Madrid at a Glance
Madrid is as good a city as can be. As soon as you enter the city you immediately get a sense of her grandeur. There’s nothing Madrileños love more than extolling the virtues of their beloved city. But as you will discover, they’ve got a lot to be proud of.
Entering along the wide Paseo de la Castellana Avenue or by La Puerta de Alcala, a triumphal gate built by King Charles I, you’ll find yourself in a city like no other with the regal splendor of a long lost bygone era. Buildings trimmed in gold with Greek Gods basking on their roofs. The former Regal Salamanca district features the Bank of España building, the Spanish Post Office regal building and the fountains of Cibeles and Neptuno, all next to El Paseo del Arte, named for its great museums, palaces and gardens.
And when it comes to art, Madrid has no equal
El Prado Museum, one of the world’s greatest art galleries houses the largest collection of Spanish and European masters. The Reina Sofia across the street is dedicated to Spanish contemporary art, with works by Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí and Juan Gris among others. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum features a magnificent collection of Flemish, Dutch, English and German Art, and magnificent collection of Impressionism Art. And those are just three of Madrid’s many museums.
In 1561 King Philip II establish Madrid as the capital of his mighty empire. The historic quarter of Madrid de las Austrias (the Hapsburg Royalty) is an example of the city’s 16th and 17th century golden era, with the impressive Plaza Mayor which opened in 1620.
The Aristocratic Center of Madrid is home to the stunning Royal Palace, a 17th century monument that combines Baroque and Classical styles. It faces the Plaza de Oriente Square, the Opera House and the Almudena Cathedral. You can walk to La Puerta del Sol, a popular square flanked by great shops and also known as Kilometer Zero. From here distances are measured to other cities in Spain. Close by is the popular Gran Via Avenue featuring theaters, outdoor cafes, restaurants and a great area for shopping.
Every meal in Madrid is a culinary adventure
Whether it’s Tapas or Lunch and Dinner, Madrid offers the gourmet lover, exquisite traditional gastronomy as well as a Fusion Cuisine, always accompanied by the best wines. There are over 3,000 restaurants to choose from, many with Michelin Stars.
Madrid’s passion for life, family and friends surfaces at night. Its night life is legendary and no other city comes close to it. Every evening all of Madrid steps out to enjoy Tapas, attend a Play, see an Opera or the latest rising Flamenco artists. The local bars and historic Tapas District the largest in Spain, become busy. Here you can hop from bar to bar, tasting their specialty Tapas. The popular Mercado de San Miguel Market is also where you will find locals and international food lovers savoring Tapas and dishes from all regions, accompanied by great Spanish wines, beer or Sangria.
And near Madrid you can also visit great places such as: El Escorial and its magnificent Monastery Palace known as the eighth wonder of the world and declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Aranjuez the former summer residence place of the Hapburgs and Borbon Royalty, with an impressive Palace as well as the smaller Medinacelli Palace, La Casa del Labrador and La Casa de los Infantes. Or medieval Alcala de Henares where celebrated Spanish Writer Cervantes was born and where the 16th century historic University of Alcala de Henares was built.