Difference Between a Castle and a Palace
By Andrew Parker - January 19, 2022

If you used to enjoy reading fairytales as a child, you are probably very familiar with the terms “castle” and “palace”. These two words are normally used interchangeably as if they were synonyms – but they are not. These are the main differences between a castle and a palace.

Table Summary

Fortification built for defense used as a residenceLuxurious residences meant to show off wealth
Built of strong stoneElaborate architecture
The Marble Hall  in the Mirabell Palace decorated for Christmas

Getty Images / Moment / Copyright by Laszlo Szirtesi


Castles are large fortified residences built of strong stone for defense purposes. They used to be inhabited by royals or noblemen who needed to protect themselves from outsiders. They usually have moats, peep-holes and cannons. Castles were originally built by royalty during the Middle Ages throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Palaces are simply designed to show off their owner’s wealth. Without defense-centric architectural details, palaces were occupied by royalty, heads of state and heads of a church. The word “palace” comes from Palatine Hill in Rome, where the first one was built.

Castle VS Palace

The main difference between a castle and a palace is the purpose of the building. While castles were built for defense purposes, palaces were built to show off wealth. Castles have moats, peep-holes and cannons, while palaces have several rooms, priceless artwork and beautiful gardens.