The Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real de Madrid) is the official residence of the Spanish royal family in Madrid. However, now it is only used for state ceremonies. It is the largest royal palace in use in Europe. The palace has 3,418 rooms and a total floor area of 135,000 square metres.
The palace stands on the site of a 9th-century Moorish Alcázar. In the 16th century, the Castilian Alcázar was built on the site; however, it burned down on 24 December 1734. Subsequently, King Filipe V, instructed that the replacement palace was of Berniniesque design. Construction of the current palace took from 1738-1755. The first resident was Carlos III, and it continued to be the home of Spanish Monarchs until Alfonso XIII in 1931.
The Royal Palace facades front onto streets, plazas and gardens. The main facade faces the Plaza de la Armeria. The history of the square dates back to 1553, although the current arrangement is from 1892. The Almudena Cathedral faces the palace across the Plaza.
The other palace facades front onto the Plaza de Oriente, Campo del Moro Gardens and Sabatini Gardens. The latter gardens feature a large rectangular pond surrounded by four fountains and statues of Spanish kings.
Inside the palace, I was most impressed by the Grand Staircase, made of a single piece of San Agustin marble. On the ceiling above the staircase is a fresco by Corrado Giaquinto depicting Religion Protected by Spain.
Visiting the Royal Palace
The palace is on Calle de Bailén in Madrid, east of the Manzanares River. The nearest metro is Ópera station. Several rooms in the Royal Palace are usually open to the public.
Photography inside the palace is restricted. Consequently, I have only included photos from the rooms where allowed.
N.B. On large screens click the photos to see a larger version.