Madrid is the capital and the largest city in Spain, located on the river Manzanares in the center of the country. Madrid has been presented with a degree of cultural prevalence. It is relatively young when compared to the other great Spanish cities such as Seville and Valencia and so it lacks the traditions of the ancient Andalusian and Castilian towns.
The general aspect of Madrid is modern, with boulevards and fashionable shopping areas, but the old quarters have picturesque streets. The center of the city is called the Golden Triangle. Three world famous museums are all located in this area: the Prado, Thyssen Bornemisza and Reina Sofia.
Let’s start your visit!
The Prado Museum
Madrid is the internationally celebrated home of Spain’s most prominent art collections. The Museo del Prado houses the world’s largest and most prized collection featuring over 8,600 master works by Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, Ribera, Raphael, Botticelli, Fra Angélico, and Rembrandt, to name a few. Since 1819, the collection has been moved twice – during the Spanish Civil War and WWII – and has sustained immaculate condition. The Prado is also a work of art in its own right, designed by famed 18th century architect Juan de Villanueva.
The Royal Botanical Garden
The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid is an 8-hectare botanical garden located at Murillo Square, in front of the Prado Museum. In 1942 was declared Artistic Garden.
Museum Arte Reina Sofia
For the grandeur and curious intricacies of contemporary Spanish art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is a crucial visit. Once you have managed to overcome the awe of Picasso’s Guernica, make sure to explore the fascinating world of Spanish photography, sculpture and film along with an incredible collection of Kandinsky, Miró and Dalí.
A unique collection in Europe. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum offers an overview of art from Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, Rococó, Romanticism to the modern schools and Pop Art. It features works from movements not represented in state-owned collections such as Impressionism, Fauvism, and the experimental Avant-garde of early XX century.
Madrid’s main Opera Theatre is the Teatro Real (Royal theatre). In front of the theatre is the Royal Palace.
The Royal Palace
The 2800-room palace is no longer inhabited by the royal family, but the walls are lined with elaborate frescos and original artwork by the likes of El Greco and Goya. The Royal Palace is also a major tourist attraction, since even though it is still used for ceremonial purposes, the throne room and garden are open to tourists.
The Plaza España Square
Plaza de España (Spain Square) is a large square, and popular tourist destination, located in central Madrid, at the western end of the Gran Vía Street. It features a monument to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, and is bordered by two of Madrid’s most prominent skyscrapers, the first skyscrapers, built in the 1950’s: the Madrid Tower and the España Building. The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is a short walk south from the square.
The Almudena Cathedral
The building is situated adjacent to the Royal Palace, in front of “Plaza de Armas” of the Palace, on the south side. The site on which Almudena Cathedral now stands was originally occupied by Madrid’s first mosque, then by a church dedicated to one of Madrid’s patron saints, Santa María de la Almudena.
Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol is literally in the center of the city, and this area serves as the hub of tourist activity. There is a main plaza, touristy shops, and plenty of restaurants and bars. From the main plaza you can walk to Plaza Mayor.
The Plaza Mayor
The pulse of Madrid’s beating heart can be found in the Plaza Mayor, the town square built in 1619 by Juan Gómez de Mora. Surrounded by outdoor cafes and filled with street performers and tourists. Narrow cobblestone streets surround Plaza Mayor, and they are cool to check out. Plaza mayor is probably the most “touristy” place to go in the city and is a good place to start your visit to Madrid..
The fountain of Cibeles
The fountain of Cibeles is to be found on the stretch of Madrid commonly called the Paseo de Recoletos. It depicts the goddess Cibeles, the Greek goddess of fertility, who is seen sitting on a chariot and being pulled by two lions.
The Retiro Park
Retiro is a big park done in the French style, and it is basically the Central Park of Madrid. When the weather is good, the park fills with people, and you can find the young people by the huge statue of a man on a horse.
Fine Arts Museum
Known also as “Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Saint Fernando”, the museum was established by Fernando VI in 1752 and it is located in the spectacular Goyeneche Palace. The museum today houses a rich collection of works of prominent Spanish, Italian and Flemish artists and painters plus many sculptures, etchings, silverware and other valuable objects dating back to the 16th Century.
Gran Vía Avenue
Gran Vía ends to the west in Plaza España Square and to the east at the intersection with Alcalá Street.
Plaza de Toros
If you are a bullfight fan, be sure to visit Plaza de Toros de las Ventas, one of the most famous bullfight rings in the world.
San Miguel Market
Food and only food, nothing else! Go there with an empty stomach and enjoy all the food from appetizers to all type of food to deserts and drinks! 🙂