Spain in-depth: Tourist attractions

Spain royal palaces

Palace and gardens - La Granja de San Ildefonso 9.5 rating
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The Royal palaces of Spain

The Royal palace in Madrid is not the only palace that belongs to the Royal family which can be visited. Most visitors to Spain think that there is only one Royal Palace in the country. That is not the case though. How many royal palaces are Spain? The answer is eight.

Two of the Royal Palaces are located in Madrid (The Madrid Royal Palace and the less known Palacio del Pardo), four other palaces are located at less than one hour drive from Madrid. They are the Royal Palace of Aranjuez, located at less than 40 minutes drive south of Madrid,  the Palacio de la Granja, which is mainly known for its amazing gardens and which are sometimes compared to those of Versailles. El Escorial Monastery is another famous palace though in reality, it is much more than a palace since it is also a monastery, a huge church, library, and school. It is at the Escorial where the Spanish Kings are buried. Last but not least, the less known Palacio de Riofrio, a game reserve, located also very close to the Unesco heritage site of Segovia.  For many locals, the best royal palaces are those located in the surroundings of Madrid.  Aranjuez and El Escorial, both Unesco sites, and La Granja de San Ildefonso, along with the amazing Unesco town of Segovia, make for one of the best day tours to enjoy from Madrid

We have so far mentioned 6 out of the eight Royal Palaces in Spain. The two remaining palaces are the Palace of Almudaina in Palma de Mallorca (located right next to the famous Cathedral of Palma).

The last palace in the list is the Cuarto Alto de los Reales Alcazares de Sevilla: a series of buildings inside the Alcazar de Sevilla complex

Spanish Royal Palaces Guide - Contents

Royal palaces in Madrid

El Pardo Palace

El Pardo is a huge forest located in the border of Madrid. The Pardo Palace is located in the hills of el Pardo forest. These hills were used by the royal as a hunting lodge. The palace was built by order of Charles V and enlarged during the reign of Charles III in the XVIIIth century. El Pardo palace was the residence of Franco for many years and since 1983 it is used as the official residence for heads of foreign States visits to Madrid.  

El Pardo Palace in Madrid
Palacio Real

Royal palace of Madrid – complete visitors guide

Madrid Royal palace – history, tickets and tours The Royal Palace of Madrid was built after a fire that occurred on the 24th of December 1734 in the Real Alcazar. The first Wednesday of every month (except in summer) at 11 am, you can watch the change of guards. You can visit the interior of the Royal Palace and the different rooms such as the armory and also some of the paintings of the royal

Royal palaces at less than 1 hour from Madrid

La Granja de San Ildefonso

La Granja de San Ildefonso

Located in the province of Segovia, just 15 minutes drive from the city of Segovia (a Unesco heritage site) La Granja de San Ildefonso is one of the royal palaces in Spain near Madrid. Its gardens and fountains make it look like the Spanish version of Versailles.

El Escorial in Madrid, Spain

El Escorial is one of Spain´s top tourist attractions. This massive building serves as a church, monastery, palace, mausoleum, library, museum, and school. It is constructed out of granite blocks from the nearby mountain range, the Sierra de Guadarrama. El Escorial is one of the most popular day tours to enjoy from Madrid. It is not as well-known as other options like Segovia or Toledo, but all visitors get impressed by its beauty and heritage.

Riofrio Palace in Segovia

 Located a few kilometers from La Granja de San Ildefonso palace, this palace was used as a hunting enclosure and work was started because Isabel de Faernse was not welcomed at La Granja. The palace is built in Italian baroque style and has an impressive courtyard, a magnificent stair and a finely decorated chapel.


Palace of Riofrio in Segovia

The Royal Palace of Aranjuez and gardens

History of Aranjuez Royal palace In 1560 Philip II commissioned the architect Juan Bautista de Toledo to build an extension to the hunting lodge built by Charles V. After his death the work was continued by Juan de Herrera (El Escorial) . Between 1660-65 the castle was destroyed by fire; Philip V had it rebuilt in 1722. Under Ferdinand VI and Charles III the building was further enlarged by the architect Sabatini (Royal palace )

Other Royal palaces in Spain

Almudaina Palace in Mallorca

The Almudaina palace is used by the Royal family as their summer residence. This palace was the seat of the Arab Kings in Mallorca until the 13th century. It served later as the residence for the Spanish kings. The palace is located right next to the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca. The most impressive part of the palace is the Gothic main hall. The Almunaida palace is one of the top attractions in the city of Palma de Mallorca. The palace can be visited and it is part of the Patrimonio Nacional network. 

Façade Almudaina palace in Mallorca
The Real Alcazar of Seville

The Real Alcazar of Seville – much more than Game of thrones

The Real Alcazar in Seville – Complete visitors guide When Europe was in its “dark” middle ages around the 13th century., Seville was an important city and as proof of this, we can enjoy today the architectural marvel of the Royal Alcazar of Seville. The Alcazar is one of the highlights of architecture in Spain and with no doubt, one of Spain´s main tourist attractions, and a must-visit during your stay in Seville. Unesco agreed

The palaces of the Spanish kings - Video