Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real)

#5 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real) picture1 of 4
Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real)2 of 4
fotoVoyager/Getty Images

Key Info

Calle de Bailén, s/n

Price & Hours

10 euros (about $11.70) for adults; 5 euros (a...
10 a.m.-6 or 8 p.m. daily

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.

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More Best Things To Do in Madrid

Plaza Mayor1 of 19
Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro)2 of 19
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Plaza Mayor

This square, located in the heart of Madrid, is more a must-experience attraction than a must-see one. Surrounded by cafes and bars, Plaza Mayor practically begs passersby to take a seat, order a coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and people-watch. Not only do throngs of tourists pass through, but multiple street performers plant their feet here to entertain. The square starts getting busy around 2 p.m. and will grow increasingly busy as night falls. If you find yourself in Madrid during the holidays, locals recommend visiting the holiday markets held in the plaza. 

Recent travelers acknowledge the touristy nature of Plaza Mayor – the souvenir shops, the less-than-gourmet yet overpriced restaurants, for instance – but for most travelers, Plaza Mayor still affords a lovely ambience. If you want to learn more about the history behind Plaza Mayor, which dates back to 1617, reviewers suggest you sign up for a walking tour. One of the city's most emblematic pieces of public art, the statue of Philip III on horseback, can also be found here. 

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