Madrid is foremost a fantastic cultural destination with a great historic and artistic heritage. Indeed it is home to the best known art galleries such as the El Prado and Reina Sofia museums within the so called golden triangle of Art located along the Paseo del Prado. The amazing medieval centre where most of the key attractions are located is a wonderful place to get lost along its narrow streets packed with terraced cafes and restaurants. It is where the beautiful walking plazas are located including Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol, both an excellent starting point for a day of sightseeing or an evening with friends.
Top 10 Madrid attractions include:
Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol is the plaza considered the actual heart of the city and perhaps one of the best known plaza in Madrid. It is the location of Kilometre Zero a plaque showing the point where the measuring of national highways begins, as well as the home to the famous statue of a bear climbing the madroño tree, which is the symbol of Madrid.
The Plaza Mayor used to be the centrepiece of Madrid, home to bullfights, markets, tournaments and executions. Today this buzzing square and best known plaza in Madrid remains a popular tourist attraction, ideal to enjoy a coffee on one of the many terraces and feel the pulse of the local lifestyle. At its heart is the statue of Felipe III across from the beautifully painted Casa de la Panadería, the former headquarters of the bakers guild.
To enjoy some of the best Andalucian tapas surrounded with a bullfighting memorabilia décor, head to La Torre del Oro restaurant on the Plaza Mayor.
The Palacio Real, the Royal Palace of Madrid is said to be the biggest of its kind in Europe. It is the official residence of the King of Spain, however the royal family does not actually reside there and it is generally only used for state ceremonies.
Plaza de Oriente
La Plaza de Oriente is a famous square close to the Royal Palace, home to a park, various glorious statues and the famous Royal Theatre, the Teatro Real with its restored 1850 Opera House.
Reina Sofia Art museum
The Reina Sofia Art museum is perhaps best known to be home to some of Picasso’s most famous paintings including the Guernica which denounced war and fascism.
Museo del Prado
The Museo del Prado is one of Madrid’s greatest museum, home to a variety of fabulous masterpieces from Titian and Rubens to Rafael and Botticelli, passing by Goya and Velázquez.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, housed in the renovated Villahermosa Palace offers plenty of permanent exhibitions and is part of the “Golden Triangle of Art”.
Plaza de Independencia
Plaza de Independencia, the Independence Square situated in the heart of Madrid is perhaps one of the most symbolic site in the capital. It is home to the Puerta de Alcala built in 1778 at the behest of King Carlos III and is today one of Madrid’s most famous monuments.
Plaza de Cibeles
The plaza de Cibeles is one of Madrid’s greatest square. This neo-classical complex of marble sculptures contains the Cibeles Palace, home to the City Hall and to some impressive fountains.
Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas
The Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas is Spain’s largest bullfighting arena and a great way to discover the exciting Spanish vibe while assisting to the show.