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Royal palace of Madrid

Does anyone know the length of the audio guide distributed by the Palace?

Posted by
107 posts

Thank you. That seems like a very short visit

Posted by
2120 posts

Hi Yvonne, the Palacio Real is one of the largest royal palaces in Europe, I don't remember specifics about the audio guide, but it took me around 2:30 hrs to see the Palacio Real and the adjacent Royal Armory, and I definitely did not see it all.

Posted by
18405 posts

Yeah, I do not care for palaces at all (it was the Palacio Real that convinced me of that), and I think I was inside for about 2 hours, probably just looking at the floors and ceilings. The place is popular (though it wasn't particularly crowded for me in May 2016), and you could find yourself moving more slowly than expected.

Posted by
14241 posts

Even if the audio guide only runs for 45 minutes, allow a lot longer to tour the site. First, it will take time to walk from place to place and not everything you may want to stop and look at is included in the guide.

Rick ranks this as the #3 palace in Europe, after Versailles and Schoenbrun. That sums it up - if that floats your boat, you'll want more time. If not, you may well find other things to do in Madrid that are more to your liking. The Naval Museum is excellent, though there's not much English explanation (need to show passport for entry).

Posted by
2691 posts

I have not been to Schonbrunn, but liked the palace in Madrid much better than either Versailles or Windsor.

Posted by
95 posts

We spent at least two hours in the palace. We had an audio guide and went at our own pace. The place is huge and we thought one of the most beautiful palaces we have been to. The chandeliers alone are amazing. Don't miss the armory as it is an impressive collection. If you enjoy visiting palaces you will be happy you went to this one.

Posted by
1230 posts

The palace is very big and very dull. Room after samey room. I'd think an hour would be enough for anyone. There are better palaces in Spain let alone Europe. The idea this is the 3rd best in Europe is ludicrous. It's not even particularly historical. Personally, I'd skip it, but if the audioguide only takes 45 minutes, then it might be worth that provided there is no queue to get in.

Posted by
18405 posts

There you have it: The Palacio Real is a divisive subject!

Posted by
2691 posts

Actually it's kind of nice for something other than politics to divide us!

Posted by
107 posts

Thank you all very much. I guess I have to see it for myself and maybe I’ll gain a bit of knowledge about Spain’s history. I’m also looking into historical tours for when we’re there and using RS suggestions. Thank you.

Posted by
379 posts

I don't think you really learn much of Spain's history from visiting the Royal Palace. It just shows how wealthy the royals were. Go if you are into opulence and excess.
Personally, I find the the Archaeology Museum does a better job on history. Rent the multimedia guide and choose the tour of the "Essentials". (They want your real passport as a deposit. Copy not accepted.) It will take you through the development of the Iberian Peninsula from cave men, Roman, Islamic to Christian period. You need at least two hours.
This was my favorite museum in Madrid. Free admission on Sundays. Go early when it opens to avoid the crowds.
P.S. I've been to all three palaces. IMHO Schoenbrun is the most beautiful and representative of royal palaces. If you've seen this one, no need to visit the Royal Palace.

Posted by
14241 posts

Then there's the Naval Museum, all about the golden age of exploration. You need to show passports to enter (it's run by the Navy). When I was there several years ago, there wasn't much in English but it was very interesting and enjoyable anyway.

Posted by
376 posts

I’m another one who finds the Royal Palace pretty dull. I’ve been twice. The last time I was there (2013), the tour guide mentioned that they had just finished replacing all the chandelier bulbs with LEDs. I spent the rest of the tour looking up and imagining the one guy working all night for months screwing in thousands of little tiny bulbs. What a job.

But make sure you plan to spend time in the Armory — it is easy to miss since it’s off to the side of the courtyard. I really loved this part of the Palace. The collection is pretty amazing and made the Palace visits worthwhile to me.

Posted by
581 posts

Yvonne, I think you should visit the Royal Palace and decide for yourself. I am one of the rare ones on this thread who enjoyed the Royal Palace and am glad we visited. We rented the audio guides and took our time. My guess is that we were there about 1.5 to 2 hours. I didn't think it was boring at all. There is a grand staircase and many lavish rooms, such as the Porcelain Room, Silver Room, and Gala Dining Hall. Some of the people who responded don't like palaces, so obviously that influences their opinions. My husband and I do enjoy visiting palaces, castles, and chateaus, so that influences our opinion. We enjoy lavish palaces along with bare, empty castles. While I enjoyed Versailles more than the Royal Palace and think it's more interesting and impressive, I am glad we visited the Royal Palace, and I think it's worth a visit.

My husband and our friend visited the Armory, too, and really enjoyed it. I am not that interested in weapons, so our friend's wife and I waited for the men in a park across the street.

Ask yourself if you will be disappointed if you don't visit the palace and will you always wonder if you would have liked it? That's what I do. I can honestly say I have never been disappointed in any place or sight I have seen, although maybe some places weren't as impressive as I originally thought. But I would prefer to visit a place and risk being disappointed, than not visiting that place and wondering if I would have enjoyed it. Just a different philosophy to think about.

Posted by
4564 posts

The park and garden area east of the palace grounds are also pleasant, and depending on when you’ll be there, could be worth spending some time, or are at least a nice environment for when you’re going to/coming from the palace.