Palacio Real Madrid, also known as the Royal Palace of Madrid, is the largest palace in Western Europe and is the official residence of the Spanish Monarchy. The palace as we know it today was built on the pillars of the Royal Alcázar of Madrid in the 18th century by the Bourbon dynasty with the taste and aesthetics of the era. In addition to the vast gardens, the palace is also famous for its extravagant furniture, collection of the Stradivarius Royal Quartet, an unmatched bronze collection, mesmerizing frescos on the high ceilings and luxury only the Spanish monarchs had the privilege of.
Read on to know more about what lies inside the palace and why it should top your Madrid bucket list.
Know Before You Go
Things to know
Best time to visit - October to March
Suggested duration - 2 Hours
Royal Palace Of Madrid Tickets starting price -€12
Closest subway station - Ópera
Winter Hours (Oct to Mar)
Mon to Sat: 10 am to 6 pm
Sunday: 10 am to 4 pm
Summer Hours (Apr to Sept)
Mon to Sat: 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday: 10 am to 4 pm
Highlights of the Palace
Plaza de la Armería
The Crown Room
Royal Palace of Madrid Address
C. de Bailén, s/n, 28071 Madrid, Spain
Why visit the Royal Palace of Madrid
Located in the western part of downtown Madrid, the Palacio Real Madrid is the largest functioning palace in Europe. It spreads across 135,000 square meters and harbours 3,418 rooms. Although it is the official residence of the Spanish Crown, the King and Queen do not reside there. Presently, the palace is being used to host state ceremonies, events, royal balls, peace talks and other political events.
Within the walls of the Crown Room, you will find the most prized possessions of the Spanish monarchy; the Crown and the sceptre. Alongside the awe of seeing the Crown jewels, exploring the Plaza de la Armería, Sabatini Gardens, the grand staircase, the extravagant library, the armoury of Spanish valour, and the Royal apartments take you back in time to the golden era of Spanish rule.
The Royal Palace of Madrid history in 10 seconds
The history of the palace is as rich as its architecture.
On the lands where the palace stands today, stood the Moorish fortress of Royal Alcázar of Madrid. In the year 1734, on Christmas eve, a fire ignited in the Alcázar and burned down almost all its quarters. This gave the Bourbon dynasty the perfect room to manoeuvre modern architecture, style, and art in their new Palace.
The design of the palace was inspired by France’s Louvre Palace and this is very evident from Plaza de la Armería. Charles III was the first to move into the newly renovated palace in 1764 after almost 30 years of reviving the palace with countless pieces of art. In the recent past, the Palace has been used to host state ceremonies and as a wedding banquet for the Royal family.
The features of the Royal Palace of Madrid Interior
To establish to the rest of the world that the Spanish were more imperial and wealthy than ever, abundant noble materials were used for the construction of the Royal Palace. The walls are embedded with glistening mirrors and elegant tapestry sourced from the finest craftsmen of the period. Famous Spanish artists such as Corrado Giaquinto, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and Anton Raphael Mengs have contributed to the frescoes inside the Palace. One of the main attractions of the interior is the Grand Staircase. Composed of a single piece of San Agustin marble, the staircase is overlooked by frescoes on the ceiling and two lions guarding at its nose.
What not to miss in Royal Palace of Madrid
If you plan on taking a tour of the palace by yourself, here are the details of some of the most important details of the palace that you should stop by and admire.
If there was one place in the entire palace where you could get lost (literally and figuratively), it is the gardens. Sabatini Gardens is one of the two palatial gardens that sits on the northern side of Palacio real Madrid. Named after the architect who designed the first floor plan of the palace, Francesco Sabatini, the gardens extend to the Calle de Bailén and the Cuesta de San Vicente. Inspired by symmetrical French design and featuring an enormous rectangular pond which is surrounded by four fountains, the Sabatini Garden is a wonder to gape at.
Plaza de la Armeria, also called the Armory Square, is the main square located in the south of the palace building. If you are visiting the palace on the first Wednesday of the month, make sure to catch the ceremony of Changing the Royal Guards at the Plaza.
Along with the Imperial in Vienna, the Royal Armory of Madrid is considered one of the best in the world. It accommodates precious pieces of armoury from the 15th century. The riding gear of Carlos V and Felipe II, tools that Emperor Charles V used in the battle of Mühlberg, and signed armour by the greatest armourer of all time, Filippo Negroli, are some of the noteworthy pieces.
The Chamber of Queen María Cristina is now called the Crown Room. Jewels of the Hispanic monarchy that have never before been presented to the public, the Crown and the sceptre, are showcased here. The Crown is made of chiselled, embossed and gilded silver and belonged to Carlos III. You can date back the sceptre from the reign of Charles II, made of rock crystal, silver-plated filigree, enamels, and garnets set.
Just like the Palace of Versailles, the Royal Palace of Madrid, too, has its own Hall of Mirrors. It was originally used as a dressing table by Queen María Luisa de Parma, wife of Carlos IV. Covered in pink marble walls and a thin layer of white and blue ornamentation, this is one of the most beautiful rooms you will come across in the Palace.
Royal Palace of Madrid Tickets
Scoring the Royal Palace of Madrid tickets is no easy affair. Every year 1.5 million people visit the Royal Palace and in recent years it has become the top most visited attraction in Madrid. To stand in long queues at the ticket counter is the last thing you would want to spend time doing. Your best bet is to book the tickets in advance so you can save time and dime.
To skip the line and make it straight into the Palace get your hand on the Royal Palace of Madrid skip-the-line tickets. Optionally, you can also hear about the palace from a local who knows it like the back of their hand with the Royal Palace of Madrid Guided Tour. Take a look at the various Royal Palace of ticket options by Headout offering the best safety and price.
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Lesser-known Royal Palace of Madrid Facts
- The Palace’s gardens are named after the architects of the project; Filippo Juvara, Juan Bautista Sachetti, Ventura Rodríguez and Francesco Sabatini.
- The Crown Room of the Palace is home to the Crown jewels and sceptre of the Spanish Monarchy.
- It is home to the second largest collection of tapestries in the world.
- It is known for expensive periodic pieces and houses Spain’s premiere clock and watch collection.
- The palace was built on the ashes of the medieval Moorish fortress of Royal Alcázar of Madrid.
Visiting Palacio Real Madrid
Winter (October to March)
Monday to Saturday - 10 am to 6 pm
Sunday - 10 am to 4 pm
Summer (April to September)
Monday to Saturday - 10 am to 7 pm
Sunday - 10 am to 4 pm
Closing days 2021
October 12 (Closed until 5;30 pm)
December 24 (Closed until 3 pm)
December 31 (Closed until 3 pm)
The nearest subway station is Ópera which is only 10 minutes walk from the palace.
You can catch a bus to Palacio Real which stops just a few meters from the Palace.
Drive on to C. de Bailén road. The entrance to the palace, Plaza De Oriente is located towards the end of the road.
The closest train station is Príncipe Pío which is only a 5 minute walk to the palace.
- Wheelchairs are available for rent.
- You can download the App of the Royal Palace of Madrid which includes 16 language options, audiovisual content, and 2 virtual tours of the Palace.
Best time to visit Royal Palace Madrid
The best time to visit Royal Palace Madrid is between October and March. Madrid experiences fall season during these months and the city is also not swarmed with tourists. The trick to beat the crowd anytime of the year is to arrive early and explore the Palace at your own pace.
Tips for visiting Royal Palace Madrid
- Don’t miss the Armory, where life-size horses clad in armour and other notable period armours belonging to some of the greatest Spanish Kings are on display.
- You can visit the Royal Palace of Madrid for free from Monday to Thursday from 5 to 7 pm.
- Arrive during the early hours since it is less sunny. Should you wish to visit during the afternoon, bring an umbrella to hide from the heat.
- Photographs are permitted only in the first few rooms. Hefty fines are laid if you photograph the more decorative rooms.
- To get all the details about the reopening of Royal Palace, Madrid post Covid-19 lockdown, read through our detailed guide before your visit.
Where to dine
Eat beyond the tapas and explore the local favourites of Madrid after your tour of Palacio Real Madrid. Here are some amazing eateries within walking distance from the Palace that you should check out.
Zuccaru is a classic Italian cafe with breakfast options and late-night bites. The cafe also offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. It is located right next to Plaza de Oriente Madrid and makes for a great place to grab a quick bite.
Best eats: Cassata Cake and Cannoli
A popular cafe just around the corner, Cafe de Oriente, offers Mediterranean, European, Spanish delights. It is a perfect place to grab a coffee before or after your tour. If you are on a budget, this place is reasonably priced and also offers welcome nibbles for free.
Best eats: Jamon iberico and tortilla espanola
If you are craving a scoop of ice cream, look no further than Heladeria Palazzo. You will be treated with authentic Gelato with classic and modern flavours. They have indoor seating and also allow takeouts if you are on your toes.
Best eats: Almonds, pistachio, dulce de leche, and white chocolate.
If you are in for fine dining during lunch or evening, Restaurante Algarabía is an amazing restaurant to dine at. They specialise in local, Mediterranean, Spanish cuisine with healthy and vegetarian options. The elegant ambience, warm service of the staff, and delicious food make people want to come back for more.
Best eats: paté, rabo de toro, and croquetas
Royal Palace, Madrid - Reviews
A must visit when in Madrid. The palace is breathtaking, every single room has it's own charm and there's lots of fun history and symbols all around. If visiting its recommended to get the tour guide as they'll let you know all the fun facts from each item. The views from the outside of the palace are amazing and you'll be able to get great photos.
Aimée Dillon, August 2021
Our visit to the Royal Palace of Madrid was a wonderful day experience. The palace is beautiful and well maintained. They have self service tours which you can book or use a guide who will show you around. There were quite a lot of people hanging around and it was a beautiful day spent exploring this wonderful historic building. Lots of nice insights about how Spain was during the olden days.
Push, January 2021
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