Royal Palace of Madrid – tickets, prices, discounts, Change of Guard

Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid is the most popular tourist attraction in Madrid. 

Built almost 300 years back, the Palace has 3,418 rooms and is spread over 135,000 square meters (1,450,000 sq ft).

Almost 2 million tourists explore the official residence of the Spanish royal family every year. 

In this article, we explain everything you need to know before you buy Madrid Palace tickets.

1. What to expect
2. Opening hours
3. Is Palace worth it?
4. Tour duration
5. Best time to visit
6. Cost of tickets
7. Free entry
8. Madrid Palace tickets
9. Guided tours
10. Combo tours
11. Madrid Palace interiors
12. What to see?
13. Changing of the Guard
14. Madrid Palace gardens

How to get to Madrid Palace

Address: Palacio Real de Madrid, Calle de Bailén, 28071 Madrid, España. Get Directions

The Royal Palace of Madrid is on Calle de Bailén (Bailén Street) in the western part of downtown Madrid.

By Metro

Metro is the best way to get to the Madrid Palace.

You can reach the Opera Subway station, which is serviced by Line 2, 5, and R.

From the station, the Royal Palace is only a five minutes walk. 

Opera subway station to Royal Palace of Madrid

Plaza de España station, which is serviced by Line 3 and 10, is your other option.

Plaza de Espana station to Madrid Palace

It is 1 km (half a mile) from the Royal Palace and usually takes 12 to 15 minutes to walk it.

By Bus

Madrid has an extensive bus service.

On weekdays, buses run from 6 am till 11.30 pm with a frequency of 4 to 15 minutes (frequency depends on the line and the time of day). 

On weekends and public holidays, buses start at 7 am and hit the shed at 11 pm. 

If a bus is your preferred mode of transport, your options are 3, 25, 39, 46, 62, 75, 138, 148, C1, C2, N16, N18, N19, N20.

Map of Madrid’s bus routes

Parking near Madrid Palace

There is no parking at the Palace, but you will find plenty of paid parking options nearby. 

We have provided the walking distance from the Royal Palace. 


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Royal Palace of Madrid hours

From Monday to Saturday, the Royal Palace of Madrid opens at 10 am and closes at 7 pm during the summer months of April to September. 

On Sundays, it remains open till 4 pm. 

During the winter months of October to March, the Madrid Palace opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm every day. 

Ticket counters close an hour before the Palace closes. 

The last entry into the Palace is also an hour before the closure. 

Madrid Palace Garden timings

The Campo del Moro gardens are open daily from 10 am to 8 pm, and the Sabatini gardens are open from 9 am to 9 pm all through the week.

Occasionally the gardens are closed for special events.

Change of Guard timings

The Change of Guard happens every Wednesday and Saturday, from 11 am till 2 pm. 

From 17 June to 15 September, they occur from 10 am to noon. 

The Solemn Change of Guard happens every first Wednesday of the month from 11 am till 2 pm. 

Except in January, August, and September when it stands canceled. 

Note: During summer, Change of Guard ceremonies can get canceled due to heat. 


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Is Madrid’s Royal Palace worth it?

The Royal Palace is the No. 1 attraction of the city and is an absolute must-visit during your holiday in Madrid. 

The attraction offers artistic, architectural, decorative, and cultural insights into the history of Spain. 

It may not be where the Spanish Royals live, but it is Europe’s largest Palace and has been around for almost three centuries, making it well worth the visit.

In Spanish, the Royal Palace of Madrid is known as Real Palacio de Madrid. It also has many other names: Madrid National Palace, Madrid Grand Palace, Madrid Palace, and Real Palace Madrid.


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How long does Madrid Palace take

To explore the Royal Palace of Madrid, you need at least two and a half hours – 90 minutes to see the main Palace, 30 minutes for the armory, and another half hour for the gardens. 

If you plan to visit on a Wednesday or a Saturday to see the Change of Guards ceremony, you need one more hour. 

Most guided tours are either 90 minutes or two hours long. 


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Best time to visit Madrid Palace

Visiting Royal Palace of Madrid
Image: Jens Peter Olesen

If you want to see the Change of Guards, the best time to visit the Royal Palace of Madrid is 10.30 am on either Wednesday or Saturday. 

You get half an hour to settle down and find a vantage position to see the Change of Guard, starting at 11 am. 

The ceremony happens at the Royal Palace’s patio called Armería square, entry to which is through the Santiago Gate (Bailen street). 

Since it gets crowded, visitors usually line up at the gate until it opens at 11 am. 

If you are not keen on seeing the Change of Guards, it is best to visit as soon as the Palace opens on any day except Wednesday and Saturday.


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Cost of Royal Palace of Madrid tickets

The Madrid Palace entrance fee depends on the experience you prefer. 

At 16 Euros for an adult and 8 Euros for a child, the self-guided Madrid Palace tour is the cheapest ticket available.

The cheapest guided tour of the Royal Palace costs only 25 Euros per person. 

The best guided tour of the Madrid Palace is priced at 34 Euros for visitors above seven years of age, and 27 Euros for kids between three to six years. 

This relatively higher cost is because this is a small group tour.


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Royal Palace of Madrid free entry

If you are on a budget holiday in Madrid, you can save money by visiting the Royal Palace when entry is free.

Monday to Thursday from 4 pm to 6 pm (October to March) and 6 pm to 8 pm (April to September) admission is free for EU citizens, residents and holders of work permits in the EU and Latin American citizens with proof of nationality or a residence or work permit.

Children under five years can enter for free all through the year. 

If you qualify any of the below conditions, you can enter without a ticket all through the year.

  • Teachers holding teacher credentials
  • Individuals with disabilities, with disability certificates
  • Unemployed individuals with job seeker card

Admission to the Madrid Palace is also free on the following days:

18 May: International Museum Day

12 October: Spanish National Holiday


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Tickets for Madrid Royal Palace

There are many types of Royal Palace of Madrid tickets, and your experience at the attraction depends on the type of entry you select.

In this section, we explain everything about the Royal Palace tickets.

Royal Palace of Madrid tickets
Image: Sparklesandshoes.com

Madrid Palace tickets are timed

When you book your tickets, you must select a timeslot. 

The slots start from 10 am (when the Palace opens) and are available every 15 minutes. 

You must be in the line at least 15 minutes before the time mentioned on your ticket. 

Buying tickets online is better

When you visit the Royal Palace of Madrid, you must stand in two lines – at the ticket counter to purchase your tickets and the security check. 

If you buy your Madrid Palace tickets online, much in advance, you can skip the long lines at the ticket counter and quickly go through the security.

Depending on the time of the day and season, this saves you 15 to 30 minutes of waiting time. 

No need to take print outs

The tickets recommended below are smartphone tickets, and as soon as you make the purchase, they get emailed to you.

There is no need to take a printout – on the day of your visit, show the ticket in your email, on your smartphone, and walk in.

Madrid Palace Skip The Line tickets

This is the cheapest entry ticket to the Royal Palace of Madrid. 

It gets you to access all parts of the Palace except the Royal Kitchen. 

Even though kids up to 4 years get in for free, you must purchase a ticket for the child.

Ticket price

Adult ticket (17 to 64 years): 16 Euros
Youth ticket (5 to 16 years): 8 Euros
Seniors ticket (65+ years): 8 Euros
Student ticket (less than 25 years): 8 Euros
Child ticket (up to 4 years): Free entry


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Royal Palace of Madrid guided tours

There are quite a few benefits to hiring a local expert to guide you around the Royal Palace. 

– You don’t waste your time trying to find the exhibits and rooms

– You don’t miss out on any of the must-sees during your visit

– Expert guides share in-depth knowledge, exciting stories, anecdotes, etc. making the tour even more memorable.

Our thoughts: If you can afford it, a guided tour is the best way to explore the Madrid Palace.

You must choose between these three guided tours – 

Royal Palace Skip-the-Line Guided Tour

At 4.9 out of 5, this is the most highly rated guided tour of the Royal Palace of Madrid. 

The 2-hour long tour starts at 9 am, with 400 meters (quarter-mile) walk from Plaza de Isabel II to the Palace.

Everybody gets headphones during this two to hear the guide better.

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.

Tour price

Adult ticket (7+ years): 34 Euros
Child ticket (3 to 6 years): 27 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 2 years): Free entry

If you want something cheaper, check out the standard group, a 90-minutes guided tour of the Madrid Palace. It costs only 25 Euros per person.

Guided tour of Madrid Palace with Tapas tasting

This two-hour guided tour of the Madrid Palace ends with Tapas Tasting in one of the most exquisite bars nearby.

Spain is internationally renowned for its gastronomy, and tapas are an integral part of Spanish cuisine. 

Cancel 24 hours in advance for a full refund. 

(On the ticket booking page select: Skip-the-Line Guided Tour with Tapas Tasting)

Tour price

Adult ticket (7+ years): 45 Euros
Child ticket (3 to 6 years): 36 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 2 years): Free entry

Early morning guided tour of Madrid Royal Palace

If you are an early riser or prefer to avoid the crowd, this is the perfect tour for you.

Even though the Palace opens at 10 am, this exclusive ticket gets you in at 8.30 am much before the crowd comes. 

So you have a 90 minutes headstart over the rest of the visitors and explore the Palace in peace. 

You can cancel this tour 24 hours in advance for a full refund. 

(On the ticket booking page select: Standard Group – Morning Tour)

Tour price

Adult ticket (12+ years): 29 Euros
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): 26 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 2 years): Free entry

Private guided tour of Madrid Palace

If you prefer a private guide to take you around the Madrid Palace, look no further than this 2 hours long guided tour that starts at 12 noon. 

Tour price: 190 Euros for up to 2 persons

On the ticket booking page select: ‘Private Skip-the-Line Guided Tour’


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Madrid Palace combo tours

Since it is the most popular attraction in the city, many combo tours include entry to the Royal Madrid Palace.

These combo tours are popular with tourists for two reasons:

  1. Combo tour tickets end up being up to 20% cheaper than the tickets bought individually
  2. Since the Royal Palace can be explored in 2 to 3 hours, visitors want one more attraction or activity for the day

Here are three of our favorite combo tours, which also include Palace entry.

Royal Palace of Madrid + Retiro Park Tour

This five hours tour starts at 9 am with a guided visit to the Madrid Palace.

Following the Royal Palace tour, you walk through the historic city center to Retiro Park, where you will take a walking tour of the leafy paths. 

You can upgrade this tour and include Tapas tasting at one of the city’s most exquisite bars. 

Tour price

Adult ticket (7+ years): 36 Euros
Child ticket (3 to 6 years): 29 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 2 years): Free entry

Madrid City Sightseeing + Madrid Palace entry

This tour starts at 9 am with a 4-hour guided coach tour of the streets of Madrid. 

Some of the coach tours’ highlights are the elegant squares of Oriente and España, Retiro park, Parque del Oeste, the bridges across the Manzanares, etc.

The stop at the Hard Rock Café in Plaza de Colón for a complimentary soft drink marks the end of the city tour. 

Then you head to the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Tour price

Adult ticket (16 to 64 years): 45 Euros
Seniors ticket (65+ years): 41 Euros
Child ticket (6 to 15 years): 34 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry

Follow the link for a similar combo tour.

Madrid Palace guided visit + Prado Museum

This tour starts at 9.45 with a guided visit to the Prado Museum, also known as the Spanish National Art Museum.

You follow it up with a guided tour of one of Europe’s most memorable royal residences – Royal Palace in Madrid.

Tour price

Adult ticket (12+ years): 59 Euros
Child ticket (3 to 11 years): 53 Euros
Infant ticket (up to 2 years): Free entry


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Madrid Royal Palace interiors

It is only fair to want to know what’s inside Madrid Palace before planning a visit.

The video below can give you a sense of what to expect at the Royal Palace.

What to see at the Royal Palace of Madrid

We list below the must-see exhibits at Madrid Palace during your visit. 

1. Throne Room

The Throne Room at Madrid Palace is also called Besamanos del Cuarto del Rey, de Reinos, or de Embajadores. 

The room’s decorative ensemble has been preserved as King Carlos III finished in 1772.

Don’t forget to look up at Tiepolo’s ceiling fresco, the Apotheosis of the Spanish Monarchy.

2. Royal Armoury of Madrid

The Royal Armoury of Madrid is also known as Real Armería de Madrid and consists of the personal arms of the Spanish Kings, military weapons, armors, etc. 

Alongside the Imperial Armory of Vienna, the Royal Armoury of Madrid is considered to be one of the best in the world.

3. Columns Hall

The Column Hall of the Royal Palace of Madrid was second only to the Throne Room, in terms of importance. 

The Royals used it as a ballroom. Functions and important civil court ceremonies also got conducted at the Column Hall.

4. Main Staircase

This is the staircase from where you enter and exit, so you can’t miss it.

It is composed of a single piece of San Agustin marble and offers a grand entrance, and that is why it is also often referred to as the Grand Staircase.  

Sabatini built the Grand Staircase in 1789, and as a tribute to him, the gardens behind the Palace are called ‘Sabatini Gardens.’

5. Gasparini Lounge

Gasparini Lounge served as a reception room and dressing room to King Charles III, who started staying in Madrid Palace from 1764.

That’s why this room is also called the King’s Chamber. 

The Gasparini Lounge is named after the designer responsible for the interior decoration.

6. Royal Kitchen

The Royal Kitchen at the Palace of Madrid is perhaps one of the most elegant surviving historic kitchens among European Royal residences.

The kitchen occupies a large area on the first-floor basement of the Palace.

Note: Only some of the Madrid Royal Palace tickets get you inside the kitchen. If you are keen on checking out the Royal kitchen, we recommend this guided tour, which costs only 25 Euros per person.

7. Gala Dining Room

King Alfonso XII commissioned architect J. Segundo de Lema to combine three chambers of Queen María Amalia into a Gala Dining Room. 

Back then, this Great Hall was used for dances and gala meals, and today it gets used for State Dinners. 

8. Royal Chapel

The idea to build a Royal Chapel was floated in 1742, and architect Giovanni Battista Sacchetti combined several small rooms to complete it by 1748. 

In the ancient days, the entire Court had its assigned place in the Chapel. 

The public was only allowed to occupy the section closest to the 

entrance or antechapel.    

9. Hall of Halberdiers

Architect Sacchetti had conceived this room as a hall for dances and parties, King, but Carlos III assigned it to the guards.

On the walls, you will find eighteenth-century tapestries, and a magnificent fresco by Giambattista Tiepolo depicting the classic scene of Apotheosis of Aeneas adorns the ceiling.

10. Royal Pharmacy

During the times of King Felipe II the Royal Pharmacy was made a part of the royal household. 

At the pharmacy, you will find rows of drawers with name and painting of the herb it contains and beautiful jars of herbs and medications. 

Most of these ceramic jars were made at the La Granja factory. 

You will also find a huge yet portable pharmacy, which was to follow the King wherever he visited. 


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Madrid Palace Changing of the Guard

There are two types of Changing of Guard at the Royal Palace of Madrid.

‘Changing of the Guard’ happens on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the more special of the two – ‘Solemn Changing of the Guard’ occurs once every month. 

Changing of the Guard

It is a simpler version of the Madrid Palace Change of Guard and happens every Wednesday and Saturday.

To see it, you must be outside the Puerta del Príncipe gate, where four members of the Royal Guard are relieved of their positions.

Two soldiers on their feet and two soldiers on horseback dressed in their ceremonial red, white and blue uniforms march to the beat of the music.

Every ten minutes, the soldiers on horseback march past the front of the Royal Palace.

Timing

The Change of Guard happens every Wednesday and Saturday, from 11 am till 2 pm. From 17 June to 15 September, they occur from 10 am to noon. 

Solemn Changing of the Guard

It is the more elaborate version of the Royal Palace of Madrid’s Change of Guard and happens on the first Wednesday of every month, except in January, August, and September.

Four hundred soldiers and 100 horses participate in the Solemn Changing of the Guard, which is choreographed precisely like how it used to be during the times of King Alfonso XII and King Alfonso XIII.

An extensive music unit backs the Solemn Changing of the Guard. 

They play tunes like El Almirante, Doña Francisquita, and España Cañí on fifes and drums, even as the incoming and outgoing soldiers go about their practiced steps. 

Timing

The Solemn Change of Guard happens every first Wednesday of the month from 11 am till 2 pm. Except in January, August, and September when it stands canceled. 

Where does the Change of Guard happen?

The ceremony happens at the Royal Palace’s patio called Armería square, entry to which is through the Santiago Gate (Bailen street). 

Since it gets crowded, visitors usually line up at the gate.

How much does it cost?

The Guards ceremony is free entry for all. But to see the rest of the Palace, you need the Royal Palace of Madrid tickets.

How long does Change of Guard last?

The Change of Guard at the Royal Palace of Madrid lasts for almost an hour.

Tip: For the most comfortable views, you can come early and occupy the steps of the Almudena Cathedral much in advance.


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Madrid Palace gardens

The Royal Palace of Madrid has two gardens – Jardins de Sabatini and Jardins del Campo del Moro.

Both the gardens are free to enter and have separate entrances. 

Sabatini gardens are smaller and more modern of the two, with multiple layers, manicured hedges plazas, water features, and statues. 

There is a lot of shade and lots of benches to sit on. 

Sabatini Gardens are open from 9 am to 9 pm all through the week.

Jardins del Campo del Moro is the older of the two Palace gardens, and you can access it from the main gate on Paseo de la Virgen del Puerto. 

The star attraction of this garden is the water fountain called Fuente de las Conchas. 

Jardins del Campo del Moro is a massive garden with wooded areas and elaborate walkways and dating back to the 18th century. 

The Campo del Moro gardens are open daily from 10 am to 8 pm.

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