The 5 Best Madrid Attractions
Jul 22 , 2011
As the capital of Spain, Madrid boasts a wealth of aesthetically pleasing and historically rich ar-chitecture, streets, palaces, town squares, museums, and more. The Royal Palace, Puerta del Sol, Museo del Prado, Retiro Park, and Plaza Mayor are just some of must-see Madrid attractions.
Built during the 18th and 19th centuries, the Royal Palace is the official home of the Royal family of Madrid. When it isn’t being used for state ceremonies, the Royal Palace is known as one of the top Madrid attractions.
Housing luxuriously grand and historical halls, banqueting and throne rooms, residential areas, courtyards, art exhibitions, and over 40 staircases, the Royal Palace is an architectural treasure. As a visitor, you’re welcome to enjoy a guided tour or stroll the palace grounds on your own time. Don’t forget to stop at the Royal Pharmacy that’s still in-use.
Puerta del Sol
Translated as the Gate of the Sun, Puerta del Sol is often called the Times Square of Madrid. The center intersection of many Spanish roads, Puerta del Sol is one of the most bustling Madrid attractions you’ll find.
Look for the famous clock whose song marks the beginning of a New Year and the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes. Also in the Puerta del Sol is a statue of King Carlos III, the 18th century red brick post office, and a 20 ton statue of a bear eating fruits, which is arguably Madrid’s most famous symbol.
Museo del Prado
Opened as an art museum in 1819, the Museo del Prado houses one of the finest collections of 12th-19th century European art in the world and is another one of the must-see Madrid attractions. The most famous piece on display from the collection is Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez. Other prominent artists whose work is exhibited in the museum are Francisco de Goya,Titian, Rubens, and Bosch. The collection is comprised of over 7,500 paintings, 1,000 scultpures, 4,800 prints, and 8,200 drawings.
Retiro Park was first created as the Royal Park of Madrid until it was opened to the public in 1868. It’s now the most popular park in Madrid and one of the top Madrid attractions. Sitting at the edge of the city’s center, the park has 350 acres of land.
As part of the wider Madrid attractions, the park attractions include the Retiro Pond, the Rosaleda Garden, the Foundation of the Falling Angel, an art museum, an army museum, and two beautiful pavilions that also display exhibitions.
Plaza Mayor is an arcaded square in Madrid’s city center. As one of the Madrid attractions, this destination is loved by locals and tourists alike. The square is surrounded by several three-story residential buildings with balconies that overlook the city hub.
Plaza Mayor continues to be used for public festivities and celebrations. Among many shops and restaurants is the Casa de la Panaderia or House of the Baker’s Guild built in 1590 before the square itself. Needless to say the square encapsulates many Madrid attractions.
Now that you’ve seen the sights, learn more about Madrid nightlife.