My husband and I made sure we didn't leave Madrid without visiting the Royal Palace. On our last day in the city, we lined up 20minutes before the Royal Palace opened (we were second in line). We bought tickets for the English guided tour which was to start at 10:30am. It was like a private tour because there was just one other gentleman with us in the tour. Our tour guide, Lola, is the best tour guide ever. She was professional, knowledgeable, and passionate about her job. The tour was adequately paced. It covered the highlights of the Palace. We even got to tour some rooms that were not open to the general public; I felt like a VIP being ushered into a room cordoned off to the rest of the tourists.
I highly recommend the guided tour to those who are pressed for time. I thought it was worth every penny.
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