Royal Palace, Madrid
Tel: 34 91 454 8800
Concierge.com's insider take:
The official residence of Spain's royal family (now only used to host official ceremonies) was commissioned in 1738 by King Felipe V and was first used by Carlos III in 1764. Although much has changed since then, the palace still retains the original Throne Room with frescoed ceiling, the King's Chamber, and a rather ostentatious but impressive Porcelain Room. Of note is the Painting Gallery, which includes works by Caravaggio, Velázquez, and Goya. The Royal Gardens are also open to the publicin front is the recently remodeled Plaza del Oriente, which contains a series of statues carved during the reign of King Ferdinand VI. At the far side of the square, the Café de Oriente is the perfect place to end the tour with a drink on the lively terrace. Palace admission is free to European Union residents on Wednesdays, so if you are not from a member state, you'd be better off going any other day of the week to avoid the crowds.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 9:30 am to 5 pm, Sundays and holidays 9 am to 2 pm.