National Library of Spain, Madrid

4.4
#118 of 1,327 in Things to do in Madrid
Founded as the royal palace's public library in the 18th century, National Library of Spain is one of the largest libraries in the world. Besides the vast collection of books, the library is a center of research and archives. Visit the palatial structure and browse the shelves full of historic and contemporary editions. Stay quiet in the aisles and enjoy the epic architecture over the pages of Cervantes. It couldn't be easier to arrange your visit to National Library of Spain and many more Madrid attractions: make an itinerary online using Inspirock's Madrid online tour planner .
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National Library of Spain Reviews
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  • Hear the history of the building, see incunabulum books, portrait of Cervantes, access the cellars with endless shelves Awards,... that's a luxury. Guided tours to the public.
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  • Unlike dozens of national libraries, the National Library of Spain not allows you entrance to the building if you do not have a library card or join a tourist guide. A huge disappointment, the service is also pretty nasty
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  • Restricted area for input/visitation. Report I will read to gain access to all areas. Free entry. Pictures on the outside are worth as well as in the region around: buildings, frog, monument to Columbus, etc. I didn't like the staff at the reception!
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  • They do not allow foreign visitors in except for group visits (but the receptionist didn't specify how to sign up on group visit). Very disappointed
  • The largest collection in Spain, comparable in terms of on-site service to other large national collection in London and Paris. Off-site books can take forever to be delivered: order them before you travel. Don't expect the staff to speak much English. Anyone working on a topic with a Spanish angle to it should speak Spanish as well as they read it, and if you don't read it what are you doing here? The exhibitions are usually very good: to see them, take the ground-level entrance (rather than going up the stairs).
  • The beautiful entrance draws you into a fabulous building, a place where books send you back in a world without blemish.
  • The building, collection and staff are wonderful here. If you are not from Spain, all you need is a passport to obtain a Reader Card which allows you to look at books published after 1931. You cannot take the books out of this library, but you can reserve them for up to 15 days and read them in a beautiful and spacious room with plenty of desks, lights and free wifi.
  • Since I am a student at the Complutense University of Madrid I am often assigned to write papers on various subject that I sometimes just can't find anything about in my textbooks and the internet. I've came to the conclusion that the most reliable source of information in those situations is the Biblioteca Nacional de España. The staff there is very knowledgeable and quite helpful which saves me a lot of time browsing for the right book on my own.

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The Spanish capital is known for its array of distinct neighborhoods each with its own appeal. An affordable and easy-to-navigate metro system, which makes it is easy to get around Madrid gives you more flexibility in choosing where to stay. Perhaps the most popular choice is Puerta del Sol, the heart of the city center and one of the main tourist attractions with its numerous shops, affordable hotels, and restaurants. Close by is Gran Via street, one of the city's main arteries, which is also home to a number of hotels. A short walk from here is Plaza España where the city's most iconic landmarks lie, including the Royal Palace and the Teatro Royal. For somthing outside the traditional tourist areas, consider staying in La Latina or Malasaña, two bohemian neighborhoods that offer a wide range of eclectic shops, quaint cafes, and lively bars.
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