Madrid: elegant, historic and regal
Spain’s elegant capital, Madrid, is famous for its boulevards and parks and as a center of world’s most renowned art museums. Prado Museum hosts works of Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish and European masters. Reina Sofia Museum hosts one of Picasso’s best works – Guernica. Madrid is also very modern city that offers great restaurant and night life experience and famous Gran Via street is lined up with shops for high end shopping experience.
Despite its immense size and wealth of attractions, Madrid is frequently overlooked by tourists who prefer to visit other parts of Spain and Europe. Despite lacking the spectacular architecture of Barcelona, the bustling energy of London, or the flair of Paris, Madrid is a vast treasure trove with something to offer those prepared to venture off the usual tourist path. Although it may not be the most well-known city, people who come to see what Madrid has to offer will be pleasantly delighted to find a city of unexpected beauty.
Royal Palace of Madrid. The largest Royal Palace in Europe, with over 3,400 rooms. Official residence of Spanish Royal Family. Offering guided tours. Plaza Mayor. The main square of Madrid. Centrally located, with statue of Philip III in the middle, this square is lined with restaurants and cafes. The main starting point to explore the city. El Retiro Park. Fully named as The Buen Retiro Park, this vast green area in Madrid was converted to public park in 19th century. Featuring boating lake, rose garden, several fountains and statues.
Museo Nacional del Prado. One of the most important art museums in Europe, hosting works of Velazquez, Goya and El Greco in a large collection spanning from 12th until 19th century. Puerta del Sol. One of the busiest squares in Madrid, laying on the intersection of several man roads in the city. Featuring famous clock with a bell. Gran Vía. Central shopping street in Madrid. Numerous shops, restaurants and bars are lined up alongside this road with early 20th century architecture.
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Large museum hosting art works of 20th century Spanish masters – Gris, Dali, Picasso and Miro. Located in central Madrid. Temple of Debod. Reconstructed ancient Egyptian temple moved from Aswan in Egypt with all the details, located in the green area just north from city center. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Museum hosting European art collections spanning from 13th until 20th century. Located near famous Prado museum.
Plaza de Cibeles. A popular square in Madrid, with statues and fountains in neo-classical style, dating from 18th century, together with a City Hall. Mercado De San Miguel. Covered food market, dating back from the early 20th century. Offering local food and delicacies in a stylish setting. Catedral de la Almudena. Baroque style Catholic cathedral famous for its unique colorful chapels, also with a Romanesque crypt and a museum.
Puerta de Alcalá. Neoclassical monument in a shape of 5-arched triumphal gateway. Located in the Plaza de la Independencia in Madrid. The first modern triumphal arch in Europe. Palacio de Cristal. A glasshouse conservatory built in 1887 and housing contemporary art. Located in Buen Rettiro Park. Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. One of the world’s most famous football stadium, opened in 1947 for Real Madrid FC and has a capacity over 81,000 spectators. Offering guided tours and trophy roo.
Plaza de España. Landmark square in Madrid lined with ceramic tiles. Featuring sculpture of Miguel de Cervantes, water fountain and a pond and nearby skyscrapers. El Rastro. Every Sunday and public holiday, this open-air flea market is open for people to buy and sell random goods. It is originating from middle ages. Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas. Famous bullfighting arena located in district of Salamanca. Can seat more than 23,000 spectators.
Barrio de La Latina. Historic neighborhood, located on the site of a medieval Islamic fort, featuring narrow passages filled with tapas bars and cantinas. Plaza de Oriente. A large, monumental square in historic center of Madrid. Located between the royal palace and the opera house and featuring fountain, green area and several cafes and restaurants. National Archaeological Museum. Neoclassical mansion housing artifacts from time to 19th century, including cave art and Islamic pottery. Sharing the premises with National Library.
From other attractions in Madrid, we recommend: Cybele Palace, Real Jardín Botánico, Madrid Río Park, Calle de Alcalá, Madrid Zoo Aquarium, Casa de Campo and Manzanares.
Top things to do in Madrid
You can, of course, visit world top museums and famous landmarks from the list above, take a hop-on hop-off bus tour, or go on a bike and foodie tour to many local restaurants with amazing food and wines. Daily trips to nearby cities are also recommended.
If you want to really experience Spanish culture and way of life, we also recommend taking some cooking classes, where you can learn to make Paella, Tortilla and Sangria.
And to top it off, you can attend many flamenco shows where you can enjoy authentic Spanish music and dance.
Festivals and events in Madrid
Interesting facts about Madrid
Here are some interesting facts about this amazing city:
Situated at 650 meters above sea level, Madrid is the capital of Europe at the highest altitude.
The only monument to the devil in the world is located in the Madrid’s Retiro Park.
There are 17 trees per each citizen of Madrid and there are about 3.2 million people living in Madrid.
Best time to fly to Madrid
The peak season for flights to Madrid is July, August and September. The low season for purchasing tickets is January, February and November.
Madrid is served by Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas Airport. Direct flights to Madrid are offered by 51 airlines.
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