Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso
Winter opening hours (October to March) Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00-18:00 * Summer opening hours (April to September) Tuesday - Sunday: 10:00-20:00 *
October to March 08:00 - 18:30 April 08:00 - 19:00 November to February: Monday-Sunday 08:00 - 19:30 May, first two weeks of June and September: Monday-Sunday 08:00 - 20:30 Second two weeks of June, July and August: Monday - Sunday 08:00 - 21:30
Chapel of San Ildefonso
Mondays: 15:00 until 30 minutes before the gardens close
Tuesday - Sunday 10:00 until 30 minutes before the La Granja gardens close
Royal Botanical Garden
15 June to 15 October Saturdays: 10:00 - 13:00 Advanced bookings only: 921 47 00 19/20Nota Importante
Closed on Mondays
* Ticket office closes and last entry to the Palace one hour before
Reduced-mobility access and manual wheelchairs are availableTarifasCómo llegar
Transport "La Sepulvedana" (Madrid-Segovia line / Segovia-San Ildefonso line)
Madrid-Segovia (motorway): A-6 / AP-6 / AP-61
Segovia-San Ildefonso: M-601
Villalba-San Ildefonso: M-601
AVE (high-speed rail service) Madrid-Segovia-Valladolid
Regional trains Madrid-Segovia
Phillip V created this Royal Site as a private and completely new palace to retire to upon his abdication in 1724. However, in August that year he was forced to return to the throne due to the death of his son Louis I. From then on, this retreat became his favourite palace and summer residence, being used as such until the reign of Alfonso XIII.
The pine forests of Segovia were already used as hunting grounds by Spain's medieval kings, who built various palaces in the area, such as the Valsain Palace, which was rebuilt by Charles V and Phillip II but which later burnt down in 1683.
For his new palace, Philip V chose a new site close to Valsain; a farm that belonged to the Hieronymites of Parral (Segovia), which he bought from them in 1720.
He entrusted the building of the palace to Teodoro Ardemans and the gardens to René Carlier. Ardemans' traditional Spanish style contrasted sharply with the radically French style of Carlier, a pupil of Louis XIV's chief architect. The work was carried out extremely quickly, being basically finished at the beginning of 1724 and the King and his Queen were able to move into the palace in 1723.
After his return to the throne, Philip V commissioned the Roman architect Andrea Procaccini to extend both the gardens and the palace.
When the architect Filippo Juvarra came to Spain in 1736, he was commissioned to build a new facade through the centre of the garden, which was completed by his pupil Giambattista Sacchetti. The architecture of the palace has a very Italian and compact style, since all the different stages were built in such a short period of time.
The central element of the building is the Royal Chapel or Collegiate Church, built by Ardemans and redecorated by Francisco Sabatini during the reign of Charles III. The royal pantheon, where Phillip V and his second wife, Elisabeth Farnese are buried, is just next to the main altar.
Although the palace suffered a devastating fire in 1918, nearly all the frescoes from the time of Phillip V have survived, with highlights including the royal bedchamber designed by Juvarra and with paintings by Panini.
For Phillip V, the gardens were just as important as the palace itself and he dedicated a great deal of time to designing the fountains. Today, these fountains are some of the most important in Europe, both thanks to the impressive conservation of the original hydraulic system, still in use today, and the sculptures by French artists who had worked on the Palaces of Louis XIV, especially Marly. With this French palace no longer standing, the La Granja Palace offers the best example of this type of formal French garden with such a rich variety of sculptures.
The majority of the buildings for members of the court and the planning of the village that sprung up around the palace were the work of Charles III and they were mainly sold during the 6-year revolution or later transferred to other owners; the Glass Factory and Casa de Infantes are of particular note and the Casas de Oficios, Canónigos and Caballerizas still remain part of the palace complex.
These gardens were designed by the French architect René Carlier, who managed to design and create most of the gardens before his early death in 1722. The remaining work was completed by the sculptors René Fremin and Jean Thierry and the gardener Esteban Boutelou, all French, who managed to instil a notable sense of consistency in this formal layout characteristic of the definitive style of Louis XIV and the Regency.
The initial garden covered the area in front of the palace, up to the calle de la Medianería, while the area known as Ocho Calles was at the time a small hunting park. After he returned to the throne, Phillip V extended the gardens, incorporating the Ocho Calles and later adding more fountains in and around this area, with the Baths of Diana being the last fountain commissioned by this king.
The fountain, made from lead and then painted to look like bronze and marble, and the marble statues form some of the most impressive and well conserved architecture from this period. Fremin, Thierry and Bousseau led a team of sculptors who, between 1720 and 1745, created this stunning scene, brought to life by the fountains' spectacular water displays.