Madrid in a Day with Prado Museum and Royal Palace

Discover the hidden gems of the Spanish capital with skip-the-line tickets to the main attractions

Travel Flexibly · 8.00h · Madrid, Spain

Prado Museum and the Royal Palace of Madrid are must-sees while in Madrid, but did you know limited tickets and lengthy queues make it difficult to experience both in one day? That’s why we’ve teamed up with expert locals to craft this immersive tour with priority tickets, so you can forget the logistics and instead delve into the history of Madrid’s top landmarks. Additionally, visits to El Retiro Park, Old Town, and the Cathedral of La Almudena round out this eight-hour tour.

  • Meeting point near Retiro Park
  • Retiro Park
  • Retirement Pond​
  • Prado Museum
  • Lunch break​
  • Puerta del Sol
  • Madrid of the Habsburgs​
  • Plaza Mayor​
  • Almudena Cathedral​
  • End inside Royal Palace

At a convenient time in the morning, your full-day tour kicks off at the impressive Puerta de Alcalá, where you'll meet your knowledgeable guide and settle in for an incredible journey through the cultural treasures of Madrid. Over the next eight hours, your expert guide will introduce you to the must-see sites of the city, and with skip-the-line tickets and insightful commentary, you’ll be fully immersed in Spain's royal past and vibrant present.

Wander through the tranquil paths of El Retiro Park, marvel at masterpieces in the Prado Museum, and refresh with a lunch break at a guide-recommended eatery. Then, continue to the bustling Puerta del Sol, meander through the historical Madrid of the Habsburgs, and ponder the magnificent Cathedral of La Almudena before wrapping up your adventure with a tour of the majestic Royal Palace of Madrid.

Madrid Full Day Tour Description

Your 8-hour tour includes:

  • Expert-guided tour in English

  • Small group with max 12 people

  • Skip-the-line entry and audio guide at the Prado Museum

  • Skip-the-line entrance to the Royal Palace

  • Madrid's most iconic sights including El Retiro Park and Old Town

  • Free time for lunch

Meet at Puerta de Alcala

Your journey starts at a convenient time in the morning at the Puerta de Alcalá, an iconic gateway standing proudly in the Plaza de la Independencia. Here, you’ll meet your expert guide and a small group of fellow explorers for the day. Take a moment to marvel at the impressive neoclassical architecture of the gate, which was designed in the late 18th century by Francesco Sabatini and tune in as your guide shares stories of its construction commissioned by King Carlos III and its role as a ceremonial entrance into the capital.

Plaza de Cibeles and Paseo del Prado

After the meet and greets are out of the way, you’ll venture over to Plaza de Cibeles. This bustling square is famed for its stunning fountain, which depicts Cybele, the Roman goddess of fertility, seated on a chariot pulled by lions. Surrounding the plaza are striking buildings like the Palacio de Cibeles, formerly the postal headquarters and now a cultural hub. The Paseo del Prado, just a short walk from the plaza, is another highlight well worth checking out. Known as Madrid’s art walk, this avenue is lined with trees and sculptures that lead directly toward the Prado Museum.

El Retiro Park

Before continuing to the Prado Museum, detour to El Retiro Park, which is the perfect place to slow down and enjoy a moment of tranquility. Built in the 17th century, the park belonged to the Spanish monarchy until 1868, when it became a public park. Follow your guide’s lead around the park’s beautifully manicured gardens and peaceful walkways and to the striking Crystal Palace. Along the way, learn how the park was once a retreat for the Spanish monarchy before opening to the public in the late 19th century. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a puppet show or an informal music performance.

Prado Museum

Next, your skip-the-line ticket brings you straight inside the Prado Museum, one of the world's premier art galleries. The Prado's halls are lined with a fine collection of European art, from the 12th to the early 20th century. Your guide will highlight key pieces including Velázquez’s "Las Meninas" and Goya’s "Black Paintings." Learn about the context in which these masterpieces were created as well as the innovative techniques used by the artists that continue to influence the art world today.

Free time for lunch

After immersing yourself in the artistic wonders of the Prado Museum, it's time for a well-deserved lunch break. Lunch is not included in the tour, but your guide will suggest several nearby restaurants where you can enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine or international dishes. Whether you crave tapas, a hearty paella, or a quick bite, you'll find plenty of options to recharge before the afternoon's exploration.

Puerta del Sol

Re-energized, meet back up with your guide and fellow group members at Puerta del Sol. This lively square has long served as a meeting point for locals and is even deemed the ‘zero kilometer’ point from which all distances in Spain are measured. While you’re here, your guide will point out the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes on New Year's Eve, and recount tales of the square's history as a hub of social and political activity. The Puerta del Sol originated as one of the gates in the city wall that surrounded Madrid in the 15th century and the name of the gate came from the rising sun which decorated the entry, since the gate was oriented to the east.

Madrid of the Habsburgs (Old Town)

A short walk from Puerta del Sol leads you into the labyrinthine streets of the Habsburg Madrid, the city’s oldest quarter. As you wander through narrow alleys lined with historic buildings, your guide will help you discover the Renaissance and Baroque architecture that flourished during the reign of the Habsburg dynasty. You'll learn how this era, known as the Golden Age, was a time of artistic and cultural growth, lending the city a grandeur that still impresses today.

Cathedral of La Almudena

Next, you'll visit the Cathedral of La Almudena. While you won’t be going inside during this tour, the Neoclassical exterior is still a sight to behold. As you take in its lovely facade featuring pale stone and intricate details, tune in as your guide shares stories from its century-long construction. After all, did you know that while it wasn’t completed until 1993, it was envisioned back in the 16th century to honor Madrid's patroness, the Virgin of Almudena?

Royal Palace of Madrid

Your final destination is the Royal Palace of Madrid, one of Europe’s largest and most beautiful palaces. With your skip-the-line ticket, you'll bypass the long queues and enter directly into the opulence of Spain's royal history. Inside, explore stunning rooms filled with art, armor, and exquisite furnishings. Learn about the palace’s role in royal ceremonies, and hear stories about the monarchs who once called this home. While your tour ends here, feel free to continue exploring the palace at your leisure or ask your guide for recommendations on how to spend your evening in Madrid. Adios, and thanks for joining!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

Starting & ending point

The tour starts in Puerta de Alcalá (Plaza de la Independencia), next to the entrance of El Retiro Park. Your tour will end in the Royal Palace of Madrid where you're welcome to stay as long as you like and continue your exploration at your leisure

What to bring?

It's always smart to wear comfortable shoes since you'll be on your feet for most of the tour. A good camera or smartphone with a camera is also recommended

Is this tour run by The Tour Guy?

This tour is operated by one of our trusted and vetted partners in Madrid

What if I have concerns about my mobility on this tour?

If you have any doubts about your mobility, please let us know beforehand. This Madrid Full Day Tour is approximately 8 hours long, and we’ll be on our feet for the majority of the time. As the sidewalks in Madrid can be uneven and tricky to navigate, this tour is not wheelchair accessible

What happens if it rains?

We run our Madrid Full Day Tour rain or shine. If the weather is extremely bad and the Prado Museum or Royal Palace is closed, we'll inform you as soon as possible

Is there a dress code to enter the Prado Museum or Royal Palace?

While there is not a specific dress code, you will be expected to be wearing shoes and a shirt to the Prado Museum and the Royal Palace. We also recommend wearing footwear you'll be comfortable walking in. Visitors are allowed to bring small bags or backpacks, but larger bags or luggage must be checked at the entrance

Do the Prado Museum or Royal Palace ever experience sudden closures?

There may be some closures due to the celebration of official events. If this occurs, we will let you know as soon as possible.

Is lunch or dinner included in the price of the tour?

Meals are not included during this tour but you will have a break to enjoy a lunch of your choice. Feel free to ask your guide for recommendations!

Are drinks included in the price of the tour?

Drinks are not included in this tour but you will have a break to stop for lunch and drinks. Feel free to ask your guide for recommendations!

Are skip-the-line tickets included in the tour?

Yes! Skip-the-line tickets are included to Prado Museum and Royal Palace

Will the guide be with us for the whole time?

Your guide will be with the group during the whole tour and stops. However the visit to the Prado Museum and the Royal Palace is made with the help of an audioguide so that you can explore the interior of the buildings at your own pace, providing a more intimate experience

Can I bring my kids, and do I have to pay for them?

All ages are welcome on our Madrid Full Day Tour, and we offer a discounted rate for children aged 8 to 10. Children and infants 7 years and younger are free

Does this tour include hotel pickup?

Hotel pickup is not included on this tour. You'll meet your guide at Puerta de Alcalá (Plaza de la Independencia), next to the entrance of El Retiro Park

Is this tour monolingual?

We strive to conduct our Madrid Full Day tour exclusively in English. However, on some occasions, if the nationalities of the participants require it, the tour may also be conducted in other languages.

Start From: $111.87

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$111.87 / per person
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