Things to do in Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid has a long history as the home of the Spanish Royal Family. Carlos III was the first to establish his residence there and even today it is still the official residence of the Spanish Royal family. Although the family reside in the Zarzuela Palace (Palacio de la Zarzuela), the palace is still used for receptions, ceremonies and official events.
Built on the remains of a fortress destroyed in a fire on Christmas Eve 1734, the construction of the Royal Palace began in 1738 and ended in 1764. When Felipe V, first of the Bourbon kings, originally conceived the royal palace he dreamed of a place that would surpass anything of its kind in Europe. While it fell somewhat short of the mark (he died before the plan was fully realised), the resulting palace is still a Baroque beauty of epic proportions. It was Carlos III (known as the Mayor of Madrid) who became the first monarch to occupy the building.
The palace, inspired by sketches made by Bernini for the construction of the Louvre in Paris, is built in the form of a square and looks out over a large courtyard. With more than 3,000 rooms, visiting the largest royal palace in Europe is an experience. The decoration of the palace's rooms and their layout has gradually changed over the years as the building has been adapted to suit the needs of its residents.
Highlights include the velvet-walled Salón del Trono (Throne Room), the Salón de Gasparini (Gasparini Room) with inlaid floors and a 2-ton chandelier, the sumptuous banquet room, royal armoury, and pharmacy filled with medicine jars and curiosities. The building is surrounded by elaborate gardens, including the Capo del Moro gardens and the Sabatini gardens.
The building can be visited nearly all year round, and only closes during official acts and festivities. Don’t miss the changing of the guard of the Royal Palace, which takes place every Wednesday and Saturday. Times for the changing of the guard vary depending on the time of year so please check ahead of your visit.
Our recommendations in Royal Palace of Madrid
Royal Palace of Madrid skip-the-line tickets and guided tour
Discover the Royal Palace of Madrid booking this guided tour with skip-the-line tickets.
Madrid Royal Palace skip-the-line tickets and tour with an expert guide
Discover the Royal Palace of Madrid, admire the artworks by Goya and Velázquez and visit the gardens booking this 2-hour guided tour.
Royal Palace of Madrid skip-the-line tickets and guided visit
Visit the Royal Palace of Madrid with skip-the-line tickets and enjoy a guided visit of one of the most memorable royal castles in Europe booking this 2-hour guided tour.
Madrid highlights with entrance and guided tour to the Royal Palace
Discover Madrid and the Royal Palace booking this 4-hour guided tour with skip-the-line tickets
Experiences in Royal Palace of Madrid
How to get there
Royal Palace of Madrid
Reviews Royal Palace of Madrid
“The gentleman who was our guide was very knowledgeable, humorous and engaging. We enjoyed the tour a great deal.”
“El palacio increíble pero para el precio la guía debería esperar que todos lleguen el las salas y luego explicar lo que hay. Un poco de prisa. Además si es un tour bilingüe. Aunque haga una sola persona que habla uno de los dos idiomas, tendría que ser bilingüe! En general bien pero puede mejorar.”
“Todo nuy organizado y los guías muy amables. Tal vez ha mejorar el tiempo de espera para entrar a cafa lugar. Tal vez no depende al 100% de ustedes. Pero si tuvimos que esperar un poco para entrar.”