Descalzas Reales Monastery

Price guide: Budget

Plaza de las Descalzas 1, Madrid, 28013

Price guide: Budget

Descalzas Reales Monastery © Patrimonio Nacional.
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#6 of 30
expert-rated things to do in Madrid
Expert overall rating:4.7 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Culture vultures, Education

Expert review of Descalzas Reales Monastery

A secret world of astounding artistic treasures which trace Spain's royal history.

If you walk out of the rear door of the El Corte Ingles department store near the Puerta del Sol, you would most probably not notice the building that you pass on your right. Stop right there and look again. It may be low key from the outside, but you'll be amazed at what's inside. Still home to around 20 nuns, Descalzas Reales is also one of Madrid’s most intriguing museums. It dates back to the 16th century and gives a fascinating insight into the Habsburg royal family, who reigned in Spain for nearly two centuries, from 1516 to 1700. Originally a palace, it was turned into a convent by Juana, King Philip II’s sister. The daughters of other royal and aristocratic families joined the order – and a lot of rather valuable donations followed over the years. Some of these are now in the Prado museum, but you can still see paintings by El Greco, Titian, Rubens, Velázquez and Zurbarán, and sculptures by Pedro de Mena and Pompeo de Leoni.

Price advice: 

Admission 5 euros, concessions 2.50 euros.

Expert tips: 
Given the restricted opening hours and obligatory guided tour,try and get there before it opens to avoid long queues.
From the upper cloister, peep into the inner courtyard where the nuns grow their own vegetables.

More information on Descalzas Reales Monastery:

Price guide:
Art gallery, Museum, Religious site
Plaza de las Descalzas 1, Madrid, 28013
91 454 8800
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Tue-Thurs & Sat 10.30am-12.45pm, 4pm-5.45pm. Fri 10.30am-12.45pm, Sun & Holidays 11am-1.45pm.
Free tags / Keywords:
Art, History, Rainy days

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