San Jerónimo el Real

A 16th century Roman Catholic church with royal connections, now used by the Prado Museum.

TravelCurious Tip

Combine a visit with a relaxing walk in 'El Retiro' or a day wandering the Prado, both of which are just next door.

Saint Jerome the Royal

This church began life as a Hieronymite Monastery in the mid 15th century; due to the site's marshy ground, it was moved to a new position to adjoin a growing royal palace, and rebuilt in Isabelline Gothic style. In 1528 it was used for the investiture of the Princes of Asturias and future king Philip II, the beginning of a long royal association. When Philip moved the Spanish court to Madrid, San Jerónimo became part of the Buen Retiro palace complex. It was subsequently largely destroyed during the Napoleonic occupation in 1808 (today, little remains in Buen Retiro Park of the original buildings).

Further Isabelline Gothic restoration followed under Queen Isabel II in the mid 19th century; a second restoration followed between 1879 and 1883, and the street-facing stairway was added in 1906 for the occasion of King Alfonso XIII's wedding. Only a few external features remain of the monastery's original structure, and the neo-Gothic 19th century remodelling of the façade remains controversial, but it is an elegant and beautiful place.

The church's Baroque cloister was in disrepair for many years, until it was agreed in 2007 that the Prado should have the space. Its inner courtyard facade was dismantled and then rebuilt as a cubic room designed by Rafael Moneo - the red-brick 'Cubo de Moneo' has proved unpopular with many locals. Whatever your own opinion, this extension of the museum holds great temporary exhibitions, as well as some of the Prado's collection of non-Spanish art including works by Titian, Rubens and Veronese.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Madrid
Buen Retiro Park
The green heart of Madrid, hosting an array of gardens and monuments.
Casón del Buen Retiro
One of two remaining 17th-century buildings in Buen Retiro Park, the Casón is home to a famous fresco.
Prado Museum
Spain's premier art museum, with a treasure trove of works dating as far back as the 12th century.
Las Meninas by Velázquez
This enigmatic painting is one of the crown jewels of the Prado collection.
Christ Washing the Disciples' Feet
An incredible representation by Tintoretto of the events before the Last Supper.
The Garden of Earthly Delights
An astounding triptych by Hieronymus Bosch, portraying fantastical crowds of people and monsters in a warning against temptation.

Related Tours

Madrid's Private Half Day Highlights with skip-the-line Prado tickets
This four hour tour will introduce you to the lives of some of the most influential artists of Europe, followed by a memorable walk around the stunning Buen Retiro Park. 

  • Commence your tour at the Prado Museum
  • Take in the phenomenal architecture and masterpieces.
  • Learn about major art movements. 
  • Re-fuel with a swift coffee break.
  • Cruise through Buen Retiro Park.
  • Snap pictures of the Monument to Alfonso XII and el Casón del Buen Retiro building.
The Very Best of Art and Culture

You will begin your tour at the Spanish national art museum: the Prado Museum. Founded in 1819, it is well worth a visit just for its stunning neoclassical architecture, let alone its impressive collection of some 8,000 paintings and many beautiful sculptures, drawings and prints. Here, your expert guide will endeavour to shed some light on the major art movements you will see in the museum, including the Renaissance and Baroque. 

You will also learn about the fascinating social and cultural background of some of the most iconic paintings house in the museum, such as the Spanish masterpiece Las Meninas by Velazquez; Artwork by Fran Angelico, gifted creator of The Annunciation; Christ Washing the Disciple’s feet by Tintoretto, and masterpieces by the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. 

Sublime Walk

After a well deserved coffee break, you will head over to the fabulous Buen Retiro Park, where your guide will walk you through its rich history, traced back to Isabella I (1505). You will notice stunning sights such as the artificial lake that complements the impressive Monument to Alfonso XII, and el Casón del Buen Retiro building; one of two remaining 17th-century additions to the park and former home of King Philip IV. 

Well worth a visit, this is now a museum housing an incredible collection of 19th and 20th century paintings, including work by the Spanish painter, Joaquín Sorolla. On days in which the church is open to the public, you will also have the opportunity to visit the absolutely beautiful Church of San Jeronimos; and the crowning place of King Juan Carlos in 1975.


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