Palacio Real, Madrid, 18.10.10
Posted by Lisa Hill on October 21, 2010
We were tired out from visiting the Sofia and Thyssen museums – but we just had to visit the palace in Madrid. On the bus tour they had told us that it had some unimaginable number of rooms (2500+) and although it is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, it is only used on state occasions and is open to the public most days.
We used our Madrid card for quick and easy entry. The Madrid card, like the Dublin card, the Lisbon card and the Barcelona card, is a brilliant choice for tourists. You buy them online from Viator (or from the tourist office or airport if you haven’t planned ahead) and you flourish them in art galleries and museums to bypass queues a mile long. (Often there is a different door to use as at the Louvre, and what’s really good about bypassing the queue is that you can scamper up to the iconic paintings ahead of the mob and actually see them properly.) These cards offer free or heavily discounted entry to most attractions, discounts in restaurants and often free or discounted transport as well. They come in 24, 48 or 72 hour versions, and you can find out if one is available for the city you’re visiting from the Viator website.
Anyway, even if you haven’t got a card, the palace isn’t very expensive and it’s well worth the visit, especially the armoury which is just fantastic. There’s an armoury at the Wallace collection in London, but this completely outclasses it. There are dozens of life size knights in full armour on horses equally covered in beautifully decorated metal, but how they ever managed to actually fight anyone I cannot imagine – the weight must have been incredible.
You can’t take any photos of course, so I’ve sourced all the ones in this slide show from Wikipedia.
After that, tired as we were, we visited the Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena as well!