Madrid's Royal Palace (also known as the Palacio Real or Palacio de Oriente) is a beautiful baroque structure with some 3,000 rooms, making it one of Europe's largest castles. Although the royal family no longer lives here, the Palacio Real still serves as the king and queen's official residence, a venue for state ceremonies, and a place for tourists to get a peek into the royal history of Spain.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is open daily, and citizens of the EU enjoy free admission, while other visitors pay a small fee to go inside. Travelers can explore independently, hire a tour guide, or rent an audio guide upon arrival; some opt to book a guided tour in advance. For a truly royal experience, you can secure exclusive early access before the palace opens.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Royal history buffs and art historians rejoice—you'll get to visit the Throne Room, see a variety of Goya paintings, and more.
- Ticket lines can take a while, so book a skip-the-line ticket to avoid a long wait.
- The palace is generally accessible for travelers with disabilities, and wheelchairs are available.
- The nearby Royal Pharmacy (Farmacia Real) and Royal Armory (Armería Real) are included in your palace entry ticket.
How to Get to Madrid's Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is conveniently located on Bailén Street (Calle de Bailén) in downtown Madrid near many other must-see attractions. It's an easy walk from Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, and there are also a number of Metro stations, bus lines, and train stops nearby.
When to Get There
You can visit the palace year round, but be sure to check the schedule for closures and reduced hours during some public holidays. The Changing of the Guard is held every Wednesday except in July through September, during official events, and when weather doesn't permit. As at most attractions in Madrid, crowds are bigger and lines are longer in the peak summer months.
Other Sights to See Near the Royal Palace
There's a lot to see beyond the palace walls, so be sure to carve out a few hours to see the rest of the area. Just across the courtyard from the Royal Armory is the Almudena Cathedral, and beyond the gates are the free Campo del Moro gardens and Sabatini Gardens. And in front of the palace lies the Plaza de Oriente, a great place to stop at a café for a coffee or snack with a view of the royal residence.