The Royal Palace of Madrid, also known as the Palacio Real, is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Located in the heart of Madrid, it is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and a popular tourist attraction. The palace was originally built in the 16th century as the residence of King Philip II. Over the centuries, it has undergone numerous renovations and additions, resulting in its current grandiose appearance. Today, the palace features over 3,000 rooms, making it the largest royal palace in Europe by floor area.
The Royal Palace is located on the site of the former Alcazar fortress, which was destroyed by a fire in 1734. Construction of the palace began in 1738 under King Felipe V and was completed in 1764 under the reign of King Carlos III. The palace features a combination of baroque and neoclassical architectural styles, with ornate decorations and grandiose spaces.
Despite being the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, the Royal Palace is only used for state ceremonies and other official events. The Royal Family actually resides in the more modest Zarzuela Palace on the outskirts of Madrid.
The palace boasts a stunning collection of artwork, including paintings by Goya and Velazquez, as well as antique furniture and decorative arts. Visitors can also view the Royal Armory, which houses a vast collection of weapons, armor, and royal carriages.
Today, the palace is open to the public for tours, providing a glimpse into the grandeur and history of the Spanish monarchy.
What to See
The Royal Palace of Madrid is a spectacular sight both outside and inside. From the outside, visitors can marvel at the grandeur of the palace’s neoclassical architecture, which is adorned with intricate details and statues.
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The palace’s central balcony is particularly impressive, with its ornate gold detailing and imposing presence overlooking the bustling Plaza de Oriente.
Inside the palace, visitors can explore the many lavish rooms and halls, each with their unique decorative style and historical significance.
The Throne Room, for example, is one of the palace’s most impressive spaces, with its grand chandeliers, red velvet curtains, and imposing throne.
The Hall of Columns is another highlight, with its soaring marble columns and intricate ceiling frescoes.
Other notable rooms include the Royal Chapel, which features stunning frescoes and sculptures, and the Royal Pharmacy, which is one of the oldest in Europe and contains an impressive collection of historic medicinal jars and equipment.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is open to visitors every day of the week except for some special occasions. The visiting hours are from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM from October to March and from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM from April to September.
Visitors are not allowed to take photographs or use their mobile phones inside the Palace. There is a cloakroom service where visitors can leave their belongings, including cameras and bags.
Tickets for the Royal Palace can be purchased online or on-site at the ticket office. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line. There are also guided tours available for those who want a more in-depth experience.
The entrance fee for the Royal Palace varies depending on the type of ticket purchased. General admission tickets cost around €13, while reduced tickets for students and seniors cost around €7.50. Children under the age of 5 can enter for free.
Some areas of the Palace may be closed to visitors due to official events or ceremonies. Visitors are advised to check the official website or call ahead to confirm that the Palace is open before making their way there.
To truly appreciate the history and significance of the Royal Palace, it’s recommended to take a guided tour. A professional tour guide can provide you with a wealth of information about the palace, its architecture, and the art collection housed within. They can also offer insights into the history of the Spanish royal family, their customs and traditions, and the importance of the palace to Spain.
There are several companies in Madrid that offer guided tours of the Royal Palace, each with their own unique approach and focus. Some tours may emphasize the architecture and design of the palace, while others may focus more on the art collection or the history of the royal family. Many tours are available in multiple languages, making them accessible to visitors from around the world.