Royal Palace Madrid Architecture | Interior | Gardens

Ultimate guide to Royal Palace Architecture, Inside & Gardenss

the Royal Palace in Madrid

One of the top tourist attractions in the city of Madrid, the Royal Palace is the official residence of the royal family. However, it is only currently used for state ceremonies and it is open to the public for the rest of the time. Also known as the Palacio Royal, it was built during the 18th and 19th centuries and is one of the most monumental buildings in the city. It replaced the former medieval Alcazar which was burnt to the ground in 1974. The Royal Palace in Madrid was decorated according to the taste of Charles III and this is very apparent in the lavish interiors.

In proximity to a number of good hotels, the palace was built on what was once a 9th century fortress. Carlos I has a permanent residence on the site that was burned down in 1734. Felipe V commissioned the palace that stands today on the site. The palace has a whopping 3,418 rooms and just under 1.5 million square feet of floor space, making it Europe's largest based on floor area. The interior of the Royal Palace has priceless arts, watches, frescoes, porcelain and several treasures including the only complete Stradivarius string quintet in the world.

The palace's main staircase has more than 70 steps. Several of the rooms in the palace are open to the public, which are full of furniture and ornate architecture which feature the history of the Spanish people.

Madrid is a beautiful city that is a must-see destination with several tourist attractions, the Royal Palace included. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for people who would like to explore the city, including Madrid day trips, and Madrid walking tours. Travelers on a tight budget will be happy to know that there are plenty of free things to do in Madrid.

Quick Jump links to Royal Palace

The Best Royal Palace Madrid Skip the Line Tours & Combo Tickets

Traveling, especially with a limited budget can be a challenge, especially because there are various tours and combos available in the market. Looking through all of them requires time and effort but you need not worry anymore. We have done the hard work and checked everything that is being offered and we have picked a selected few which will give you value for your money.

  • Full price admission ticket to the palace is &euro10 for adults
  • &euro5 concessions tickets, including people who are over the age of 65 years old and children between the age of 5 and 16 years old.
  • Free entry is available for children who are younger than 5 years old, visitors with disabilities, and qualified teachers. There are also Royal Palace Madrid guided tours in various languages, lasting for a couple of hours.

The below table includes a brief description of various handpicked Royal Palace Madrid tickets & skip the line guided tours of the Royal Palace Madrid. They're based on users reviews, cost, customer experience as well as all the best ways to see the famous Royal Palace Madrid sight. We've compared prices from a variety of skip the line Royal Palace Madrid guided tours & tickets, websites and have handpicked the most affordable Royal Palace Madrid combination tickets, but utterly enjoyable Royal Palace Madrid tours & tickets below:

Royal Palace of Madrid 1.5-Hour Guided Tour Optional Prado Museum Combo

1. Royal Palace of Madrid 1.5-Hour Guided Tour Optional Prado Museum Combo

clock Duration: 1 hour 30
  • A 90 minute guided tour with fast-track entry into Madrid's Royal Palace.
  • See inside the largest Royal Residence in Europe.
  • Marvel at the sumptuously designed and decorated rooms, halls and galleries.
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Madrid Royal Palace Guided Tour

2. Madrid Royal Palace Guided Tour

clock Duration: 1 hour
  • Discover with this brief tour one of the most popular places in Madrid, the Royal Palace. Entrance and guide are included on the tour.
    Please be ready 5 minutes before 12:00hrs at the group entrances (your guide will be ready waiting outside in the street) and enjoy...
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Private Guided Tour Of The Royal Palace & Old Madrid

3. Private Guided Tour Of The Royal Palace & Old Madrid

clock Duration: 4 hours
  • This is an essential tour in Madrid. To learn about the origins of the city and to experience the most "castizo" or genuin sector of Madrid. 

    We will start by the visit of the Royal Palace, the largest one in Europe!. It is very well preserved and you will learn about how was the Kings' life in such a magnificient building. The Royal...
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The Royal Palace & Prado Museum: A must in Madrid

4. The Royal Palace & Prado Museum: A must in Madrid

clock Duration: 6 hours
  • I am a licensed guide and feel passion for my work. I have been guiding travelers from all around the world since 2001. On this tour, you will enjoyn the must see places in Madrid with me and I will try to share with you my love for this city, Spanish History, Spanish Culture and Cuisine.
    On the other side, I paint myself as a hobby. I feel at...
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Guided Visit to the Royal Palace of Madrid in Spanish

5. Guided Visit to the Royal Palace of Madrid in Spanish

clock Duration: 1 hour 30
  • The Best Experience to visit the Official Residence of the King and the Queen of Spain. Tour spoken only in Spanish.

    There are two schedules to choose from everyday ( 11:30 or 15:00).

    Admire the splendor and opulence of this magnificent Palace. The guide will take you inside, and through the large main staircase, you will be taken...
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Madrid Walking Tour and The Royal Palace with Skip the Line Tickets

6. Madrid Walking Tour and The Royal Palace with Skip the Line Tickets

clock Duration: 2 hours 10
  • The visit begins at Puerta del Sol with a guided tour on our way to the Palace. The tour includes the visit of the Royal Palace of Madrid with official tour...
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Guided Tour of the Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral in Madrid

7. Guided Tour of the Royal Palace and Almudena Cathedral in Madrid

clock Duration: 2 hours 30
  • On this tour you will enjoy two of the two most important monuments in Madrid. Royal Palace and Almudena...
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Private Walking Tour Guided with Visit to the Royal Palace and Prado Museum

8. Private Walking Tour Guided with Visit to the Royal Palace and Prado Museum

clock Duration: 5 hours
  • In this tour we will try to mix the best of Madrid. Combine in this Combo Tour the Majesty of the Royal Palace and the Prado...
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What to Expect at the Royal Palace

Just seeing the exteriors of the Royal Palace is already impressive enough but there is also so much to see inside that it is an opportunity that you should not miss. The elegant iron fencing conceals a vast courtyard, and to the side of the courtyard is a stunning view of the countryside beyond. Come on a clear day and you will see a breathtakingly panoramic view.

The Royal Palace housed the kings and queens of Spain from the mid 1700s to the 1900s. Although it is no longer the residence of the Royal Family now, it is still considered as so. You can expect to be wowed by the luxuriousness and the grandeur of the palace. However, the long lines is something which people constantly complain about. So, the best thing you can do is go there early, or better yet, get skip-the-line tickets.

Once you are inside the Royal Palace, you have the option of purchasing either a ticket for a guided tour, or a regular ticket which allows you to walk at your own pace. The guided tour is ideal for those who would like an in-depth lesson about the palace which takes almost an hour. If you decide to get the regular ticket, there are information points throughout which explain more about the rooms and their different functions.

Getting a regular ticket gives you access to lavish halls, residential areas, the throne room, banquet rooms, the Royal Armoury, and the Royal Pharmacy. Several significant events have taken place in the palace including the signing of the treaty of Spain which granted them acceptance into the European Union in 1985. There are also art exhibits which are available for viewing at no extra charge.

Royal Palace Opening Times

  • The Royal Palace is open in October to March, from 10 am until 6pm and in April to September, from 10 am to 8 pm.
  • It will be closed in January 1, January 6, May 1, October 12, December 24, December 25 and December 31.

Getting to the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Madrid is a 5-minute walk from the Opera metro station. From the Airport, take Line 8 to Nuevos Ministerios and then change to line 10 and get off Plaza de Espana station. You will see the Royal Palace after 5 minutes.

Alternatively, people coming from the centre, around the Plaza Mayor, can follow Calle Mayor directly to the palace and you they will find themselves at its doors in less than fifteen minutes.

Calle de Bailen, s/n 28071 Madrid, Spain

Architecture Details of the Royal Palace

Filippo Juvarra was the architect who took inspiration from Gian Lorenzo Bernini, as well as French Baroque palaces. He died in 1736 and architect Giambattista Sacchetti took the over the reins of the design process. Francesco Sabatini was summoned to expand the building in 1760.

Ground Floor

Royal Palace Ground Floor Quick View Table

Grand Staircase Royal Library Royal Armory
About
Built by Sabatini in 1789 and moved from where it was originally place in 1760. It is composed of a single San Agustin marble. Moved to the lower floor during the reign of Maria Christina with bookshelves dating to the period of Charles III. Considered as one of the best in the world, next to the Imperial Armoury of Vienna. It consists of pieces from the early 13th century. The building was designed by E. Repulles and J.S. de Lema and was opened to the public in 1897.
Best views
Being on the top landing gives a sweeping view of the ground floor Check the book covers which demonstrate the evolution of binding styles through various eras. Some great examples are the Rococo in gold with iron lace, as well as the Renaissance and Gothic motifs. Look out for the shield and burgonet made by Francesco and Filippo Negrolli, one of the most famous designers in the armourer's guild during that time.
Things to do
Watch out for and take a photo of the two lions gracing the landing, as well as the ceiling frescoes depicting Religion Protected by Spain made by Corrado Guiaquinto. Be on the lookout for library highlights such as the Book of Hours of Isabella of Castile, a codex of the time of Alfonso XI of Castile and a bible of Doṅa Maria de Molina and a selection of medals from the Royal Collection. Check the highlights of the royal collection which include pieces made for Charles V and Philip II by the leading armourers of Augusburg and Milan. Some of the most remarkable works are full armours and weapons that Emperor Charles V used in the Battle of Muhlberg.

 

Grand staircase
Grand staircase
A staircase that lives up to its name, the Grand Staircase at Palacio Real is made of San Agustin marble. One of the most beautiful in the world, it has more than 70 steps and has ceilings with frescoes portraying “Religion protected by Spain.” The Grand Staircase was built by Sabatini in 1789 and the Sabatini Gardens behind the palace was named after it. On the ground floor is the statue of Charles III wearing a Roman toga. On the landing are two lions made by two different sculptors, Robert Michel and Felipe de Castro.

Royal Library
Royal Library
The Royal Library was moved to the lower floor during the reign of Maria Christina. Some of the bookshelves date as far back as the period of Charles III, Isabel II, and Alfonso XII. Some of the highlights of the library collection are Book of Hours of Isabella I of Castile, a bible of Doṅa Maria de Molina, and a codex belonging to the time of Alfonso XI of Castile.

Royal Armory
Royal Armory
The armory in Spain is considered as one of the best in the world during that time, after the Imperial Armory of Vienna. It consists of pieces as early as the 13th century and among its most remarkable pieces are the full tools that Emperor Charles V used in the Battle of Muhlberg, that has also been portrayed by Titian in the renowned equestrian portrait of the Museo del Prado.

First Floor

Royal Palace First Floor Quick View Table

King Charles III's Apartments The Queen's Apartments Apartments of Infante Luis Royal Chapel The Crown Room
About
Also known as the Conversation Room, the apartment has various important frescoes and sis spread over various sections. Formerly the queen's apartments during the reign of Charles III, the apartment has three different rooms which were converted into a banquet hall by Alfonso XII in 1879. These rooms were formerly occupied by Infante Luis, the Count of Chinchon before he was exiled. Once the main chapel of the royal family, it is now used only occasionally, most notably for funerals. The funerals for both the Count and Countess of Barcelona were held in the chapel in 1993 and 2000 respectively. Formerly used by Maria Christina of Austria, the mother of Alfonso XIII. It was established following the accession King Felipe VI in 2014 to display the symbols of constitutional monarchy.
Best views
See the Throne Room, Hall of Columns, and Guard Room. Some of the magnificent works or art made by Alejandro Gonzalez, Francisco Bayeu y Subias, and Raphael Mengs. The ceiling frescoe by A.G. Velasquez is something to behold, as well as the Musical Instruments Room. The reliquary altar has Ercole Ferrata's 1659 silver relief called Pope Leo I Stopping Attila at the Gates of Rome. Look out for the original throne of King Carlos III, as well as his crown and sceptre. There is also the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece belonging to Queen Isabella II, and the Tale of Sphinxes.
Things to do
Check out the ceiling frescoes done made by A.R. Mengs. Look out for the three ceiling frescoes Do not forget to find the Stradivarius Room with two violins made by Stradivari, a viola and two violincellos. Check out the frescoes made by Giaquinto including The Holy Trinity Crowning the Virgin. One of the highlights is the majestic Empire style desk acquired by King Carlos IV in 1803 where King Carlos signed the Organic Act, confirming his abdication from the throne.

 

King Charles III's Apartment
King Charles III's Apartment
The Antechamber of Charles III is also known as the Conversation Room. It contains a 1774 ceiling frescoe called Apotheosis of Trajan by A.R. Mengs, as well as four royal family portraits made by Goya.

The Queen's Apartments and Banqueting Hall
The Queen's Apartments and Banqueting Hall
Formerly the apartments of the queen during Charles III, the three rooms were converted into a banquet hall in 1879 by Alfonso XII. Work was completed in 1885 and the three ceiling frescoes were kept intact.

Apartments of Infante Luis
Apartments of Infante Luis
Named such because they were once occupied by Infante Luis, the Count of Chinchon before he was exiled, it is now known as the Stradivarian room because it contains a viola, two violincello and two violins made by Stradivarius. The ceiling frescoe is by A.G. Velasquez.

Royal Chapel
Royal Chapel
The Hall of Columns is known for its frescoe representing The Sun before Which All the Forces of Nature Awaken and Rejoice, made by Giaquinto. There is also an 1878 statue of Charles V Vanquishing Fury by Ferdinand Barbedienne. The bronze chandeliers were made in 1846 in Paris and installed under the instructions of Isabella II for her balls.

The Crown Room
The Crown Room
This is the largest and is often considered as the most spectacular room in the palace due to the superb mirrors and rich furnishings used to decorate it. It has warmth and ease and has a decoration which has been kept intact since the reign of King Charles III.




Exterior

Royal Palace Exterior Quick View Table

Plaza de la Armeria Plaza de Oriente Campo del Moro Gardens Sabatini Gardens
About
The square was laid out in 1892, according to the plan made by architect Enrique Maria Repulles. A rectangular park that connects the eastern side of Palacio Real to the Teatro Real. The plaza's eastern side is curved and is bordered by several cafes in the adjoining buildings. The gardens are named after the Muslim leader Ali Ben Yusuf, who was thought to camp in the gardens with his troops in 1109 during a siege. The Sabatini Gardens is located on the north side of the palace and extends to the Calle de Bailen and the cuesta de San Vicente.
Best views
Get amazing views of the Palace from the plaza. From Plaza de Oriente, you will get amazing views of the Central Gardens, the Lepanto Gardens, and the Cabo Noval Gardens. The park is designed in the romanticist style and has several fountains. The garden has a symmetrical French design and feature a large rectangular pond surrounded by four fountains and statues of Spanish kings.
Things to do
The Almudena Cathedral faces the palace from across the plaza and it has a neoclassical exterior to match the surroundings while the interior is neo-gothic in design. The annual flowers are something to behold, and the magnolias, yew, and small cypress consist some of the seven flower beds. Take a beautiful photo by the fountains and the Large Cavern Grotto built by Juan de Villanueva. Explore the gardens that was only opened to the public in 1978 under King Juan Carlos.

 

Plaza de la Armeria
Plaza de la Armeria
The square was laid out in 1892 according to a plan by architect Enrique Maria Repulles, but its history dates back to 1553, when King Philip II ordered a building to house the royal stables. Narciso Pascual Coloer, the same architect who designed the Plaza de Oriente also designed the layout of the plaza in 1879. However, it was not realized. The site now occupied by the plaza was once used as anteplaza de armas.

Plaza de Oriente
Plaza de Oriente
Located just outside the palace, Plaza de Oriente is a gorgeous rectangular park with an equestrian statue of Philips IV. The pathways divide the plaza into three sections; namely, the Central Gardens, the Cabo Noval Gardens, and the Lepanto Gardens.

The Sabatini Gardens
The Sabatini Gardens
The Sabatini Gardens is in the neoclassical style and it follows the symmetrical French design. Work on the gardens began in 1933 under the Republican government. One of the garden's outstanding features is the large rectangular pond surrounded by four fountains and statues of Spanish kings, which were originally supposed to crown the Royal Palace.

Campo del Moro Gardens
Campo del Moro Gardens
Also known as the Palace Gardens, the Campo del Moro Gardens started sometime in the reign of King Philip II. The gardens got their name from the Muslim leader Ali Ben Yusuf who allegedly camped there with his troops in 1109 when they attempted to conquer Madrid.



 

Plan Your Visit to the Royal Palace

The Royal Palace houses an astounding collection of classical Spanish art from personalities as notable as Goya and Velazquez. If you are an art or history buff, it is one place where you definitely have to go. Much of the palace area is open to the public, including the Throne Room, Hall of Mirrors, and the Royal Dining Hall.

Book your tickets on advance

Always book your tickets in advance. Doing so will help you avoid long queues, thereby saving you precious time to do other things in Madrid because although the palace is truly magnificent, it is only a small portion of what Madrid has to offer. Check other Madrid city tours tickets which you might be interested in.

Are the Skip-the-line tickets worth it?

The answer is a big YES! Although more expensive than a regular ticket, it is worth every penny. Why put up with long queues, standing for hours in the heat when you can get instant access to one of the most magnificent palaces in the world? An extra few euros is money well spent if you can get through the doors instantly.

Best times to visit the Royal Palace

May and October are the ideal months to explore Madrid because in May the summer's intense heat is yet to arrive and in October, autumn is in full swing so the city has already began to cool down. If you want to visit during summertime, plan your sightseeing early in the day to avoid the intense heat. Do consider that locals also take their siesta by 3pm and wait until about 7pm before resuming business.

Fully explore the Royal Palace with guided tours

Guided tours are suitable for people who would like to have an in-depth knowledge of the palace's history and various sections. With an expert guide, you will get all the information you need and you won't be bored while exploring this splendid structure.

Tips for visiting the Royal Palace
  • Dress appropriately according to the weather and do not forget to bring a bottle of water with you. Exploring the palace's many halls and rooms is exciting but it can also leave you thirsty.
  • Note that flash photography is prohibited inside the palace so best to turn your flash settings off.
  • The palace is open 7 days a week from 10am to 8pm but close early at 6pm in the winter months. Bear in mind that the palace is closed for official state functions so check online or call ahead to avoid disappointment.
  • Entry is free on the 18th of May which is the International Museum Day and for EU and Latin America residents during certain hours.