Royal Palace of Madrid Tours | Learn About This Iconic Landmark From an Expert Guide
The official residence of the Spanish royal family, the Royal Palace of Madrid consists of 3,418 rooms including the Royal Library, Royal Chapel, the Grand Staircase, Royal Armory, the Stradivarius Hall, Throne Room, King Charles III’s Apartment, Hall of Mirrors, and more. Used only for state ceremonies now, the palace has several artworks on display by celebrated artists like Rembrandt, Francisco de Goya, Diego Velazquez, and many others.
Influenced by Baroque architecture, the Royal Palace of Madrid follows a Berini-esque style and is built in quite an ornate and elaborate manner complete with dramatic designs and patterns. Believed to be twice the size of the Palace of Versailles, the walls of the Royal Palace of Madrid have several fascinating stories to tell. Discover all of this and more on a guided tour of this architectural marvel. Read on to know more about the Royal Palace of Madrid tours.
Why Take a Royal Palace of Madrid Tour?
The Royal Palace of Madrid boasts a rich history and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain. Here are a few reasons why you should take a Royal Palace of Madrid tour.
Highlights Covered on Your Royal Palace of Madrid Tour
The Royal Library
The palace’s Royal Library consists of thousands of books, articles, maps, and medals from the royal collection. The bookshelves date back to the period of Charles III, Isabel II, and Alfonso XII while the book covers display the binding styles prevalent in different eras like Neoclassical books in polychrome and the Romantics in Renaissance and Gothic motifs. The Archives of the Royal Palace comprises over 20,000 articles, scores of musicians of the Royal Chapel, the testament of Philip II, the founding order of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, and the correspondence of several kings of the House of Bourbon. The Royal Library also includes maps that offer a glimpse into the kingdoms that were under the Spanish Empire.
Previously known as the apartment of Queen Maria Christina of Austria, the chamber or Crown Room now comprises the crown, Charles III’s throne, jewels of the Hispanic monarchy, and the scepter. The crown is made of gilded silver while the scepter is made of silver-plated filigree, rock crystal, and enamels. Also, check out the walls that are adorned with tapestries from Jacopo Amigoni’s Four Seasons as well as the proclamation and abdication speeches of Felipe VI and Juan Carlos I respectively.
The Royal Armory
Besides the Imperial Armoury in Vienna, it is the Royal Armory of the Royal Palace of Madrid which is considered one of the best in the world with weapons, armory, and artifacts dating back to the 13th century. Some of the highlights include the riding gear of Carlos V and Felipe II, the full armor and weapons used by Charles V in the Battle of Muhlberg, and famous armorer Filippo Negroli’s signed armor, among others. Also, find a shield and burgonet by Francesco. All of these armors and weapons belong to the kings of Spain and other members of the royal family.
Hall of Mirrors
It’s not just the Palace of Versailles in France that has a Hall of Mirrors. The Royal Palace of Madrid has it too and a remarkable one indeed! This Hall of Mirrors was initially used as a dressing table by Queen Maria Luisa de Parma and later as Alfonso XIII’s music room. The room consists of pink marble walls along with white and blue embellishments. The chandelier boasts intricate and elaborate stucco work while the surrounding ceiling depicts scenes from Pompeian life. Decorated by Charles IV, the Hall of Mirrors is one of the most beautiful and stunning rooms in the palace making it worth a visit.
The Grand Staircase
Designed by Francesco Sabatini, the Grand Staircase was built in 1789 on the orders of Charles IV. The staircase is made using a single piece of San Augustin marble and adds to the magnificence and grace of the Royal Palace of Madrid. Two striking lions by Felipe de Castro and Robert Michel grace the landing while the ceiling is adorned with spectacular frescoes by Corrado Giaquinto. There are several sculptures and paintings describing Spanish royalty in the 18th century. There are a couple of statues of Charles III and Charles IV while the four carvings on the corners represent water, earth, fire, and air.
The Royal Chapel
One of the most stunning rooms inside the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Royal Chapel is intricately and luxuriously designed by Sacchetti and Ventura Rodriguez in 1748. The magnificent dome of the chapel is a standout. Also, observe the frescoes on the ceiling by Giaquinto. A few noteworthy ones include Allegory of Religion, The Trinity, and Glory and the Holy Trinity Crowning the Virgin, among others. St. Michael by Ramon Bayeu adorns the area above the High Altar while the reliquary altar exhibits Pope Leo I Stopping Attila at the Gates of Rome by Ercole Ferrata.
The Royal Palace of Madrid houses one of the most spectacular and exclusive collections of artworks in the world. The palace has on display works of renowned artists like Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya, Caravaggio, Sorolla, Federico Madrazo, Juan de Flandes, Luis Morales, and many others. Marvel at the paintings, sculptures, frescoes, tapestries, armors, swords, and several other artistic treasures as you walk along each room. Learn about the meaning and significance of the artworks and the artist from your tour guide.
The Royal Kitchen
The Palace’s Royal Kitchen is probably the oldest and one of the most well-preserved kitchens that a royal residence can have. It is massive and boasts several rooms and accessories. The kitchen as we see it today is due to the order to redecorate it given by Queen Isabella II and Alfonso XII between 1861 and 1880. Get a glimpse of where the food for the royal family is prepared right here. There are three different kitchens for the kings or queens, ladies, and the royal household. The kitchen includes a bakehouse, wine cellars, fruitery, confectionery, saucer, pastry, potagerie, guardamangia, lots of beautiful kitchenware, woodyard, Ramilette, and chandlery.
Established during the reign of Felipe II, the Royal Pharmacy is an indispensable part of the royal household. The pharmacy is home to several prescriptions handed out to the members of the royal family. The beautiful collection includes cabinets that store medicinal herbs, containers, vials, stills, and jars and bottles from La Granja Palace’s ceramics factory. The supply of medicines continues even today.
The Room of King Charles III and the Queen
Designed in Rococo style, the room of King Charles III and the Queen is one of the most impressive and beautiful ones inside the royal palace. The walls are adorned with the Shepherd’s Clock, one of the most important clocks of the palace, and four portraits of the royal family painted by renowned artist Francisco de Goya. The room is a celebration of nature with marble marquetry on the floor depicting plant motifs. There are several frescoes on the ceiling including Apotheosis of Trajan and The Apotheosis of Hercules by A.R. Mengs, Dawn in Her Chariot by Raphael Mengs, and Christopher Columbus Offering the New World to the Catholic Monarchs by Alejandro Gonzalez Velazquez, among others.
The Throne Room
Completed in 1772, the Throne Room is decorated in fiery red with red velvet walls and decoration that symbolizes and represents the rich history of the Spanish monarchy. Large mirrors with metal work in gold adorn the walls of the Throne Room. The beautiful chandeliers and mirrors reflect the rays that radiate from the crystals. A couple of lions guard the throne while a red carpet with a tinge of gold, white, and blue also occupies a place of pride in the Throne Room.
The Stradivarius Hall
Previously the chamber of Infante Luis, Count of Chinchon, the Stradivarius Hall now boasts four instruments – a viola, a cello, and two violins. Acquired by the court in 1775, the musical instruments were regularly used for events and concerts that were held at the Royal Palace of Madrid. Music lovers from across the world throng this room for the instruments and decoration. There are several frescoes on the ceiling of the Stradivarius Hall by celebrated artists like Velazquez, Francisco Bayeu, and others.
Guided Tours vs Non-Guided Tours
What to Expect on a Royal Palace of Madrid Tour?
A visit to such a massive and iconic historical place of interest can be overwhelming and a little difficult to navigate since there’s so much to see. To help you explore the Royal Palace of Madrid more efficiently, we suggest that you opt for a Royal Palace of Madrid tour because it includes a tour guide who knows the attraction inside out. They will be able to guide you better and provide you with all the information you need to make the most of your experience at this beautiful site.
Once you meet your tour guide at the entrance, you will be taken straight inside the Royal palace of Madrid and shown all its important points of interest including the Royal Library, Royal Armory, Crown Room, Throne Room, Hall of Mirrors, Grand Staircase, Royal Kitchen, and more. Admire the artworks exhibited at the museum by celebrated artists like Rembrandt, Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya, Caravaggio, and others. Marvel at the Baroque architecture and exhibition of instruments from the 17th and 19th centuries.
- Book your tickets early. Tickets get sold out quite fast since it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain.
- Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll have to do a lot of walking to do at the palace.
- Read up about the palace and its history if you’re not opting for a guided tour.
- The palace is wheelchair friendly and accessible to people with motor disabilities.
- The palace is closed for state ceremonies on certain days. It is best to find out these dates and times before booking tickets.
- In case you’re carrying large bags, you can store them at the luggage facility located at the entrance to the palace.
- Photography is not allowed in some areas of the palace. Additionally, the use of handheld cameras and flash photography is not permitted.
Frequently Asked Questions About Royal Palace of Madrid Tours
A. Royal Palace of Madrid tours start at €29.
A. There are two types of Royal Palace of Madrid tours available for booking – Royal Palace of Madrid Guided Tour with Priority Access and Combo Ticket: Royal Palace of Madrid with Prado Museum.
A. The Royal Palace of Madrid tours include access to all sections that are open to the public like the Royal Library, Throne Room, Ala de Bailen, King Charles III’s Apartment, Royal Armory, Royal Kitchen, and more.
A. The Royal Palace of Madrid guided tours are available in two languages – English and Spanish.
A. The Royal Palace of Madrid guided tour covers all the major areas inside including the Hall of Mirrors, Stradivarius Hall, Grand Staircase, Crown Room, Throne Room, and more. You also get a chance to marvel at the Baroque architecture and the almost 20,000 artworks on display.
A. It depends on the type of Royal Palace of Madrid tour you book. The small group guided tour will have no more than 10 people while the other guided tours have a maximum capacity of 25 guests.
A. The Royal Palace of Madrid guided tours can be anywhere between 1 hour 30 minutes to 5 hours long, depending on the tour you choose.