The act of determining the world´s largest palaces is difficult as many countries use different standards to claim their palaces are the largest. In fact, even the definition of palace itself is quite ambiguous. Some sources claim a palace must have once been intended for use as a royal residence, while another frequently used definition says a palace is the official residence of a sovereign, chief of state (as a monarch or a president), archbishop or bishop. However, despite these controversies, there is a commonly accepted rank of the world´s largest palaces and you can check it out in this post. From the Royal Palace of Brussels to the Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest, here are 25 Largest Palaces In The World.
Royal Palace of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium
Situated in front of the Brussels Park in the center of the Belgium´s capital, the Royal Palace of Brussels is the official seat of the King and Queen of Belgium. Designed in Neoclassical architectural style, the palace has a floor space of over 33,000 sq m (355,500 sq ft).
Mafra National Palace, Mafra, Portugal
The Mafra National Palace is a monumental Baroque and Italianized Neoclassical palace-monastery located in Mafra, Portugal. Classified as a national monument in 1910, the palace occupies a floor area of almost 40,000 sq m (430,000 sq ft).
Grand Serail, Beirut, Lebanon
Also known as the Government Palace, Grand Serail is the headquarters of the Prime Minister of Lebanon. Built in 1853, it is an important historic building and a stunning example of the Ottoman architecture. The palace has a floor space of 40,000 sq m (430,000 sq ft).
Hampton Court Palace, Richmond Upon Thames, UK
One of the most important palaces in the UK, the Hampton Court Palace contains 1,000 rooms, grounds comprising 60 acres of formal gardens and 750 acres of royal parkland. Originally built as a royal palace, it is now open to the public. The Hampton Court Palace boasts a floor area of 47,330 sq m (510,000 sq ft).
Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
The seat of the Danish Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Supreme Court, the Christiansborg Palace has more than 800 year-long history as the state’s centre of power as royal palace and parliament. Completed in 1928, the palace occupies 51,660 sq m (556,000 sq ft).
Windsor Castle, Windsor, UK
Built as early as in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England, the Windsor Castle is the world’s largest and oldest inhabited castle and the longest-occupied royal palace in Europe. An interesting mixture of the original Gothic features and Georgian and Victorian architectural designs, the castle has a floor area of 55,000 sq m (590,240 sq ft).
Winter Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Situated between the Palace Embankment and the Palace Square in the center of Saint Petersburg, the Winter Palace was, from 1732 to 1917, the official residence of the Russian monarchs. Constructed on a monumental scale to reflect the power of Imperial Russia, the palace occupies 60,000 sq m (646,000 sq ft).
Palace of Caserta, Caserta, Italy
Located in Caserta, southern Italy, the Palace of Caserta was constructed for the Bourbon kings of Naples in the second half of the 18th century. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997, the Palace of Caserta is the largest royal palace in the world by volume (2 million cubic meters) and the 18th largest by floor area (61,000 sq m or 657,000 sq ft).
Royal Palace of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
Situated on the Stadsholmen Island in the center of Stockholm, the Stockholm Palace is the official residence and major royal palace of the Swedish monarch. The palace features 1,430 rooms and boasts a floor space of 61,210 sq m (660,000 sq ft).
Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
Located 20 km (12 mi) southwest of the centre of the French capital, the Palace of Versailles was the seat of political power in the Kingdom of France from 1682 to 1789 (until the royal family was forced to return to the capital after the beginning of the French Revolution). Famous as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy, the palace occupies 67,000 sq m (721,200 sq ft).
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
Built in the 15th century, the Topkapi Palace was one of the major residences of the Ottoman sultans for almost 400 years. At its peak, the palace was home to as many as 4,000 people. Today, it serves as a museum and a major tourist attraction in Turkey. The palace has a floor area of 70,000 sq m (753,500 sq ft).
Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic
Dating back to the 9th century, the Prague Castle is one of the oldest and largest royal palaces in the world. It has been the seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic. Attracting 1.8 million tourists annually, the palace occupies an area of 70,000 sq m (753,500 sq ft).
Buckingham Palace, London, UK
Located in the City of Westminster in Central London, the Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. The palace has 775 rooms, a large, 40-acre garden and a total floor space of 77,000 sq m (829,000 sq ft).
Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad, India
Translated as “Like the Sky” or “Mirror of the Sky”, the Falaknuma Palace is a large palace in Hyderabad, the capital city of the Indian state of Telangana. Completed in 1893, the palace is now used as a hotel. It occupies a total floor area of 94,000 sq m (over 1 million sq ft).
Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy
Located on the Quirinal Hill, the highest of the seven hills of Rome, the Quirinal Palace is an ancient Pope’s palace and current presidential palace of the Italian President. It has housed 30 Popes, 4 Kings of Italy and 12 presidents of Italy. With its area of 110,500 sq m (1,190,000 sq ft), it is 20-times larger than the White House in Washington DC.
Royal Palace of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Completed in 1755, the Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family but is only used for state ceremonies. With an incredible 3,418 rooms, it is currently the largest functioning palace in Europe. It has a floor space of 135,000 sq m (1,453,000 sq ft).
Malbork Castle, Malbork, Poland
Originally built as a fortress by the Teutonic Knights, a German Roman Catholic religious order of crusaders, the Malbork Castle served as one of several Polish royal residences. Nowadays, the castle hosts exhibitions and a museum. With its floor area of 143,000 sq m (1,540,000 sq ft), it is the ninth largest palace in the world.
Forbidden City, Beijing, China
The Forbidden City was a Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the Qing dynasty (1420 to 1912). Located in the centre of Beijing, it served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political centre of Chinese government. It consists of 980 buildings and boasts a floor space of 150,000 sq m (1,615,000 sq ft).
Apostolic Palace, Vatican City, Vatican
Located in the Vatican City, the Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope. The building contains the Papal Apartments, various offices of the Catholic Church and the Holy See, private and public chapels, Vatican Museums, and the Vatican Library. The total area of the palace is 162,000 sq m (1,744,000 sq ft).
Istana Nurul Iman, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Completed in 1984 at the cost of US$ 1.5 billion, Istana Nurul Iman is the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei and the seat of the Brunei government. Upon its completion, it was the largest residential palace in the world and the largest single-family residence ever built. It has a floor area of 200,000 sq m (2,153,000 sq ft).
Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, India
Formerly known as the Viceroy’s House, Rashtrapati Bhavan is the official home of the President of India. Located at the Western end of Rajpath in New Delhi, the palace has a total floor area of 200,000 sq m (2,153,000 sq ft), which makes it the fifth largest palace in the world.
Ak Saray, Ankara, Turkey
Located in Ankara, Ak Saray is the presidential palace of Turkey. It has at least 1,150 rooms, additional guesthouses, botanical garden, situation room with satellite and military communications systems, bunkers able to withstand biological, nuclear and chemical weapons attack, park and congress center. It has a floor area of 200,000 sq m (2,153,000 sq ft).
Louvre Palace, Paris, France
Originally a fortress built in the medieval period, the Louvre Palace became a royal palace in the 14th century under Charles V and was used from time to time by the kings of France as their main Paris residence. These days, most of the building is used as a museum. The palace occupies an area of 210,000 sq m (2,260,000 sq ft).
Hofburg Palace, Vienna, Austria
Built in the 13th century and expanded since then, the Hofburg Palace is a former imperial palace that housed some of the most powerful people in European and Austrian history, including monarchs of the Habsburg dynasty, rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The palace has 2,600 rooms and a total floor area of 240,000 sq m (2,583,000 sq ft).
Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest, Romania
Located in Central Bucharest, the Palace of the Parliament is the seat of the Parliament of Romania. Apart from being the world´s largest palace, it is the heaviest building in the world, the second largest administrative building in the world and the fourth biggest building in the world. The palace has a floor space of 330,000 sq m (3,552,000 sq ft).