Palacio Real: Spanish Royal Palace in Madrid - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
       LINKS
       ARTICLES
Globetrotting Planning Articles

Globetrotting Traveling Articles

Globetrotting Lodging Articles

Globetrotting Touring Articles

Globetrotting Dining Articles

Globetrotting Making Magic Articles

Globetrotting General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum
Read Comments on This Article

Palacio Real: Spanish Royal Palace in Madrid

International Travel photo
by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 10-28-2010
  

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!


Filed in Articles > International Travel > general Travel  

Palaces are a major attraction at many cities around the world, with Buckingham Palace usually on the list for most visitors to London to see and Versailles holding a similar place for many who visit Paris. They're names that are well known, whereas the Palacio Real in Madrid isn't a name that I'd heard of before we visited the city. As such, I wasn't expecting much from the Spanish royal palace, but I was amazed at what we found there.


Perhaps it's the fact that the Palacio Real was actually based on the wonderfully sumptuous and occasionally over the top Chateau of Versailles. The palace was started by King Felipe V in the early part of the 18th century, and he wanted something that would remind him of Versailles, where he had grown up. It wasn't an easy build, as the first version was completely destroyed by fire in 1734, and it then took another 30 years for the second version to be finished.

It’s an imposing building of a huge size. We approached it from the Plaza del Oriente and the building ran down the entire side of the road and up to the Catedral de la Almudena. It’s probably similar in size to Buckingham Palace and, when we finally got to the visitor entrance of the palace, we were asked if we wanted to have a guided tour. As the next tour in English was literally about five minutes away, we quickly agreed and paid the extra. Entry into the palace is ordinarily €8/adults and the guided tour was only another €2 on top, which was excellent value.

I wasn’t sure if it would be an audioguide, as is so often the case with visitor attractions these days, but no, it was a real-life guide, who spoke excellent English. The tour lasted around 50 minutes and took us through all the areas that are open to the public. You can tour them on your own with a standard audioguide, but we much preferred the approach we took.



Madrid - Palacio Real photo
Madrid - Palacio Real

The detail on Madrid's Royal Palace. - photo by chezp

You enter through the main square and that's the only area where you’re allowed to take photos. Then you're into the palace itself and immediately heading up stairs to where the rooms you visit are located.

One of the first things we learned on the main staircase from our guide was that this royal palace is sadly no longer home to the Royal family. They lived here until 1931, when King Alfonso XIII was forced to abdicate at the start of the Spanish Civil War. He fled into exile in France and, when the family returned, they instead made their home in a much more modest palace outside of the city. However, its royal connections remain just as strong as ever, with all state occasions held here. One of the highlights of the tour was seeing the Gala Dining Room, created by putting three different rooms together. It was made for a royal wedding back in 1879 and, today visiting heads of state are welcomed here. It can seat up to 140 people at dinner, and we had two seats pointed out to us, both slightly higher than all the others, which are reserved for the king and queen.

After visiting the dining room, where we were told the kings of old times used to dine, we were taken into two more rooms, one for lunch and one for breakfast. Surprisingly enough, it was the breakfast room that caught our attention. It might be used for the smallest meal of the day and it was a tiny room, but it was the contents of it that caught our eye. Called the Gaspirini Room, it was named after its Italian creator, and has a Chinese theme to it. It’s decorated with flowers and fruit, all in a wonderful green colored marble, with a central chandelier the likes of which we’d never seen before. It was huge!

The Throne Room was another highlight, with its wonderful gold thrones and stunning bronze lions on either side of the thrones. These were created in Rome in 1651. Sadly, the thrones aren’t used at all these days, although it is used for receptions a couple of times a year, but our guide made a point of telling us that the king and queen never sit down, they always stand to greet their guests.

Something you wouldn’t expect to see in a royal palace is the Porcelain Room, which is decorated completely in porcelain, which came from the royal factory. Sadly that factory doesn’t exist any longer today, but there is still a working tapestry factory from which the tapestries in the palace tend to come.

As well as the palace, there are two other areas that you can see through a self-guided tour, which are the Royal Pharmacy, which sadly we didn’t have time to see, and the Royal Armoury, which was filled with armour, as the name suggests, and weapons. It reminded us both of the displays we’ve seen in the past in the Tower of London, although this collection is probably even larger.

The palace is located in a beautiful position in Madrid, on top of a hill, overlooking the west of the city below, and you get some stunning views from the square at the entrance to the palace. To the east of the palace are a set of beautifully landscaped gardens, called Campo del Moro. Once again, looking at those I couldn’t help but think of the gardens at Versailles, and I’m sure that’s no accident.

The royal palace is also home to a comprehensive shop, and a very tasty restaurant, which served up some wonderful pasta dishes.

All in all, we found our visit to the Palacio Real to be a real revelation. This royal palace truly ranks amongst the great palaces of the world, and is well worth a visit for anyone heading to Spain’s capital city.


Madrid - Palacio Real photo
Madrid - Palacio Real

Madrid's Royal Palace, the Palacio Real, open for guided tour, although sadly no longer home to the Royal family. - photo by chezp




About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Related Links:
Serendipity 3 in New York City - A Dining Review last updated 12/29/2008
Hong Kong Disneyland Celebrates - A New Year In A New Disney Park last updated 12/18/2008
Valencia, Spain - Travel Tips last updated 11/27/2008
Bellagio of Las Vegas - Simply Bellissimo! last updated 1/08/2009
Hever Castle - Kent, England last updated 1/15/2009




Reader Comments:


View all comments in forum thread

So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 10-28-2010 - Article #534 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 

RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by CruisingCo.com


European Passporters, I need your help please
by Lumieregirl
30 Aug 2014 at 10:33pm
I'm planning a trip for summer 2015. The total trip will be 12-14 days. The basic idea is to spend a few days in Ireland first, then fly to London,...
(click title above to view replies)

My Northern US Friends, Apple and Pumpkin picking?
by TheMadonna3
18 Aug 2014 at 12:35pm
I am originally from NJ and my favorite fall thing was to go apple and pumpkin picking. In Florida, we don't have that or anything similar to that....
(click title above to view replies)

Disney Hong Kong-Been there?
by KimmyAnn1147
11 Aug 2014 at 4:51pm
Hi All! It's looking like I may have a chance to visit Disneyland Hong Kong in the summer of '16. I haven't done any research yet, and I 'm wanting...
(click title above to view replies)



Total Visits: 4628


PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.