Madrid Royal Palace Tours

The Royal Palace is one of the architectural jewels of Madrid, both outside and inside. I tell you how to visit its interior

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

7 min read

Madrid Royal Palace Tours

Royal Palace of Madrid | ©Juanedc

Located in the Plaza de Oriente, the Royal Palace is a building steeped in history and houses works of art and valuable objects in its sumptuous rooms that are well worth a visit.

Buying tickets online in advance allows you to plan your visit for a specific date and time without running the risk of running out and, of course, saves you queues that can involve several hours of waiting in the sun.

The best option

Madrid Royal Palace Guided Tour

Tour the Royal Palace with an expert guide

If you want to discover the interior of the Royal Palace and learn about its rooms, secrets and legends, join this guided tour with a professional guide.

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

Once you book this tour you will meet your guide on the chosen day at the Plaza de Isabel II (near the Opera House in Madrid) so that before entering the Palace you can walk around the outside while you hear from an expert the history of the building and those who lived in it. The tour costs 28 euros and lasts an hour and a half, but if you want to continue exploring the Royal Palace after the guide finishes his tour there is no problem.

When selecting the day of the visit, if you want to avoid crowds, keep in mind that from Monday to Thursday from 17 to 19 the entrance is free and therefore there will be more people visiting the palace (although you will not wait in line); therefore, a Friday or Saturday afternoon, depending on the season, may be a better option.

Inside the Palace you will see the official rooms, the royal armor, the Throne Room and Goya's paintings, among other rooms.

Why I like this option: in a place so full of historical context and symbolism, the help of an expert guide will be essential to get the most out of the visit.

Savings Pack

Madrid Combo: Prado Museum and Royal Palace Guided Tour

Tour the Royal Palace and the Prado Museum

The Prado Museum and the Royal Palace are two of the must-sees of any trip to Madrid. With this combo you can enjoy both places with an expert guide.

Duration: 5 hours

This double guided tour begins with an hour and a half tour inside the Prado Museum, where the guide will take you to contemplate the essential works of the museum and explain what you should know about each of them. After visiting the most relevant works of renowned artists such as Goya or Murillo, you will stroll through the center until you reach the Royal Palace.

There you will access the interior with the guide and tour the main rooms of the Palace, where they will also explain a little of the history of the Spanish royal family and the use of each of the main rooms of the Palace.

In both the Prado and the Royal Palace tickets are included and will allow you to skip the entrance queues, which makes the visit much more dynamic and lighter.

Why I like this option: this is the most practical and comfortable way to visit two of the main points of interest in Madrid. An expert guide will make sure you don't miss any detail and get the most out of both places.

Buy tickets for the Royal Palace at the ticket office

Royal Palace entrance
Royal Palace entrance

The box office is open during the opening hours of the palace: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 19:00 and Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 16:00 (the last access is always one hour before closing). The problem with buying tickets at the box office is that you can expect long queues and, once you get to the box office, tickets may be sold out for that day. You can save between 3 and 5 euros compared to online pre-sale.

What to see at the Royal Palace

Chapel of the Royal Palace| ©Eric Chan
Chapel of the Royal Palace| ©Eric Chan

Throne Room

It is the room that generates more curiosity in any palace and, specifically in the Royal Palace of Madrid, does not disappoint. The throne room is covered with a sumptuous decoration in red and gold and is one of the few that is preserved with virtually the same decoration it had during the reign of Charles III.

Royal Armory

The collection of weapons and war objects that contains the Royal Palace of Madrid is one of the most prestigious in Europe. Most of the weapons you will see in the armory rooms are gala weapons and you will also find diplomatic gifts and trophies that have increased the collection since the time of Philip II.

Hall of Columns

This large room is one of the brightest in the Palace and its original use was as a ballroom. In addition to its vaulted ceiling and luxurious crystal chandeliers, be sure to observe the fresco that can be seen from the entrance in which different deities are represented, which, if you take a guided tour, will be explained during the visit.

Gasparini Hall

This is the room where private audiences took place and it is unlike any other room in the palace. Its decoration is baroque and ornate and gives the impression of not leaving any free space on the floor or walls. It is well worth recreating in the details and paintings that you will find in it, so do not be in a hurry.

Gala dining room

It is hard to imagine a table like the gala dining room full of delicacies and important dignitaries, but even today it is still used sporadically for state dinners. Especially in this room, it will give you the feeling of being in a period movie.

Royal Chapel

Within the luxury for which the palace is characterized, the Royal Chapel is a relatively simple chapel designed by Sacchetti in the eighteenth century. This is an ideal stop for a guided tour to talk about the importance of religion in the Spanish monarchy and the relationship of music with all this framework.

Halberdiers' Hall

Although originally conceived as a ballroom, Charles III used this room as a guard room. Being simply decorated, one should not overlook the paintings found in this room, including one painted in 2014 by Antonio Lopez on the family of Juan Carlos I.

Royal Kitchen

For access to the Royal Kitchen you will have to pay a small supplement along with the Palace entrance fee. It is located in the basement of the building and you can see how different advances have been incorporated over the years. The layout and fittings are designed for the greatest possible comfort of the dozens of workers who spent the day in it.

Ana's Traveller Tip

Access to the gardens surrounding the palace is free and you can see them either on the same day of your visit to the palace or any other day.

Organize your visit to the Royal Palace

Plaza de Armas, Royal Palace| ©Bogdan Migulski
Plaza de Armas, Royal Palace| ©Bogdan Migulski

Free admission

Some monuments and museums in Madrid have a time of day when it is free to visit them. The Royal Palace is free from Monday to Thursday from 17 to 19 pm. Of course, if you are going to take advantage of this time slot go with time because the queues are quite long and when you get to the entrance you may barely have time to tour the palace.

The unemployed, children under five years, active teaching staff, members of large families and the disabled enter free at any time with the corresponding accreditation.

Changing of the Guard

If you want to see the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace you will have the opportunity to do so for free. Every Wednesday and Saturday from 11:00 to 14:00 takes place at the Puerta del Príncipe the changing of the guard in which the Royal Guards on foot coincide with the sentries on horseback.

Sabatini and Campo del Moro Gardens

The Palace has two gardens nearby and both are free and well worth a stroll. The first are located on one side of the palace and you descend to them by stairs, the second are larger and are in the back. Be sure to see them (preferably early in the morning to avoid the heat) even if you do not visit the palace.

Where to eat

If you want to eat before or after visiting the palace you will only have to pass the Plaza de Oriente until you reach Plaza de España where the Gran Vía begins and you will have a multitude of options at your disposal. In the gardens behind the Opera of Madrid you can also have a picnic.

The Royal Palace with children

If you are traveling with children, a visit to the Royal Palace can be a good idea. The decoration of the halls, the armor and other elements will attract the attention of the little ones. What I advise you is that, if you do not do guided tour, you document before you go to be able to explain adapting to their language some of the rooms they are seeing.

Ana's Traveller Tip

If you visit Madrid in summer and want to buy your tickets at the box office, expect that the queue is several meters long and with long stretches in the sun.

If you are interested in visiting the Royal Palace of Madrid, you will also like

Prado Museum| ©Carmelo Peciña
Prado Museum| ©Carmelo Peciña

All the stories of Kings and Queens that the Royal Palace holds are also captured in the paintings of the Prado Museum. Many of the works of art in Spain's most important museum were commissioned by members of royalty or directly portray episodes from their lives.

If you want to learn more about the Habsburg and Bourbon dynasties, don't rule out a guided tour of the Prado Museum, which you can learn more about by reading this article: Madrid Prado Tickets.

If on the other hand you feel like enjoying more Spanish folklore, you can always attend a flamenco show. There are several 'tablaos' in Madrid with performances almost every day, but I tell you all about them in this article so you can make sure you attend a quality show: Flamenco Shows in Madrid.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is so special about the Royal Palace in Madrid?

    The Royal Palace is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family and, for architecture lovers, is one of the most important baroque palaces in Europe.

  • What else can I see in Madrid?

    Apart from the Royal Palace, El Prado and the Reina Sofia, there are a number of attractions to see around the city. Gran Via is the main tourist and shopping street of the city and is a spectacle, there is also El Rastro (a huge market with over 1000 street vendors every Sunday), Plaza Mayor (main square of the city) and Puerta del Sol (the center of the city).

  • Is there anything I should know to tour the city?

    Although Madrid is a very safe city, tourists especially can fall victim to pickpockets if they are not careful. So our advice is to make sure to keep your wallet and cell phone in your front pockets, keep your belongings in sight at all times and leave your passport at the hotel or somewhere safe.