A Quick Guide to Madrid

This post is intended to all of you that are considering of visiting Madrid. Maybe it is up there with your "cities to visit" list, but you are still not 100% convinced and you choose another city to visit and keep putting off Madrid for the next trip. Let me tell you why you are making this mistake:

Think of Paris.

Think of NY City.


Think of London.

Think of Rome.

Think of Madrid... 

Maybe you are thinking of something like this....

or even hoping for this....

or you are planning on spending your trip like this...

and, believe me, it is definitely not this...

But that is exactly why you do not know what to expect  - Madrid was never given a symbol. And it is not because it does not have any, but because the city never did a good marketing in projecting the real image of Madrid to the outside world.

I will show you some of my favourite places in Madrid and some of the most touristic places to visit. But Madrid is so big and beautiful that it is a city to visit for a couple of days and discover for yourself your own favourite corners. 

1. Puerta del Sol - Plaza Mayor - Palacio Real - Catedral de la Almudena

La Puerta del Sol is the center of the city and you may recognize the big clock where the Spanish New Year's Eve is celebrated. 

El Oso y el Madroño
El Oso y el Madroño is one of the city symbols and it is located in la Puerta del Sol.

Very close is la Plaza Mayor. The main plaza where you find little street markets and beautiful bars where to have a drink or a bocadillo de calamares.

Playa Mayor de Madrid y la estatua ecuestre de Felipe III

If you keep walking you will arrive at both the Palacio Real and the Almudena Cathedral:

Yes, a royal pace. In the middle of the city. The Royal family does not live there anymore and it is open for tourist visits (highly recommended).
Palacio Real de Madrid

Sala del Trono del Palacio Real de Madrid
Inside the Palacio Real of Madrid

Catedral de la Almudena de Madrid
Inside the Almudena Cathedral of Madrid

3. La Gran Vía - El Palacio de Correos

The next stop would be walking down the great avenue (Gran Vía), where you will discover beautiful corners and buildings in every step that you take. 

Gran Vía de Madrid

Gran Vía de Madrid

Gran Vía de Madrid

Gran Vía de Madrid

And you will arrive at the Palacio de Correos, this astonishing building that used to be the main post office and now serves as a culture center. You may visit the top terrace and the restaurant, both have great views.
Palacio de Correos en Madrid

View from the Palacio de Correos
View from the terrace of the Palacio de Correos, Madrid


2. The Golden Triangle of Art

That is how it is commonly referred to the three most important museums in the city: El Museo del Prado, el Museo Reina Sofía and el Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Museo del Prado de Madrid

Las Meninas de Velázquez en el Museo Nacional del Prado

Museo Reina Sofia de Madrid

Guernica de Picasso en el Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía

3. Puerta de Alcalá - El Parque del Buen Retiro

I mentioned the park in my February blog entry Weekend in Madrid! It is a great park to go for a walk and relax, after visiting the monumental Puerta de Alcalá, which used to be the one of the entrances to the city. 

Puerta de Alcalá de Madrid

Lake of the Buen Retiro Park

Buen Retiro Park in Madrid

Here it is also a great place to start your shopping spree. Yes ladies, Madrid is a shopping paradise! And this is actually one of the things that I miss the most. Most shops are also open on Sundays.

You can walk until the Plaza de Colón and have a nice lunch or break there.

5. Plaza de Castilla y Torres Kio

If you would like to visit the Business Area you will have to head north and visit these must-see's:

Torres Kío de Madrid, en la Plaza de Castilla

Santiago Bernabeu and fan shop

Las Cuatro Torres de Madrid

And no, Madrid does not have a beach. It is two hours away from Valencia (in AVE, the Spanish high-speed train) or five hours driving time from Cádiz (southest point of the peninsula and great place for surfing). What Madrid can offer you is a park in the south called Madrid Río. This giant park runs along the river in Madrid, el río Manzanares and is great for walking around, skating or going by bike and then make a stop at the different fountains to refresh. In here many concerts or events take place, specially in the warm summer nights.  

Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas
There are many other places that, depending on your taste and hobbies, you might prefer to visit - The Ópera, the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas (largest plaza de toros in Spain) or maybe the Templo de Debot.

Templo de Debot, Madrid

Honestly, I could be writing entries and entries of places in Madrid, so if you have any special request just leave a comment below.

And do not forget about the surroundings - la Sierra de Madrid, Aranjuez and close cities like  Toledo or Segovia.

To wrap up here is a beautiful video made by Cromática45 with a drone. Can you recognize some of the places?

Considering to visit Madrid? Please do, you will not regret it. And then leave a comment with your impressions :)

PS: I will try to post soon an entry about great restaurants and places to go out in the lovely city of Madrid!