A visit to the Palacio Real, which means “Royal Palace” in German, is worthwhile, because the city palace of the Spanish capital Madrid and the official residence of the Spanish monarchs knows how to impress.
Until the 18th century, a Moorish castle called the Alcazar stood on the site of the Palacio Real. This was used by the Spanish rulers, but completely destroyed by fire, which made a new building necessary.
Spain was not in its prime and wanted to demonstrate its old dignity with a magnificent new building, so Philip V decided to build a palace that was in no way inferior to the Escorial of the Habsburgs. In 1764, Charles III. together with the royal family the Palacio Real designed by Juan Bautista Sachetti.
The palace was one of the largest of its time, has a baroque facade that is beautifully decorated and the dome of the palace chapel can be admired at the rear of the palace, while a magnificent court of honor in front of the palace enhances the impression of power. Inside there are around 2000 halls, cabinets and salons, of which the throne room, the mirror gallery and the castle chapel, which has a particularly impressive organ, are particularly worth seeing. The styles that come into their own in the interiors range from baroque to classicism and small Moorish influences. Works of art by Goya, Rubens, Velazquez or Caravaggio embellish the walls.
Today the Palacio Real is only used for representation purposes, the royal family lives in the Zarzuela Palace in the northwest of Madrid. So it is now possible for tourists to visit a large part of the palace during an educational trip in Madrid.
Originally the palace park was laid out as a baroque garden, which together with the palace formed a magnificent complex.
Familia should not be missing on any trip to the Spanish metropolis of Barcelona. The Roman Catholic basilica is not only the most famous landmark of the city but also one of the most important and famous churches in the world.
Antonio Gaudi’s life’s work
The Sagrada Familia, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for many years, is very closely connected with Antonio Gaudí. The famous Spanish architect who gave the famous building his signature always regarded the Sagrada Familia as his life’s work. However, the 95 meter long and 60 meter wide church, the construction of which began in 1882, has not yet been completed. After completion, the Sagrada Familia will have a total of 18 towers. A 170 meter high tower dedicated to Jesus Christ will form the center. The construction work of the city’s most visited attraction, financed by donations and continued by contemporary architects, should be completed by 2026 at the latest – exactly 100 years after Antonio Gaudi’s accidental death. Despite the ongoing construction work, numerous parts of the impressive structure can be viewed. In addition to the crypt in which Gaudí was buried, the central nave and the towers are also accessible. With the entrance ticket for the Sagrada Familia, you can visit the church as well as the workshop of Antonio Gaudí and the museum of the Sagrada Familia.
Altamira caves and Santillana del Mar
The north of Spain is characterized by numerous medieval towns that are always worth a visit. A real insider tip is the small town of Santillana del Mar, which is one of the most beautiful places in all of Spain. The medieval town, which belongs to the autonomous community of Cantabria, attracts thousands of holidaymakers from home and abroad every year. In addition to the beautiful old town with its narrow streets and medieval buildings worth seeing, the Colegiata de Santa Juliana monastery and the museum of religious art should not be missed when visiting Santillana del Mar.
Fascinating insight into the Ice Age
Not far from Santillana del Mar is the Altamira Cave, known far beyond the Spanish borders, with its famous prehistoric rock paintings and engravings. The 5,500 square meter cave contains almost 1,000 images that give a fascinating insight into the Stone Age and the Ice Age. The cave, which was discovered in 1868 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985, has been accessible again to some visitors since February 2014. The well-preserved cave paintings, which are almost 15,000 years old, can be viewed by five visitors once a week. You can see bison, wild boar and deer in the pictures.