Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Fodor's Weekly: Your expert travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration (coming soon)

Madrid Sights

Palacio Real

  • C. Bailén s/n Map It
  • Castle/Palace/Chateau
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 06/18/2014

Fodor's Review

Emblematic of the oldest part of the city and intimately related to the origins of Madrid—it rests on the terrain where the Muslims built their defensive fortress in the 9th century—the Royal Palace awes visitors with its sheer size and monumental presence that unmistakably stands out against the city's silhouetted background. The palace was commissioned in the early 18th century by the first of Spain's Bourbon rulers, Felipe V. Outside, you can see the classical French

architecture on the graceful Patio de Armas: Felipe was obviously inspired by his childhood days at Versailles with his grandfather Louis XIV. Look for the stone statues of Inca prince Atahualpa and Aztec king Montezuma, perhaps the only tributes in Spain to these pre-Columbian American rulers. Notice how the steep bluff drops west to the Manzanares River—on a clear day, this vantage point commands a view of the mountain passes leading into Madrid from Old Castile; it's easy to see why the Moors picked this spot for a fortress.

Inside, 2,800 rooms compete with each other for over-the-top opulence. A two-hour guided tour in English winds a mile-long path through the palace; highlights include the Salón de Gasparini, King Carlos III's private apartments, with swirling, inlaid floors and curlicued stucco wall and ceiling decoration, all glistening in the light of a 2-ton crystal chandelier; the Salón del Trono, a grand throne room with the royal seats of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía; and the banquet hall, the palace's largest room, which seats up to 140 people for state dinners. No monarch has lived here since 1931, when Alfonso XIII was deposed after a Republican electoral victory. The current king and queen live in the far simpler Zarzuela Palace on the outskirts of Madrid; this palace is used only for official occasions.

Also worth visiting are the Museo de Música (Music Museum), where five stringed instruments by Antonio Stradivari form the world's largest such collection; the Painting Gallery, which displays works by Spanish, Flemish, and Italian artists from the 15th century on; the Armería Real (Royal Armory), with historic suits of armor and frightening medieval torture implements; and the Real Oficina de Farmacía (Royal Pharmacy), with vials and flasks used to mix the king's medicines.

Read More

Sight Information

Address:

C. Bailén s/n, Madrid, 28013, Spain

Map It

Phone:

91-454–8800

Sight Details:

  • €10, with guided tour €17; Royal Armory only €3.40; Painting Gallery only €2
  • Apr.–Sept., daily 10–8; Oct.–Mar., daily 10–6

Updated 06/18/2014

Advertisement

Map View

Map of



What's Nearby

  • Sights

See all sights in Madrid

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Jan 31, 2008

Really sumptuous

Gorgeous, sumptuous series of rooms loaded with over-the-top fancy furnishings, paintings, chandeliers, carpets, and more. A must see, especially if you don't go to Aranjuez to see its palace.

By asdf

  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

May 5, 2005

Incredible sight

Great place to visit, and cheap too!

By Thomas

  • Service

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Value

Apr 3, 2003

Who dusts the chandeliers?

Easy place to visit. There was no line the day we were there. Didn't take advantage of the guided tours but found the signage to be sufficient to understand each room. The interior really is different from the facade; so don't miss it because it doesn't look like a stereotypical 'palace'.

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?

Experience

Ease

Value

Don't Miss

Advertisement