A Mesmerizing Tour of Royal Palace of Madrid, Spain

Yes! We made it to Madrid’s largest building, the Royal Palace there! ‘Largest’ is a small adjective to the building. The Royal Palace of Madrid is a grand, majestic and happening place in the capital city of Spain. No way could we miss it. And we planned our tour in Madrid on a day the entry is free to the Palace. Halfway through our walk of Madrid, after the tour of Almudena Cathedral we reached the Royal Palace. Oh! How tiny I felt in front of that HUGE palace. The square in front is large and at no point of time will you find it empty. After a small photo session with the palace in the back ground we proceeded to tour inside.

Royal Palace of Madrid

History of Royal Palace of Madrid

A little history always helps.

This royal palace was built on the site of old Alcazar, an old Moorish Castle. The castle existed from 860AD. It was continuously renovated and extended over the centuries by several kings residing there. Henry III of Castile added several towers. His son John II used it as a royal residence. In 1734, in a devastating fire incident the Moorish castle was destroyed completely. Filippo Juvarra designed this present day palace and the construction got on in 1737. The building was initially designed to accommodate the court of Felipe V, a total of more than 3000 courtiers.

Ferdinand VII, began the most thorough renovation of the palace in the 19th century. The aim of this redesign was to rebuild the old-fashioned Italian style building into a modern French-style palace. Later his grandson Alfonso XII proposed to turn the palace into a Victorian style residence. The plans were designed by the architect José Segundo de Lema and consisted of remodelling several rooms, replacing marble floors with parquet and the adding of period furniture. Today we get to see this version of the palace.

rows-of-wondows-of-the-palace-rooms

Breathtaking panoramic view across countryside and beyond.

Breathtaking panoramic view across countryside and beyond.

The Inside Tour of Royal Palace of Madrid

23 rooms open to public! Each room overflowing with beauty and lavishness! Thanks to the headphones we took at the start of the tour we could get a fair idea of purpose of the rooms. But the downside is I don’t remember what I heard then. And since no photography was permitted I have vague memory of what I had seen, which will fade away soon with time. Photography at such places should be permitted. No? What say fellow tourists and readers?

Some of the rooms were so mesmerizing with the rich furnishings that most of us could be heard murmuring ‘wow’. The chandeliers there are magnificent! Each room seemed to have a theme. Throne room had an unbelievable setting… the thrones, figurines, furnishings all seemed to compete for attention. I wonder how any kind of serious matter concerning state can be discussed here, each and every article distracts. Same can be said about the dining room. The cutleries are amazing. The crystal wine glasses lined up beside each plate… five of them in a row! We were told the room is used for high dignitary meetings occasionally.

Comparable with Versailles Palace tour?

The tour here did resemble a bit like Versailles tour I made in 2012. They did permit photography in Versailles Palace. And I still look at the pictures and reminiscence my visit there. Though there are a lot of differences between both the palaces, there are similarities too. Lavishness in both constituted of gold, silver, crystals, marbles and furnishings! Both palaces have paintings in the ceilings. The pictures here are taken at the entrance near the staircase. Have any of you been to both? How would you compare them?

ceiling-of-royal-palace-madrid

ceiling-at-the-entrance-of-madrids-palace

Interesting Facts of Madrid’s Royal Palace

  • The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the reigning Royal Family, though they don’t actually live in it, they use it for official events. The Royal Family actually lives in the Palacio de la Zarzuela.
  • This Royal Palace of Madrid was under construction from 1738-1755 and done in Berniniesque style. This style was developed from Baroque style by the sculptors of the time.
  • Madrid’s Palace is Europe’s largest palace based on floor area.  Dimensions mentioned are 1.5 million square feet of floor space. Number of rooms – 3, 418.
  • The palace has 870 windows, 240 balconies and 44 staircases.
  • Grand Staircase is composed of a single piece of San Agustin marble. Two lions grace the landing, one by Felipe de Castro and another by Robert Michel.
  • Interior of the Royal Palace of Madrid houses priceless art, paintings, frescoes, watches, porcelain and more.

staircase-with-the-lions

Tickets and Entry to Royal Palace of Madrid

October – March: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 18:00
April – September: Monday – Sunday: 10:00 – 20:00
Entry fee: €11.00 without guide; €15.00 with guide. Children under 5 go free.
Cheap rate: €6.00 for pre-arranged school groups, old age pensioners, students and the handicapped.

madrids-palace

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77 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tour. Although I must have been to countless palaces around the world, they never cease to amaze me. There’s so much history, sometimes good, sometimes bad, in these palaces and a chance to better understand the region. Not to forget, the art and culture is often at its lavish best as can be seen in this case too. Thanks for a wonderful tour.

  2. Christina says:

    Madrid has a great combination of history and urban diversions. I didn’t make it to the Royal Palace last time I was there and it looks like I should have visited! I went to the Prado Museum and loved it!

  3. Gokul Raj says:

    These cathedrals always leave me speechless with their grandeur and architecture. The art work aon the ceiling looks so stunning.

  4. Nisha says:

    I had to skip this one as it was raining heavily and we did not want to come out of the bus. (What a lame reason! ) Also we had a lot to cover.

  5. I did click few pictures before someone came and told me that photography is not permitted inside the palace. It is such a huge and gorgeous palace.

  6. Prasad Np says:

    Such a majestic place totally mesmerizing as you describe….the rooftop paintings look totally out of this world.

  7. Rosemary says:

    This is quite amazing. I’ve been to Versailles and it is quite lavish as well. The Royal Palace is incredible and the paintings and decor on the ceiling are outstanding. Nice to read about Spanish Royal Palace.

  8. It’s so long since I saw this that I hardly remember it. Your pictures have brought back great memories. Spanish art is quite astonishing isn’t it.

  9. Andi says:

    I am jealous!!! I’ve always wanted to visit Spain and the Royal Palace!!! 🙂 And why they don’t allow taking photos inside? This s*cks huhuhu. But anyway, very nice experience for you.
    Andi

  10. ladyfi says:

    Amazing and lovely tour!

  11. This is really a beautiful place, grand and gorgeous.

  12. Mar Pages says:

    Amazing, I have been to the Alahambra Palace in Granada but it looks like I have to see this as well. Beautiful shots taken! Enough glimpses of this palace to make me really want to go!

  13. Vyjay says:

    I love medieval history and the romance of knights in shining armour and mysterious and magnificent castles. The royal palace of Madrid indeed seems to be a treat for the senses. Awesome architecture blends in with exquisite interiors. I am sure you had an awesome experience there.

  14. The palace was the first thing we saw when we arrived in Madrid. If one has to get a sense of the grandeur of Spain, it creates a perfect first impression.

  15. Yogi Saraswat says:

    Madrid’s Palace is Europe’s largest palace based on floor area. Dimensions mentioned are 1.5 million square feet of floor space. Number of rooms – 3, 418. Beautiful and grand indeed ! I m not sure but our Rashtrapti Bhawan has some 3,000 rooms .

  16. What an Amazing Architectural Marvel and how wonderfully you have woven onto your Words ! Beautiful and Clicks actually take you on a Virtual tour !

  17. wow
    loving the grandeur of this place

  18. Erica says:

    This is indeed mesmerizing.. I wonder what it’s like to be in a real Spanish palace.. guess I’d need to wait for that day!!! I hope to visit Spain!!!

  19. Louiela says:

    Sometimes, we appreciate more the beauty of a place if we aren’t allowed to take photo. The way you described the palace in the above article will surely remind you how beautiful it is.
    I can relate well,,, of the many things we hear during audio or guided tour, we cannot remember anything after, specially if it is about history…

  20. Splendid creation! And how impressive the ceiling paintings are!

  21. Michelle says:

    Loved this post especially the history bit! It’s such a shame photography wasn’t permitted and as annoying as it is I can understand why. It helps with having continued flow of visitors 😂. I would have loved to see the throne room though!

  22. Woah, 860AD is a looooooong time ago! The decor on the ceiling is absolutely amazing! Great post – thanks for sharing 😀

  23. neha says:

    The palace seems to be quiet lovely. And has such a history behind it. Particularly loved the paintings. I wish to visit here in near future. will definitely come back and refer to your post

  24. Spain is always a dream destination for me. Especially, it has been part of our History (Philippines). The royal palace is so beautiful, majestic, and grand. I can’t believe how grandeur this place while reading your article. It’s so awesome!

  25. Soraya says:

    That looks incredible! I have never been to Madrid before, but should I go this would be on my bucket list. It really does look extravagant like Versailles. Glad to hear that they have some rooms open for the public to visit.

  26. rachael says:

    I LOVE Spain and really want to spend more time there! Madrid seems like such a vibrant city.

  27. Gel says:

    The paintings on the ceilings are stunning! I wonder if the windows too or other parts of the palace has artworks too?

  28. The murals painting on ceiling are lovely, to bad you couldn’t take photos? I wonder why, i’m so naughty I would be tempted to whip out my phone and sneak a few photos! Most likely would get caught and kicked out 🙂

  29. I’m drooling! So beautiful. I’ve been to Versailles, but never the Royal Palace of Madrid. Definitely now on my bucket list. It’s amazing how grand it was built and so long ago.

  30. Carola says:

    The palace is huge! I love it. It’s a pity you couldn’t take any pictures inside during the tour. I always love making pictures. It keeps the memory more alive. 870 windows?? That’s impressive!

  31. Angela says:

    You may not be able to find it empty often, but you were pretty lucky! You do look so tiny in that big square. We are going to Madrid in April so I will definitely jot this palace tour down. I’ve just begun doing research on what to do so thanks for sharing!

  32. Gina says:

    I’ve never been to Versailles but the palace in Madrid is breathtaking. It looks like it had a lot of renovations and additions over the years making it all the more stunning! You even found it semi empty and it makes me appreciate your pictures even more!

  33. Elisa says:

    thanks for guiding us through this huge palace, too bad that pictures inside were not allowed. so what’s your favourite, Versailles or this one?

  34. Lucky you! The palace looks breathtaking! I will visit there some time soon!

  35. This was a pleasant surprise! Each room is uniquely designed and feels like the set of Beauty. The rooms are absolutely beautiful! Well, reading your article. Surely, it’s worth the visit!

    The palace tour provided a fascinating insight into the history of Spain’s monarchy. It’s a good point of interest to see a bit of Spain’s contemporary history

  36. Eugenia says:

    I’ve never been to Madrid, hope one day I can visit this beautiful capital of the Spain! The Royal Palace of Madrid looks simply stunning!

  37. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this place and I’ve been dreaming to visit this place. I like how you transmit your thoughts to your photos as they rhyme together. I like how the history of this place being treasured until now.

    LaiAriel

  38. Ferna says:

    Wow.. those photos are really amazing. It is my first time to hear about the Royal Palace in Madrid. And those paintings are really amazing.

    And to top it all each rooms are unique and has its own character. It’s good to know the story of this place.

  39. This was the first sight we saw after landing in Madrid. What an ‘impressive’ first impression 🙂

  40. The palaces of Europe always seem so fascinating. Although a sharp contrast to the ones in India, this one in particular seems like one we would love to visit.

  41. Emma says:

    I’m off to Madrid at New Years! I’ve been a few times before but never been inside the palace. Looks like I’ll have to check it out this time!

  42. Andrea says:

    Madrid is a wonderful city and fabulous place to explore. I’ve been to the Royal Palace but like you, my memory is a little vague because you are not allowed much photography. However, I remember sitting on those steps for my photograph which was fun. Also, remember the rich furnishings, beautiful chandeliers and the stunning throne room. A great day out.

  43. KT Nielsen says:

    Thank you for sharing your travel experience especially the photos you captured. Wow! The frescos are beautiful, really mesmerizing. I’ll definitely include this in my bucket list. I’ll do a bit more research to see what other places we can visit near the palace so we can maximize our travel time in Madrid.

  44. No photography sure ruins the fun and personally I would be very disappointed. But the palace looks so majestic and artistic! 😀

  45. Sona Sethi says:

    Spain has been on my list for the longest time now. Would love to the architecture and this beautiful royal palace very soon!

  46. Борка Шаула says:

    The royal palace is definitely everything but little! I mean, G! I can only imagine how it felt being a royal and live there in that time!

  47. Thanks for the information and for sharing your travel experience. I only knew of Versailles palace, but now that I know of Madrid’s royal palace. I want to include it on my bucket list too. It’s a bummer that the use of photography is limited. I wanted to see more photos of it.

  48. The Castle looks really amazing! I hope I could go there soon

  49. Tom says:

    I’ve been to both places, the Royal Palace of Madrid and Versailles, and I find the experience very different. Versailles is overwhelming in the scope, the size, the crowds, while Madrid is much more approachable.

  50. blair villanueva says:

    oh what a splendid place! I can’t help but admire the paintings on its ceilings, and its very details architecture. So lucky to have a tour here.

  51. Spain is on top of the list of the places I want to visit someday! Their architecture is simply amazing!

  52. Joanna says:

    The Palace looks very beautiful, I remember seeing it when I was in the free walking tour of Madrid. We actually stopped at a coffee shop right near the palace for a break. I didn’t get a chance to visit it as I was there only for a day, in between flights. The architecture is majestic!

  53. Alberto C. says:

    I was born a couple of hours away from Madrid, and it took me at least 10 visits to the capital to get inside the Royal Palace… and I loved it! I wasn’t expecting so much luxury and beautiful decorations inside. Thanks for bringing these memories back! 🙂

  54. Madrid is a beautiful cosmopolitan of culture, history and gorgeous architecture. I love the palace and it looks marvelous for being built in the 17th century! It does resemble Versailles in some ways!

  55. Shane says:

    Wow this looks straight out of a fairytale! I’m bummed I didn’t make it past Barcelona for my short time I’m Spain!

  56. Ana Ojha says:

    The Royal Palace of Madrid looks absolutely breathtaking and its architecture looks magnificent! I’d love to explore and click its endless pictures!

  57. EG III says:

    Madrid’s largest building and Europe’s largest palace by land area! How the heck did I miss out on seeing this place when I was there?!? The artwork and architecture are absolutely stunning!

  58. Tae says:

    I love how you give a thorough background for all of your posts – the history of the Royal Palace is so interesting. I was only able to see the outside of the palace while I was in Madrid, but now I feel like I missed out on so much!

  59. love the way you tell about about this place. It’s amazing information the places with wonderful pics. I’ve never gone there before. Bookmarked it!

  60. Anju says:

    I enjoy a good dose of history every now and then, especially when reading about olden time architecture and culture. This place is so interesting and beautiful, definitely something to check out along with all the popular spots in Madrid.

  61. Ami says:

    I think that with 23 rooms and so much to see, one full day is what I would need for this palace. Seems like a fabulous place. I definitely would love to capture every inch of it in my memory.

  62. The first look of the palace and I was about to say it does remind me of Versailles Palace and you stated it there. The frescos and painting can be compared to Versailles to some extent. Madrid is yet to be explored hopefully happens soon

  63. Sriparna says:

    Did you learn about the history through your self research? How beautifully you’ve cited every detail… just brilliant!

    • Indrani Ghose says:

      Hi Sriparna, Yes I did research the history before going there and before writing this piece. It helps relate better. Thank you… though I feel the post could have been better.

  64. I haven’t been to any guided tours inside a royal palace. But if you are in Spain or Europe in general, a tour inside a palace is a must. Thank you for this, Indrani!

  65. Wow. I have never been in Madrid but seeing your photos makes me want to pack my things and go! I would need to save money though for that trip, hihi.

    airinaapril.blogspot.com

  66. Johna says:

    What a beautiful place! My family and I were actually planning on visiting Spain soon so I’m really excited. Beautiful photos too!!!

  67. This is amazing! Thanks for the virtual tour with your story and photos. This is one place that I wouldn’t miss if I have a chance to visit Spain. Gracias!

  68. Tina says:

    What a great place is that! The largest building and you’re so lucky to capture that with only you on the picture!! It must be so impressive in real life right?

    I’ve never been there before, but if I’m in Masrid I’ll definitely will!

    Much love, Tina

  69. lex says:

    spain has always been rich in culture and royalty is divine over there… awesome pictures you shared here ..

  70. Suz says:

    Beautiful! We will be in Spain in January and I think I’ll have to add this to our list of things to do! I love exploring palaces, especially when someone is there to tell me the history!

  71. Sharleeen says:

    Timing your trip so you get in for free is the smart way to travel! Your pictures are beautiful! I’m adding this to my bucket list!

  72. I love Madrid and remember walking past the palace many times, but have never been inside. Such a shame you couldn’t take photos! Did you go to Templo de Debod nearby? Best place to see the sunset.

  73. Ive never been to a palace. I mean ive seen palaces from photos and movies. Ive got to visit one too in Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur but from a distance. Entering a palace surely is a very enthralling experience. The interiors are very magical and wonderful!

  74. Kristina says:

    I am a sucker for palaces! I just can’t get enough of that architecture. I haven’t been to Madrid, but I know this would probably be my first stop there. So beautiful!

  75. This seems out of a fairy tale. I love palaces. 🙂

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