Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real)#5 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
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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.
More Best Things To Do in Madrid
#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.
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