Teatro Real

'El Real' is one of Europe's great theatres, and the major opera house of Madrid.

TravelCurious Tip

Treat yourself to a meal at the fantastic restaurant, which is headed by two-star Michelin chef Ramon Freixa.

The Royal

In front of the Royal Palace is Teatro Real, Spain's premier opera house. Inaugurated on the birthday of Queen Isabel II in 1850, it has long been a world-class venue: its acoustics are acclaimed as some of the finest around, and its decor retains a luxurious 19th century feel after a 1990s remodelling.

Having spent some time as a concert hall - it hosted the 1969 Eurovision song contest, featuring stage sculpture by Salvador Dalí - El Real has returned to its roots as a place for opera, staging around 17 productions a year, as well as some ballet titles and classical recitals. It is also home to Madrid's Symphony Orchestra.

Behind the scenes

If you're not here for a concert, there are a variety of daily tours operating in this official National Monument. An 'artistic tour' allows the public - who previously had no access to the theatre's innards - to discover where the magic happens behind an opera production, in the wardrobe and set design workshops, rehearsals and dressing rooms. The 'technical tour' covers the preparation of the stage and acoustics. There is also an atmospheric nocturnal tour.

Of course, if you are here to see a show, you can catch a wide range of operas, often featuring huge stars such as Plácido Domingo. The cheapest seats are a long way from the stage, but the acoustics are wonderful throughout, and live filming is projected on the upper walls so that everyone can get a good view of the action.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Madrid
Plaza Mayor
This colossal square has hosted a variety of events over its 400 year history, from street markets to public executions.
Church of Santiago
An austere neoclassical church alongside the Camino de Santiago.
Plaza de Ramales
A square right beside the Royal Palace, this was the centre of 15th century Madrid.
Plaza de Oriente
A historic square with some fabulous sculptures, located right at the entrance to the Royal Palace.
Royal Palace of Madrid
Home to an astounding art collection, this palace is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family and is today used for state ceremonies.
Classic Spanish Tapas
Spanish tapas are the heart of any social gathering.

Related Tours

Historic Madrid for First-Timers
Visit Madrid, Spain’s vibrant multicultural capital, to discover its historic plazas and royal palaces, neoclassical churches and the winding streets of its Medieval quarter.
  • Start your tour in Madrid’s bustling heart, Plaza Mayor (Main Square)
  • Stop at Puerta del Sol (Sun Gate) to photograph its famous bear statue and clock tower
  • Learn about Spain’s epic hike, the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James), at the Iglesia de Santiago (St James’s Church)
  • Explore Madrid’s Gothic heritage at Ramales and the Plaza de Oriente (Eastern Square)
  • Marvel at the grand Royal Palace and Royal Theatre
  • Stroll the medieval streets of the Barrio de la Latina (Latin Quarter)
  • Finish at Plaza de Santa Ana (Santa Ana Square), a food, culture and nightlife hotspot
 Madrid is an ever-moving city filled with a mix of ancient history and modern life. In this mammoth capital, you’ll find everything from one of Europe’s richest art collections to grand royal palaces and maze-like medieval quarters lined with tapas bars and sweeping plazas. On this four-hour tour, a local expert will guide you through Madrid’s frenetic streets, introducing you to the city’s top sights.
Plazas, palaces and Gothic history
Begin your tour at Madrid’s main hub, the Plaza Mayor (Main Square), a renaissance square with a 400-year-old statue of King Phillip II surrounded by impressive porticoed buildings. You’ll learn about how this historic square has hosted everything from exotic markets to bullfights and even public executions and burnings during the Spanish Inquisition. There’s also a chance to stop at the nearby Puerta del Sol (Sun Gate) to see its iconic bear statue and clock tower.
The Plaza de Santiago (St James’s Square) is a through-way on Spain’s famous 500-mile Camino de Santiago (Way of St James) pilgrimage hike across the country. Here, you’ll see the Iglesia de Santiago (St James’s Church), once one of the oldest churches in Madrid which was rebuilt in neoclassical style in the 19th century. It’s now time to explore Madrid’s 15th century Gothic quarter, Ramales, with its tranquil plaza home to the Reina Sofia (Queen Sofia) concert venue and resting place of the renowned artist Diego Velazquez.
In the adjacent Plaza de Oriente (Eastern Square), your guide will introduce you to Madrid’s famous Royal Palace and the Royal Theatre, a world-class opera house. The plaza was designed by King Joseph I in 1844, its Medieval houses removed to make way for gardens and sculptures and of course, the royal buildings. Learn all about the palace, which is the largest in Western Europe and the official residence of the Spanish royal family.
The life and soul of Madrid
As you come to the end of this epic, express tour of Madrid, you’ll navigate the snaking streets of the Barrio de La Latina (Latin Quarter), a medieval wonder. Discover narrow alleys lined with cafés, bars and restaurants, Moorish churches and pretty plazas. The tour concludes at the Plaza de Santa Ana (Santa Ana Square), one of Madrid’s most vibrant squares. Soak up the atmosphere of its traditional taverns and tapas bars, terrace cafés and boutiques.
Searching for a quick, informative glimpse of Madrid? This tour is the perfect choice for your first visit to Madrid, taking in the city’s main areas and landmarks. 


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