Do you yearn to take a little break from the busy life on Madrid’s streets and wish to escape into the calm that art, culture and history brings? Then we have another must-visit and hidden gem for you: the Liria Palace in Madrid, or Palacio de Liria as the locals call it. The palace is the official residence of the House of Alba, one of the most traditional dynasties of the Spanish aristocracy. Most impressively though, is the family’s incredible and great art collection, which is one of the largest private art collections in the world!
By simply entering the palace property, right off the hectic Calle de la Princesa, you feel like you’ve stepped into another world. The park-like front yard, the cobblestone pathways and the picturesque façade of the building all make you feel like you’ve turned back in time.
If you want to learn even more about Madrid’s awesome art and culture scene, take a look at our section dedicated to Madrid’s museums and exhibitions! Additionally, find out how you can enjoy Madrid’s art and culture for free!
About the Liria Palace
The Liria Palace in Madrid is also known as the “the little brother of the Royal Palace” due to its similarity in aesthetics and design. The neoclassical building with its rectangular floor plan, houses the Alba family’s art collection on three floors, with 14 rooms open to the public. It also happens to be the official residence of the 19th Duke of Alba, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart as well as the headquarters of the Casa de Alba Foundation.
The palace was built in the 18th century by the architects Louis Gilbert and Ventura Rodriguez, on behalf of the third Duke of Berwick and Liria, Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart y Colón. It’s still considered as one of the most important private homes in Madrid and home to one of the most prestigious aristocratic families in the world, whose origins date back to the 15th century.
You might have also heard about the 18th duchess of Alba, Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, one of the most senior aristocrats in Spain, who was actually born in the Liria palace!
In November 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, a fire destroyed a large portion of the building. Leaving only the four outer walls standing. Luckily, most of the collection was rescued and the Liria Palace was rebuilt.
Visiting the Palace is only possible with an audio guided tour available in Spanish, English, Italian, French and German. The tour not only guides you through the beautiful palace halls, but also through the family’s incredible history and their breathtaking art collection. Furthermore, the audio guide is underscored with carefully selected classical music, which perfectly completes this noble experience. The tour is truly a multi-sensual adventure unlike anything you’ll usually find at an art museum or exhibition.
If you plan on visiting the Liria Palace in Madrid, we have collected all the information you need to enjoy this beautiful monument. For additional information, you can check out the palaces website here.
The group tours take place every 30 minutes, one tour lasting 65 minutes. Important to keep in mind: a time is assigned to each tour and it is requested to arrive 10 minutes prior to the tour-start. You can find the specific tour times on the palaces website.
- Monday: 10:15am – 12:30pm
- Tuesday – Friday: 10:15am – 12:30pm; 4:15pm – 6:00pm
- Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays: 9:45am – 12am; 3:45pm – 5:30pm
The general basic entry fee to the Liria Palace is €15, but they offer a reduced rate of €13 for students under 25. Early birds also have the chance to enter for free, every Monday at the 9:15am or 9:45am tour, until it is full. For more information on pricing click here.
Liria Palace Address
Calle de la Princesa, 20, 28008 Madrid
Located right in front of the Palace site is the Ventura Rodriguez metro station, reachable via Metro Line 3. If you are coming from Plaza de España, it only takes you a 5 minute-walk up Calle de la Princesa and you will find the Palace on your right. The nearest bus stop is Mártires de Alcalá (line 2).
What to See at the Liria Palace
You have to follow a rather strict path, whilst doing the audio tour. However, you will find yourself enjoying the history of the Alba family, whilst wondering about the impressive pictures, portraits, furniture, porcelain or trinkets & doodads on display. Keep reading, if you want to find out about what to see at the Liria palace. Furthermore, you can find additional information here.
The Great Hall & Staircase
When entering the palace, you will find yourself in a neoclassical hallway. Moving on to the staircase, one thing especially stands out: a beautiful sculpture of Aphrodite. After the fires in 1936, the hallway has been remodelled to the pompous hallway you can find today, setting the mood for the remaining rooms yet to come.
The ballroom just feels majestic. This room used to be reserved for amazing societal parties, and dukes & duchess danced between those walls throughout time. Apart from the huge portraits at display today in the ballroom, also the chandelier deserves some attention, as it is truly magnificent.
The Dining Room
What needs to be kept in mind is that the palace of Liria still is an inhabited palace. This room is actually still used regularly for family meals. What will catch your eye are the four Gobelin tapestries on the wall, showing the “New Indies”-series, impressions of the jungle and its exotic wildlife. A truly outstanding environment to enjoy your dinner in!
The Themed Rooms
Paintings, sculpture, tapestries, furniture, documents and books or a large set of porcelain: all these pieces form a truly unique collection in the themed rooms of the Liria Palace. In total, there are nine different themed rooms, like the Italian, Spanish or Goya Room. These include some of the great works of artists like Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens, Titian, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Winterhalter and many more. The Goya Room, dedicated to the phenomenal artist, includes one of the palace’s most notable paintings: the portrait of the Duchess of Alba (as you can see on the right in the picture).
The last stop on the tour and presumably most important one is the library, which holds over 18,000 prints. Those include, for example, the first edition of Don Quixote (1605), or the largest collection of handwritten manuscripts by Christopher Columbus. One letter shows Columbus’ first drawing of the island “La Española”, which we know today as Haiti and the Dominican Republic. You most certainly cannot help it, but be dazzled by looking at those scripts – at least we were.