Attractions in Madrid
Many attractions & Must See in Madrid
As the capital of Spain, there are many amazing and historic Madrid attractions on offer to tantalize tourists. From the elegant royal palaces and delicate parks and gardens scattered around the city, to Madrid’s fantastic selection of art museums, both classical and modern, there is a Madrid attraction to cater to every type of traveler.
The Palacio Real, or Royal Palace, is the official residence of the King of Spain and is used for state ceremonies and official government business. It is a beautiful estate that dates back to the 10th century, when it was originally used as a Moorish fortress. Today, the Palacio Real is one of the most popular attractions in Madrid, with its sprawling concrete malls and lavish interior décor. The palace, which is located on Calle Bailén on the western side of Madrid, is open to the public for tours and sightseeing. Admission to view some of the 2000 rooms and state apartments inside costs €8 or €10 for a guided tour.
Parque del Retiro
This sprawling 140-hectare park was once the summer playground for Spanish royalty, hence its name, “park of retreat”. In addition to the acres of grassland and gentle woods thoughout, the park is also home to a former dance hall and an army museum, as well as a large pond that is overlooked by a 19th century glasshouse. A lovely rose garden borders the park and numerous fountains and statues are scattered around the grounds, making the entire place a wonderful spot for an afternoon stroll or picnic. Entrance is free.
Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Center
Nicknamed the “MoMA of Madrid”, the Reina Sofía is the premier modern art institution in Spain, and one of the foremost modern art museums in all of Europe. The lovely contemporary building is set right in the center of Madrid and houses works by great Spanish and international modern artists, including the famous painting “Guernica” by Picasso, among many others. A visit to the Reina Sofía is well worth an afternoon or evening for anyone interested in modern art. Admission is €6, or free on Saturday evenings and Sundays, with free guided tours on Monday and Wednesday at 5 pm and Saturday at 11 am.
Plaza Mayor is Madrid’s main city square and one of its liveliest districts. Plaza Mayor was historically the center of Madrid life, playing host to a variety of events, including the rather gruesome beheadings during the Spanish Inquisition. Today, Plaza Mayor still functions as the center of Madrid life and is the site of festivals and public events throughout the year. A typical Spanish square, it is a cobblestoned plaza surrounded by historic buildings with airy porticos. Many restaurants and cafes offer seating in the plaza, allowing visitors to soak up the atmosphere under the lovely Spanish sun.
Gran Vía, which means ‘great way’ in Spanish, is Madrid’s main thoroughfare. This historic street is lined with lumbering buildings and a stroll here makes for a great exploration of early 20th century Spanish architecture. Gran Vía is also one of Madrid’s premier shopping areas, with many upscale department stores and boutiques making their home along the busy street. Gran Vía runs a northwesterly route that connects Calle de Alcalá in the east with Plaza de España in the west. There is no admission fee to explore this busy calle and it makes for a wonderful afternoon of shopping or browsing through the many unique stores here.
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