Covering over 125 hectares and comprising more than 15,000 trees, El Retiro Park is a green oasis in the heart of the city. In it you’ll find all kinds of interesting monuments and gardens, including the Jardín de Vivaces, the Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez (Andalusian-inspired classicistic gardens), the Jardines del Arquitecto Herrero Palacios, the Rosaleda rose garden and the Parterre Francés, which holds a Mexican conifer that is nearly 400 years old and is believed to be Madrid’s oldest tree. https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro
This gallery in Madrid has the most complete collection of Spanish painting from 11th-18th centuries, and numerous masterpieces by great universal artists such as El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Bosch, Titian, Van Dyck and Rembrandt.
The quality and variety of its collection makes the Prado one of the world's best-endowed museums. It combines a first-class collection of Spanish painting, the most important works of the Flemish and Italian schools, and various fine examples of the German, French and English schools. It is home to numerous masterpieces of universal art such as Las Meninas by Velázquez, the two Majas by Goya, Nobleman with his hand on his chest by El Greco, the Garden of Delights by Bosch, and The Three Graces by Rubens, among other priceless pieces. Although the museum was created to house primarily works of painting and sculpture, it also contains major collections of drawings, engravings, coins and medals, as well as items of clothing and decorative art. http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/arte/museos/madrid/museo_nacional_del_prado.html
Madrid's Royal Palace was built in the 18th century by order of Philip V on the site of the old Alcázar fortress, a former Moorish castle. Sachetti began the works in 1738, and the building was completed in 1764. Sabatini designed the southeast wing and the great staircase, or staircase of honour. It has a square floor plan with a large central courtyard. The Puerta del Príncipe gateway on the east side gives access to the central courtyard. The Sabatini and Campo del Moro Gardens are among the Palace's other attractions, as well as its several different façades. There is some debate as to its artistic style; it is thought by some experts to belong more to the Baroque, and by others to the Neo-classical style. Of particular note among its numerous rooms are the Royal Guards' Room, the Columns Room, the Hall of Mirrors and King Charles III's room. It also contains paintings by Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, El Greco and Caravaggio. http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/arte/monumentos/madrid/palacio_real.html
This portico lined square is situated at the heart of Hapsburg Madrid, the old part of the city and one of the capital’s most charming districts.
Before Madrid became a capital city, with its wide avenues and boulevards, its footprint consisted of narrow streets, alleys and passageways, which today take us back to the times of swashbuckling swordsmen and medieval rogues.
The foundations of Plaza Mayor were laid, when Philip II's court moved to Madrid, on the site of the former Plaza del Arrabal, where the town's most popular market was located towards the end of the 15th century. In 1617, architect Juan Gómez de Mora was commissioned to create a greater uniformity amongst the buildings in this location, which for centuries had hosted popular entertainments, bullfights, beatifications, coronations and the occasional auto de fe. https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/plaza-mayor-madrid
This is one of the most well-known monuments in Madrid. Built between 1769 and 1778 under the orders of King Carlos III, it was designed by Francisco Sabatini and erected as a triumphal arch to celebrate the arrival of the monarch at the capital. The granite gate is 19.5 metres tall and is elegant and well-proportioned. The façade features a number of decorative elements with groups of sculptures, capitals, reliefs and masks, among others. http://www.spain.info/en/que-quieres/arte/monumentos/madrid/puerta_de_alcala.html
This bustling square located bang in the centre of Madrid is one of the city’s most famous sites. With its semi-circular shape, it is a junction for many of the city’s historical and busiest streets such as Mayor, Arenal, Alcalá and Preciados, as well as the starting point for all major radial roads in Spain.
Originally the site of one of the city’s gates, Puerta del Sol should be at the top of your list of places to visit. Sitting atop the Casa de Correos building, the current headquarters of the Madrid regional government, you’ll find the famous clock that all eyes turn to on the last day of the year. For over a century now tradition has it that people across the country usher in the New Year by eating 12 lucky grapes to the twelve chimes of midnight struck by this clock.
A stone slab on the pavement in front of the main entrance to the Casa de Correos marks Spain’s Kilometre 0, the starting point for all major radial roads in Spain. Across the square, at the beginning of Calle Alcalá, Madrid’s longest street, you’ll find the famous Oso y Madroño. The official symbol of the city, the statue of a bear nuzzling a strawberry tree is a popular meeting spot for Madrileños. https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-del-sol
Built in 1782, the Cibeles Fountain has been standing in this emblematic square since 1895. One of the city’s most famous landmarks, it depicts Cybele, the Great Mother and Roman goddess of fertility, atop a chariot drawn by two lions.
It stands in the centre of the Plaza de Cibeles, the square to which it has lent its name and which marks the start of Madrid’s avenue of art, the Paseo del Arte. The fountain is flanked by four magnificent buildings: Buenavista Palace (the Army’s General Headquarters), Linares Palace (which accommodates the Casa de América cultural institution), Cibeles Palace (previously the main Post Office, it now houses Madrid City Hall and CentroCentro cultural centre), and the Bank of Spain. Commissioned by King Charles III it was designed by renowned Spanish architect Ventura Rodriguez. All three figures were made with purple marble from the town of Montesclaros, in Toledo, and the rest of the monument was carved from stone from Redueña, an area 53km to the north of Madrid, close to the La Cabrera mountain range. https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/fuente-de-la-cibeles
The stunning Palacio de Cibeles is not only the headquarters of Madrid City Council, it is also home to CentroCentro. A recent addition to the renowned Paseo del Arte, the cultural centre boasts a packed programme of activities that revolve around the city and includes exhibitions, workshops, conferences and concerts.
Next to the entrance hall, where you’ll find interactive information screens, there is a colourful lounge where visitors can sit back and read, connect to WiFi or enjoy some people-watching through the large windows that look out onto Plaza de Cibeles. The building has two restaurants: Colección Cibeles on the ground floor and Palacio de Cibeles on the 6th. Both are open Monday to Sunday. Also on the sixth floor is Terraza Cibeles, a great rooftop bar where you can relax with a pre-dinner drink or mid-afternoon snack as you take in the wonderful views of the Plaza de Cibeles and the Madrid skyline.
For even more breathtaking vistas, head up to the Mirador observation deck on the 8th floor. https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/centrocentro-palacio-de-cibeles
In 1968, Manuel Herrero Palacios designed these 8 hectares of gardens so that one could sit and admire the magnificence of the Temple of Debod, which had been donated to Spain by the Government of Egypt. The Debod Mausoleum, which is more than 2,000 years old, was rescued from the waters of Aswan Dam by a group of Spanish archaeologists. They brought back every stone and rebuilt it in its present location, after the Government of Egypt donated it to Spain. It was set on the remains of Cuartel de la Montaña, retaining the orientation to the sun it had at its place of origin.
From here, the famous Manzanares cornice, with the Royal Palace, Casa de Campo and, possibly, the most beautiful sunsets in Madrid, can be seen. The garden’s parterres on both sides are merely a vegetation frame. They are enclosed with squares, banana trees for alignment and groups of palm trees and Mediterranean plants on the meadows. https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/jardines-del-templo-de-debod
Opened in May 1916 as a food market, this centenary establishment (one of the city’s few and best examples of iron architecture) became Madrid’s first gastronomy market in May 2009. Throughout 2018, the market will undergo a period of consolidation of much of its gastronomy contents.
Located in the centre of Los Austrias Madrid and with over 10 million visitors a year, the San Miguel Market is the city’s gastronomic temple, the contemporary essence of all the corners of Spanish cuisine. From the best Iberian ham to fresh seafood brought from Galicia each day, the Mediterranean rice or the special cheese from Castile, Asturias or the Basque Country. The finest products and wine from the length and breadth of Spain are divided among 30 permanent stands and 3 in a portable format. https://www.esmadrid.com/en/shopping/mercado-de-san-miguel