13 Prettiest Royal Palaces of Spain (2024)

Sydney to Anywhere contains affiliate links and is a member of the Amazon LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase using one of these Amazon links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Spain is known for its exciting festivals, world-renowned tapas, and rich cultural heritage, but did you know that there are also insanely gorgeous castles and palaces in Spain? Tons of them!

You might be heading to this European gem to check out stunning historical cities like Madrid, Seville, and Cordoba, but while you’re here, check out each cool medieval fortress and uncover the royal history of the Iberian Peninsula.


  • To see as many Spanish castles as possible, stay in Madrid.
  • Most palaces in Spain are closed on Mondays.
  • The average entry price is $15. Guided tours are more.
  • Book tickets and timeslots online in advance.

13 Pretty Royal Palaces in Spain

Get ready to step into a realm of pure extravagance as we explore the best palaces in Spain, starting with the regal gems near the Spanish capital of Madrid.

1. The Royal Palace of Madrid

Decadent and colorful interior of Madrid's most famous royal palace of Spain.

The Madrid Royal Palace, one of the largest palaces in the world, was built on what used to be a 9th century Muslim fortress. It’s the largest royal palace in Western Europe and is still the official residence of the Spanish royal family!  You can only visit a handful of its 3400+ rooms, but it’s enough to make you feel like you’ve stepped into an extravagant fairytale.

Located at Plaza de Oriente, even the main façade of this Spanish royal palace is impressive with remarkable ionic columns surrounding the main entrance. The royal residence is a masterclass in baroque style interior decoration with works of art by Spanish greats like El Greco and Velázquez. Don’t miss the stately Royal Armoury and the stunning porcelain room.

If you want to stay close to Madrid’s Royal Palace, check out this review of The Hat hostel, a short walk away, where you can enjoy the nice rooftop and book a private room.

Hours: Mon-Sat 10-6 pm | Sun 10-4

Book your 2-hour guided tour of the Royal Palace of Madrid now!

2. The Crystal Palace (Madrid)

Madrid’s Palacio de Cristal, located in the famed Retiro Park, boasts impressive cast-iron architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was originally built in 1887 as a greenhouse for a Philippine-themed exhibition. Architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco designed it, taking inspiration from Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace in London.

The famous palace in Spain features glass plates, cast iron, and a decorative brick base adorned with ceramic tiles by Daniel Zuloaga. Surrounded by horse chestnut trees and a tranquil pond, it stands adjacent to the Velázquez Palace, also utilized by the Reina Sofía Museum for temporary exhibitions.

Visiting Park Retiro is one of the best things to do in Madrid in October when you can admire the beautiful fall foliage. Afterward, plan the ultimate tapas crawl on Calle Cava Baja: Madrid’s best tapas street, or Mercado San Miguel to experience the city like a local.

Hours: 10 am-10 pm daily

3. Royal Palace of Aranjuez (Madrid)

The Royal Palace of Aranjuez, situated south of Madrid, serves as a charming country residence for the Spanish Kings and members of the royal family. It forms an integral part of the Cultural Landscape of Aranjuez, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While this Spanish palace became a royal residence in the 16th century, it was King Charles III who contributed significantly to the palace’s construction in the 18th century, resulting in a long history of fascinating architectural fusion. Enveloping the palace are expansive gardens and hectares of forest, offering a picturesque and tranquil setting.

Hours: 10-7 pm daily, except Monday

Book a guided tour of the Royal Palace of Aranjuez now!

4. Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso (Madrid)

Nestled in the quaint town of San Ildefonso, the 18th-century Royal Palace of La Granja stands as a testament to the vision of King Philip V, who selected this royal palace in Spain as his summer residence.

Collaborating with notable architects, the King of Spain oversaw the creation of a magnificent baroque palace, complemented by a royal chapel. Boasting grand halls, mesmerizing fountains, a captivating maze, a serene pond, and an array of sculptures, this palace draws comparisons to the renowned Palace of Versailles.

Hours: 10-7 pm daily, except Monday

Book your 2-hour tour of La Granja de San Ildefonso now!

5. Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid)

El Escorial, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as the largest Renaissance-style building in the world. Constructed in 1563 under the patronage of King Philip II, this architectural marvel is situated in the town of El Escorial, northwest of Madrid.

Beyond being one of the most famous palaces in Spain, El Escorial serves various functions, including a monastery, a library, a museum, and a school, embodying a multifaceted cultural and educational center.

Hours: 10-7 pm daily, except Monday


READ NEXT: First time visiting Spain? Get started planning the ultimate Spanish vacation:

6. The Royal Palace of El Pardo (Madrid)

The Royal Site of El Pardo is a magnificent palace complex outside of Madrid with a varied history. One of the official residences of the Spanish royal family, this 15th century hunting lodge was once the home of dictator Franco.

Rebuilt in the 1900s, it is one of the royal palaces that belongs to Spain’s National Heritage (Patrimonio Nacional). Since 1983, it has served as the residence for foreign Heads of State during official visits to Spain.

Hours: 10-7 pm daily, except Monday

PS: While you’re in Madrid, don’t forget to try all the amazing food. My favorite place to try the best tapas in Madrid? One of them is Calle Ponzano, a hidden gem the locals adore!

7. The Alhambra Palace (Granada)

exterior of the alhambra palace in spain on a summer day

Granada’s Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in the southern Andalusia region of Spain. This monument is one of the most famous pieces of Islamic architecture. Magnificently preserved, it’s one of the 7 Wonders of the Muslim World and was the site of a fortification during the middle ages from the 9th to the 13th century.

The Alhambra is one of the best royal palaces for history lovers to visit! Time spent admiring the Alhambra’s beautiful colored tiles, intricately carved stucco, and stunning courtyards is the highlight of a trip to Granada. You won’t want to miss the magnificent central courtyard pictured above, Patio de la Acequia.

Note that the Nasrid Palaces can only be visited with a timed entry ticket. Best to book online in advance.

Hours: 8:30-8 pm daily, except Monday

Book your Alhambra Guided Tour with Nasrid Palaces & Gardens now!

8. The Royal Alcazar (Seville)

The sunlit alcazar courtyard in seville

The top attraction in this Andalusian city and one of the best things to see during Seville solo travel, The Real Alcázar of Seville is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a residence of the Spanish Royal family, and even a filming location for Game of Thrones. The Alcazar, which means fortress in Spanish, is arguably one of the most famous royal palaces Spain has to offer. The Alcazar is home to beautiful palaces with stunning courtyards, and incredible palace gardens. You could easily spend all day exploring this gem. (And if you’re not careful, you might get lost in its gardens… Not that I did or anything…)

Hours: 9:30-7 daily | Oct-March: 5pm close

Get your Skip-the-Line Ticket with Guided Tour now!

9. Casa de Pilatos (Seville)

Another hidden gem, this sumptuous 16th-century mansion in Seville’s historic district is totally swoon-worthy. I can’t lie, I’m completely and utterly obsessed with Casa de Pilatos. This Moorish marvel captured my aesthetics-loving heart with its intricate tilework, flowery gardens and antique statues. One of the top Seville Instagram spots, It’s about a 15-minute walk from Seville Catedral. Plus, there’s bougainvillea in the outdoor courtyard. Always a win.

Hours: 9-6 daily

Save on your entry ticket to Casa de Pilatos now!

10. Las Duenas Palace (Seville)

The courtyard of Las Duenas, a bright yellow Spain palace with palm trees.

Las Duenas Palace is another of the incredible Sevillian palaces of Spain. Much smaller, and more manageable than the Alcazar, Las Duenas is a bit of a hidden gem. Filled with stunning staterooms, courtyards, gardens, and fountains, it’s easy to wander the grounds pretending to be a resident of the complex whiling away a pleasant afternoon. Former occupants include Queen Victoria, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly.

Hours: 10-5:15 daily

Save on your entry ticket and audio guide to Las Duenas Palace now!

11. Palacio de Viana (Cordoba)

Outdoor Spanish courtyard in the Andalusian palace, Palacio de Viana.

Palacio de Viana houses 13 different patios and courtyards. The grounds are intricate and spectacular. I almost didn’t visit this palace, but I’m so very glad I did. If you only have one day in Cordoba, spend it here at one of the most incredible palaces of Spain!

Courtyards like these are only found in Andalusia. Wander through the maze of flowery gardens and fountains at your leisure. It’s okay to let yourself get a little lost here. You never know what may be behind the next door!

Hours: 9-2 daily, except Monday

Save on your Viana Palace Gardens and Patios entry ticket now!

12. Alcazar of Segovia

If the Alcazar of Segovia reminds you of a Disney princess castle, there’s a good reason. This was actually the palace that inspired the design of Cinderella’s castle. (That’s what they say, anyway!) The Alcázar was first built around the 11th century by the Almoravid dynasty and went on to serve as the royal palace for over 20 monarchs. It was also a state prison, a Royal Artillery College, and a military academy. Talk about 9 lives. A perfect stop on a day trip to Segovia, the palace is less than 2 hours from Madrid by train.

Hours: Daily 10 am – 6 pm

See Segovia and Toledo on a day trip from Madrid!

13. Castillo de Colomares (Malaga)

Located in Benalmádena in the Malaga province, this picturesque royal palace in Spanish is a monument to Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the Americas. Unlike some of the centuries-old fortresses on this list, Castillo de Colomares was actually built by a surgeon in 1994. He chose to combine the romantic, Moorish, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles creating an interesting and unique visual identity. Added bonus? Castillo de Colomares has a spectacular ocean view. Total score.

Hours: 10-6 pm daily, except Monday


The best sights in Spain
Prettiest Palaces in Spain


Sydney is a solo travel expert who’s extensively explored Spain, Portugal, Morocco, California, and more! She creates travel guides and itineraries to share everything she's learned about the Iberian peninsula through personal experience and exploration.

Here are my favorite resources for saving time and money!


Never worry about what to do when you stop off the plane in a new destination


One-stop reservation destination with flexible cancellation


The most affordable tours and can't-miss experiences in every destination


Never stress over an out-of-country medical expense or missed flight again


Great reviews help find the safest hostels where you're sure to make new friends


Advance booking with DiscoverCars can save you up to 50% on rental costs

Leave a Comment