no alt text

Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 10 February, 2024
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

The House of Borbon-Anjou, led by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, is the reigning royal house in Spain. Although not as globally renowned as their UK counterparts, the Spanish Monarchy remains high profile and (mostly) revered in Spain, and an integral part of the country’s culture and history.

This lavish 18th-century royal palace is their official residence (though they actually live at the Zarzuela Palace, also in Madrid). It’s an example of Neoclassical grandeur on an epic scale, with some 2,000 rooms.

Although only part of the palace is open to the public, ornate decorations bombard your senses at every turn – most opulent of all is the scarlet and gold Throne Room, with a ceiling painted by Tiepolo.

Don't miss

The fascinating armoury, where you can see elaborate weaponry and full horse armour; and seek out the incredibly grand palace pharmacy. A Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place on the first Wednesday of the month at midday – and it’s free to watch.

While you’re there 

Opposite the Royal Palace is the Almudena Cathedral, the seat of Madrid’s Catholic Archbishop. Building started in 1880 and only officially finished in 1993, when it was subsequently consecrated by Pope John Paul II. Being younger, it’s more modern than most of its centuries-old peer cathedrals, and inside it surprises inside with contemporary chapels, cupolas, statues and décor. Worth a stop, if churches are your thing.

Logistics

Price from: £8
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The nearest metro station is Opera. It’s a few minutes’ walk from there. It’s also just a 5-minute walk from Plaza Mayor.

Guided tours are only in Spanish, but there is an official app with built-in guide that you should download from the website before you go.

When to do it

The palace is open all year round, seven days a week. Arrive at opening time to avoid queues, which can be very long at peak times (during the Easter and summer holidays, particularly at weekends).

Who to go with: organised tours

5

Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Madrid Walking Tour and The Royal Palace Skip the Line Tickets

Madrid

Madrid Walking Tour and The Royal Palace Skip the Line Tickets
The tour starts at the door of the Fun and Tickets office at Calle Mayor, 43 with a guided tour on the way to the Royal Palace. The tour includes the visit of the Royal Palace of Madrid with official guides and Skip the line.

Price: €39

Min age: 0

Rating 4.37 / 5 [581 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Prado Museum & Madrid Royal Palace Guided Tour with Skip the Line

Madrid

Prado Museum & Madrid Royal Palace Guided Tour with Skip the Line
Visit and learn about two essential places in Madrid in one morning. We will start the day with a full visit to the Royal Palace, a gigantic building symbolic of the European monarchs, that will surprise us with its rich decoration and the number of rooms and halls it contains. After a walking guided visit the main iconic places of Madrid between the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum, we will finish our journey with with a 90-minute tour of the Museo del Prado, seeing its most outstanding rooms and paintings. Special emphasis will be placed on the paintings that have in one way or another changed the history of art and become universal references. We will get to see works by Murillo, Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, and Tiziano among many others. All of these visits will be made using points of preferential access, with official guides and with entrance fees included. This way, all that you have to worry about is enjoying Madrid and its beautiful monuments.

Price: €65

Min age: 0

Rating 4.22 / 5 [577 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Madrid: Royal Palace Tour with Optional Royal Collections & Tapas

Madrid

Madrid: Royal Palace Tour with Optional Royal Collections & Tapas
Discover the history of Madrid's Royal Palace and Royal Collections (if option selected) with a Skip the line entrance and a professional guided tour. Also, you will have the opportunity to taste several tapas in a bar near the Royal Palace (if you select this option).

Price: €35

Min age: 0

Rating 4.41 / 5 [499 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Royal Palace of Madrid Monolingual Guided Tour with Fast Track Access

Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid Monolingual Guided Tour with Fast Track Access
Get fast track access to the Royal Palace of Madrid with this guided tour. Get acquainted with the residence of the Spanish Royal Family. See the lavish Throne Room, the Columns Room and the Royal Armory. Learn about the history of the monarchy in Spain and how the palace's decorations have changed over time through your guide's informative remarks.

Price: €28

Min age: 0

Rating 4.18 / 5 [390 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Royal Palace Madrid Small Group Tour with Skip the Line Ticket

Madrid

Royal Palace Madrid Small Group Tour with Skip the Line Ticket
Inside the Palace you will see the main structure of the Spanish Monarchy through the centuries. Flamboyant clocks, unbelievable decoration, the most subtlest kind of art and, maybe most important, the Spanish History since the building was built (and something about the previous), which makes the tour not just beautiful, but useful when in Madrid. You will know things you will be able to apply to the rest of your journey in Spain. Since we begin to work at places like the Prado, there was something we had clear: our products need to be sustainable so we can do our best. That's why we work just with a maximum of 7 people at a time. We know you already know things about the Royal Palace (3.418 rooms, luxury, etc) but what makes this a special tour is that we really care about you. We have a compromise with you and with our lovely country, so we want you to really enjoy it and go back to your home with a great memory about us and our little, tiny place in the world.

Price: €51

Min age: 0

Rating 4.90 / 5 [149 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

Viator Logo

Destination guides

1

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Madrid

Madrid Region, Spain

Exterior of La Almudena Cathedral in the late afternoon.

Spain’s sunny capital offers up world-class art, super shopping, renowned tapas and late, late nights.

Round-ups

1

Round-ups that include this experience

100 World’s greatest historic buildings

The great civilisations of the past have left a legacy of constructions that still stand out and inspire. Built without the wonders of 20th-century technology, many are also monumental feats of engineering; others offer such grace and beauty, that they’ll literally take your breath away.