The Royal Palace of Madrid, or Palacio Real de Madrid in Spanish, is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. It is now only used for state ceremonies, and the current King Felipe VI and the Royal family do not live in the Royal Palace of Madrid. The Spanish Royal Family currently resides in the Palace of Zarzuela, which is on the outskirts of Madrid.
The Royal Palace is near metro station Opera, which is on line 2 and 5. The Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena is right next to the royal palace. There are a few cathedrals and basilicas near the Royal Palace, including Basílica San Francisco El Grande and Basílica de San Miguel.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is open from 10:00–20:00 on Monday to Sunday. Adult tickets cost 13€ and the Royal Palace offers a 6€ discount to students under 25 years old with a student ID. The queue for the Royal Palace is usually long, so I suggest buying the tickets online beforehand to avoid a long wait.
In front of the Royal Palace is a big plaza, where you will find street artists performing and tourists taking photos.
The Royal Palace is enormous, with every room filled with extravagant ornamentation and silverware. The whole walk through the palace could potentially take a few hours to complete, and seeing all those extremely detailed and lavish decorations could leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. I remember my brain feeling a bit weary after my first visit, as the palace was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
After the long walk, visiting the San Miguel Market is a good way to spend the afternoon. San Miguel Market is just next to Plaza Mayor and is a five-minute walk away from metro station Opera.
San Miguel Market, or “Mercado de San Miguel” in Spanish, is one of the most popular food markets in Madrid. The market does not sell traditional groceries, instead it offers a wide variety of tapas, ham, paella, seafood, baked goods and drinks. They also offer a great variety of fresh juice and sweets like pastries and frozen yogurt.
The food on offer in San Miguel might be a bit more expensive than what you would find in other traditional bars in Spain, but the market itself is well organized and very clean. The food there is of good quality and fresh, and it is right in the center of Madrid.
San Miguel Market is almost always packed with people and is one of the busiest places in Madrid.
There are a wide variety of food stands in San Miguel. You can find almost every kind of traditional Spanish food you can think of, and the market isn’t just a tourist attraction, as you will find a lot of Spanish people there enjoying a glass of wine with their tapas as well.
So even though you might be able to find a better bargain for food elsewhere, I would still recommend people to visit San Miguel when they come to Madrid. The vibe and atmosphere in the market is sure to make the trip worthwhile.