Country: Spain Language: Spanish Currency: Euro (€)
Spain’s capital is a bustling and energetic metropolis! The rich culture and history, paired with the buzz and vibrancy of the city makes for a thrilling visit. Have a stroll through the many beautiful plazas, indulge in fantastic tapas, wander through the some of the most important museums in the country, and take some time relax in Buen Retiro Park. When the sun goes down, watch the busy city grow even busier, as the cafes and bars that line the streets fill up with clinking glasses. Madrid offers a plethora of day trips to nearby destinations that are well worth a visit!
CTW Must See
Buen Retiro Park
Buen Retiro Park is one of the largest parks in Madrid. Buen Retiro Park translates to ‘Park of the Pleasant Retreat’ and it certainly lives up to its name. The magnificent park is filled with beautiful greenery, sculptures, fountains, and the prominent Monument to Alfonso XII. This iconic monument opened in 1922, and features a bronze statue of King Alfonoso XII in the center. In the summer, you can enjoy a paddle boat ride in the pond in front of the monument, and any time of the year, you can surround yourself with the lush greenery found within the park.
Puerta del Alcalá
This triumphal arch stands beside one of the entrances to Buen Retiro Park. The monument was designated in 1778, making it older than the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. It served as an entrance to the city, as it was one of the main city gates.
Plaza de Cibeles
The grand plaza features a large fountain, and the Cybele Palace that serves as the seat of the City Council. The Cybele Palace is one of the city’s most popular buildings, as the grandeur of the plaza and the palace provide sensational photo opportunities.
Museo Nacional del Prado
The Prado Museum was established in 1819 and is said to hold one of the most outstanding collections of European art in the world! The museum receives over 2 million visitor a year and many popular art exhibitions. The Prado Museum is considered one of the three most important cultural institutions in the country. Be sure to check out what exhibition might be available during your visit!
To buy tickets online, visit the official website: https://www.museodelprado.es/
The Metropolis Building might be one of the most photographed buildings in the city! Construction was completed in 1911, but the building has been restored a number of times over the years. The impressive facade, designed by French brothers Jules and Raymond Février, features a strong French style, and a prominent black dome. The sculpture at the top was designed by a Spanish sculptor and displays a winged goddess. Be sure to see the Metropolis light up at night!
Puerta del Sol
Madrid’s central hub, Puerta del Sol, strongly resembles Times Square in New York. It is full of tourists snapping photos, buskers, locals trying to get from A to B, and a large central fountain. The plaza holds some of the most popular landmarks in the city, like the Tío Pepe sign; the kilómetro cero plaque, which displays the center of Spain; and the Bear and the Madroño Tree, one of Madrid’s most popular statues. Day or night, this plaza will likely be busy with people, but the grandeur of it certainly will not disappoint.
Mercado San Miguel
This booming market is the most popular market in Madrid. Unlike other Spanish markets, this one’s focus is not necessarily on fresh groceries, but rather, gourmet tapas and local eateries. The market holds over 30 venders, selling a variety of local cuisine, delicious tapas, baked goods, sweets, alcohol and coffee. Come hungry and fill up on delectable savories and sweets!
Plaza Mayor is another of the city’s most popular squares. It is a large rectangular shaped square, with 237 balconies, nine entranceways, and a plethora of cafes to sit down and enjoy the setting.
Plaza de Oriente
This charming square stands in Madrid’s historic center. It is made up of a peaceful park, a grand monument to Philip IV, Teatro Real, and the Royal Palace. The 44 statues that line the square are Spanish monarchs from the Gothic period to the 15th century. These statues were meant to stand atop of the Royal Palace, but it was suspected they might be too heavy, so they remained on ground level. Teatro Real, just behind the plaza holds up to 1,750 people! It is considered one of the three most important cultural institutions in the country. Guided tours of the opera house are available, providing insight into the building, the stage, and the rehearsal areas.
The Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace is the residence of the Spanish Royal Family, but is mainly used for state ceremonies, as the Royal Family lives on the outskirts of the city. The palace stands where the 9th century Alcazar once stood. The current building was built in 1755 and contains over 3,000 rooms. Behind the incredible Baroque palace, you’ll find a charming garden with beautiful views of the palace.
The Almudena Cathedral sits across from the Royal Palace. Construction originally began for a church in 1883, but soon after, plans changed to building a cathedral instead. Construction continued until the Spanish Civil War. At this point, the Gothic styled cathedral did not fit in with the buildings surrounding it. Therefore, a contest for a new architect declared Fernando Chueca Goitia and Carlos Sidro the winners. Together, these two designed the main facade we see today, and the cathedral was officially completed in 1993.
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