Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a destination that captivates travellers. It is a city of contrasts, modern but with the unmistakable allure of the old world. The largest city in Spain, Madrid is filled with 17th century churches, historical monuments, art galleries, museums, restaurants, beautiful cafes, and hip bars. There are so many attractions to choose from and it will be difficult to go to each of them, especially if you can only spend a limited time in the city. To assist you, here’s a short list of the top things to do during your trip.
1. Explore Puerta del Sol.
Often called the ‘official’ centre of Spain, Puerto del Sol, is the most popular and centrally located square in Madrid. Situated very near Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol was once the site of the city’s east-facing gate. Within the square is the famous clock tower of the Real Casa de Correos, one of the most iconic landmarks in Madrid. Also in Puerta del Sol is the bronze statue of a bear and a strawberry tree or the El Oso y El Madroño, the city’s official emblem. There’s also a statue of King Carlos IIII and a replica of the Mariblanca statue.
2. Take in the sights and sounds of Gran Via.
One of the main attractions you should see while in Madrid is the Gran Via, a wide street that’s lined with bars, shops, restaurants, cinemas, architectural marvels, and even a casino. Also found along Gran Via is the famous Plaza de España, where you can spend some time to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere and beautiful surroundings.
3. Spend a day at Casa de Campo.
The 1722-acre Casa de Campo, considered the largest green space in the country, is a favourite attraction among locals and tourists in Madrid. The park has a large lake, and offers boat rentals and other sporting facilities. Furthermore, there are trails and paths suitable for trekking, running, and cycling. If you are travelling with kids, facilities like the amusement park and Zoo Aquarium will keep the whole family occupied. Casa de Campo is also home to the Madrid Arena, an indoor arena that’s a popular venue for games and other events.
Located in Plaza de Oriente, Palacio Real is a beautiful palace that’s representative of Baroque and classical Italian architecture. Commissioned by Philip V and designed by Juan Bautista Sachetti, it used to be the official home of the Spanish monarchy.
While vacationing in Madrid, you can join public tours that allow viewing of fifty of the palace’s rooms, and have the opportunity to see the inspiring artifacts and artworks on display.
5. Walk along Paseo de la Castellana.
The Paseo de la Castellana is a long avenue that passes through the city, from north to south. A walk through Paseo de la Castellana will bring you to majority of the most important attractions in Madrid, including the famous Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, La Cibeles, and Plaza Colon. The best hotels, shopping, and restaurants are also conveniently located in the area.
6. Marvel at the sheer beauty of Puerta de Alcala.
One of the most recognizable landmarks in Madrid is the Puerta de Alcala, the arch that’s located in the east of Madrid, at Plaza de la Independencia. One of the most magnificent monuments in the city, the massive arch was designed by Francesco Sabatini and completed in 1769.
7. Visit the Golden Art Triangle.
Madrid is an artistic city and is famous for the Golden Art Triangle, a small area covering the three of the most noteworthy art galleries in the city: the Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum. A tour of the three galleries will give you valuable insight on how art and painting evolved through the years.
8. Indulge in tapas and churros.
Tapas and churros are just two of the must-try culinary offerings of Madrid. Never miss having churros con chocolate for breakfast or a late-night snack. The Chocolateria San Gines has been serving great churros for more than 100 years and is a favorite haunt among Madrileños.
One of the reasons why Madrid is a big hit among world travellers is because of its delicious cuisine, especially tapas. For the uninitiated, tapas are actually small servings of food meant as snacks. While you can definitely have tapas any time of the day, locals prefer to enjoy tapas in bars at night.
9. Look for bargains at El Rastro Flea Market.
El Rastro, Madrid’s oldest and most popular flea market, is a great place for snagging the best bargains on clothing, jewellery, artworks, household items, and even vintage items. There are hundreds of stalls in El Rastro so never miss the opportunity to go home with unique finds.
10. Watch flamenco at the Corral de la Moreria.
Flamenco is very popular in Madrid and the city has seen some of the best flamenco shows in Spain. To watch the best flamenco in town, head to Corral de la Moreira. Considered the top flamenco restaurant in Madrid, the establishment features top artists and serves exquisite Italian food. The top-rated restaurant has been listed in the Michelin Guide for many years.
Travelling throughout Spain? Check out the best tours in Madrid at Travezl.com.