About Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official – although not the actual – home of the Spanish royal family. Now used mainly for ceremonial and public functions, the Royal Palace of Madrid is open to the public as a museum of the building’s and the country’s history. As such, the Royal Palace of Madrid features as one of our Top 10 Visitor Attractions in Spain.
Royal Palace of Madrid history
Long before Madrid became the capital of Spain, Emir Mohamed I chose Magerit (the city’s Arabic name) as the site for a fortress to protect Toledo from the advancing Christians. Prior to the building of the Royal Palace of Madrid, the site on which it sits was home to the Emir’s Antiguo Alcazar, translated as the Old Fortress.
When this burnt down in 1734, Felipe V (Philip V) ordered the construction of what would become the Royal Palace of Madrid. Begun in 1738, the Royal Palace of Madrid would take 17 years to complete and its first resident was the infamous Charles III (Carlos III), known as the ‘Mayor of Madrid’ for the large number of reforms he undertook.
The palace would serve as the home of the Spain’s monarchs until 1931 under Alfonso XIII, when the monarchy was abolished and the Spanish Civil War began.
Royal Palace of Madrid today
Visitors to the Royal Palace of Madrid can view the armour and weaponry of the Kings of Spain in the Royal Armoury – housing weapons and armour worn by the kings and royals of Spain since the 13th century – the Royal Pharmacy and several fascinating rooms such as that of Charles III, including his Hall of Mirrors and the Throne Room.
As well as the historical significance of the Royal Palace of Madrid, the site also has stunning gardens in which to wander around. On Wednesdays, there is a changing of the guard ceremony.
Getting to the Royal Palace of Madrid
Sat at the heart of Madrid, the Royal Palace is hard to miss. For those using public transport, the Principe Pio train station is minutes away from the palace and serves C1, C10, MD and Regional lines as well as linking to the airport. Otherwise Opera subway stop serves lines 2, 5 and R.