The Royal Palace (Palacio Real) was built at the beginning of the 18th century on the site where the Moors built their first fortress in the 9th century. It was built by order of King Philip V. This Philippe had spent his youth at the Palace of Versailles and it is clear to see that he wanted to equal the splendour of that palace.
The palace in Madrid is slightly smaller than that in Versailles, but still has 2800 (!) rooms. Since 1931 the royal family no longer lives in this palace. The current king and queen live in the simpler Zarzuela Palace in a suburb of Madrid. The Royal Palace is still used for official occasions.
A guided tour of the palace takes two hours. Too short to see all those 2800 rooms, but what you do see is impressive enough. The private rooms of King Carlos III (Salón de Gasparini) are lavishly decorated. Also note the crystal chandelier that weighs 2,000 kilos.
Besides the impressive rooms there are other things to see in this palace. In the Royal Library, for example, is the first copy of Don Quixote, the man who fought against windmills. In the Arméria Real you can see old weapons and army equipment as well as torture tools from the Middle Ages. In the royal pharmacy (Real Oficina de Farmacía) medicines were brewed exclusively for the king.
The Royal Palace is centrally located in Madrid. Within walking distance of the palace you will find attractions such as Teatro Real and the Temple of Debod.
Website: Royal Palace
Address: Calle Bailén Opening
Hours: 10.00-20.00 (in winter until 18.00)
Visit the website of the Royal Palace of Madrid for up-to-date price information and opening hours.