Capital of Spain
Madrid a City Full of Surprises

We have been privileged to visit Madrid the Capital of Spain, many times since the 1960s and have see the changes in this European Capital.

There are many things to do in Madrid to stay a month. But normal tourists come for a week or even a few days and want to see it all. See and do what you can in one trip and come back for more.

The Tapas Bars, the Salas de Fiesta, the Flamenco theaters and above all the impressive museums with Museo del Prado leading the list are awe inspiring.

El Parque del Retiro in the center de Madrid

El Parque del Retiro in the center of the Capital of Spain

Capital of Spain

• Almudena Cathedral

This is the cathedral of Madrid, Spain. Dating from the late 19th and 20th centuries, Almudena Cathedral is very new by European standards, and its traditional and modern design reflects its youth.

• Plaza de Colón

In English Columbus Square is a monument to Christopher Columbus, located in the Alonso Martinez district of Madrid, Spain.

The plaza, originally called "Plaza de Santiago", was renamed "Plaza de Colón" in 1893. There is a statue of Columbus standing at the pinnacle of a tall column.

He appears to be pointing west, indicating the route he would take towards the islands of the Caribbean.

The Avenue of La Gran Via in Madrid is an icon of Madrid Tourism

The Avenue of La Gran Via in Madrid is an icon of Madrid Tourism

• Gran Vía

It literally means Great Way. It is an ornate and upscale shopping street located in central Madrid. It leads from Plaza de España to Puerta de Alcala near the Cibeles It leads from Calle de Alcalá, close to Plaza de Cibeles.

The lively street is one of the city's most important shopping areas, with a large number of hotels and large movie theaters. It is also noted for the grand architecture prevalent among many of its buildings.

Capital of Spain

The Cibeles Fountain is one of the icons of the Capital of Spain

The Cibeles Fountain is one of the icons of the Capital of Spain

• The Plaza de Cibeles

The fountain of Cibeles is found in the part of Madrid called the Paseo de Recoletos. It is seen as one of Madrid's most important symbols.

The Cibeles fountain depicts the goddess Ceres, sitting on a chariot pulled by two lions. The fountain was built in the reign of Charles III and designed by Ventura Rodríguez.

The goddess and chariot are the work of Francisco Gutiérrez and the lions by Roberto Michel.

Plaza de España in the center of Madrid

Plaza de España in the center of Madrid

Capital of Spain Tourism

• The Plaza de España

It is one of Madrid's largest and most popular squares. On a sunny day it is filled with street vendors, tourists and sunbathing locals.

The square is located at the end of the beautiful Gran Via, one of Madrid's busiest streets. The green square is surrounded by streets, but it is still a very relaxing place during daytime.

It features a large fountain and famous statue honoring the Spanish writer Cervantes.

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La Puerta de Alcala is one of the symbols of Madrid

La Puerta de Alcala is one of the symbols of Madrid

• Puerta de Alcalá

Puerta de Alcala is another important icon on the Spanish capital.

In 1764 King Carlos III commissioned the Italian architect Sabatini to construct a large gate to replace a small 16th century baroque gate, built by King Philips III.

Carlos III felt the gate, which marked the eastern boundary of the city, was too small for the important gateway to Aragon.

The lavish interior of the Museo del Prado in Madrid

The lavish interior of the Museo del Prado in Madrid

Madrid Tourism

• Prado Museum

The Museo del Prado features one of the largest collections of fine art in the world. Art by Spanish artists like El Greco, Velazquez, Goya and others can be seen on a visit to this museum. You should allocate a full day for this visit.

• Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza is located across from El Prado is a private museum with the collection of this family. The environment is great and although there are mixed origins and types of art it is a great visit overall.

• Plaza Del Toros

Going to see a Bull Fight is a one in a lifetime experience and very Spanish. If you like this sport you should go at least once when visiting Madrid.

Paseo de la Castellana is Madrid's longest artery

Paseo de la Castellana is Madrid's longest artery

• Paseo de la Castellana

Madrid´s longest avenue crosses the town from north to south. It starts at the Plaza de Colon Santiago Bernabeu and continues to the Plaza de Castilla with the KIO Towers, also known as the Door to Europe.

This part of the Avenue is still growing to the north. Towards the area surrounding the Four Towers

• Parque del Retiro

This is a peaceful park in the middle of the city, around a beautiful lake with many bodies of water, gardens and monuments. It is always full with families with children.

Like Mexico’s Chapultepec or New York’s Central Park, the Retiro Park functions as the lungs of the city.

For more information visit Madrid Tourism

Puerta del Sol one of the main squares in Madrid

Puerta del Sol one of the main squares in Madrid

Capital of Spain

• Puerta del Sol

It means in English Gate to the Sun. It is considered by many to be the very center of the city; this large urban plaza contains many statues and monuments. It is also a focal point for demonstrations and due to its big clock in the center is where the Madrileños celebrate the arrival of the New Year. We did it once and it was to “crazy” for us.

• Plaza de Santa Ana

This scenic plaza offers Tapas Bars and clubs making it one of Madrid's most popular nightlife hotspots. This is a place where the locals go.

• Palacio Real

The Royal Palace of Madrid is a luxurious rococo palace with over 2,000 opulently gilded rooms. It’s at walking distance from the center and the hotels.

• Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia

Queen Sofia Arts Center features pieces of art by Picasso, Miro, Dali and others.

The Royal Palace - El Palacio Real in Madrid

The Royal Palace - El Palacio Real in Madrid

Capital of Spain

• Plaza Mayor

This is a huge plaza with cafes, restaurants and great for walking. When in Plaza Mayor, go to one of the corners of the square that is called Arco de Cuchilleros.

Go down and you’ll find the best restaurants on that street. Among the one I love is Casa Botin, Casa Lucio, Viejo Madrid and Casa Paco.

• Cafe de Chinitas

They serve an excellent choice of tapas and drinks, which the clients can taste while enjoying the best flamenco show in Madrid. They have been doing for the last 40 years.

• Real Basilica de San Francisco el Grande

Near the Royal Palace, there is the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, which is dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels.

Image Credits for the Capital of Spain:
Parque del Retiro n/a
Cibeles Fountain by Gellerj
Gran Via by Luis Garcia Zaqarbal
Palacio Real by doubleU7 at nl.wikipedia

All courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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