Looking for information, must-sees and attractions around Madrid? Great, I needed it too when I was planning to go to the capital of Spain.
Although Madrid takes less attention than charming city of Barcelona, it is an amazing city to visit. The sights and buildings all have something big, gigantic and majestic about them. A lot of excitement, art, music, a lot of people, one important building after another… Even the houses look historical, and in the middle of it are the little streets that make Madrid come into life only at night!
Whether you are staying in the city for a short weekend or a couple of weeks, here are the best ten things to do in Madrid!
Puerta del Sol- the most interesting square
The “Gate of the Sun”… The main and busiest square of Madrid. Be prepared for crowds, because it is probably the most visited place in the city!
There are a series of interesting statues and public artworks on display, and the Royal Post Office now serves as the offices of the President. In addition, on the east side lies the statue of The Bear and the Strawberry Tree (in Spanish, el Oso y el Madroño), the landmark of Madrid. It symbolizes the unity between clergy and nobility, which had apportioned the country in the Middle Ages.
The square is visited not only by locals or tourists but also by protesters. Luckily, I was there on 1. May and could see the demonstrations on-site. I must say that it was different from the demonstrations that I saw in Turkey and Germany. There was a peaceful atmosphere with opera concert and the demonstrators were mostly older people.
Plaza Mayor – the most famous square in the city
A large and famous square in Madrid where theater plays, bullfights, and markets took place at the time, one can now find a large square that is well-known for its cafés and street vendors.
This is a great place to take a seat and enjoy a coffee as you watch the people, and see the attractive architecture of the square. It is also a place where the football fans meet. When I was there, there were hundreds of Bayern München fans who were singing and waiting for the football match against Real Madrid.
Mercado de San Miguel or Museo del Jamón
The Mercado de San Miguel is only a few meters away from Plaza Mayor. Inside you will find everything to eat! Tapas, paella, ham, fish, desserts, beer, wine, gin, everything your heart desires – fresh and only in the highest quality! The market hall is designed to show the gastronomic diversity of Spain. Spanish ham is highly recommended.
ATTENTION: It is expensive and full! But definitely worth a visit! ……However:
My favourite is Museo del Jamón. You pay for a 1/2 liter beer only €1.50 and get some freshly cut, delicious Spanish ham for free.
Palacio Real & The Almudena Cathedral
The Palacio Real or Royal Palace is Madrid’s largest building and located next to the Plaza de Oriente square. It is the official residence of the Spanish royal family but the palace is used only for official occasions, and the royal family lives in the Palacio de la Zarzuela. The building has more than 3000 courtiers and just under 135,000 square meters – making it the largest royal palace in Western Europe! It is also surrounded by the beautiful Sabatini and Campo del Moro parks.
Opposite the palace is the grand Roman Catholic Cathedral: Almudena. It is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe and was completed only in 1993 according to original plans from the 16th century. In 2004, the first royal wedding took place in this church: by Felipe and Letizia.
The Stadium Bernabeau of Real Madrid
The football stadium of Real Madrid! Well, it was not on my list to visit since I am not interested in football and also not interested in Cristiano Ronaldo, but I am sure it is a must-see for a few! Here you can also make a tour of the stadium: through the VIP area, the dressing room and of course the field itself! You can buy the tickets online.
Museo del Prado
The museum is one of the largest and most important art museums in the world. It is widely considered to have one of the world’s finest collections of European art, from the 12th to the 20th century.
The best-known work on display at the museum is Las Meninas by spanish master Velázquez. Besides Velázquez, you can see the numerous works of Goya, as well as of El Greco, Rubens, and Titian.
Circulo de Bellas Artes- from Madrid to heaven
To get closer to Madrid’s heaven and have the best view to the city, head to the Círculo de Bellas Artes’ rooftop. From the 7th floor of the Circulo de Bellas Artes you have a 360º panoramic view of Madrid. Besides, you can enjoy the view with a drink at the rooftop bar.
Templo de Debod- best place to enjoy the sunset
Chocolate con Churros
A must-try for chocolate lovers! Dip churros (fried-dough crispy sticks) into the super thick hot chocolate and enjoy the contrast of the slightly salty churro with the sweet chocolate.
La Latina- the best neighbourhood for tapas
La Latina is one of the most popular and central neighborhoods in Madrid whose bars and restaurants are highly popular among the locals for going out with friends and to spend day there. Many people are used to going to La Latina at the weekends and visit its bars to eat tapas and grab a beer. Later, it is time to drink Gin-tonic. However, it is always full of people.
Don’t miss having a look at the historical buildings, beautiful churches and basilicas hidden in the narrow streets.
P.S: All photos were taken by me with Sony Alpha 6000.
THANKS FOR READING!