Yes, you do need to check online whether the palace is open the day before you go. You can go to Patriminonial Nacional website which is the gatekeeper of all the royal palaces in Spain, look under "Buy Tickets" and look closely at the calendar shown and see the color legend to check whether is palace is open or closed. In fact, one week before my due date to visit, it stated open but subsequently changed to closed two days before my visit so I had to change plans and visit it another day. Head to Moncloa Bus & Metro Station from where your journey begins. Ignore all other information online that says that you have to exit the station & head above ground to the bus station. This is wrong information & not updated. The Moncloa Bus Station is UNDERGROUND. Once you exit the metro ticket gates, you go one level up the escalator & you will see passengers waiting at bus bays platforms marked in numbers. There are 2 sections to this UNDERGROUND Moncloa Bus Station on the SAME LEVEL. Which means that the bus bays where you wait for your designated buses is divided into 2 sections that CANNOT be accessed via the same floor. You have to descend one level down back to where the metro concourse (the area before you insert the ticket to get into metro station) is in order to get to the other bus bay. So use the OTHER escalator if you came down from the first escalator where you cannot find your bus platform. Bus no 601 to the palace departs from Bus Bay Platform No 30. It is easy to know which stop to get off as Bus no 601 has a real time electronic signboard on board the bus that shows approaching stops. Use Google Map to identify which stop you need to alight eg. if you stay at Hotel ABC enter this hotel as your origin on Google Map Madrid & in your destination enter El Pardo, click on the metro/bus icon, you will see the bus no 601 appear, further click & drill down thru the entire bus no 601 route to see all the stops. If I remembered correctly, its the 2nd last bus stop. As you get off the bus, walk behind the bus & you will see the palace to your left, its just about 2 minutes walk away from the bus stop. You can buy the tickets at the palace due to the high unpredictability of when the palace may close at very short notice. Apart from using it to house foreign dignitaries, it is also used for national award ceremonies as I was informed by my guide. I was very fortunate to have an English guide all to myself for the 10.45 am tour. Yes, solo tourist to 1 guide, Never has this happened before, So I took advantage of this opportunity to bombard her with questions, ugh, I think she was drinking lots of mineral water from her bottle as we proceeded through our tour as I kept asking questions. The tapestries that you see in this palace were first painted by Goya for the sole purpose of turning it into tapestries, the painting is handed over to the tapestry craftsmen who then copied every little detail hand sewn & loomed into the fabric. The tapestries are a legacy & continues to exist today as a working craft shop known as the Royal Tapestry Factory (Real Fabrica de Tapices) which is near Atocha station. You can visit this factory & it will be mentioned by your guide. I had a good laugh when the English guide mentioned a faux pas that was averted in the nick of time concerning a foreign royal couple who were staying there in the past. Lots of stories here about who stayed here. This palace was also the home & working office of the dictator Franco. The reason why this place was chosen as a place to stay for foreign dignitaries is because the roads leading to it can be easily monitored & managed for safety reasons. Its a narrow stretch of road, easy to spot intruders. Hence, Franco chose this place. Enjoy your visit, this place is an eye opener!