Traveling is not only a great way to escape your daily routine, but also an experience that will open your eyes to the hidden wonders of this too-often sad world. Let these 7 dream palaces spark a little magic into you just like it did to many others, including Walt Disney (and his castles).
1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
The castle thrones on top of the jagged hills above the Bavarian village of Hohenschwangau. Built to be the refuge of a single man, King Ludwig II, the royal dream palace opened to public in 1886 after his death. It even served as Sleeping Beauty’s home. Now, it welcomes over 1 million visitors a year.
photo credit: Kristian Golding via photopin cc
2. Versailles Palace, France
French splendor, wealth, and extravaganza at its finest. The chateau materializes the pompous reign of Louis XIV and the French monarchical past. Today, this dream palace gives visitors a good idea of the luxurious and fashion-conscious French culture. Visit the gardens, or lose yourself in this vast domain. What you might find is a whole new meaning to Lorde’s “Royal”.
3. St Basil’s Cathedral, Russia
This famous cathedral turned museum is the iconic landmark of the Red Square in Moscow. Its bright fantasy colors and its unique architecture make it look more like a building out of a child’s dream than a war tribute.
photo credit: Kwong Yee Cheng via Flickr cc
4. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
First Hindu, then Buddhist, the Angkor Wat is the world’s largest religious monument. The heavenly “City of Temples” was once the capital of the Khmer empire. For ten centuries, it has inspired spiritual enlightenment and travelers’ admiration. It also influenced the design of Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
“Buddhist monks in front of the Angkor Wat” by sam garza – Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
5. Taj Mahal, India
If love is a religion, then the Taj Mahal is its shrine. Before being Alladin’s palace, the white marble mausoleum of Agra was and still is a wonderful tribute to eternal love. The “Crown of palaces”, its history, and architecture are moving.
photo credit: Francisco Martins via Flickr cc
6. Mont St Michel, France
The “Wonder of the West” was fit to be Disney’s kingdom of Corona. More than just a cathedral on a rocky isle, it was once a whole medieval city. Today it remains a humbling tourist destination, a small town, and one of the first UNESCO world heritage sites.
photo credit: Christophe Masse via Flickr cc
7. Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia
Legends go that the cathedral stands where a deaf-mute spoke to reveal the presence of Mother Mary. The Shrine of Our Lady of Las Lajas has since been a pilgrimage site for believers from all over the world.
photo credit: stevemonty via Flickr cc
What places inspire you most? What travel destinations should we add to the list? Share your thoughts with us in the comment box below.