A big city like Madrid can be overwhelming for a short trip, but if you know where to go, you can get the most of it. These are the spots that you really don’t want to miss if you’re visiting the capital:
PUERTA DEL SOL It’s Madrid’s main plaza. In fact, it is the center (Km 0) of the radial network of Spanish roads. You will also find two of the best known monuments of the city: the Estatua de Carlos III and the Estatua del Oso y el Madroño.
PLAZA MAYOR Build in 1620; this plaza is one of the biggest symbols of Madrid. It’s full of bars and restaurants, street shows and history. There’s no better place to get some tapas in the city.
MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL Next to Plaza Mayor, this old market is now a place to taste the finest Spanish food accompanied by some beer, wine or champagne. The twenty century building will amaze you too.
PARQUE DEL RETIRO What to say about El Retiro… It’s a beautiful and huge park in the center of Madrid. You can walk around it for hours visiting its gardens, renting a bike, sailing the pond, contemplating the statues…
EL RASTRO Out of print books, wedding dresses, tablets… You can find anything in El Rastro, which is one of the biggest street markets in the world. The hours will go by like minutes in this place, you’ve been warned!
SOBRINO DE BOTIN The oldest restaurant in the world, it was founded by Jean Botin and his wife in 1725. Many important people have been here during all these years, like Ernest Hemingway, Benito Pérez Galdós or Francisco de Goya (who worked in the kitchen in 1765 before he stand out as a painter). A bit overpriced, but it’s like visit a museum.
REAL JARDÍN BOTÁNICO Even it is one of the most beautiful and quiet places in Madrid, these gardens don’t usually come up in travel guides. You will find it next to Museo del Prado and catch an art exposition from time to time.
PLAZA CIBELES It’s famous for being the place where Real Madrid fans celebrate their triumphs. It sits in a privilege place, between four prominent buildings: the Palacio de Buenavista, the Palacio de Linares, the Palacio de Cibeles (actual city hall) and the Bank of Spain.
SANTIAGO BERNABÉU The most famous football stadium in the world will surprise you. The atmosphere, the museum, the history… If you can, get a ticket and watch a match. An obligatory visit for football lovers.
PALACIO REAL It’s the official residence of Spanish Royal Family. Surrounded by plazas and gardens, its beautiful architecture and finest materials are stunning. You can visit it like a museum, because its 3418 rooms contain paintings of Caravaggio, Velazquez or Goya, among others.
CATEDRAL DE LA ALMUDENA Next to the Palacio Real, it shares with it the stunning effect. The different facades are gorgeous and its 102 meters high will certainly shock you.
TEMPLO DE DEBOD It’s a 2200 year old Egypt temple in Madrid. Less confusing when you realize it was a gift from the Egypt government to Spain for the help in saving the Abu Simbel temples.