Daily Escape

Royal Palace

Photo by MOIRENC Camille / Hemis / Aurora Photos

Royal Palace

Principality of Monaco, Monaco

For over 7 centuries, the Grimaldi Family of Monaco -- from feudal lords in the late 1200s up to Princess Grace and now Prince Albert II -- have lived in the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, a fortress-turned-palace in the heart of Monte Carlo. Unlike other ruling dynasties, who change homes as their fortunes ebb and flow, Monaco’s royal family has stayed put; in such a little principality, one’s real estate options are limited. Today, in the same building that weathered 16th-century sieges and the French Revolution, the Grimaldis still live and rule from their private chambers -- even as tourists flock through to see the palace’s famous frescoes and Titians or enjoy open-air concerts in its history-drenched courtyard.


You Might Also Like

Positano, Italy
Positano, Italy

Positano, Italy

Italy’s Amalfi Coast is home to several towns -- and the village of Positano is arguably its star attraction. Situated on a steep, rocky slope, the town is dotted with colorful stucco buildings that enliven the Mediterranean scene. 960 1280

Abdulsalam Haykal, flickr  

Taktshang Monastery, Bhutan

Taktshang Monastery, Bhutan

At a dizzying 3,000 feet above Bhutan’s upper Paro Valley, Taktshang Monastery is the most famous Buddhist Himalayan monastery in the South Asian country. It was built in 1692, with subsequent restorations in 1958 and 2005. 960 1280

Douglas J. McLaughlin, Wikimedia Commons  

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

On a rocky hill above the German village of Hohenschwangau stands Neuschwanstein Castle. The 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace was commissioned by the king of the German state of Bavaria Ludwig II. At an elevation of 2,620 feet, the palace offers amazing views of the Alpine foothills to the south and hilly terrain to the north. 960 1280

Nite Dan, flickr  

Bonifacio, Corsica, France

Bonifacio, Corsica, France

On the southwest tip of the French island of Corsica you’ll find Bonifacio. This ancient fortress town was established in the 12th century by the Republic of Genoa to thwart invasion by the Moors. Here’s a view of the Bonifacio fortress, perched on a limestone plateau overlooking the harbor of the same name. 960 1280

Antony Stanley, flickr  

Oia Village, Santorini, Greece

Oia Village, Santorini, Greece

Small white houses dot the rocky hillside of the Greek village Oia, overlooking the Aegean Sea. The porous volcanic rock upon which the houses stand are the result of a volcanic eruption that occurred during the Minoan period -- about 3,500 years ago. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Holy Monastery of Varlaam, Greece

Holy Monastery of Varlaam, Greece

Perched on a cliff 1,224 feet above central Greece’s Meteora Valley, the Greek Orthodox Holy Monastery of Varlaam stands in tribute to faith -- and engineering precision. Built on natural sandstone rock pillars in 1541, Varlaam is one of 6 similarly constructed monasteries in the region. 960 1280

Dido3, Wikimedia Commons  

Castellfollit de la Roca, Catalonia, Spain

Castellfollit de la Roca, Catalonia, Spain

The Spanish town of Castellfollit de la Roca is situated on a rocky precipice -- over 164 feet high and more than half a mile long. The eye-catching terrain is a result of volcanic eruptions that took place thousands of years ago. Once solidified, the lava became the hard rock basalt upon which the town resides today. 960 1280

Juanito Ricart, flickr  

Dar Al Hajar, Yemen

Dar Al Hajar, Yemen

This stone mansion -- known as the “Rock Palace” -- served as a summer retreat for the imam of Yemen in the 1930s (in his day, the country’s equivalent of a president or king). Intricately built on a towering rock, the 5-story structure dates back to 1786. The upper level was added in the 1930s. 960 1280

Franco Pecchio, flickr  

Al Deir Monastery, Petra, Jordan

Al Deir Monastery, Petra, Jordan

The rock-cut architecture of Petra, Jordan, stretches back to the 6th century B.C., yet it remained unknown to the Western world until 1812. Since then, the “rose-red city half as old as time,” as an 1845 poem described it, has become an enviable tourist destination -- described by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the top places to see before you die. Among Petra’s sites is the Al Deir monastery, pictured here. 960 1280

Dennis Jarvis, flickr  

Swallow’s Nest, Ukraine

Swallow’s Nest, Ukraine

This ornate castle stands atop a cliff 130 feet high, on the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine. Built between 1911 and 1912, the neo-Gothic structure offers great views of the Black Sea. And while the castle may look a little shaky there on the edge of Aurora Cliff, don’t be fooled -- the castle was strong enough to withstand a 7-magnitude earthquake in 1927. 960 1280

flickr  

Neemrana Fort-Palace, Rajasthan, India

Neemrana Fort-Palace, Rajasthan, India

Nestled in the foothills of the Aravili mountain range in western India is Neemrana Fort Palace. The 25-acre fort was built in the 15th century, then converted into a luxury hotel about 25 years ago -- with gardens, a pool and an amphitheater on its sweeping grounds. 960 1280

Akshay Davis, flickr  

Xuankong Monastery, China

Xuankong Monastery, China

Built -- amazingly -- more than 1,500 years ago, the Xuankong Monastery stands more than 246 feet high, on a precipice in China’s Shaxi province. Its remarkable endurance over a millennium is a result of oak crossbeams fitted into holes chiseled into the rock. 960 1280

Brunner Emmanuel, Wikimedia Commons  

Mont-Saint-Michel, France

Mont-Saint-Michel, France

Perched on the rocky islet of Mont-Saint-Michel (less than a mile from the Normandy coast) is this 13th-century, Gothic-style Benedictine abbey. Its eye-catching location stands in technical and artistic triumph: For centuries, the abbey’s bay location has been subject to some of the strongest tides in Europe, as high as 39 feet. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Popa Taungkalat Monastery, Burma

Popa Taungkalat Monastery, Burma

At more than 2,417 feet high, the vast volcanic plug of Taung Kalat in central Burma is home to this Buddhist monastery. At the top of the summit, enjoy a panoramic view: the ancient Burmese city of Bagan to the south, a conical peak to the north. 960 1280

Robert Tyabji, flickr  

Hearst Castle, California

Hearst Castle, California

At an altitude of 1,600 feet, you’ll find the Hearst Castle in Sam Simeon, CA. The mansion was built in this area of coastal California over a 28-year-period for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. He nicknamed the estate “La Cuesta Encantada (“The Enchanted Hill”) -- you can see why with dramatic views of the surrounding Santa Lucia Mountains and nearby Pacific Ocean. 960 1280

Anna Fox, flickr  

Hanging Houses, Cuenca, Ecuador

Hanging Houses, Cuenca, Ecuador

Tucked into a mountain valley at 8,000 feet you’ll find Cuenca, the largest city in Ecuador’s southern highlands. The town’s most amazing sight is Las Casas Colgadas, or "overhanging houses" -- a row of 14th-century homes a nail-biting distance from Huécar river canyon. 960 1280

  

On the Rocks  16 Photos

Corvinesti Castle
Corvinesti Castle

Corvinesti Castle

One of the most stunning Gothic-style castles in Romania, Corvinesti Castle was built on the site of a former Roman camp. With a drawbridge, 100-foot well, towering buttresses and more than 50 rooms filled with medieval art, this is one of the must-see castles in Transylvania. 960 1280

iStock  

Peles Castle

Peles Castle

Located near the scenic mountain town of Sinai, Peles Castle’s architecture reflects both Neo-Renaissance and Gothic Revival style. Peles Castle was the first European castle to be powered by electricity and has over 160 rooms filled with paintings, sculptures and medieval arms. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Peles Castle Arms Room

Peles Castle Arms Room

Once the summer home to Romania’s first king, Carol I, Peles Castle’s “Great Hall of Arms” consists of a collection of roughly 16,000 pieces of weaponry and armor that date between the 15th and 19th century. 960 1280

RomaniaTourism.com  

Bran Castle

Bran Castle

Romania’s most notorious castle? None other than Bran Castle, legendary home to Bram Stocker’s mythical Count Dracula. Vampire fan or not, you can’t help but feel the aura of mystery that surrounds this castle hovering high atop a 200-foot rock with its foreboding towers. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Bran Castle Interior

Bran Castle Interior

Inside Bran Castle, the mysterious atmosphere continues with narrow, winding stairways, 60 odd rooms filled with medieval weapons and armor, and dark underground passages. 960 1280

RomaniaTourism.com  

Biertan Fortified Church

Biertan Fortified Church

Take a trip back to the medieval age with a visit to the quaint village of Biertan, a Unesco World Heritage Site. High on a hill in the village lies a 15th-century fortified church protected by 35-foot-high defensive walls. The inside of this medieval church is equally impressive with the largest Transylvanian multi-paneled wooden altar and a church organ with over 1,290 pipes. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Rasanov Fortress

Rasanov Fortress

Built around the 13th century by the Tetonic Knights, this citadel’s ancient ruins are a popular tourist attraction today. Visitors can get in the medieval spirit with a tour of Rasnov’s Feudal Art Museum that displays medieval artifacts and even a skeleton locked in a dungeon. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Calnic Fortified Church

Calnic Fortified Church

What makes this fortified church unique is its combination of Saxon noble and peasant community contributions. When the Saxon noble family sold the fortress to the peasants of Calnic in 1430, the village community built a new wall and a chapel in the courtyard. Inside the chapel, visitors today can see fragments of a 16th-century fresco. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Viscri Fortified Church

Viscri Fortified Church

Built in the 12th century, Viscri’s fortified church is considered to be the oldest church in Transylvania. Make your way to the top of the church tower for panoramic views of Viscri’s picturesque countryside and village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Fagaras Fortress

Fagaras Fortress

This Transylvania stronghold withstood sieges and attacks in medieval times due to impenetrable brick walls and a deep, wide moat that surrounds the citadel. Today, visitors can tour the well-preserved fortress, which houses the Fagaras County Museum, with its collection of medieval weapons and folk crafts. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Bethlen-Haller Castle

Bethlen-Haller Castle

If you ever wanted to spend a night in a castle, this is your chance. With a mix of French Renaissance and Baroque style, Bethlen-Haller Castle offers history and wine lovers 14 guest rooms and 4 luxurious suites on a historic site with one of the largest vineyards in the country. 960 1280

ALina Musat, Wikimedia Commons  


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.