Madrid Tourism

Madrid Apartments: An Opportunity to Enjoy Amazing Architectural Gems

Here at Apartments Madrid we are giving you the chance to explore one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, and to show you that one tour can help you explore unusual and amazing architectural gems.

Let’s start by mentioning a building which is one of the most important pieces of architecture: the Church of San Manuel and San Benito. This is a nice church that is located across the Retiro Park in Alcala Street. This church combines and contrasts the beauty of nature from the Retiro Park, wonderful design and human touch. It was built between 1902 and 1910. It has a beautiful Italian style facade, and it is built with classic cross design, with an inner dome depicting the four evangelists. The altar is white and it is really dazzling. We can also find two crypts inside. This kind of visit is priceless.

We go on with religious architecture by suggesting a visit to the Church of the Blessed Sacrament. This is a church decorated with great wealth and it can be found on the Alcalde Sainz de Baranda calla near Menéndez Pelayo Street, diagonally opposite the Retiro Park. It can even be visited at night. During the night visit, the church gets the modern architectural design with triangular shape due to the lighting, which really looks great. We should not confuse this with the military Cathedral of the Armed Forces, which is also dedicated to the Holy Sacrament, and it represents another architectural site we could visit in Madrid.

On the other hand, we can visit the Arab House, located at 62 Calle Alcalá. This construction represents a haven of peace in a hectic world. This beautiful building was a school in the past and now houses a branch of the Spanish Agency for International Development, whose goals are to strengthen the bilateral relations between Spain and the Arab-Muslim world. It has a library with books in Arabic and Spanish.

Furthermore, we have the building housing the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in the Avenue of the city of Barcelona. What is impressive about this building is its facade and statues on the roof. In the back, you can see many decorative tiles, columns, which represent a sample of the great cultural heritage of this magnificent city.

If you have enjoyed this facade tiles, there is another architectural site in the city, luxuriously decorated in this type of material: the Palacio de Velázquez. This building, built in 1883, has a beautiful facade with a geometrical work in blue and white. A building near this palace, located in the vicinity of the Retiro Park, is the Crystal Palace, a greenhouse of exotic flowers built in 1887. It also has a detailed tile work with images of flowers, foliage and small animals.

The most impressive thing is that all these buildings are merely a sample of the fantastic examples of architectural designs which can be enjoyed as you walk along the streets of Madrid.

The Monument to Philip IV in Madrid

Madrid is a popular tourist destination regardless of the time of the year. Nice weather during the entire year is perfect for sightseeing during an enjoyable visit. What make Madrid so popular are numerous cultural sites and historic monuments that represent city’s history.

Since this is a large metropolitan city, visited by millions of tourists every year, there are plenty accommodation facilities to host the tourists, in different parts of the city. You will not have trouble finding Madrid apartments for rent using the Internet.

With plenty of monuments and museums, you will spend a lot of time sightseeing. One of the places you should visit is the Monument to Philip IV. Located in the Plaza de Oriente in Madrid, this monument was built during the first half of the 19th century.

The monument was built in the memory of King Philip IV of Spain, who was on the throne during 17th century. He is mainly remembered as patronage of the arts. Queen Isabella II was the one to instruct the construction of the monument during her ruling in 19th century.

The grand opening of the monument was organized on the 17th of November 1843. Even though the monument was placed in the center of the square during the construction that took place in 19th century, the statue itself was made in 17th century by an Italian sculptor. Pietro Tacca is the sculpture who built the statue of bronze, which represented Philip IV on his horse. The influence of Baroque style is visible on this statue, as well as on other works of this Italian sculptor.

The Plaza de Oriente is in a rectangular shape, and there are several parts including the gardens, the monument to Philip IV and the statues of Spanish kings.

The appearance of the square changed over the years. Naturally, the statue took up a central place, but originally, there were 44 additional statues located on the square, presenting Spanish monarch. In 1927, the number of statues was reduces to 20. Today, the gardens are especially designed to accompany the statue, following the Baroque style, and the design you can see at the moment was created back in 1941. Besides the central garden, there are two more gardens: Jardines del cabo Noval, mainly comprised of banana trees and located in the northern part of the square, and Jardines de Lepanto located in the south.

Being placed in the Plaza de Oriente, the monument is an important part of Madrid’s historic center, which is visited by most tourists. In addition, the monument to Philip IV is located between two important buildings in Madrid. The Palacio Real is on the west side of the monument, while el Teatro Real is on the east. Due to this position, this monument is something you should not miss while visiting Madrid. It is recommended that you include this monument during your visit to other nearby landmarks.

Plaza Mayor Square in Madrid

Holiday season is the time when we all look for a perfect destination in order to spend a couple of days away from the everyday chores and responsibilities. If the destination of your choice happens to be the capital city of Spain, the first thing you should do is to make a reservation for holiday apartments Madrid. You want to make sure that you find the perfect accommodation for your holiday, and reservation is necessary due to a huge number of visitors in the city, especially during the holiday season.

When you decide to go and explore Madrid on foot, we recommend you start from Plaza Mayor square. Not only is this an impressive square, a valuable symbol of history, but it is also one of the favorite meeting points. Located near other landmarks of Spanish capital, this square is a good starting point for sightseeing of Madrid.

The constructions of the square started during the reign of Philip III in the late 16th century by a Classical architect Juan de Herrera. The project by the original design was finished in 1617 by the architect Juan Gómez de Mora. However, Juan de Villanueva is the architect responsible for the look of the square we can see today, as he was in charge of a major reconstruction in 1790, after the old square was destroyed by fires.

The original name of the square was Plaza del Arrabal, but the name changed frequently over the history. Some of the names were Plaza de la Constitución, Plaza Real, Plaza de la República, until the name Plaza Mayor was adopted after the Spanish Civil War was over. In the similar way, the use of the square changed over the years. It hosted numerous events including bullfights, public executions during the Spanish inquisition and local markets. Today, one of the most important events held on the Plaza Mayor square is celebrations for San Isidro, the Madrid’s patron.

Surrounded by the three-story buildings, the Plaza Mayor is rectangular in shape with balconies facing the Plaza. Remarkable red facades create an impressive outline, which is why the square is so popular among tourists. Nine entrances lead inside the square which is full of small restaurants and cafes located inside the buildings surrounding the square. This is a perfect atmosphere for you to spend an afternoon, drinking coffee and enjoying your holiday. In the central point of the square there is the bronze statue of King Philip III, created by Jean Boulogne and Pietro Tacca in the honor of the king who initiated the construction of this square. There are guided tours starting from Plaza Mayor, which include nearby landmarks such as Puerta del Sol, Teatro Real, Plaza de Oriente, Almudena Cathedral, St. Michael’s Basilica, etc. Besides the cafes and restaurants inside the square, there are lots of them in the nearby area, as this part of the city is favorite place for tourists who chose Madrid as their holiday destination.

Almudena Cathedral

Having an apartment rental Madrid for a weekend gives you many opportunities for having fun, learning and discovery. For those people passionate about the architectural heritage and religious or sacred art in Madrid, it will be inevitable to visit the Almudena Cathedral, or in Spanish Catedral de la Almudena.

Looking back in history, we can detect the importance of this cathedral in the city of Madrid. Not long after Philip II ascended the throne and declared Madrid the capital of Spain in 1561, he expressed his desire to have a cathedral for his new capital. However, partly because of the political difficulties and the great power exercised by the archdiocese of the mighty city of Toledo, the construction of such work did not begin for many years.

It was not until 1868 when a devout congregation of la Virgen de la Almudena, the patron saint of the city, received authorization from the archdiocese to build a church in her honor.

Construction began in 1883, just a year before Madrid acquired the rank of archdiocese of Pope Leo XIII’s hands. All these events resulted in the building becoming a great cathedral rather than a simple church. The design of the Marqués de Cubas was a neo-gothic, grand and fabulous style with a basic design in the shape of a Latin cross.

Despite the support received for the construction of the Cathedral, the construction was slow and conducted in phases. Paradoxically, the construction was over during the war which ended in the early period of the thirties. Later in the forties, the neoclassical style of Royal Palace demanded modifications on the Cathedral in order to acquire a more aesthetic and uniform cityscape. The architects Fernando Chueca Goitia and Carlos Sidro were responsible for the design changes to adapt the Cathedral to more classic style.

If we say that the Cathedral was completed in 1993, we can see that it took more than a century to construct it, but it was definitely worth it. The building is an amazing construction and it undoubtedly dominates the urban landscape despite being next to the beautiful Royal Palace. Inside, you can see a statue of la Virgen de la Almudena, superbly decorated and located on the richly ornamented altar. Likewise, it is essential to visit the crypt, which is breathtaking with its neo Roman dome.

The Museum National Art Center Reina Sofia

There are many things to do in Madrid. You can play, learn, explore, discover. After you make reservation for apartments in Madrid, you are opening the door to an incredible season in one of the best cosmopolitan cities in Europe.

One of the things that distinguish this city is the large number of museums, art galleries and places to visit. Without doubt, the Reina Sofia Art Center deserves an honorable mention on this list.

The building that houses the National Museum has a long history. In 1566, King Philip II ordered all city hospitals to be unified into a single building, and this building was renamed “General Hospital”. By the late eighteenth century, however, the need for a larger hospital was undeniable.

Between 1776 and 1781, the new building was constructed by the architect Francisco Sabatini, under the orders of King Carlos III.

Since then, there have been numerous additions and renovations, and the original hospital barely escaped being demolished several times, as many considered it to be old and unattractive. However, in 1977, it was declared as a national historic building.

Thereafter, it began the transformation of the building into a museum. The architect Antonio Fernández Alba renewal designed circa 1980, almost ten years after José Luis Iñiguez de Onzoño and Antonio Vázquez de Castro took charge of giving the final touches. Thanks to the steel and glass elevators, the building feels both classic and modern.

In those years, the building housed a temporary exhibition, but later, as instructed by royal decree, it was designated as a national museum and went on to replace the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art.

Today, this museum is a prestigious modern art museum nationally and internationally, since houses an impressive collection of works of the twentieth century, including works by prestigious Spanish artists such as Miró, Dalí and Picasso. In fact, one of the most famous works of the latter painter is located here: Guernica.

So when you’re in Madrid, remember to write down your list of places you must not miss and to add this amazing museum to the list. You must not miss the opportunity to walk the halls, visit his amazing bibliographic heritage and enjoy in its architecture. Remember that no matter what the reason is behind your visit to the Spanish capital, it would be unforgivable to end your trip without visiting the museum and other architectural and artistic gems the city has to offer.

Visit the Teatro Real in Madrid

The first thing you should do when you arrive at Madrid is to go to the accommodation in order to leave your luggage and to have some rest. Find the apartments for rent in Madrid you have previously booked, and take a break from the trip, before you go sightseeing around the city.

Madrid is an important center of culture, history and art, so there are plenty of places you should visit during your stay in the city. In this article, we would recommend visiting the Teatro Real in Madrid.

The Royal Theatre, often called just El Real, is the opera house located in Madrid. It is considered to be one of the greatest theatres of Europe. The Teatro Real was built in 1850 on the Plaza Isabel II, near the Palacio Real, the official residence of the Queen. The two architects who collaborated on this project were Antonio López Aguado and Custodio Moreno. Originally, the building was home of the Madrid Royal Conservatory, a music college, until 1925, when it was closed due to the damage caused by the construction of Madrid’s Metro.

Despite a number of projects and proposals for the restoration, financial difficulties prevented sooner restoration of the building which is why it remained closed for a while. In 1966 the theatre was opened again, with the concert of Spanish National Orchestra. Three years later, the Eurovision Song Contest was held here.

The 1990s brought another renovation of the building, which was completed in 1995 and the theatre was opened two years later. The intention of the reconstruction was to create a place for Spanish opera. The first operas performed in the Teatro Real upon its reopening were Manuel de Falla’s “El sombrero de tres picos” and “La vida breve”. There are approximately seventeen operas per year, produced by the theatre or in collaboration with other opera houses in Europe. Besides the operas, there are ballets and recitals organized during the year. The orchestra performing in the Teatro Real is the Orquesta Sinfónica de Madrid.

Besides attending the performances which are scheduled in advance, there are guided tours of the Opera House, which is a perfect opportunity for public to see the interior of the building, including the stage area, the auditorium, the workshops as well as the rehearsal spaces. The official guided tours are available every day in different languages. The tours last between 50 and 90 minutes. The tours currently available in the theatre include:

  • General tour – The focus of the tour is the architectural aspect of the building.
  • Artistic tour – The goal is to illustrate the process of creating an opera.
  • Technical tour – Moving platforms, poles, sets and decoration are in the focus of this tour.
  • Nocturnal tour – An evening tour unveils what happens after the curtain has fallen.
  • Young tour – The tour is mainly designed for young people and students in order to introduce them to the artistic and technical process of organizing an opera.

 

Visiting the Palace of Communication

The Palace of Communication, in Spanish “el Palacio de Comunicaciones”, is the old name of the impressive palace, now called the Cibeles Palace, located on the Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid, Spain. The amazing construction of this building and the beauty of the palace and its surrounding made this place an important monument in Madrid. Not only is it a famous tourist destination, but in 1993, it was declared “Bien de Interés Cultural“.

The Plaza de Cibeles is a large square built in neo-classic style, with the fountain being the symbol of the square. Back in the Renaissance period, instead of the square, there was a wood here. The Cibeles Fountain, now standing proudly in the center of the square, was actually built in completely different location. Built in late 18th century, this fountain represents the goddess sitting in a chariot. The chariot is pulled by two lions. It represents Cybele, a Phrygian goddess, an important goddess in both Greek and Roman mythology. The fountain was designed by Ventura Rodriguez and it was placed on the Buenavista Palace, but it was moved in the second half of the 19th century to the Plaza de Cibeles where it stands today.

One of the buildings that represent the capital city of Spain is certainly the Palace of Communication located on the Cibeles square. The palace was renamed in 2011 and the current name is the Cibeles Palace, but many people still call the palace by the old name. It was built in 1909 by Antonio Palacios and for years it was the place where the Post Office on Madrid was located. From the 2007, the building is the Madrid City Hall.

For those interested in architecture, as well as in art and history, visiting the Palace of Communication would be a perfect choice. The palace houses several exhibitions, mostly from private collections, while the top of the palace provides a magnificent view of Madrid and its landscape. The interior is decorated with sculptures and statues. In addition, there are souvenir shops and cafes for tourists to take a break during the visit. The bars at the top of the palace are especially popular among tourists, as they offer an opportunity to enjoy the refreshments and the view of Gran Via, Prado Museum, Buen Retiro Park and other places compiling the landscape of Madrid.

Besides the Palace of Communication, there are many other landmarks, just as impressive, in the central part of the city, which is why many tourists want to stay precisely there when visiting Madrid. This kind of accommodation in Madrid, Spain, provides the possibility to conveniently go sightseeing. Apart from the landmarks, such as monuments, museums and squares, the central area is full of shops, both local and designer shops, as well as restaurants and cafes. All of this creates a perfect ambient for spending your vacation in the urban area of Madrid, while you experience much of its culture and customs.

Apartments in Madrid City Centre

The city area of Madrid encompasses a large area with 21 districts and hundreds of different neighborhoods. Each part of the city has its beauties and benefits, depending on your age, needs and liking. However, when it comes to tourists who are usually about to spend several days or weeks in the capital city of Spain, most often they choose to stay in the city center.

Apartments in Madrid city center are extremely convenient as tourists will be able to easily find their way around. First problem tourists encounter when they arrive to the city is how to get to the apartment they have rented. Regardless if you are arriving by bus, by plane or by train, once you arrive, your destination will be the accommodation that you have previously booked. Obviously, if the destination of your interest is in the city center, it will be quite easy to get there, as there are numerous metro and bus lines that lead to the center of the city.

After you have reached your destination and successfully found apartments in Madrid city center, you will probably be hungry and tired from the trip. The best idea in this case is to visit a nearby restaurant or a café. Since the central area of the city has developed infrastructure, having in mind that this is one of the major destinations for people who come to the city, you will find everything you need here. There are plenty of restaurants, serving both traditional Spanish dishes, as well as restaurants featuring international cuisines, such as Italian, Chinese, etc. In addition, you will find a lot of shops in the central area.

The central district is divided into 7 wards, which are then divided into smaller neighborhoods. The wards in the central districts are:

  • Cortes
  • Embajadores
  • Justicia
  • Malasaña (also named Universidad)
  • Palacio
  • Sol

Besides plenty of opportunities for finding accommodation and eating out, tourists usually spend most of their time in the center of the city anyway, because some of the most relevant landmarks and tourists sights are located in the central part of the city, in these six wards. Some of the most important and most popular Madrid’s landmarks located in the center of the city include the following:

  • The Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, a Roman Catholic church
  • Ribera de Curtidores, the main street of el Rastro flea market
  • Plaza Mayor
  • The Royal Palace
  • The Puerta del Sol
  • CaixaForum Madrid (a museum and a gallery)
  • The Calle de Alcalá
  • Plaza de Cibeles

These are only some of the landmarks we would recommend in the center of the city. Have in mind that there are many more places you should visit in Madrid, so plan your trip carefully in order to be able to see as much as possible. The city’s landscape shines with its magnificent architecture and culture which reflect the years and centuries of turbulent history and presence of different art movements.

A Quick Trip to Madrid

There are many holidays that may eventually be celebrated on Thursday or Friday during the year, giving us those wonderful “holiday bridges”, which usually offer the opportunity to get rid of the stress and recharge our batteries. The problem with these mini-holidays is that we have to plan a short trip, because we do not have time for a long stay or a holiday. That is why for your holiday apartment for rent Madrid, here at Apartamentos Mayor Centro, we suggest a suitable itinerary for a quick three-day trip to Madrid.

In this simple route, we try to include different aspects of this wonderful city, remembering that it is impossible to ignore the artistic part of this city, which we have already addressed in more detail in this blog.

For the first day, we recommend you start with the classics: first the Thyssen- Bornemisza Museum. We estimate that the visit will take about three hours. In order to take advantage of the sites in the close vicinity, you should continue the first day with the traditional and world-renowned Prado Museum, for which you will also need at least three hours. Then we advise an outdoor walk while you enjoy Madrid’s architectural beauty: a walk through the Puerta del Sol. Finishing the day in a restaurant that offers you the best of Madrid and Spanish cuisine, such as the “Casa Labra”, is an ideal way to round up your first day of a quick tour around our capital city.

On the second day, how about we start with something completely different from the previous day? The proposal is to start at the Retiro Park and enjoy its wonderful gardens. We then go on to the artistic part of the city, with a two-hour visit of the Reina Sofia Museum and we continue with a perfect lunch in the “Arrocería Gala”. We will finish the second day with a flourish tour of the historic center of the city: the Plaza Mayor for which you will need between one and two hours.

For the final day of this quick tour of the most representative places in this city, we suggest you start with an iconic location in Madrid (and indeed, across the country), the Royal Palace of Madrid. As for the second stop, we cannot forget a trip to a place ideal for the amateur photographers, the Catedral de la Almudena, for which you will need about three hours. The ideal way to end your work day or your journey is to enjoy in a gourmet dinner at a prestigious restaurant, such as “The Galayos”, located in the center with internationally recognized paella.

Of course these are just a few key ideas to organize a quick trip to Madrid, but with them, well-structured over three days, you can get an overview of how to set up your own plan for your visit.

Nature Tourism near Madrid: Sierra de Guadarrama

One of the best choices we have when visiting Madrid, Spain is to enjoy the surroundings. This does not only refer to a wonderful urban landscape and everything the central area of the city provides. Thanks to its advanced system of roads and public transport (especially trains), renting Madrid apartment allows you to visit other nearby areas, and you can always return to the apartment you have rented in order to rest from intense sightseeing.

For all those people who are passionate about ecotourism or adventure, there is a National Park, the Sierra de Guadarrama, just 56 km from Madrid. This park, located in the Sierra, which in a way divides the southern and northern part of Spain, is well connected to the city. You can visit the park by renting a car and driving along the highway A- 6. After that you will follow the road M -601 until the exit 39. Alternatively, you can take the M -607 (Colmenar Viejo), from the Plaza Castillo, in Madrid, and then turn at the M -614, to Navacerrada.

If you do not have your own or rented vehicle, you can take the train, using the ones that go from Madrid to Atocha, Recoletos, Nuevos Ministerios and Chamartín . Other option is to take the bus, using either the line 684 from Moncloa, or the line 685 which goes to Majadahonda and Navacerrada via Cercedilla.

This National Park is the “border” between Madrid and Segovia, and it has peaks up to 2000 meters high. In the National Park, we can find a lot of small towns, historic sites and unique natural wealth. It is an ideal place for all of those who love mountain biking, since it has hundreds of small paths and a variety of terrains, sandy, muddy and rocky paths, as well as paths near the streams. Riding a bike in the park or walking tours both offer you a chance to see breathtaking scenery of valleys, peaks and waterfalls, Mediterranean forests, small castles and monasteries, as well as historical sites from the Spanish Civil War. While enjoying the nature, you can catch a glimpse of the skyscrapers from the capital in the distance.

The place dates back to the period even before the arrival of the Romans (whose traces can still be seen in the remains of the Roman road), and it is surrounded by myths and legends. It is just another example of the wonders that Madrid has to offer, a perfect place for you to enjoy if you choose to rent a holiday apartment in Madrid.