Palacio Real :: Madrid, Spain
The Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the King of Spain and the biggest palace in Europe. Although the official residence, the Royal Family does not actually reside in the Palacio Real, instead they live in a more reserved palace on the outskirts of Madrid. The Palacio Real is open partially to the public except when being used for official business such as ceremonies. Originally it was a Moorish Alcázar (fortress) that was rebuilt by Carlos I and Felipe II in the 16th century; the current Berniniesque designed palace was completed in 1755 after the previous palace burned down December 24, 1734.
With 50 of 2800 rooms available for visitors, there is a lot to take in. The Royal Armory museum, one of the largest collections of its kind, displays armor and weapons belonging to the kings of Spain and other members of the Royal Family since the 13th century. After a long period of restoration the armory reopened in June 2000 and presents an important select of medieval arms and armor. The Throne Room of course, is one of the most amazing rooms adorned in gold with its lavish decorations having been preserved since the reign of Charles III. It is home to an amazing collection of treasures from all around including major works from painters like Goya, Caravaggio & Juan de Flanders, bronze lions from Rome and instruments used by Stradivarius during performances for the King of Spain. The beautiful palace garden, called Campo del Moro has been recently remodeled and is adorned with a variety of sculptures of the kings of Spain created during the rule of Fernando VI. The garden offers visitors a rich flora environment that radiates peace & calm. The Dining Room was constructed in 1885, combining 3 existing palace rooms into 1 large hall perfect for dancing and dining and adorned with majestic 16th century tapestries.
With such an amazing landmark, it’s no wonder that the Palacio Real hosts nearly a million visitors per year. The Palacio Real de Madrid has entrance fees that vary for different sections. The Official Salon, Pharmacy and Royal Armory ticket is €8, €10 with tour. You can add a visit to the Gallery of Paintings onto your itinerary for only €11 total. A visit to the Royal Armory on its own will cost you €3.4 and the Painting Gallery alone is only €2. The palace is free for children under 5 and on Wednesdays it’s no charge for any EU Citizens. Visiting hours are 9:30am-5pm October through March, and 9am-6pm from April through September. Sundays and holidays are mornings only. Palacio Real is a treat for young and old, filled to the brim with history, art, and a glorious display of everything the Spanish monarchy has accomplished.
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