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Royal Palace of Madrid

We're planning a visit to the Royal Palace for Friday May 12. Besides buying tickets online in advance (we will), are there any tips (what time, extra rooms to see, etc)?

Also, any insights to the audio guide? It seems to be available as a phone app that can be downloaded ahead of time, and also on a tablet that can be rented there. On one hand, the app's reviews at Google Play Store seem to be pretty bad -- is it really? On the other hand, does the tablet require a wait in line?


Posted by
1681 posts

When we went in May 2015, we didn't need to buy tickets in advance, although, of course, that has likely changed since Covid. I can't comment on the audio guides, since we didn't use one. I remember a guy giving us information, so we must have done one of the in-house guided tours.

Why not do a guided tour with an official palace guide, if you are worried about the quality of the audio guides? It looks like the cost is comparable (4 Euros pp), and you would have the option to ask questions.

Posted by
4574 posts

I was there Nov 9 2017, which is Madrid's Saint Day. There was a big parade that would lead up to the Church next to the Palace. I got too cold and impatient waiting for the parade to (finally) start, so I just went ahead. Glad I did. It was busy enough before the parade, but the line when I left was very long. Could have been the special day causing that, not sure.

I typically do get audioguides, and it would have been one of those wand things. There was little wait to pick up or return it. Not sure about now.
Despite the topic of weaponry, I always take a stroll through those parts of historic buildings. The one at the Royal Palace (a separate building but on the same main square) is worth it just to see the intricate metalwork for the horse armor.

Posted by
3940 posts

We were there this past October. We reserved online, went to the left door to enter, walking past the looong line to the right. We also reserved the kitchen tour. We rented their audio with the pad as to not use up our batteries on our phones. The kitchen turned out to be in Spanish but we went along and just listened to the audio.

Posted by
32 posts

We used an audio guide and it worked fine for us. I second MariaF recommendation on visiting the armory in the attached building. I could have stayed for a long time looking at the armor, swords and Horse armor. It was by far the best armory I have been in anywhere. Enjoy Madrid!

Posted by
38 posts

You asked for tips, so after having been there last week, here goes. Get there when it opens. The audio guide is very informative. My experience with their head phones made me glad I had brought my own to plug in. Theirs kept falling out of my ear. You might also want to read Rick's written room by room guide in his current Spain or Madrid book, with his unique perspective and humor on various rooms and details of the palace and its history.
For a low key, friendly place for lunch very close to the Royal Palace, with good tapas and a subtly elegant local vibe, try Taberna Alabardero on a little side street (C. de Felipe V) next to the north side of the Opera and facing onto Place de Oriente and the Palace. We liked the inside seating.