The capital of Spain greets tourists with generous sunshine, many-voiced noise of the inhabitants and amazing silence of ancient temples. Travel on the trips are comfortable and planned in detail, including the order of sightseeing and shopping in certain souvenir stores. If you want an unusual experience and an amazing sense of freedom, it is worth to come to Madrid on their own and the route of sightseeing to build in accordance with their interests, based on guidebooks and tourist maps.
A stroll through Madrid according to your heart’s desire
It takes more than a week to explore the city, but you can fall in love with it in seconds. An amazing mixture of old and new, a dynamic rhythm of life and unhurried contemplation closely intertwined in the streets of Madrid. The main attractions are located in a small area of the historic center, so you do not need to go anywhere to see them. The huge number of museums, exhibition halls and other interesting places can ruin even a wealthy tourist.
For those who want to see everything at once will be advantageous to buy a special tourist card City-Pass. They are sold in several types, designed for different times in the city. The most convenient card is for 3 days. It is only a third more expensive than a daily rate, but gives the right not to limit themselves in time and quietly walk around Madrid.
- Priority admission to museums and galleries;
- discounts on tickets;
- free admission to some places;
- certain types of City Pass provide free transportation to the location of the attraction.
Remember that the validity of the card begins when you first use it.
There is a specific list of popular attractions that are included in most tours, but unlike organized trips, there is complete freedom of choice when traveling independently.
A surprising craving for continuity affected the location of the palace. For several centuries, this area was chosen for the construction of the monarchs’ residences. Dynasties changed, but a new palace was built on the foundations of the old one, even more pompous and luxurious. The construction of the Royal Palace, which survives to this day, lasted more than 30 years, three architects worked on the project. The mix of Italian Baroque with Oriental elements perfectly conveys solemnity and belonging to the royal family.
The palace is now open to the public, with only official receptions and guided tours. An amazing sense of proportion and style is present in the smallest details and the overall concept. Visitors are treated to delightful interiors and manicured lush gardens. Stunning ceiling murals by Corrado Giacinto vie for attention with paintings in the Salon des Halberds. The Porcelain Room and the Hall of Mirrors impresses with imagination and the fine work of craftsmen. You can literally study the history of architecture by the columns, and the Throne Room is stunning in its abundance of gilding and velvet, showing a truly royal grandeur.
The palace complex and the fountain of Cibeles
Residents of Madrid enjoy making appointments at the fountain and recommend it to tourists. There is a whole complex on the spacious square. It occupies 12 thousand square meters, on its territory are:
- city hall;
- museum halls;
- souvenir stores;
- several cafes;
- recreation areas;
- luxury restaurant;
- observation deck.
Entrance to the territory is subject to a permit regime with a search of belongings, a measure necessary to ensure the safety of others.
There are a lot of visitors, not only visitors to the city, but also regular visitors to the fashion inserts. They change regularly, so you can visit them with enviable regularity. The observation deck offers a magnificent view of the fountain of Cybele playing with water jets, a favorable angle will allow you to take home highly artistic photos of one of the best fountains in Madrid.
Here comes true a dream of a leisurely evening stroll along the beautiful boulevard, where friendly lit small decorative lights, cafes and bars beckon with delicious aromas and bursts of laughter, on the benches sit lovers, a gradually engaged in a dialogue sedate elderly couples. Throughout the street, movie theaters alternate with boutiques, and each apartment building is an example of architectural art.
It’s hard to believe that Gran Via might not have existed. More than 100 years ago, the municipality embarked on a grand redevelopment that resulted in the demolition of many houses, the replanting of trees, and a reduction in the size of adjacent streets. Residents were vehemently opposed to the change, but later appreciated the benefits and now enjoy spending evenings here.
There are a lot of interesting objects on the street. The first building on the new street was the Tea House, still in operation today. The Telefónica building was the first skyscraper in Spain. Several bars continue to be favorite gathering places for writers, poets, and artists. The musicians have their own favorite cafes, where they often hold jam sessions. Shopping aficionados tend to hit the stores located in the basement of Gran Via during the grand summer and winter bargains.
Museo del Prado
It stands on a par with the Louvre and the Hermitage, with one of the richest collections of masterpieces of world art from the 15th-18th centuries in its deliberately austere halls behind discreet facades. King Charles V’s personal fascination with the paintings of the masters of the Spanish school gradually grew into a family interest, and the collection was constantly being enriched with new exhibits. In 18 it was decided to erect a museum complex and open the collection of paintings and sculptures for public viewing.
In total, the museum has 4 thousand sculptures and twice as many paintings. Works by Velázquez, Goya and El Greco still form the basis. They were complemented by European artists: Bosch, Bruegel, Titian, Raphael, Van Dyck.
Regularly the museum holds hours and days of free visits, thematic educational excursions for schoolchildren and students.
Queen Sofia Center for the Arts
He displays works of modern art. Interesting interpretations of the environment make you look at the world differently, think about what is happening or just enjoy the glare of color and shadows in the abstract paintings and sculptures. Pablo Picasso’s Guernica is considered the gallery’s most famous painting.
The museum complex includes several buildings with storerooms, a library, reading and lecture halls, and a park ensemble. The division into 3 thematic expositions allows attention to each direction from the beginning of the century to the late 80s of the 20th century. The halls with works by surrealists, postmodernists, abstract informalists and avant-gardists are very interesting.
Monument to Don Quixote
The knight of the sad image looks calmly from the height of the faithful Rocinante at the surrounding bustle, sighing dreamily in his heart for the beautiful Dulcinea. Sancho Panza, diligently catching up with his liege lord, diligently chases a lazy donkey. Without this composition, Spain would be impoverished as Cervantes presented an unattainable dream of idealism, fearlessness and honor. Let the giants act as windmills, but the high aspirations of the soul are not made worse by this.
The composition for the 300th anniversary of the great writer’s death is located almost next to the Royal Palace. Rafael Martínez Sapera’s project wonderfully combined the sculpture of Cervantes, his characters and Queen Isabella of Portugal. The monument looks very organic against the background of a picturesque fountain.
It looks more like a formal building than a temple. The reason is the long period of construction, when new elements of different styles were added in the process. The result is a rather austere and lofty structure. The legend of the city’s discovery of its patron saint says that the statue of Mary of Almudena was hidden from the Arabs, but then could not be found. During the prayer service, a fragment of the wall fell out, behind which a niche with a sculpture opened up. It does exist, dates from the 16th century, and is kept in the cathedral.
The bas-reliefs decorating the gates depict biblical scenes, the interior rooms are bathed in sunlight, colored by stained glass, in the outlines of the green marble altar can be traced analogy with the Orthodox. On weekends in the cathedral there are concerts of organ music, daily working museum.
Gateway of Europe
The glory of the Tower of Pisa does not give rest even to modern architects. So architects D. Burge and F. Johnson designed inclined skyscrapers, which have a deviation from the vertical of 15 degrees. They are faced with mirrored panels, reach a height of 114 meters and consist of 25 floors. There are helipads on the roofs. Skyscrapers have become a symbol of the modern Spanish capital. The creators received an award for advanced technology in construction.
Like most ingenious creations, it was not immediately accepted by the masses, and the entrepreneur Javier de la Rosa had to spend several years behind bars on charges of embezzlement. Gradually the skyscrapers became popular and are now considered one of the most visited tourist sites in Madrid. In between, the city’s main Christmas tree is set up before Christmas and festivities are held.
Parque Buen Retiro
The name translates as “good retreat. There are no noisy rides, souvenir vendors and the constant flurry of rushing people. People come here to enjoy the silence among the manicured alleys, relax by the pond and admire the picturesque fountains. Married couples with children are quietly walking around, trying different kinds of ice cream and not rushing anywhere.
On an area of 120 hectares there was room for jogging and cycling paths, an open stage for a small orchestra, playgrounds and sports fields. Ducks and squirrels are not afraid of visitors and take treats from the palm of your hand, in the restaurant under the old trees visitors are offered national cuisine.
Las Ventas Arena
In the minds of tourists, Spain and bullfighting are one and the same. In the warm season on weekends at the arena are exhibition bullfights, in the second half of the year there is a museum, the site is used for concerts and festivals.
The diameter of the arena is 61.5 meters. The seats are arranged in an amphitheater, the prices go up as you get closer to the arena itself, and the seats in the shade are almost worth their weight in gold.
Tourist routes in Madrid
Independent travel around the city brings a lot of amazing discoveries, because on the tourist map shows not only popular attractions, but also the old neighborhoods, monuments, museums, squares and parks.
If you have some free time, it is worth looking at:
- San Hines Church;
- Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum;
- National Library;
- Royal Theater;
- Escorial Monastery.
A stroll along the Puerta del Sol and Gran Via will help you feel the atmosphere of the wonderful, temperamental and generous Madrid.