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Top 10 things you can’t miss at Madrid’s Royal Palace

Are you planning a trip to Madrid? If so, you definitely need to visit the Royal Palace. 

This magnificent palace is the largest in Europe by floor area, and it’s home to some of the most stunning art and architecture in the world.

There are so many things to see and do at the Royal Palace it can be hard to know where to start.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of the top 10 things you can’t miss inside Madrid’s Royal Palace.

Let’s discuss it one by one

1. The Halberdier’s Hall: First Room

The Halls of the Royal Palace of Caserta
Image : Mikaela Wiedenhoff on Unsplash

The Hall of Halberdiers, also referred to as the Salón de los Nobles is a large and impressive room found in the Royal Palace of Madrid.

It is the first room you’ll see when you enter the Palace.

Initially, it was meant to serve as a throne room.

However, it was never used for that purpose and is now used for state ceremonies and official receptions.

The hall derives its name from the halberdiers, the highly skilled guards who were entrusted with the task of safeguarding the Spanish royal family.

This magnificent place boasts breathtaking frescoes painted by the renowned Italian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

These murals showcase the life of the Spanish royal family, featuring King Philip V and his beloved wife, Isabella Farnese.

The walls are covered with tapestries depicting scenes from Spanish history, and the ceiling is frescoed with a painting of Giambattista Tiepolo’s Apotheosis of Aeneas. 

In the Hall of Halberdiers, there are gilt and marble consoles that were created by the talented Italian artist, Luigi Valadier.

The consoles are decorated with bas-reliefs of animals and flowers, and they provide a striking contrast to the frescoes on the walls.

2. The Main Staircase

The Main Staircase Royal madrid
Image: Wikidata.org,

The main staircase of the Royal Palace of Madrid was designed and built by the Italian architect Francesco Sabatini in 1789.

It is made of a single piece of San Agustin marble and has 72 steps.

The staircase is decorated with frescoes by Corrado Giaquinto, which depict Religion Protected by Spain.

There are also two lions at the bottom of the staircase, one by Felipe de Castro and another by Robert Michel.

3. Hall of Columns

Hall of Columns Royal Palace of Madrid
Image: Patrimonionacional.es,

Once you’ve visited the Halberdier’s Hall and its grand staircase, you’ll proceed to the Hall of Columns, one of the most impressive rooms in the Palacio de Real.

The sculpture of Charles V of Germany and I of Spain will catch your eye first.

Be careful, it’s a copy. The original one is kept in Prado Museum which is just 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) from Madrid Palace.

The Hall of Columns was originally designed as a ballroom and reception hall, but it has become the seat of all civil ceremonies.

Today, royalty uses the room for public events. It was here that the abdication of King Juan Carlos I took place in favor of his son Felipe VI on June 18, 2014.

It is is named after the 44 columns that support the ceiling, which is decorated with frescoes by Italian painter Corrado Giaquinto.

The frescoes depict the allegories of Spain and its provinces, as well as the virtues of the Spanish monarchy.

The walls are adorned with Raphael’s Brussels tapestries, portraits of kings and queens, and marble busts of Roman emperors.

4. Throne Room

throne room royal palace madrid
Image: Wikipedia.org,

The Throne Room is the most grandiose room in the entire palace.

Today it is used for official ceremonies, and it retains its rococo decor and large mirrors that multiply its light and splendor.

In front of the throne, four gilded metal lions from the seventeenth century displays authority.

The entire ceiling is decorated with frescoes by Tiepolo, who created the Glory of Spain with extraordinary freshness and fantasy.

The fresco depicts a symbolic scene that combines coats of arms, flags, animals, people, and mythological figures to celebrate the splendor of the Spanish monarchy.

The Throne Room of Palacio Real is a masterpiece of Baroque art, and it is considered one of Tiepolo’s greatest works. 

5. The Royal Armoury: Not a Room, But a Museum

The Royal Armoury Not a Room But a Museum
Image: Patrimonionacional.es

The Royal Armory of the Royal Palace of Madrid is one of the most important collections of arms and armor in Europe.

It contains over 2,000 pieces that belonged to Spanish monarchs from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

The museum is located within the Royal Palace of Madrid and is easily accessible to visitors.

In addition to illustrating Spain’s rich history and culture, the collection gives visitors insight into the evolution of weapons and armor over time.

The exhibits are arranged chronologically and include medieval weapons and armor, Renaissance and Baroque pieces, and items from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Visitors can see some of the most important pieces in the collection, such as the armor of Emperor Charles V, the sword of King Ferdinand, and the armor of Philip II.

Some notable pieces in the collection includes;

  • Armor of Emperor Charles V
  • Sword of King Ferdinand
  • Armor of Philip II
  • Royal Regalia

The Royal Armoury is open to visitors from 10 am to 8 pm (summer) or 10 am to 6 pm (winter) from Monday to Sunday.

You can enter the Plaza de Armas by buying an entry ticket to Madrid Palace.

The ticket costs 10 Euros for adults between 17 and 64, 10 Euros for seniors above 65 and children aged between 5 and 16 years.

6. Royal Banquets: The Gala Dining Room

royal banquets the gala dining room royal palace of madrid
Image: Pinterest.com

The Gala Dining Room is a neoclassical masterpiece with ornate plasterwork and frescoes depicting scenes from classical mythology.

It can accommodate up to 140 people, making it one of the largest dining rooms in any European royal palace.

The room was originally three separate rooms, but Alfonso XII joined them together in the nineteenth century.

The mahogany-table in the room can be easily moved so that it can be used for either banquets or dances.

The walls of the room are adorned with a collection of paintings, including works by Francisco de Goya and Vicente López.

To get to the Gala Dining Room, you first have to go through the Yellow Sallet, which is decorated with yellow fabrics.

Once you cross the door into the Dining Room, you will be struck by its size and grandeur. 

The room is still used for formal banquets and state dinners.

During these events, the table is dressed with the best tableware, and the room is filled with the sound of music and laughter.

7. Royal Chapel

royal chapel
Image: Wikipedia.org

The Royal Chapel is a Baroque-style chapel located on the ground floor of the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Founded in the 18th century by Filippo Juvarra, it houses a number of important works of art, including paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán and Vicente Carducho.

The ceiling of the chapel is adorned with frescoes by Corrado Giaquinto, depicting scenes from the life of Saint Lawrence.

The chapel also houses a number of important relics, including a piece of the True Cross and other religious artifacts.

Its marble dome and altarpiece, decorated with saints and angels sculptures, are two of its most striking features.

Throughout the history of the Spanish monarchy, the Royal Chapel has been used for important religious events, including Masses and other ceremonies.

Today, the chapel is open to the public for tours.

8. Stradivarius Hall

Stradivarius Hall
Image: Patrimonionacional.es

The Stradivarius Hall is a room in the Royal Palace of Madrid that houses a collection of string instruments made by Antonio Stradivari.

The collection includes two violins, a viola, and a cello and is known as the Stradivarius Palatinos.

The instruments were originally owned by the Spanish royal family, and were used for court concerts and other events.

They were also used by some of the most famous violinists in history, including Pablo de Sarasate and Jascha Heifetz.

The Stradivarius Hall is located on the ground floor of the palace, and is open to the public for tours.

The instruments are displayed in glass cases, and visitors can learn about the history of the instruments and the musicians who played them.

9. Hall of Mirrors

Hall of Mirrors
Image: Tripadvisor.com.ph

The Hall of Mirrors is a beautiful and elegant room on the ground floor of Royal Palace in Madrid.

It was originally used as a dressing room for Queen María Luisa de Parma, and it is decorated in the Rococo style.

The walls are lined with mirrors that reflect the light from the chandeliers, creating a sense of grandeur and opulence.

The Hall of Mirrors was designed by the Italian architect Francesco Sabatini and was completed in 1752.

The mirrors in the room were made in France, and they were originally intended for the Palace of Versailles.

However, they were not delivered to Versailles in time, so they were instead installed in the Hall of Mirrors in Madrid.

10. Gaspirini Salon

Gaspirini Salon madrid
Image: Pinterest.com

The Gaspirini Salon is one of the most well-known spaces in the Royal Palace of Madrid.

It is located on the first floor of the palace and measures 30 meters long, 15 meters wide, and 12 meters high.

The salon was designed by the Italian artist and architect, Matías Gasparini, in the late 18th century.

It was originally used as a dressing room for the king, but it is now open to the public as part of the palace tour.

The salon is decorated in the Rococo style, with a lavish use of gold, silk, and mirrors.

The walls are hung with silk tapestries depicting Chinese scenes, and the ceiling is painted with a fresco of the gods of Olympus.

The centerpiece of the salon is a large clock with automata, which dance when the hours strike.

FAQs

Can I take photos inside the Hall of Halberdiers?

Yes, flash-free photography is permitted inside the Hall of Halberdiers.

Is the Hall of Halberdiers accessible to people with disabilities?

The Hall of Halberdiers can be reached by lift, and the Royal Palace of Madrid is indeed accessible for wheelchair users.

Are there any restrictions on clothing or attire when visiting the Hall of Halberdiers?

When visiting the Hall of Halberdiers or the Royal Palace of Madrid, there are no set dress code.

However, as a sign of respect for the palace and its history, visitors are advised to dress modestly and refrain from wearing anything too revealing.

Who designed the Gala Dining Room of Palacio Real de Madrid?

Francesco Sabatini, an Italian architect, created the Gala Dining Room in the late 18th century.

How long does a visit to Gala Dining Room take?

Depending on the visitor, the visit to Gala Dining Room may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours as part of the palace tour.

What can I see inside the Royal Chapel?

The chapel’s interior has elaborate decorations made of marble, gilt, and frescoes by Italian artist Corrado Giaquinto.

The main altar contains a statue of the Virgin Mary and Child sculpted in the 18th century by Spanish artist Francisco Salzillo.

The chapel also houses the Royal Pantheon, where many Spanish monarchs and their families are laid to rest.

What is the best time to visit the main staircase?

To avoid crowds, the main staircase is best visited in the off-peak season or on a weekday.

Furthermore, the beauty of the area will be enhanced by natural light if you visit during the day. 

Are guided tours available for the Throne Room?

Yes, guided tours of Madrid’s Royal Palace are available, and they include a visit to the Throne Room for only 32 Euros per adult. 

How long does a visit to Throne Room take?

The Throne Room is usually visited as part of the palace tour and takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

However, depending on your interests and pace, you can spend more or less time in the room.

Featured Image: Omar Rodriguez on Unsplash

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