Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real)

#5 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real) picture
Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real)
1 of 4
fotoVoyager/Getty Images

Key Info

Calle de Bailén, s/n

Details

Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.3scorecard
  • 4.5Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 5.0Atmosphere

This royal palace housed the kings of Spain from the mid-1700s to 1900s. Although the royal family does not currently live in the palace, it is still considered their official residence. It is also thought to be the largest royal palace in Western Europe with a total of 3,000 rooms, only some of which are open to the public, including the popular armory room and royal pharmacy. 

The majority of visitors were wowed by the luxuriousness and the grandeur of the palace, but many also complained about the long lines to get in. If you want to beat the crowds, make sure to get there early.

Admission costs 10 euros (or about $11.70) for adults and 5 euros (or about $5.80) for children between the ages of 5 and 16. The Palacio Real is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., from October to March. From April to September, it stays open until 8 p.m. If you aren't interested in touring the inside of the palace, you might be interested in touring its on-site gardens. The neoclassical Sabatini Gardens are adjacent to the property, and easily accessible via street stairway. However, if you really want to beat the palace crowds, walk further down the street behind the palace to the less-traveled Campo del Moro Gardens for a truly royal retreat. You can reach Campo del Moro Gardens by getting off the Príncipe Pío metro, and the palace from the Ópera or Plaza de España metro stops. For more information, visit the palace's website.

See all Hotels in Madrid »

More Best Things To Do in Madrid

Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro)
Plaza Mayor
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 13
#1 Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro)

To the east of central Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro (Buen Retiro Park) can be translated as "Park of the Pleasant Retreat," and that's what it is – a sprawling swath of lush greenery filled with formal gardens, lakes, cafes, playgrounds and more. This 300-some-acre park previously housed Felipe IV's palace and gardens, and didn't become open to the public until the late 19th century.

Today, you can still rent a rowboat to the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), which holds regular art exhibitions or stop and smell the roses in the Rosaleda (Rose Garden), which has more than 4,000 roses. Plus, for those traveling with little ones, the Teatro de Titeres hosts puppet shows most weekends. 

Read more
Juan Jimenez / EyeEm/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Madrid »

Explore More of Madrid

Recommended

The World's 30 Best Places to Visit in 2019-20

Using reader input and expert analysis, U.S. News identified the latest can't-miss vacations.

Tilly PeckerJune 25, 2019

The 16 Best San Diego Tours

Take advantage of the adventures this coastal city has to offer with a guided trip.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

12 Top Napa Valley Wineries to Visit

Set your sights on these can't-miss wineries during your next visit to California's wine country.

Lyn MettlerJune 24, 2019

The 6 Best Denver Brewery Tours

Discover the buzz about Denver's craft beer scene with these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 21, 2019

The 10 Best Charleston Walking Tours

Experience true southern hospitality as you explore Charleston on one of these strolls.

Claire LawtonJune 20, 2019

The 15 Best Charleston Tours

See everything this historic South Carolina city has to offer on one of these guided excursions.

John RodwanJune 19, 2019

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Gwen PratesiJune 12, 2019