The traditional ceremony of the changing of the guard

Changing of the guard ceremonies (you'll also hear them described as military parades) are among the most eye-catching tourist attractions you'll see on your visit to Madrid. Do you fancy watching one and being transported to the past? Here are some of the best.

Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palace in Madrid. Plaza de Oriente square. It commemorates the change that took place every day during the reigns of Alfonso XII and Alfonso XIII. The event lasts about 50 minutes. It starts at midday on the first Wednesday of each month, except January, August and September. Admission is free to everyone at the Puerta de Santiago gate in the Royal Palace. While you're watching, pay particular attention to the request made by the commanders in chief to the Colonel of the Royal Guard for the change to begin. At the end of the event, the military band usually gives a concert on the esplanade in front of the Puerta del Príncipe gate (Calle Bailén). Changing of the guard at the Puerta del Príncipe gate. Royal Palace in Madrid. Since 2007, every Wednesday from 11 am to 2 pm (except July, August and the first fortnight of September) you can watch a changing of the guard ceremony at the Puerta del Príncipe gate at the Royal Palace in Madrid. It is particularly dynamic and lively. The drums announce the arrival of the foot guard, who gradually fall into formation accompanied by the beating of the drums. If you've already seen the foot sentries take their place in their positions, get ready –this is the moment the mounted guards come on the scene. Spectacular on their mounts, the sentries trot past and gradually take their places. When they are ready and standing in formation in their places, you can't possibly leave until you see the actual changing of the guard. There is a change of guard every 30 minutes. What other commemorative dates are there when we can see military parades? Each year on 12 October Spain celebrates its national day, which falls on the anniversary of one of the most important events in our history: the discovery of America. Given the particular significance of the date, it is a perfect opportunity to witness one of the most spectacular events in the military calendar. Don't miss this magnificent parade and the military marchpast that transforms some of the most important streets in Madrid.

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