As keen observers of the British royal family will know, the late Queen Elizabeth II was extremely fond of spending time at her Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle. And why wouldn’t she have been? As vacation homes go, it’s a pretty dreamy place. But Britain’s royals actually have their hands on a bunch of remarkable vacation homes — and they’re not alone. Other royal families across Europe also vacation in some pretty incredible places. Let’s take a look at some of the most extraordinary boltholes of the blue-blooded elite.
1. Balmoral Castle — British royal family
It’s long been rumored that Elizabeth loved Balmoral Castle more than any of her other many properties. That idea has even been supported by one of the monarch’s own grandchildren. Speaking in 2016 in a documentary about the monarch, Princess Eugenie elaborated on what the estate meant to her grandmother. Eugenie said, “It’s the most beautiful place on Earth. I think Granny is most happy there. I think she really, really loves the Highlands.”
Seeing out the summer
The evidence would seem to bear Eugenie’s statement out. After all, the late ruler was known to spend an awful lot of time at Balmoral Castle each year. She’d usually set out for the Highlands around August, where she would remain for something like ten weeks. That would take her to October. At Balmoral, it’s said she would spend time with her grandkids and enjoy barbecues and long walks across the estate. She even welcomed guests from outside the family.
2. Marivent Palace — Spanish royal family
The history of Marivent Palace is a slightly checkered one. It was first raised during the 1920s, but not for the Spanish royal family. It was initially built for a mogul named John Saridakis, who enjoyed the residence until his death in ’63. His wife then offered the palace to the local government, on the condition that it would become a museum bearing her deceased spouse’s name. The local government agreed and the palace was designated as a museum, but in 1973 it reneged on that deal. The palace was donated to Juan Carlos and Sofia, who were, at that time, a prince and a princess respectively.
An uneasy history
The heirs of the Saridakis family obviously had a big issue with this, so they brought the case to court. In the end, it was ruled that the many artworks, books, and furniture items inside the palace belonged to the Saridakis descendants. These were all removed and given to their rightful owners, but the palace itself remained with the Spanish royals. The estate has since become a favorite of the royal family, whose members are known to spend their summers there. It’s especially beloved by Sofia.