Start at the Royal Palace, which features some 3,000 rooms that have been perfectly preserved. The palace is open to the public, since the royal family only uses it for official receptions. Marvel at the main staircase, designed by Sabatini and comprising over 70 steps. Visit the Throne Room and admire the ceiling painted by Tiepolo, and the Hall of Alabarderos, the palace guards. Your guide will also point out works of master artists along the way including Velzquez, Goya, and Caravaggio. In the Royal Pharmacy, youll explore cabinets with medicinal plants, ceramic pots, and formulas dispensed to the royal family. Visit the Royal Chapel and see its collection of stringed instruments made by the legendary Antonio Stradivari.
Next, hit the streets and squares of the Spanish capital while visiting Madrids Old City. From the Puerta del Sol, Madrid's main square, youll follow your expert guide through the medieval streets to sites including Plaza Mayor, Santa Cruz Palace, and the soaring Almudena Cathedral. Youll discover the curious Bakery House and the tapas-filled stalls at San Miguel Market. This charming district is popularly known as Habsburg Madrid, in reference to the ruling powers of the 16th and 17th centuries. It is here, in central Madrid, that youll even visit the worlds oldest restaurant to find out what the specialty dish is.
Visit Madrid as it existed later under the Bourbon dynasty. Youll wander the gardens of Plaza de Oriente designed by French emperor Napoleons brother. Learn about the Royal Theater and let the beauty of the French-inspired architecture wash over you as you discuss Madrid in the 19th century. By the end, youll understand the layout of the city and how its landmarks played a part in its rich history.