectare site, contains 90 palaces and courtyards and holds 8,704 rooms. It was home to 24 emperors and is today one of China's most recognisable attractions.
Udai Bilas Palace, Dungarpur
Many of India's palaces have been converted into luxury hotels. Shown here, Udai Bilas Palace hotel in Dungarpur is a lakeside Art Deco palace with just 20 rooms.
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Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad
Another Indian palace that now serves as a hotel, Taj Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad houses the world's largest dining table. It seats 101 people and stands as one of the world's most spectacular dining rooms.
Hofburg Palace, Vienna
This former imperial palace dates from the 13th Century. Visitors today will find traces of past residents' daily lives still visible, including gym equipment, used by Kaiserin Elisabeth, which still hangs from door frames.
Lavishly appointed and unabashedly flamboyant, Versailles offers all the extravagance you'd expect from one of the world's grandest palaces.
Wawel Royal Castle, Krakow
Visitors to Wawel Royal Castle today can explore the building's Royal Private Apartments, State Rooms and Crown Treasury.
About an hour from Paris, the royal and imperial chateau Fontainebleau was inhabited for seven centuries and now functions as a popular tourist attraction.
Golestan Palace, Tehran
A dazzling showcase for ancient Persian crafts, Golestan Palace has been commended by UNESCO and remains a source of inspiration for many modern Iranian craftspeople and artists.
Imperial Palace, Tokyo
Once an Edo Castle and a residence for samurai warriors, Tokyo's Imperial Palace is the official residence of the Emperor of Japan. Visitors can tour its gardens throughout the year, and access to the palace buildings and inner gardens are granted to members of the public on December 23 and January 2.
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