Madrid's The Royal Palace (Palacio Real in Spanish) is the official residence of the King of Spain, Felipe VI, though he doesn't live here himself. The Palace is mostly used for state ceremonies nowadays, however there has been royal residence of some kind on this spot for one thousand years. The present building dates back to the eighteenth century.
Next to the Royal Palace is Madrid's cathedral.
While the Palace is fairly old, construction on the cathedral was only completed in 1994. And no, that's not a typo! Astonishingly, Madrid really didn't have a completed cathedral until less than two decades ago.
Classical Spanish Art in All Its Glory
The Royal Palace houses a great collection of classical Spanish art from such luminaries as Goya and Velazquez—if you've done Madrid's other great museums such as the Prado and the Thyssen, this should be the next on your list if you're a fine art buff.
Much of the residential area is open to the public, as well as the throne room, hall of mirrors and royal dining room. If you ever wanted to see how the 0.01% lives, this is your chance.
Getting Into the Palace
The cost of entry to the Royal Palace depends on which part you'd like to visit, with prices ranging from 2€ to 14€. For the frugal, there are some extremely complicated ways of getting in cheaper, but best refer to the official Royal Palace website for all current ticketing prices and inquiries.
That being said, the Royal Palace has free entry on Wednesdays, so definitely take advantage of that offer if you find yourself in Madrid in the middle of the week. You can also gain free entry to the Royal Palace by purchasing the Madrid Card.
In fact, there are many free things to do in Spain if you know where to look!
Check out our article for a list of activities for the traveler on a budget.
For Even More, Take a Guided Tour
If paying the full price to enter the Palace, a guided tour is included in your entry fee.
If you plan on taking a wider tour of the whole of Madrid, it is possible to take a tour that combines entry and a guided tour of the Royal Palace with a bus tour of the city, like this one. You can also take a small-group tour of the city that includes entry to the Palace, if you want to stroll through the capital instead.
Make the Most Out of Your Trip to Madrid
As grandiose and amazing as the Royal Palace is, it's only a tiny portion of what Madrid has to offer! If you're lucky enough to be staying in the city, you should see as many sights as you can—you'll never get bored. Read up on how to plan your trip to Madrid, and you can find a list of affordable lodgings here.