The Royal Palace of La Granja of San Ildefonso is probably one of the best maintained 18th century palaces in Europe. When you walk around the site, it resembles the court of Versailles and the truth is that King Philip V actually wanted these similarities. However, you can also perceive an influence from Spanish baroque and a touch of Italian decor.
When you approach the royal residence through its front entrance, you see a beautiful garden with very tall trees brought from many parts of the world. When you continue to walk around the palace towards the back, you get to a large area full of gardens and fountains. I have been several times in these gardens in different seasons and I am always amazed of how beautiful they are. However, if you want to see the fountains working and many of the statues in the gardens, you have to come after the winter months (after April).
I will be honest with you, I have never been inside this Palace and it’s not because of the money (the entrance fee is actually not that expensive, about 3 Euros); it’s because I usually do not enjoy indoors in royal sites as much as the outdoors. The fresh air you breathe from the Guadarrama Sierra Mountains and the view of the forest surrounding the site is great.
Coming to this Royal Palace is a great Spanish experience for all ages and kinds of people. However, I will specially advise it for honeymooners or couples that want a special escape from the crowd and a time to relax. The actual town of La Granja where the palace is located is another great experience but I will leave that for another post…