Tourist Places To Visit In Madrid
Madrid, the capital of Spain, is a city that shows you a unique blend of the ancient and the contemporary. From the time of the Hapsburg to today’s Real Madrid era, from manicured parks to football stadiums, museums to rooftop bars, Madrid has so many places to visit. You just need to be prepared with a nice list to make full use of all your days there.
The Palacio Real is the Royal Palace of Madrid and holds more than two and half thousand irate rooms with insane opulent decoration. The Palace dates back to 1764, when it was built to serve as the royal residence of the then king Carlos III, later used by his ancestors until Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenie were the last royals to spend their days here. Most of the palace is still used for official ceremonies but around 50 rooms have been thrown open to the public, including - the armoury, throne room, the pharmacy etc. Do take a tour of all of these.
One of Madrid’s most famous tourist spots, the Prado Museum or Museo del Prado as it is locally called, was designed in the 18th Century by Juan de Villanueva. Today it is home to some of the finest art pieces, some of them dating back to the early 12th Century, others going back to the Crusades and the era of the Spanish Inquisition. Some famous Spanish artists featured at the museum include Velázquez, El Greco, da Ribera and Goya.
A public park of Madrid, the Parque del Buen Retiro or El Retiro is a spread of natural beauty spanning 350 acres, with rolls of greenery and fountains, small buildings and picnic spots located in the centre of the city. Very much like Central Park. The Park was a monastery in the 15th Century and later became a royal park and court of Madrid when Phillip II moved his court here. Today people (locals and tourists alike) come here to go boating or canoeing in the pond, rent kayaks, walk, picnic and spend some quality time. The Statue Walk nearby is graced by the statues of Spanish Royal Kings of the yore and is an educational tour.
For all those Velvet fans, this is that iconic boulevard you keep seeing in almost every episode of the Netflix show. It is such a legendary place that they call it the Broadway of Madrid, the street that never sleeps. Gran Via runs from Plaza de España to Calle de Alcalá in the heart of Madrid and you will find hundreds of beautiful restaurants, shops, boutiques as well as businesses here. They each have an outer vintage design and modern interiors. Another major tourist draw is the clock at the top of Baroque corner building.
Puerta del Sol
Literally translating to ‘Gate of the Sun,’ Puerta del Sol is a crossroads or a square in Madrid. This is the place where people gather in hundreds and thousands at the stroke of midnight each year to celebrate New Years. It boasts of some brilliant architectural marvels and the famous Casa de Correos where an iconic clock chimes. There is Kilometer Zero in front of this governmental building, where the National highway officially starts. You can also admire the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree here, believed to be the symbol of this city.
Temple of Debod
The Temple of Debod is located in a park near the Royal Palace called Parque del Oeste. This temple is dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis, and once graced the banks of Nile. When the Great Dam of Aswan was built in Egypt, many historic landmarks and monuments had to be moved. Spain volunteered to help and hence there is an Egyptian Temple in a majorly Catholic land today. The temple is almost 4000 years old and contains bas reliefs of Egyptian gods including Ammon and Isis.
Museo Reina Sofia
Also known as the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, this is a modern counterpart to Madrid’s museum diaspora. It complements the ancientness of Prado Museum. The place was orgnaly made to be a hospital but later became a museum, home to the works of more contemporary Spanish artists like Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso. Here you will find El Guernica, Picasso’s masterpiece depicting the horrendous Spanish Civil War.
Barrio de La Latina
The narrow streets of Barrio de La Latina are filled with ancient Islamic walls and homely warm neighbourhood homes, leading right down to spacious squares. This area represents the old Spain, a Madrid from ancient times, its tapas bars, flamenco workshops and beer bars - all point to one things and one thing only - that the history of this wonderful city need not only be found in museums and palaces. Do visit Barrio de La Latina during weekend nights to experience Madrid’s culture come alive.