The Spanish Royal Palace (Palacio Real) is one of the biggest palaces in Western Europe. The palace is known for its extravagant interior and the staggering collection of furniture, artwork, weapons, armor and accessories found throughout its 3,400 rooms. Construction of the building you see today started in 1738 after the previous royal residence burned down on the same site in 1734. Nowadays the Spanish royal family does not live in the palace.
Walk up the 70 steps of the Grand Staircase and through to the intricately decorated banquet halls and residential quarters. They were fitted out under the direction of King Carlos III and are some of the most impressive in Europe. You’ll also have access to his apartments, where you’ll find lavish furniture and masterful works of art.
Move on to the Throne Room to see one of Giambattista Tiépolo’s finest frescoes, the Glory of Spain, as well as ornate chandeliers, mirrors and tapestries. Head to the Hall of Halberdiers for a look at another of Tiepolo’s works or view the Royal Chapel to admire the elegant marble work and gold trimmings. Visit the Royal Library to examine rare old books and papers. You’ll also find maps, drawings and a selection of Stradivarius violins.
Explore the Painting Gallery to gaze at works by Velázquez, Caravaggio, El Greco, Goya and others, or wander through to the magnificent Royal Armories. You’ll see weapons used by the kings of Spain and their family for hundreds of years. Move on to the Royal Pharmacy to see old medicine bottles, storage cabinets and equipment.
The Royal Palace is in central Madrid and the closest metro station is Ópera. Visitors can wander the rooms at will or can join a guided tour for an extra fee. The palace is open every day except national holidays.