The Royal Collections Gallery is the most recent addition to Madrid’s long list of museums. Located next to the Royal Palace of Madrid, this gallery’s collection includes decorative objects and art collected by the Spanish monarchy, from the Catholic Monarchs of Spain through the Habsburgs to the Bourbons. But what can you see in the Royal Collections Gallery? In this post, we’ll share what you can expect from a visit to this museum in the Spanish capital.
What You Need to Know About the Galería de las Colecciones Reales in Madrid
(Very) Brief History of the Gallery
The gallery’ inauguration was as recently as June 2023. Yet, the idea of creating a space to house the Spanish Crown’s heritage was born during the Second Republic.
However, with the arrival of the Spanish Civil War, the project was put aside and wouldn’t be resumed until 1998. The discovery of archaeological remains also delayed the progress of the project. The work would be completed 25 years later, eight years behind schedule.
Initially, the gallery was to be called the Museum of Royal Collections.
Can a building fit in with its surroundings and not be like anything around it? In the case of the gallery, yes.
The building is a work of architects Luis Moreno Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón Álvarez. It stands out for its modern and minimalist design, without many frills. The building won ten architecture awards so far, including the American Architecture Prize (AAP 2017).
But its contrast with the rest of the buildings in the area has yet to be appreciated by all. Described as a “granite, concrete, glass, and oak mastodon” by El País, the building has nothing to do with neighbors such as the Royal Palace or the Cathedral of La Almudena. The only thing it shares with the facades of the other buildings mentioned is the predominance of gray.
That said, the Galería de las Colecciones Reales de Madrid overhangs the western crown of the city. The building is embedded so that it can give the impression that it has always been there. You could almost think it is part of the landscape.
In total, the museum has six floors and two access points. The main entrance is at Plaza de la Armería, next to the Almudena Cathedral. At this entrance, which is the 0 floor of the museum, there is also a viewpoint.
On the other hand, the other entrance to the gallery is on floor -3, which you can access from the Jardínes del Moro, one of the most photogenic places in Madrid.
The gallery is in one of the best areas to stay in Madrid.
What to See at the Galería de las Colecciones Reales in Madrid
The first room of the gallery’s permanent exhibition is on floor -1. This room has a capital “A” that refers to the House of Austria, which is how people commonly refer to the House of Habsburg. This house reigned in Spain from the 16th century to the end of the 17th century. However, in this room, some objects belonged to the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, whose reign occurred at the end of the 15th century.
Among the outstanding works on floor -1 are a armor for cavalry from 1544, portraits of the Habsburgs, and paintings by Caravaggio and Velázquez.
Following the descending path of the gallery, we reach room -2, with a capital “B” indicating that we reached the Borbon part of the exhibition. This room exhibits part of the collection of objects and art that this monarchy has obtained for over three centuries, reaching the present.
The Bourbon space in the Royal Collections Gallery in Madrid houses paintings by Goya, tapestries, decorative objects, and a Royal Crown car.
The -3 floor, where the tour ends, has temporary exhibition halls and an immersive cube that shows, among other things, the interior of the Royal Palace of Madrid and other Royal Sites. During my visit, there was a temporary exhibition with several vehicles that belonged to the monarchy.
Located in a modern building, the gallery has ramps and elevators that make itaccessible. As you go down the ramps, you will see audiovisual projections that will help you understand each room’s context.
In total, the gallery has a selection of 650 works.
Visiting the Royal Collections Gallery in Madrid – Frequently Asked Questions
You can buy tickets for the Galería de las Colecciones Reales de Madrid online or at the museum’s ticket office. In addition to individual tickets, you can book a guided tour or get combined tickets, which include a visit to the Royal Palace.
This museum is located in the heart of the city. The nearest metro stations are Ópera (lines 2 and 5), Plaza de España (lines 2, 3 and 10) and Príncipe Pío (lines 6, 10). On the other hand, the closest bus stops to the gallery are Callao and Príncipe Pío.
The cost of general admission to the Royal Collections Gallery is 14 euros. If you buy a combined ticket to visit the gallery and the Royal Palace of Madrid, you must pay 24 euros. The reduced rate of 7 euros is for people over 65 and students up to 25. Members of large families, people with a degree of disability equal to or greater than 33%, and children under five can visit this museum for free.
This Madrid museum opens from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Also, the gallery works with reduced hours, from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm every December 24 and 31, and closes every December 25 and January 1.
The Royal Collections Gallery in Madrid exhibits 650 objects that belonged to the Spanish Crown. This collection includes paintings by Goya, Caravaggio, and Velázques, tapestries, cars, armor, and decorative objects.
This museum’s collection belonged to the Spanish monarchy, from the Catholic Monarchs through the House of Austria to the Bourbons.