Luxurious royal Madrid is one of the centers of European tourism. Millions of foreigners visit the city every year. The Spanish capital began to develop after the Bourbon dynasty ascended the throne in the 16th century. Then magnificent churches and palaces began to be built, monuments to the heroes of the nation were erected.
Walking along the Plaza Mayor and tasting tapas in the central market of San Miguel, you can feel the spirit of Madrid - strict, solemn and at the same time dynamic and looking to the future. The former greatness of the Spanish nation is carefully preserved in the treasures of the Prado Museum, sealed within the walls of the Palacio Real, immured in the stone pavement of Plaza del Sol.
A trip to the Spanish capital is a journey into the world of art, exquisite architecture and breathtaking gastronomy, as well as immersion in a vibrant and authentic culture.
Where to go and what to see in Madrid?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
The real Spanish "Versailles", one of the most beautiful royal palaces in Europe, built in the 17th century. On the western side of the complex are the magnificent gardens of Campo del Moro. During the reign of the dictator Franco, the palace was nationalized, so the royal family no longer lives here, but only arranges official receptions. The rest of the building is open to tourists.
Palace and Fountain of Cibeles
One of the main squares of the Spanish capital is the Plaza de Cibeles. There is a monumental fountain of the 18th century and a palace built in the early 20th century. Since 2007, the building has been the residence of the mayor of the city. In past centuries, the townspeople took drinking water from the fountain, and the palace building served as the main post office throughout the 20th century. Today, Plaza de Cibeles is a popular place for tourists and residents of Madrid.
"Gate of Europe"
Two skyscraper-towers on the Plaza de Castilla, built at an inclination of 15 ° to the surface of the base. The buildings were designed by American architects D. Burge and F. Johnson in 1996. The towers reach a height of 114 meters and contain 25 floors, private helipads are located on the roofs. This attraction has become a symbol of modern Madrid.
Gran Via street
One of the main highways of the capital, as well as the main "walking street" for local residents. In the evenings, especially on weekends, hundreds of citizens come here for the famous Spanish "marcha" - a long walk from bar to bar (there are plenty of these establishments on Gran Via), during which you can chat, meet friends, drink a glass of wine and join a fun crowd of other idlers.
The central square of Madrid, from where most of the famous tourist routes start. The Plaza Mayor appeared in the 17th century during the reign of Philip III. Since then, important state events have taken place here: executions, bullfights, coronations of Spanish kings, public holidays and formidable courts of the Inquisition. Nowadays, street artists, artists and curious onlookers gather on the square.
Puerta del Sol
The name of the place is translated from Spanish as "gate of the sun". Here is the famous symbol of Madrid - a bear propping up a strawberry tree. In the middle of the square there is a monument to Charles III. The Puerta del Sol is always full of people. Here, Christmas lottery sellers get lost in groups of Chinese tourists with huge cameras, and shopaholics run from one store to another in search of discounts.
Buen Retiro Park
A green area within the city limits, a favorite place for walking in Madrid. The park has many picturesque alleys, fountains, buildings of past centuries. Citizens come here with whole families on weekends to eat ice cream or take a boat ride on a small lake. In Spanish, the name of the park sounds like "good solitude."
Casa de Campo park
An extensive park area, somewhat remote from the central quarters of Madrid. In the past, there were royal hunting grounds here. The park has a large zoo with an aquarium and dolphins, as well as an amusement zone with dozens of slides, labyrinths and other carousels. There is also a whole street of Paseo de Gastronomy restaurants for hungry visitors.
An invaluable collection of works of art, even surpassing the value of the Louvre in Paris. Outstanding representatives of Spanish painting are exhibited here: Velasquez, Goya, El Greco Murillo. The Prado Museum owns extensive collections of Italian painters and paintings by masters of the Flemish school. The exposition was opened to the public in 1819.
Reina Sofia Art Center
Included in the "golden" trio of art galleries in the Spanish capital, along with the Thyssen-Bornemisza and Prado museums. The exposition was opened in 1992. in the former building of the capital's hospital. The Arts Center was named after the Spanish Queen Sofia. The place is famous for its rich collection of modern art. The most famous painting is “Guernica” by the grandiose Pablo Picasso.
Until 1993, the museum was a private collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza family, then it was bought by the state. Here are the canvases of artists who have been “overlooked” at the Prado and the Reina Sofia Art Center. Works by Italian primitivists, Russian constructivists, Dutch and English painters are exhibited on a permanent basis. There are also many masterpieces in the style of pop art and geometric abstraction.
Museum of America
Museum dedicated to the discovery of the American continent. It has no analogues throughout Europe. There are collections showing the history and life of the indigenous population of America before the Spanish conquest. Visitors can look at weapons, household items, clothing, religious items of the Indian tribes. Also exhibited are the weapons of the conquistadors and examples of colonial art.
National Library of Spain
The country's largest collection of written and printed exhibits: books, maps, engravings, brochures, magazines, musical scores, posters. The library appeared during the reign of King Philip II at the beginning of the 18th century. The funds were constantly replenished by providing for safekeeping a copy of each printed work published in the country. Over the three centuries of its existence, the library has accumulated 26 million samples.
The main opera stage of the capital has existed since the middle of the 19th century. As a result of wars and revolutionary events, the theater repeatedly lost its functions and alternately served either as a barracks, or a warehouse, or a building for parliament sessions. In 1977, the stage was returned to its original function, in 1997 only operas and other musical works were staged here.
Cathedral of Almudena
The monumental and majestic Cathedral of Madrid, where magnificent public services are held and a festive mass is celebrated. The temple is dedicated to the Virgin Mary of Almudena, the patron saint of the Spanish capital. The foundation stone was laid by King Alfonso XII in 1884. The cathedral was finally completed only by the end of the 20th century. The architecture of the building is a mixture of neoclassical and baroque elements.
The monastery is located about an hour from Madrid at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. The severe fortress served as the residence of the Spanish kings. Construction continued from 1563 to 1584. Despite the strict and rather simple appearance, the interior of the palace is striking in splendor and luxury. The ashes of all Spanish monarchs, starting with Charles V, rest here.
Monastery of Descalzas Reales
The current monastery of the XVI century in the city of Madrid, located near the Puerta del Sol. The monastery gave shelter to women from noble families who fled under its vaults from the hated and imposed relatives of the grooms. Thanks to the rich dowry of failed brides, the monastery quickly became one of the richest in all of Europe. In one part of the monastery there is a museum of painting.
Temple of Debod
Ancient Egyptian temple, which is about 2000 years old. It was originally intended to worship the god Amon, then became the center of the cult of the goddess Isis. The temple was donated to Spain by the Egyptian authorities as a token of gratitude for the rescue of historical relics damaged during the construction of the Aswan Dam. The structure was dismantled into stones, transported to Madrid and installed in the West Park.
Gate of Alcala
They are located on Independence Square in the center of the capital. The design is made in neoclassical style, has three large and two small spans on the sides. The facade is decorated with a sculptural group and an inscription, where the name of Charles III is immortalized. In the 17th century, the road to Alcalá de Henares passed through the gate. The monument became one of the symbols of the modernization of Madrid in the era of Charles III.
Atocha train station
The main and largest railway station in Spain, from where high-speed trips depart to all regions of the country, as well as commuter trains. The building consists of two terminals. The old terminal of the 19th century houses a tropical garden, cafes, shops and entertainment venues, the new one is used for its intended purpose for the departure and arrival of trains.
Arena Las Ventas
Arena designed for the famous Spanish national show - bullfighting. From May to October, bullfights are held here every Sunday, from April to November you can visit the bullfighting museum. Also quite often the site is used for concerts and festivals. The building appeared at the beginning of the 20th century to replace the old building located in the city center.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
The home arena of the popular football club Real Madrid. The stadium can be accessed with a guided tour, during which visitors can learn about the history of the team, see the Trophy Hall, look into the dressing room and sit in the stands. The arena can accommodate up to 80 thousand spectators. On the opening day of the stadium in 1947, Real Madrid played Portuguese side Belenenses and won 3-1.
Flea market El Rastro
A shopping area or, more precisely, a flea market where you can buy interesting things - from antique furniture and musical instruments to sweets, rare books, clothes. The market is open on Sundays in the La Latina quarter. Not only tourists, but also locals often drop in here, as rare and necessary mechanisms and parts are often sold on the market.
San Miguel Market
Gastronomic market near Plaza Mayor. A bright metropolitan attraction where tourists flock to taste various Spanish tapas. Here you can taste fresh oysters with a glass of champagne or delicious jamon seasoned with herbs and spices. You can try delicacies endlessly, as each counter offers something different.
Warner Brothers Amusement Park
City of attractions in the suburbs of Madrid, covering an area of 55 hectares. Here you can have a wonderful rest with children. The park is divided into several zones: Hollywood Boulevard (the main alley), the world of superheroes, the city of cartoons, the Wild West, the film studio. Each zone is unique and interesting, there are exciting performances and fun rides everywhere.