MUST SEE IN 6 DAYS
1 – Barrio de las Letras – This neighborhood, famous for having hosted many great Spanish writers, consists of a web of alleys full of small shops, bars and tavernas of tapas, and small squares where to spend the happy hour.
3 – Puerta del Sol – This square is the real centre of the city, not surprisingly here you will find the “kilòmetro cero”, the zero kilometer, the point from which all the distances are measured between Madrid and the other spanish cities. Looking up, you will meet the Casa de Correos, the red brick and stone building of the Ministry of Presidency of the Community of Madrid, while behind you, in the middle of the square, you will see the equestrian statue of Charles III and the bronze statue of the bear climbing on a strawberry tree, one of the most famous symbols of the city. The square is also the stage for many street performers and is surrounded by various designer shops and home to the El Corte Inglés shopping center.
5 – 8 – Palacio Real and surrounding areas – The beautiful Plaza de Oriente, in the center of which stands the statue of Philip IV, is set between the Teatro Real and the majestic Palacio Real. If you are in the area on Wednesday around 12, you can see the changing of the royal guard accompanied by the music of the military band, followed by a parade of men in uniform on horseback. Continuing to the left of the building, you will see the cathedral “Nuestra Senora de la Almuneda” and a little further on, one of the few remains of the Arab settlement in the city the “Muralla Arabe”. On the right side of the building, going down a staircase, you can walk and rest in the Sabatini gardens.
2 – 7 – Parque del Buen Retiro – a true oasis of peace and beauty within the city. Walk through the paths from which stray cats will pop out to chase each other, walk around the Estanque, the artificial lake, enjoy the sun under the majestic monument to Alfonso XII, continue towards the Palacio Velàzques, a beatiful palace of colored bricks; and the towards the Palacio de Cristal, a glass and iron pavilion overlooking a lake inhabited by turtles, ducks and lovely black swans. For lovers of flowers and roses in particular, there is a beautiful rose garden, the Rosaleda, and not far away from it you can see the monument to the “angel caìdo”, whose statue portrays the fall to the underworld of lucifer.
8 – Atocha Station – Madrid’s central train station, (theater of the terrorist attack in 2004, remembered with a war memorial located in front of the entrance) houses a sort of greenhouse with tall palm trees and many species of tropical plants as well a colony of turtles.
9 – Reina Sofia Museum – the city’s contemporary art museum, occupies the building that once was the city hospital. The star of the museum is definitely “Guernica” by Picasso, although no less interesting are the works of the other spanish painters like Juan Gris, Joan Mirò and Salvador Dali.
1 – Museo del Prado – It took us 7 hours to visit it, including the break in their cafeteria, so for those who think to manage the visit in a couple of hours in the free time slot, they will have to enter for more days in a row, or plan a route that collects only the most intersting works.
5 , 6 – Gran Via – the shopping street that connects Plaza de la Cibeles in the east, with Plaza de Espana to the west. Don’t miss the “Metropolis”, the symbolic palace of Madrid, with its slate dome and the bronze statue of the winged victory.
1 – Thyssen Bornemisza Museum – The collection is considered one of the best in the world. It contains artworks from the last eight centuries, so there is no way you will not find something intersting or that meet your taste!
2 – Plaza Mayor – the city’s most famous arcaded square, where you can see the murals of “La Casa de la Panaderìa” and the statue of Philip III by Gianbologna.
3,4 – Near Plaza Mayor – Do not miss the chance to stop in a churreria (like the historic San Ginés or Maestro Churrero) and order hot chocolate and churros. Great place for tastings and to buy some souvenirs, the Vicens nougat shop.
2,3 – Parque de Oeste – Beautiful park in the west side of the city, a “Sunday meeting place” for families busy picnicking or strolling in the wonderful Rosaleda. Here you will find the exotic jewel of the capital: the Egyptian temple of Debod.
4 – Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida – Greek-style church on the other side of the Manzanares river. The dome was frescoed by Goya who portrayed the miracle performed by Saint Anthony of Padua. The story tells that when St. Anthony’s father was unjustly accused of murder, the saint brought the victim back to life so that he could say the name of his real murderer.
1 – Plaza de Castilla – square with modern architecture, dominated by the Torres Puerta de Europa, the leaning twin towers.
3 – Paseo de Recoletos – avenue leading back to the Plaza de Cibeles, hosts a fair of ancient books both in Spring and Autumn.