Madrid is the capital of Spain and one of the most-visited cities of western Europe. It is not only the largest city in Spain, but also one of the largest in the European Union. Madrid has been a center of arts, culture, entertainment, and fashion for many decades. Sports lovers will know Madrid as the home to 2 of the most popular football clubs in the world — Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Although it was founded in the 9th century, Madrid has evolved into one of the modern cities of Europe. There are plenty of attractions in Madrid to keep tourists of all ages and interests hooked. In this blog, we will list 10 such attractions which have been the toast of tourists visiting the Spanish capital.
- Mercado de San Miguel
The Mercado de San Miguel is a market located within walking distance of the Plaza Mayor. Its central location and late hours of operation on weekends has made it a popular hangout spot for locals and tourists alike. The market dates back to 1916. It was renovated and given its present look by its private investors in 2009. Mercado de San Miguel is the perfect place if you are looking for Spanish spices or baked goods. Several cooking classes, private parties, and concerts are also organized at the site. As it is open late on weekends, you can drop by to enjoy a drink or a meal at this market.
- Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor is a popular square in the city located close to the Plaza del Sol. It was built in 1619, replacing the Plaza del Arrabal. The square was used for various purposes including the site for execution of accused heretics during the Spanish Inquisition. Presently, it is used for cultural and municipal functions. It is, however, open to the public at all times. The square is entirely flanked by residential buildings constructed in the 18th century. At the center of the square is the statue of Philip III, during whose reign the square was built.
- Puerta del Sol
Translating to Gate of the Sun, the Puerta del Sol is one of the busiest squares in the city of Madrid. It has tremendous geographical significance as this is Km 0 (zero) in Spain. All Spanish highways are measured in reference to this square. There are plenty of shops scattered all over the square, which is mostly a pedestrian-only zone. Puerta del Sol is also home to the famous clock tower. If you are visiting Madrid on December 31st, then don’t forget to be here for the tradition of the Twelve Grapes. According to folklore, if you eat a grape for each of the 12 strikes of the clock on New Year’s Eve, then your new year will be one of prosperity.
- Plaza de Cibeles
The Plaza de Cibeles is one of the most beautiful and most-photographed squares in the city of Madrid. It is at the junction of Calle de Alcala, Paseo del Prado, and Paseo de Recoletos. It is lined with neo-Classical buildings, giving it a grand look. The most prominent structures at the square are the Cybele Palace, Palace of Linares, Palacio Buenavista, and the Bank of Spain. At the intersection stands the stunning fountain featuring the Roman goddess Cybele riding a lion-drawn chariot. The fountain, which was once a source of domestic water, is today considered a symbol of Madrid.
- Temple of Debod
The Temple of Debod is one of the must-see attractions in Madrid, not only for its beauty, but also for its historical significance. The temple, dedicated to Goddess Isis, was originally located on the bank of the River Nile in Egypt. Due to the dangers of flooding for the newly constructed Aswan High Dam in 1960, several prehistoric monuments along the Nile had to be relocated. Spain extended a helping hand to Egypt and in return was gifted this temple in 1968, which was flown in all the way from Egypt! It now stands in the Parque del Oeste beside the Royal Palace. This 4000-year old temple is now the oldest monument in Madrid.
- Gran Via
The Gran Via, or Great Way, is the lifeline of a busy upscale neighborhood of Madrid. There are several boutique stores along with high-end shopping options along the Gran Via. Several neo-classical buildings along this stretch are also worth a look. The Spanish Broadway is also on the Gran Via. The tall triangle-shaped Telefonica Building with a clock on its façade was the tallest building in Europe when it was completed in 1929. The stunning Metropolis building is also a noted landmark on Gran Via. Even if you are not into shopping, Gran Via still deserves a visit for its splendor.
- Buen Retiro Park
The Buen Retiro Park, or simply El Retiro, is one of the largest public parks in the city of Madrid. The park used to serve as a royal retreat until the late 19th century. Spread over 350 acres, the park not only has a serene presence but is also beautifully landscaped. Striking neo-classical monuments and statues along with many fountains, lakes, and walkways have made this park a favorite with locals and tourists alike. The arcing colonnade – Monument to Alfonso XII – is one of the most notable landmarks of the park. Other attractions include the Paseo de la Argentina, Rose Garden, Casita del Pescador, Avenida de Mexico, and Crystal Palace Art Gallery.
- Museo Reina Sofia
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, or simply The Sofia, is the national museum of Spain that is dedicated to 20th century art. It is one of the major attractions of the city attracting over 3 million visitors every year. Named after Queen Sofia, the museum is on the southern end of Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art. It primarily focuses on Spanish artists with a rich collection of two of the greatest Spanish artists – Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. The museum, which opened its doors to the public in 1992, also has a large collection of books, audio recordings, and videos.
- Prado Museum
Museo del Prado, or Prado Museum, is one of the leading art museums of the country and a major tourist attraction of Madrid. It was established in 1819 and has evolved into one of the major art museums of Europe, attracting over 2 million visitors every year. The artworks, ranging from the 12th to the early 20th century, are considered to be one of the most priceless collections under one roof. Although navigation of the museum is much easier after the 2007 renovations, it still remains too large of a collection to be completely viewed in just one visit.
- Palacio Royal
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the most prominent attraction in the city of Madrid. Although it is still the official residence of the royal family, it is used only for state functions. A part of the palace has been converted to a museum and opened to the public. The royal family presently resides in the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela. The palace was built in 1764 and has over 3000 rooms! With a floor area of 1.45 million square feet, it is the largest royal palace in Europe in terms of floor area. The interior of the palace is one of stunning grandeur, making it an attraction not to be missed when visiting Madrid.
Originally posted 2017-06-06 08:00:02.