Recently, my husband and I were lucky enough to attend a tour of the Royal Palace, organised by the Spanish military for the various Defence Attachés in Madrid.
The palace is beautiful, ornate, luxurious and a little over the top (as most palaces are!). Decorated in baroque and rococo styles, it screams wealth and stature. There are priceless examples of artwork, tapestries and period pieces on display that you won’t see anywhere else. Obviously, the entire palace isn’t included in the tour but you will get an up close and personal look at some of the most beautiful and interesting rooms—look out for the clocks.
There are over 2000 rooms in the palace, making it one of the largest in Europe (I believe it is the largest by floor area). It is well worth a visit.
We were also very lucky to get front seats to observe the Solemn Changing of the Royal Guard—very impressive! Conducted on the first Wednesday of each month at 12:00 midday (there are some exceptions I think so check beforehand), it truly is a magnificent military ceremony and I was enthralled from start to finish. The horses were splendid, prancing around the Armory Square in well-practiced precision. The regal uniforms and the precise performance and manoeuvres by The Royal Guard and the Regimental Band made for an extraordinary event.
For a good position, you really must get there early and take sunscreen and a hat, as there is not much shade.