The Changing of the Guard represents a formal ceremony in which the official security of a Palace or historic monument in states around the world perform a change of positions and guard duties. Ever-increasing in popularity, worldwide Changing of the Guard ceremonies attract large crowds and visitors from around the world.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada
- St George’s Square, Valletta, Malta
- Plaza De Armas De Lima, Peru
- La Moneda Palace,Santiago, Chile
- Royal Palace of Madrid,Spain
- Buckingham Palace, London, United Kingdom
- Royal Palace,Oslo,Norway
- St. Mark’s Square, Zagreb, Croatia
- Belem Palace,Lisbon, Portugal
- Edinburgh Castle,Scotland
- Amalienborg Palace,Copenhagen,Denmark
- The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, United States
- Buda Castle, Budapest,Hungary
- Citadel Alba-Carolina, Romania
- Gyeongbokgung Palace,Seoul, South Korea
- Royal Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
- Wagah border crossing between India and Pakistan
- Freedom Monument, Riga,Latvia
- The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Athens, Greece
- Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall,Taipei
Estimated Reading time 15 min
WORLDWIDE CHANGING OF THE GUARD
To inspire your wanderlust, we partnered with expert bloggers and travel specialists from around the world. While a Changing of the guard may take place every hour on the hour, a ceremonial spectacle usually happens on a fixed day during the week or on special occasions.
With this in mind, the guards’ change event symbolizes the protection of a Royal Palace or a significant institution, where the ceremony takes place. Also, the guards’ event commemorates the protection of its people, the King, the Queen, and the Royal family. Most importantly, the old guard hands over the responsibility of protection and the security of the institution to the new guard.
Taking a tour of the best worldwide Changing of the guard ceremonies we gathered the most representing images and lots of info of where to attend the event and when the ceremony takes place. Showcasing the impressive spectacle of the guard-change ceremony in Santiago. Pointing out the most famous ceremony in the world outside Buckingham Palace in London. Presenting, also, India’s and Pakistan’s vibrant border ritual. Guard change ceremony event is one of the best things to do at least once in your life in every travel destination.
We present you the Top 20 Worldwide Changing of the Guard ceremonies! Read more about our selection of the top 20 ceremonies and let us know in the comments where have you been and what did you like the most.
Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill, Ottawa by Tegan and Alex of Why Not Walk
Ottawa is not only Canada’s esteemed capital city, but also a total gem of a place to visit. Every day between the months of June and September, the downtown Parliament Hill area hosts a bombastic changing of the guard ceremony at 10:00 am sharp. The ceremony features the Canadian Ceremonial Guard, the country’s most-acclaimed military band.
Be sure to arrive about 20 minutes early to find the best place to stand. Be sure to hear the audio presentation-given in English as well French- that details the history and symbolism of the ceremony. You will listen to the music before you see the soldiers, decked out in festive red uniforms and sleek bearskin hats as they proceed from the nearby Cartier Square Drill Hall. The ceremony consists of the Old Guard being replaced by the New Guard. This is a magnificent display of Canadian patriotism and an excellent way to start your day in Ottawa.
Changing of the Guard ceremony, Valletta by Chrysoula of Travel Passionate
The Changing of the Guard Ceremony takes place in St George’s Square in Valletta since the 17th century. The Armed Forces of Malta Band (AFM) begins the ceremony as it marches along Republic Street onto the square. The soldiers of the ‘Old Guard’ march out from the Grand Masters’ Palace to meet the ‘New Guard’. Ceremoniously hand over their duty before marching back to barracks, while a marching display is given by the military band. The first ceremonies were held by the Knights of St John when they were ruling Malta.
Today, the soldiers are all hand-picked. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a must-see when visiting Malta. The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place every last Friday of the month, starting at 10.30. All in all, it is quite a complex ritual, and the ceremony lasts 45 minutes.
Lima by Bailey of Destinationless Travel
When you travel to Lima, escape the tourist hub of Miraflores and take a trip to the city center. If you head down to the Plaza de Armas in Lima, at noon every day, you will watch one of South America’s most famous Changing of the Guard Ceremonies.
The event happens in front of the Presidential palace. Depending on the season and day, the uniform changes. On Saturdays, the Changing of the Guard Ceremony is performed by the national police whereas the rest of the days is carried out by the military.
Horses may participate in the ceremony, while there is always a march outside the gates where visitors can get close to the action. The event is loud and taken very seriously by the public servants involved. Although it draws quite the crowd, when compared to other Changing of the Guard of the world, Lima remains a hidden gem that has to be seen.
Santiago by Sam of My Flying Leap
The Changing of the Guard Ceremony in Santiago, Chile, takes place in the plaza in front of La Moneda Palace. It happens every 48 hours at 10 a.m. and lasts for around 30 minutes.
This tradition dates back to the 1850s and is filled with pomp and circumstance. This formal ceremony begins with two Carabineros mounted units starting the procession of parading into the square. They are followed by a military band playing martial music.
While a Color Guard emerges, there are salutes exchanged between the officers of each unit while the band plays. Then, the handover is completed to the new guard from the departing guard. It’s an impressive ceremony worth seeing when you visit the capital of Chile.
Madrid by Elena of Passion for Hospitality
The Royal Palace of Madrid or Palacio Real de Madrid in Spanish is among the top tourist attractions in Madrid. While the Palace is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, King Felipe VI and the royal family do not reside there. The palace is used today for state ceremonies.
Among the many activities tourists can enjoy in Madrid, the Changing of the Guard is a remarkable one, that should not be missed. The event takes place every Wednesday and Saturday from 11 am to 2 pm. In July, August, and September the ceremony takes place from 10 am to 12 noon, outside Puerta del Príncipe gate. A total of 400 men, dressed in their gala uniforms and 100 horses, reproduce a long traditional ritual of the times of King Alfonso XII. Soldiers march to the beat of the military band, composed of a very high-pitched piccolo and drum rolls, following official orders and commands.
Buckingham Palace–Changing of the Guard by Emma of Emma Jane Explore
Undisputedly, the most famous Changing of the Guard ceremony in the world has to be the pomp and ceremony that takes place outside Buckingham Palace in London. Also known as Guard Mounting, the ceremony kicks off every second day at around 10.45 am with the actual changeover at 11 am.
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is one of the best things to do on a trip to London. It is also great for the wallet as it is completely free to watch. Even in winter, the gates of Buckingham palace are crowded with spectators jostling to see the red coats and bearskin hats of the Queen’s Guard marching around the palace grounds. To get a prime spot for viewing make sure to arrive early. It is also perfect if you have a day of sightseeing planned as it is located quite centrally to many other London attractions.
London, the capital of the capitals offers a range of exciting attractions. Read our post on the Top 20 cool unique things to do in the capital of Britain.
Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palace, Oslo by Kenny of Knycx Journeying
Oslo is a compact city full of character. The Karl Johans Gate is the focal point that connects the Central Station and the Royal Palace, where most of the city’s attractions, landmarks, and facilities are scattered in between.
Built-in 1825, the Royal Palace is the official residence of the current Norway monarch, and therefore functions as an official site of the government, guarded by the King’s Guard. The change of guard event takes place at 1:30 pm every day, and lasts about 40 minutes from start to finish, at the front yard of the palace.
The Changing of the Guard ceremony starts with the new guards marching through the park, and hand over at the watchmen’s house. Here, visitors can get close without interrupting the guard’s path; check out their beautifully designed uniforms and you may be glad that the palace hires quite a lot of female guards, too.
The European Commission awarded Oslo the European Green Capital title of 2019. Oslo’s smart city boasts a high quality of life and lots of attractions. Read our post on the budget things to do in Oslo on a 3-day itinerary.
Changing of the Guard Ceremony, Zagreb by Raluca of Travel with a Spin
The Changing of the Guards of the Royal Cravats takes place every weekend day. Officially, it starts at noon at St. Mark’s Square in the old part of Zagreb. But you can show up at St. Mary’s Church at 11:40 am and accompany the guards. The marching continues across the Bloody Bridge, along the beautiful streets of the Upper Town. Through the Stone Gate up to the Square of St. Mark, where the ceremony takes place.
Twelve soldiers are accompanied by gunsmiths, drummers, trumpeters, flag-bearers, and their commander. The trademark of the regiment, which dates back to the 17th century, was a kerchief worn around the neck, a predecessor to the modern necktie. The ceremony can also be admired on the 31st of May, the Day of the City of Zagreb, and the 18th of October, the Day of the Necktie.
It’s a great chance to learn about Zagreb’s history and contribution to the world of fashion. The Changing of the Guards Ceremony in Zagreb, Croatia highlights as one of the most famous attractions to do in a trip itinerary in Croatia.
Belem Palace,Changing of the Guard,Lisbon, by Charlotte of Char’s Footsteps
Lisbon is home to one of the most beautiful Changing of the Guard ceremonies in the world. Often overlooked by more famous military ceremonies, this is well worth the short trip from Lisbon’s city centre.
Originating in 1910, the Changing of the Guard ceremony symbolises the Portuguese monarchy being forced out and Portugal becoming a Republic. The Republican National Guard leads the 160-guard ceremony at the Belem National Palace, on the third Sunday of every month at 11 am. The atmosphere is electric, as crowds line the pavements across from Belem Palace, watching the Palace Guards and Mounted Brass Band march through the streets.
Once the ceremony has ended, be sure to visit the Vieira Portuense Gardens next to Belem Palace to see the Mounted Brass Band perform. This one-of-a-kind performance takes place on horses whilst they canter!
Edinburgh Changing of the Guard by Victoria of Guide your Travel
The Changing of the Guards ceremony, taking place at the Edinburgh Castle, is a famous attraction for the millions of tourists that visit every year, happening in special events like Easter. The ceremony is elaborate with bagpipers and a marching band performs in front of the crowds. The spectacle takes between 15 and 20 minutes and includes different songs, ceremonial greetings, and even different groups of guards, wearing specific kilts and tartan.
A crowd of tourists usually forms just before the ceremony so you should make sure to come early to get a good spot.
If you’re not in Edinburgh during a ceremonial changing of the guard you can see an hourly event instead. Many guided tours include it as one of their famous attractions while seeing the Changing of the Guards is well worth for those interested in Scottish traditions and culture. The guards change once an hour when two soldiers in uniform walk across the draw bridge to relieve those on duty. The pomp of the Changing of the Guards event makes it quite a spectacle even though it only lasts for a few minutes.
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Copenhagen Changing of the Guard by Lee and Stacey of One Trip at a Time
Copenhagen features great things to do, one of which you shouldn’t miss is their Changing of the Guard ceremony.
Dressed in 19th-century tunics and bearskin helmets, the Royal Life Guard protects the Danish royal family at Amalienborg Palace. To change guards, they march from their barracks through the streets to the palace’s cobblestone courtyard.
Three types of ceremonies are performed – King’s watch, Lieutenant’s watch, or Palace watch. The most elaborate King’s watch happens when the monarch is in residence. It includes a parade of musicians, drummers, and guards with a short concert in the courtyard. When the royal family isn’t home the smallest Palace watch takes place instead.
To see the daily ceremony, plan to be in the Amalienborg courtyard about noon. Typically, it isn’t crowded and you’re free to move around to follow the action so have your camera ready as there are many great photo ops!
Copenhagen is considered the most bike-friendly city in the world. Read our guide on the best budget things and activities on a 3-day itinerary.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by Andy Vanr of AvrexTravel
A trip to Washington DC should include a visit to Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The tomb, established in 1921, contains the remains of an unknown soldier from World War I. There are crypts containing remains of unknown soldiers of World War II and the Korean War. Further, there is an empty crypt dedicated to missing soldiers.
While the tomb has been guarded continuously, 24-hours-a-day, since 1937, the soldier marches twenty-one steps in each direction to guard the tomb. This signifies a twenty-one-gun salute, the highest honor given to a military figure. The soldier repeats this until they are relieved of duty during the elaborate Changing of the Guard Ceremony. Also, the guard is changed every thirty minutes in the summer and every hour in the winter. When the cemetery is closed to the public, the guard changes every two hours. The public can view the ceremony whenever the cemetery is open.
Budapest, Changing of the Guards in the Buda Castle by John of Carpediem Eire
Budapest’s Changing of the Guard ceremony is a relatively new addition to the city since it began in 2003. That is when the Hungarian president took up residency in Buda Castle’s Sandor Palace after centuries spent under the monarchy in Austria and then communism. Visiting Buda Castle is a must-do on any itinerary in Budapest.
Changing of the Guard ceremonies Budapest’s a frequent one, with one every hour on the hour between 8:30 and 5 pm, each day of the week. On the last Saturday of the month, a special ceremony takes place at noon with music. The daily ceremony nonetheless is most enjoyable and features the expected turning of rifles, marching up and down the square, playing drums, and much saluting. One advantage of a very frequent ceremony is there aren’t huge swarms of crowds and the pomp can be easily seen.
The Changing Of The Guard Ceremony In Alba Iulia Citadel by Anda of Travel for a while
One of the oldest citadels in Transylvania, Romania has been restored to a beautiful tourist destination. Alba Iulia Citadel is very important for all Romanians as the place where the union of the country happened in 1918. However, its history goes way back, to the time when on that spot stood the largest Roman castrum on the Dacian territory.
The most noteworthy attraction is the Changing of the Guard. Every day, just before noon, the ceremony starts outside Gates 3 and 4 of the citadel. The best place to watch the ceremony is by the obelisk, right outside the impressive 3rd Gate. Infantry and artillery divisions parade with drumroll sounds, in their traditional Austrian Empire uniforms. The outfits are completed by the mandatory wig and the old musket.
On Fridays, the ceremony starts with a bang! Cannons fire and the large guard including the cavalry parades between the two gates.
Seoul, Gyeongbokgung Palace by Erica Riley of Travels with Erica
Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea features one of the best Changing of the Guards ceremonies in Asia. It takes place at 10 am and 3 pm every day except Tuesday when the palace is closed. The ceremony is completely free to watch, and you don’t need to purchase a ticket to the palace if you don’t want to.
The ceremony lasts approximately 10 minutes. It is a replica of the ceremony that took place during the Joseon Dynasty when Gyeonbokgung was the center of Korea’s government. The ceremony is narrated in both Korean and English, and you learn the importance of each part of the ceremony.
Changing of the Guard in Stockholm by Noel of Travel Photo Discovery
One of the most elaborate and beautiful Changing of the Guards to experience would be the Changing of the Guards at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. Elaborate and filled with pomp, marching bands, romping horses, and beautiful costumes, the Stockholm Changing of the Guards ceremony is beautiful and elegant. The main courtyard where the event takes place is large so that you feel a part of the palace grounds. Feels easy to explore the palace afterward and even check out the royal treasures and collections.
What we love about this Changing of the Guards experience is all the pageantry and precision in the marching, equestrian movements. To add, the lovely and charming band music that plays through the entire ceremony. It is one of the must-do things to do in Stockholm when you are visiting the historic city and surrounding islands. You can see the marchers coming all over the main streets of Stockholm but all around the main palace grounds. The changing of the guard happens at 12.15 on weekdays and 13.15 on weekends.
Stockholm boasts one of the most beautiful metro stations we have ever seen. Read our post on the world’s longest art exhibition gallery in the Stockholm subway
Changing the Guard at the Wagah Border Crossing by Kanupriyaa of Mylostcamel
The ceremony at Wagah border every day at sunset is quite a spectacle. It is so famous that Amritsar has become one of the top places to visit in northern India. The two rival countries of India and Pakistan participate in an electrifying lowering of the flags.
The ceremony is two hours long and consists of a parade by the opposing soldiers including loud cries and aggressive gestures. The deafening sounds of 5000 people shouting for their countries turn the ceremony into a competition of sorts. The ceremony ends with the border gates being opened and the flags being lowered simultaneously. Even though this started as a goodwill gesture between the countries to revive the spirit of coordination between them, it has now become one of the most interesting, flamboyant, and aggressive changing of the guard ceremonies in the world.
Changing the Guard at Freedom Monument, Riga
The National landmark of Riga sits on Brīvības bulvāris, known in English as Freedom Boulevard, representing Latvia’s Independence. The significant memorial commemorates the soldiers that were killed during the Latvian War of Independence. At the top of the monument’s obelisk stands Milda, a nine-meter symbol of freedom. Latvia’s Freedom monument showcases a young woman holding three golden stars above her head. Put another way, the monument is of high-value for Latvians memorializing the historical provinces of Kurzeme, Vidzeme, and Latgale and Latvia’s national unity. One of the best things to do on a Riga trip itinerary is to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
The Honor Guards are Latvian soldiers to safeguard Latvia’s freedom and Independence. An Honor Guard must protect the Freedom Monument and Riga Castle, wear a ceremonial uniform of The Company of Guard of Honor and participate in official ceremonies representing Latvia. The Freedom Monument Changing of the Guard includes the guards switching sides every 30 minutes and changing on the hour between 9 am and 6 pm.
Athens,Greece, Changing of the Guards
The Changing of the Guard ceremony in Athens takes place in front of the Parliament building in Syntagma Square. Every Sunday at 11 am large crowds gather to watch the Evzones Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. On Sunday, Evzones, the Greek guards, parade from the camp of the Presidential Guard to the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, where the official ceremony takes place.
The official ceremony route involves Evzones march, accompanied by police officers and a military band. Evzones march the Guard Barracks and Irodou Attikou streets, and Vasilissis Sofias avenue towards the Hellenic Parliament. The Grand ceremony is free to watch and gathers amongst the best things to do on a trip to Athens.
Evzones march while striking their right foot on the groun, wearing the full dress uniform with foustanella being the most remarkable. Foustanella is a traditional pleated skirt-like garment that was worn by men of many nations in the Balkans.
Also, daily, every hour on the hour, the Evzones perform the famous “Change of Guard” in Syntagma, in front of the monument of the Unknown Soldier.
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Changing of the Guard by Mariza of Hoponworld
Located within Liberty Square’s sprawling grounds, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is one of the most iconic landmarks to visit during any Taipei itinerary. The ornate two-story monument, which occupies 15,000 square meters and stands 70 meters tall. It memorializes Taiwan’s first president, Chiang Kai-Shek, and is a real treasure trove for photographers, history buffs, and tourists alike.
While it’s worth strolling through the exhibition hall located on the lower-level to learn a little more about Chiang’s life, the star attraction is located on the upper level. It’s here where you can get a close-up look at the enormous bronze statue honoring Chiang. And, also, witness one of the most elaborate changing of the guard ceremonies in Taiwan. Wearing stylish, royal blue uniforms and military arms, the feet-stomping guards march solemnly with absolute precision completing the most intricate hand and foot movements imaginable. The ceremony only lasts about 10 minutes and takes place hourly between 9 am and 5 pm. Make sure to go a bit earlier to grab the best spot, as it gets crowded very quickly!
Check out Top 20 Worldwide Changing of the Guard Ceremonies Google Web Story
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