Highly criticized and reviled, the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena (Saint Maria the Royal) is the perfect complement to the Palacio de Oriente (Royal Palace of Madrid). They are found right next door to each other. The final design included a series of arches on each side that would unite it with the Royal Palace with the Cathedral, creating a majestic, unified “Palace-Cathedral” structure, but this was never fully carried out, as the two buildings remain separate.
The true secret of the cathedral is found in its crypt, with the magnificent 19th century “neo-traditional” chapels decorated with stain glass, mosaics, altarpieces, etc., worthy of being considered obligatory sights in any tourist visit to the cathedral. We can list the Chapel of the Marquis of Urquijo or the medieval image of the Virgin de la Flor de lis as highlights, although I’d encourage you to visit the cathedral and find out what you like best about it.