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Programme of Accessible Guided Visits

Madrid is full of guided visits and tours around the city as a way of making its history known for tourists. However, one of the doubts which generally arises is if disabled people can participate in these visits. The answer is yes, and not only that: Madrid designed a special programme for differently abled people.

visitas-guiadas-madrid

The programme of guided visits for people with different abilities and their attendants will be carried out between July and September of 2019. Within the programme, four different options are included, which are centered on the most important subjects of the historical center of Madrid, like for example Barrio de las Letras in the tour Miguel de Cervantes. In addition, a tour is done in homage to women of greater relevance in the history of the city.

This tour provides the company of professional guides during the whole visit, from the beginning to the end, without exception. The programme schedule is from Thrusdays to Sundays, in Spanish and with a maximum of twenty people per group. The duration is of two hours approximately and it is worth mentioning that four of the options are free.

To participate in these visits, it is necessary to sign in in advance. The enrollment can be done in two ways: sending an e-mail or face-to-face in Centro de Turismo Plaza Mayor.

El Madrid de Cervantes

The first tour is related to one of the most important writers in the Spanish history. It starts in Plaza Mayor, and then it continues visiting the surrounding streets. Then, you arrive at Barrio de las Letras, where the author of Don Quijote de La Mancha and other great writers of the Golden Century lived and died. During the tour, you will see taverns, churches and other interesting places. The visit is carried out on Sundays at 10 am and it lasts for two hours.

Historical Madrid

This tour starts in Plaza Mayor and finishes in Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales. Through this visit, different types of historic buildings of the city are seen like for example traditional shops, palaces, theaters, churches, mesons and nunneries. It is an ideal tour to know the history of the city. You can participate on Thursdays at 6 pm and it lasts for two hours.

Monumental Madrid

This tour revolves around the most remarkable monuments of the city, and it also focuses on how the Bourbons dynasty altered the buildings and streets. From Plaza Mayor to Plaza Cánovas del Castillo, different fonts, palaces and gardens can be observed, in addition to the historical monuments, museums and libraries. The visit is programmed for Fridays at 6 pm.

Outstanding women in the history of Madrid

This visit is specially destined to those women who had an important role in the history of Madrid. Through a tour around the city, there are different representative places where these women lived and spent most of their lives. This visit can be made on Saturdays at 10 am.

For more information, visit this page: https://www.esmadrid.com/visitas-guiadas-por-madrid

Alternative touristic attractions in Madrid

Madrid is an amazing city for tourism. It has beautiful landscapes, historic monuments, and structures which were declared a world heritage site. Options are almost infinite, that is why it is impossible to get bored in Madrid, even if people go more than once. Nonetheless, there are places and sites of great touristic value which go unnoticed, as if they were hidden.

They are alternative tours and visits in the city which have a great cultural and touristic value. Madrid offers a wide range of options for tourists, even for locals who do not know all the secrets of the city.

Temple of Debod

It is an Egyptian temple originated in 2nd century after Christ and it is currently found in Parque del Cuartel de la Montaña, an area which is close to Plaza de España. This monument was donated to Spain by the Egyptian government to avoid its flooding during the building of the Asuán dam.

Temple of Debod

The building of the temple was carried out by Adikalamani king, which ended up being a chapel dedicated to the Amón and Isis gods. A few years later, kings of the Ptolemaic dynasty built new stays next to the original building. Finally, when Egypt was incorporated to the Roman Empire, the emperors Augustus and Tiberius finished building and decorating the temple.

When Nubia converted to Christianism, in the 6th century, the temple was abandoned. When the dam was built during the 20th century, the Egyptians decided to give the building to Madrid. In order to do so, it was carried stone by stone and reconstructed in the same way. It was finished in 1972, the year which it was opened to the public. Inside it, many audiovisual materials are displayed, together with videos and models, to show the details of its decorations and meaning.

Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida

This historical place was built in honor to San Antonio de Padua, by order of Carlos IV. It was built by Francisco de Fontana and it has a central space with a big dome which is illuminated with a lantern. However, this monument achieved greater importance because of the historical ensemble made by Goya in the 18th century.

In 1905, the building was declared a National Monument while in 1928, it was decided to build an identical temple by its side to preserve the original as Museo de Goya. It has always been a priority to preserve this place. Precisely, the original temple serves to keep the painter’s remains since 1919.

Parque El Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna

This green space belongs to the artistic-natural heritage of the city. It is located in Alameda de Osuna and it is highlighted for its beauty and for being little known. It was created in 1784, by María Josefa de la Soledad Alonso Pimentel duchess. The most prestigious gardeners of the period worked there and it was visited by well-known figures.  However, with the death of the duchess, the park began to decline until it was almost forgotten. In 1974, the Council of Madrid bought this green space and started its restoration which was finished in 1999. The park recovered its beauty and has a high level of botany, sculpture and art. Inside it, pavilions and chapels can be found as well as fonts, plazas and the dukes’ palaces.

The garden has three different styles: firstly, the French garden, which extends from the west of the garden. Secondly, the Italian garden, located in the lowest and oldest part of the place. Finally, the English landscape, which extends along the park.

 El Ángel Caído

Madrid City can claim that it is the only one which has a monument to the devil. More precisely, it is about a statue which represents the moment in which the fallen angel was expelled from Eden.

The font is found in Parque de El Retiro, and it was acquired by the Council of Madrid, which ordered a pedestal design from the architect Francisco Jareño. The original work is from Ricardo Bellver. The font was inaugurated in 1885 and it is located 666 meters above the sea level.

Búnkeres de la Guerra Civil

Parque del Oeste has a surface close to 100 hectares. In one of its zones, more precisely in an area located between Seneca Avenue and Paseo de Ruperto Chapí, elements of the dark past of Spain are found. There, three bunkers for machine guns used during the Civil War can be found. During those times, twenty bunkers were built, but only three remain.

Panteón de Hombres Ilustres

In the cloister of Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Atocha, Panteón de Hombres Ilustres is found, a place where politicians and personalities of the 19th century remain buried.

The historic architecture and the funerary sculpture, two of the most present elements at the end of the 19th century, are found in this building. Renowned sculptors were in charge of building the graves for those important figures of the Spanish political and military history. Some of the most distinguished names which rest inside this place are: Palafox, Canalejas, Ríos Rosas and Cánovas, among others.

Botín

The oldest restaurant in Madrid, it is located in Cuchilleros street in the heart of Madrid. This place was founded in 1725 by a French cook called Jean Botín, together with his wife of Asturian origin. It is recognized as the oldest restaurant in the world in the Guiness World records.

Currently, this restaurant is administered by the fourth generation of the González family who are the successors of the founding family. The environment of the original inn is kept up until today since it is reflected in its wood-fire oven which was used at the moment it was founded, almost 200 years ago. The restaurant is an enormous place; it covers the four floors of the building.

Enjoy Contemporary Art when Visiting Madrid

Known as a place of notable culture and history, Madrid is a great way to experience art. However, the way you are going to experience it and the epochs you are going to explore can completely reshape your travel and overall impression of the city. In this article, we are going to recommend you places where you can discover contemporary art in Madrid.

As always, renting an apartment in the center of Madrid is a very convenient way to begin your journey as all of these places will be near your accommodation in Madrid, or easily reachable with public transport.

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Image source: https://pixabay.com/photos/exhibition-art-gallery-gallery-arts-362163/

 

Madrid galleries

We will start with art galleries on a journey of exploring contemporary art in Madrid.

Mad is Mad

This gallery is advertised as offering a new gallery concept, an ideal setting for exploring contemporary art in Madrid. It features an original setting inspired by the cosmopolitan spirit of the city including contemporary creations of the notable Spanish talents. The gallery is located in Chueca district of Madrid, a lively neighborhood typical of bohemian and artistic atmosphere. Works featured as parts of the exhibitions include different types of artwork such as photography, paintings, drawings, etc.

Location: Pelayo 48, 28004 Madrid
Hours: Between Tuesday and Saturday, the gallery is open between 5 and 9 pm.
Website: https://www.madismad.com/

 

Travesí­a Cuatro

This gallery was founded in 2003 by Silvia Ortiz and Inés López-Quesada with the idea to promote contemporary art. The gallery features both national and international artists, but this is also the place where you can find artworks form Latin America. This is how the gallery brings a combination of multicultural diversity and expands the influence art has beyond the borders of one country.

Location: Calle San Mateo 16, 28004 Madrid
Hours: From 11 am until 7 pm every day from Tuesday to Friday. The gallery is open between 11 am and 2:30 pm on Saturdays and it is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Website: http://travesiacuatro.com/eng/

 

Sabrina Amrani Gallery

Cultural diversity brings that special touch to art, as it allows artists to combine different styles, heritage and inspiration that is transferred into their work. That is also the case in this gallery, founded by a French woman of Algerian origin.

Location: Madera, 23, 28004 Madrid and Sallaberry, 52, 28019 Madrid
Hours: Between Tuesday and Friday from 11 am until 7 pm. On Saturdays, the art gallery in Madera street is open from 11 am until 2:30 pm, while the other one opens at 11 am and closes at 7 pm on Saturdays.

Website: http://www.sabrinaamrani.com/the-gallery/

 

Elba Benítez

Featuring contemporary artistic production with sculptures, photography, paintings, site-specific installations, and even performances, their mission is to offer different artistic expressions, especially in the form of interaction and experience exchange.

Location: Elba Benítez Gallery, San Lorenzo 11 28004 Madrid
Hours: The gallery is open between Tuesday and Saturday, from 11 am until 7 pm.
Website: http://www.elbabenitez.com/

 

Heinrich Ehrhardt

This gallery is founded with the idea to bring close the German style of art and introduce German artists to the Madrid audience. Even though it was founded in Madrid in 1980, the gallery was moved to Frankfurt in 1985. There, it was focused on projects with numerous artists, but it was not until 1998 when the Madrid audience got the enjoy their offer and exhibits featuring many emerging artists.

Location: San Lorenzo 11, 280004 Madrid
Hours: The gallery is open between 11 am and 7 pm, between Tuesday and Friday. On Saturdays, it is open between 11 am and 2 pm
Website: http://www.heinrichehrhardt.com/

 

Rafael Pérez Hernando

What started out is a small basement in the center of Madrid as a project that brought together those enthusiastic about contemporary art, turned into a notable gallery in Madrid. It puts emerging artists in the spotlight. They want to highlight the importance and brilliance of contemporary art and how it represents the modern world.

Location: Calle Orellana, 18, 28004 Madrid
Hours: From Monday to Friday the gallery is open between 10 am and 2 pm, and then again in the afternoon between 5 pm and 8:30 pm. On Saturdays, it is open between 11 am and 2 pm. The gallery is closed on Mondays, as well as during the month of August.
Website: http://www.rphart.net/

 

Museum of Contemporary Art

There are a lot of museums in Madrid you can visit. If you enjoy this form of art, you will actually discover that Madrid is a sort of a museum hub. Country’s rich cultural heritage and the fact that some of the greatest masters of art were in fact from Spain, provides an impressive collection of artworks the country so proudly displays in the museums all around the city.

When it comes to contemporary art, art galleries are very popular among those interested. Still, another recommended location for anyone who is interested in contemporary art is The Museum of Contemporary Art (in Spanish Museo de Arte Contemporáneo). It is one of the new museums in Madrid, and it was established in 2001. The museum was opened with two major goals in mind:

Create a forum which will continually offer an opportunity for cultural and exhibitions programs of contemporary art.

Complement the other museums and general offer the city of Madrid is so known for.

Both of these goals contribute to one overall goal, i.e. the promotion of contemporary culture to both domestic and foreign viewers.

Located in the historic barracks of the Conde Duque building, the museum offers two floors with over 22000 square feet of exhibition space. Currently, over 200 works are included in its offer featuring collections of paintings, photography, sculpture, etc.

Location: Calle Conde Duque, 9 28015
Hours: Between Tuesday and Saturday the museum is open between 10 am and 2 pm and again between 5:30 pm and 9 pm. On Sundays or during public holidays, this museum is open between 10:30 am and 2 pm.

 

Art Madrid – Contemporary Art Fair

Unlike other exhibitions and galleries we have mentioned here, which allow you to explore contemporary culture at almost any moment, there is an art related event, which takes place once a year. So in case you happen to be visiting at that time, this could be a perfect way to explore the city of Madrid and learn about its culture and modern art.

Art Madrid is an annual contemporary art fair. The event has a global character and brings together the artists and those who are fond of art within a global, multicultural event that above all promotes art. In the modern age, when technology has such a great impact on our lives and art is starting to take different, more digital forms, it is important that events like these do exist, and that they manage to gather people who are genuinely interested in art and able to recognize its significance.

Here’s a quick recap of this years’ event to figure out what you can expect from this event.

Art Madrid was organized from February 27th to March 3rd, 2019 in the Galería de Cristal of CentroCentro Cibeles. It gathered 50 galleries from 15 countries and almost 200 artists who were able to present their artistic vision to the audience. Besides its general program, the fair features other programs, solo/shows, and projects that enable them to support emerging artists. It is an amazing way to support the community and to help those who are still struggling to create a name for themselves. The program which was open for the public included meeting with the artist, workshops, debates, etc.

Website: https://www.art-madrid.com/en

 

Apertura Madrid Gallery Weekend

This is an annual celebration of art and culture organized by ARTE Madrid. It takes place in September and more than 40 contemporary art galleries simultaneously take part in the event. The weekend devoted to art takes place night and day, and the complete program includes a lot of activities organized by museums and art galleries. The event attracts collectors, experts and curators from all over the world as it features notable artists, as well as emerging artists, from the local scene.

It is a multicultural event that brings you closer to contemporary art and enables an opportunity to discover the world through the artworks of contemporary artists. Special programs, guided and private tours are also available, parties as well as special events organized by individual galleries.

 

What to expect from contemporary art in Madrid

Although the most prevalent form of art in Madrid is the art from the past, and artworks that have incorporated different artistic styles that have developed over the centuries, there are a lot of initiatives to promote and support contemporary art in Madrid. In fact, it is very important to continue to create art in a country that has given the famous creations of masters such as Picasso, Dali, Miro, Goya, etc. Thinking this way and working on establishing art in the life of Madrid is a necessary step to ensure that this rich cultural heritage lives on and that the city continues to be one of the most recognizable capitals of culture in the world.

Madrid Travel Guide

The excitement and anticipation that overwhelm you when preparing for a trip can sometimes distract you from planning every single detail about your upcoming travel. With so many things to consider, such as booking a ticket, packing and making the flight in time, you might forget about planning the itinerary for the actual time you will be spending in Madrid.

You do not need to worry, because we have a perfect Madrid travel guide, which is going to help you with practical information you will need when staying in Madrid, as well as suggestions on places to visit.

Few facts about Madrid

When traveling to Madrid, you will benefit from knowing few things about the city, such as:

  • Madrid is the capital city of Spain.
  • The metropolitan area has population of approximately 6.5 million, making it the third-largest city in EU.
  • Official currency is Euro.
  • Official language is Spanish.
  • Time zone: CEST – Central European Summer Time (UTC/GMT +2 hours)

Getting to the city

There are several ways to get to the city, and airport is one of the most convenient ways if you are traveling from abroad. Madrid-Barajas Airport is located 13 km from the city so once you get to the airport, you will easily reach the center of the city. There are several types of transport available to you at the airport:

  • Rent a car – Although a more costly option, this is something you could consider if you would like to be mobile while in the city, if you are planning on visiting landmarks that are away from the city center or shopping malls located in the outskirts.
  • Take a taxi – It is certainly a cheaper option, but provides the same convenience when it comes to traveling from the airport to the accommodation. Lots of taxi drivers are circulating around the arriving terminals, so you do not need any phone numbers in advance. You will see them once you leave the terminal.
  • Shuttle – This is specialized taxi service with fixed pricing of 23 Euros. However, this is not an exclusive ride and you will have to share the taxi with other passengers in case you are traveling solo.
  • Airport Express (Exprés Aeropuerto) – Buses operate 24 and take passengers from the airport’s terminal T1, T2 and T4 to one of these three places in the city: O’Donell, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha. Ride at 5 Euros is certainly the main benefit for choosing the bus, but since it is an express bus, it has only three stops in the city, after which you will have to find other ways to reach your final destination.
  • Commuter train – Terminal 4 is connected to Atocha and Chamartin train station with a commuter train C-1. The train is available from 6 am until 10:30 pm with a ticket from €2.60.
  • Metro – Line 8 goes to Nuevos Ministerios station from all terminals, but to reach city center you will have to change metro line twice, which might be inconvenient if you have a lot of luggage.

In case you would like to use a train to arrive to Madrid, there is a connection with the French coast and Paris. Buses connect the city with major cities in Europe, and these international departures are scheduled from the Estación Sur de Autobuses. Metro is quite near the bus station, providing great connection with the rest of the city.

Finding apartment in Madrid

Preferably, you will have already found your accommodation prior to arriving to the city. Even though Madrid has a lot to offer when it comes to tourist accommodation including hotels, hostels and apartments in Madrid, during the peak season it can become more difficult to find accommodation. Therefore, it is advisable to book accommodation in advance. Due to conveniences and flexibility, we would suggest apartments in Madrid rather than any other type of accommodation. When it comes to how to rent an apartment in Madrid, we suggest browsing online as the best way to find available apartments in the city.

Finding your way around the city

Madrid has excellent public transport, allowing travelers to easily find their way around the city even if they are first time visiting. Different parts of the city are connected with 12 metro lines. The entire map of metro lines is available online.

 Metro and Light Rail Network - Madrid

Image source: https://www.metromadrid.es/export/sites/metro/comun/documentos/planos/Planoesquematicoingles.pdf

When walking around the city and looking for interesting landmarks to see, you will need a map. Tourist offices will have different kinds of maps available, including the one with metro lines, but you can always use an online map. Here is an interesting map of the central area of the city with the most important landmarks being represented through small graphics.

 Map of the central area - Madrid

Image source: http://www.esmadrid.com/sites/default/files/documentos/mapa_bloc_esp-ing_22082016.pdf

Going around the city with your map exploring the local landmarks is a great way to explore the city and get to experience your unique tour of Madrid. However, you will get in contact with a lot of locals, so learning a couple of Spanish phrases can be very helpful. Plus, the locals will be delighted by your trying to learn their language. Here are a couple of phrases you might need:

Hello/Hi (informal) – Hola
Have a good day – Que pase un buen día
How are you? (informal) – ¿Cómo estás?

How are you? (formal) – ¿Cómo está usted?
Fine, thank you – Muy bien, gracias.
Thank you – Gracias
I’m sorry – Lo siento / perdón
Goodbye – Adiós, Hasta luego
I speak a little Spanish. – Hablo un poco de español.
I can’t speak Spanish (well) – No hablo (bien) español
Do you speak English? (informal) – ¿Hablas inglés?
Do you speak English? (formal) – ¿Habla usted inglés?
Yes – Sí
No – No

If you need more helpful Spanish phrases, if you want to learn the numbers and how to tell time in Spanish, here is a great phrasebook which includes instructions on how to pronounce each phrase: Spanish Phrasebook.

Sightseeing of Madrid

Since the purpose of this travel guide is to help you get acquainted with the city and how to get the most when exploring the capital city of Spain, here are some suggestions on what to visit in Madrid.

  • Enjoy the art

If you are fond of art, Madrid is a place where you will absolutely enjoy! Permanent and temporary collections in the museums are always available and all you need to do is pick a museum in Madrid you would like to visit and have amazing time. Some museums offer free admission, while those that do charge the admission fee usually have group discounts and days when they offer free admission for everyone. When paying admission fee, the tickets start from 1.5 Euros and they can be up to 17 Euros. The prices in one museum may vary depending on the exhibition you want to visit. Most museums in Madrid are closed on Mondays and have shorter working hours on weekends.

However, there is more art to be seen apart from the museums. You could visit galleries and attend exhibitions. You could find out more about the Spanish royals by visiting the Royal Palace of Madrid and explore the art works displayed inside. Either way, you will get to experience the art works, some of which are centuries old and for an art lover, this would be an art tour of Madrid you will remember forever.

  • Admire the architecture

Madrid is well-known for its architecture that preserves the original look of historic neighborhoods especially in the central area of the city. As you walk down the streets of the city you get to admire the buildings and constructions that are product of different epochs, each of them leaving the traces on both interior and exterior. The Paseo del Prado is one of those streets where you get to see how the city landscape has changed over the centuries, preserving the best of the city’s history and heritage that will last for generations to come and still be symbols this city can be proud of.

 Madrid - Arquitecture

Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/madrid-building-architecture-385104/

  • Indulge in the local cuisine

Since Spanish cuisine is renowned worldwide, it is only fair to explore these famous dishes and tastes in the original surrounding. Numerous restaurants, cafes, pasty shops and bars are scattered around the city, especially in the central area. Dinner is typically served later in Spain, so an ideal time to have dinner when in Madrid is around 8 or 9 pm. Here is a guide with interesting places you could visit when it comes to eating out: Madrid Gastronomic Guide.

  • Visit the landmarks

Visiting the landmarks is your primary goal when visiting Madrid as a traveler, but as you explore the map of Madrid, you will notice that there is so many interesting places you could visit. If you are going to spend only a few days in the city, you might find it difficult to choose which places to visit, and which ones you will have to leave for some other trip to Madrid. The three must-see places in Madrid we would recommend are the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Retiro Park and the Gran Via Street. They are all located in the city center, so if you rent an apartment in the center of Madrid, you will certainly have time to visit them, regardless how short your stay is.

  • Explore further

While most travelers tend to focus their stay in the central area where they go sightseeing, as most of the landmarks are in fact located in the center of the city, there is more to be seen in Madrid than the central part. Visiting outskirts of Madrid is an amazing opportunity to see some historic places and small towns surrounding Madrid. Alcalá de Henares and Toledo are two of those, both of which are UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

  • Have fun

If you would like to find out about even more about what to do in Madrid, here is the list of ten things to do in Madrid. The city of Madrid is also well known place to go out and have fun, so all those outgoing people will enjoy the friendly atmosphere in the local cafes and bars. Another popular form of entertainment in the city are festivals. Most of them are organized during the period of nice weather which start from April and ends in October. Explore some options and suggestions related to festivals in Madrid here.

Visiting Retiro Park in Madrid

An interesting fact about Madrid is that one cannot walk more than fifteen minutes without coming across a green area, such as a park or a garden. Even though the city of Madrid is a large urban hub, center of commerce and business, it still is the city with the largest number of trees and green surfaces per inhabitant in Europe. Retiro Park is the largest park in Madrid and certainly one of the major attractions in the city.

Depending on where you are located in the city during your stay, whether your apartment in Madrid is in the center of the city, or you choose to rent an apartment in other districts of Madrid, you can easily use public transportation to reach the Retiro Park.

The full name of the park is the Buen Retiro Park, which is often shorted to Retiro Park, or simply Retiro. The Spanish name of the park is Parque del Buen Retiro, which means Park of the Pleasant Retreat. This name symbolizes what the park is, an oasis in the hearth of the urban city, the place to have a break of all the city hassle, a hidden retreat in the noisy surrounding of the central area of Madrid. Additionally, park also played an important role in the court life of Spain, which is why it is important part of country’s history.

History of Retiro Park

Although the park is a public area nowadays, with people being able to visit it at any moment, this has not always been the case. For centuries, the park was owned by Spanish Monarchy, and the area, which was considered a garden, had been available to members of royalty, and the guests that used to visit them.

It all started with a garden which was designed between 1631 and 1640. Count-Duke of Olivares was determined to build a royal house, which was supposed to be accompanied by gardens. Philip IV, who was on the throne at the time, thought highly of Olivares, which is why he entrusted him with this task. The goal was to build an outstanding mansion that would overshadow the villas of Roman nobles. Despite the fact that several buildings were constructed in 1630s, only two of them still remain in the park. Those are Casón del Buen Retiro, which served as a ballroom, and a building that housed the military museum.

As the construction of the building was finished in haste, the development of the garden happened simultaneously. The main asset of the garden was a pond, Estanque del Retiro. In that period, besides the visual aspect, the pond actually served for setting up mock naval battles.

When the construction of the park was finished, it became the center of the court life in Spain, as well an important center of the court life in Europe. The park was the state of the art at the time it was built, and it became a recognizable symbol of Spanish royalty. Besides being the center of the court life, the park was also a representation of Spanish art and design, with style that captured what is considered to be the last phase of Renaissance in Spain.

The situation changed after 1665, when Philip IV died. The garden was neglected, and it remained to be so until 1767 when the garden was opened for public. Prior to public opening, the garden underwent renovations and it changed the scenery. Some of the deteriorated buildings and constructions, such as old walls, were replaced, and some new buildings were added, such as Astronomical Observatory, built in the end of the 18th century.

Situation again changed during the Peninsular War in the beginning of the 19th century, when most of the palaces in the garden were destroyed. This was followed by a series of renovation projects, planting the trees and expanding the green surface, which drastically changed the original design of the garden. In 1868, the garden finally became a public park, becoming the great oasis in the center of the city.

The 20th century brought additional renovation, where statues, monuments and fountains were added into the park. Today the park is a cultural landmark of the city, as many tours include visiting the park, and some of the best known places in the park.

What to visit in Retiro Park?

Retiro Park encompasses a large area, with lot of landmarks dating from different periods, all of which are representation of the period of time that produced them. Although the park itself is a landmark, perhaps one of the most famous one in the city, there are lots of places to see in the park and here are the most important ones:

The Retiro Pond

The Retiro Pond, in Spanish the Estanque del Retiro, is the place in the park that dates back to the original garden that was first designed in this location. It is an artificial lake in the middle of the park, surrounded by trees. Additionally, some buildings have been built near the lake. Besides walking or sitting by the lake, you can always go on a boat ride.

retiro-park_001

Image source: http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro

Paseo de las Estatuas

El Paseo de la Argentina del Retiro is popularly known as Paseo de las Estatuas, as it is populated by a series of statues of Spanish monarchs. Although the statues were initially placed next to the Royal Palace, they were moved in the park since the palace itself is beautifully adorned and the statues would take over the focus from the palace’s extraordinary design.

retiro-park_003

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paseo_de_la_Argentina_(Retiro,_Madrid)_02.jpg

Palacio de Cristal

El Palacio de Cristal del Retiro is without doubt the most important feature of the park. The Crystal Palace was built in 1887 next to the lake. Built like a glass cathedral, the palace has massive glass walls, sustained by iron columns, with a large dome reaching the height of over 20 meters. There is a portal built in the classical Greek style, but the overall inspiration for building Palacio de Cristal was London’s Crystal Palace. Located right besides the lake, the palace even has a staircase leading to the lake.

The initial purpose of the palace was to be a greenhouse, a home to the exhibitions of flora and fauna from Philippines. This is why the walls have been created of glass, allowing transparent setting for the plants that have been kept in the greenhouse. However, the palace is no longer used for this purpose. Today, various city museums organize exhibitions in the Crystal Palace in Madrid.

retiro-park

Image source: http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro

Palacio de Velázquez

Built between 1881 and 1883 for the occasion of celebration of Exposición Nacional de Minería in 1883, the palace was designed by an architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco, which is why it is named Palacio de Velázquez. The palace is a construction covered with vaults of iron as well as glass surfaces allowing natural light into the rooms. Like the Crystal Palace, it once served as a green house, but today it belongs to the Ministry of Culture and it houses exhibitions organized by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

La Rosaleda

La Rosaleda is a rose garden designed in elliptical shape, surrounded by hedges that are meticulously trimmed. The garden is populated with a variety of roses that are brought from different parts of Europe, mostly from other famous European’s gardens. Although the rose garden was completely destroyed in the Civil War in 1941, it was renovated and over 4000 new rose bushes were planted. However, despite the abundance of roses, the garden lacked a systematic management in plantation of roses, which is why a new rose garden was created in 1956, in the el Parque del Oeste de Madrid, where the annual rose competition is held. Still, this is a great place to visit in the Retiro Park, as the scenery is perfect for walking around enjoying the beauty of flowers around you.

Monumento a Alfonso XII

The central area of the park occupies the monument to the King Alfonso XII. The monument is a product of national competition, where the architect José Grases Riera won with his grandiose project. The monument features the statue of the king in the center, surrounded by numerous sculptures and columns. The entire monument is built from bronze and marble, 30 meters high and 86 meters long. The monument is close to the Retiro lake with stairs leading to the lake. Besides the statues, there are two lions with cupids on both sides of the monument.

This massive monument is one of the most recognizable symbols of the park, along with the Crystal Palace, and it is frequently the stop of tourists who visit Madrid.

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Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Monumento_a_Alfonso_XII_de_Espa%C3%B1a_en_los_Jardines_del_Retiro_-_04.jpg

Fuente de la Alcachofa

This fountain was built in 1781 and it was originally placed at the Puerta de Atocha. However, the fountain was moved in 1880 to the Retiro Park, where it still stands today. The fountain represents a mixture of neoclassical style and the influence of Baroque, which follows the style present in other constructions in the park, such as the Royal Palace. The fountain has a circular center with a column formed of two parts. The first one represents the sea nymphs holding the coat of arms of Madrid. The second one is located on top of the first part of the fountain and it features four cupids on a cup.

Fuente del Ángel Caído

Fuente del Ángel Caído, meaning the Fountain of the Fallen Angel, is greatly inspired by verses from Milton’s Paradise Lost. The statue at the top of the monument was designed by Ricardo Bellver. The statue was initially housed in the Museo Nacional de Pintura y Escultura. Fully cast in bronze the statue itself is over 2.5 meters high. The fountain has a pedestal, octagonal in shape, with lizards and snakes on each side. The total height of the fountain is 7 meters. It is renowned as a monument to the devil with several possible interpretations of its true meaning. This reputation of being a sculpture devoted to the devil is supported by the fact that the statue stands 666 meters above the sea level.

Activities in the park

While the visit to the park is an amazing way to spend a day in Madrid, with lots of opportunities for sightseeing, there are numerous activities organized in the park during the year, especially between May and October, when the weather is perfect for outdoor activities.

Annual Madrid Book Fair is organized every year in Retiro Park since 1967. The fair is usually organized in late May or early June each year, and during the fair various discounts are offered for the visitors. The fair is also known to gather a lot of publishers with a huge book offer.

Other activities in the park include concerts, firework shows and other cultural events, such as exhibitions, workshops, etc. If you like exercising outdoor, you will also love the park, as it is great for running, cycling and roller-skating. There is also equipment for exercising installed in the park. Playgrounds with swings and other toys for kids are also available. You can also rent a rowboat and paddle around the lake or you can enjoy horse-drawn carriages as you ride along the park.

Lots of street performers can be seen around the park, especially near the popular landmarks, such as the lake.

How to get there?

The Retiro Park is the largest park in Madrid with 1.4 square kilometers large surface. If you choose to get to the park using metro, line 2 is the best way to go, with Retiro and Ibiza being the closest metro stops.

On the other hand, if you choose to use the public buses to get to the park, there are several lines that have stops somewhere around the Retiro Park. The bus numbers that have a stop here include: 1, 2, 9, 14, 15, 19, 20, 26, 28, 32, 51, 52, 61, 63, 74, 146, 152 and 202.

 

One Day in the Paseo del Prado

Planning a vacation is not always easy. When planning your trip to Madrid, you have to consider so many things, such as booking the tickets, finding the accommodation, such as an apartment in Madrid, as well as how to get from the airport or station to the accommodation of your choice. Then you have to think about what you are going to bring to your vacation.

With all of these thoughts on your mind, you might overlook one important thing. You should plan how to spend days on your vacation, in order to be able to visit a lot of different places. Having an organized and well-planned vacation will help you get the most out of your visit. When it comes to your vacation in Madrid, it is great idea to devote at least one day to visit Madrid’s most famous boulevard, the Paseo del Prado.

There are a lot of places in Madrid that are worth visiting, but the Paseo del Prado is certainly one of the highlights of the city, with lots of Madrid’s landmarks located along the street.

Starting from the Plaza de Cibeles, this wide boulevard leads to the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, also known as the Plaza de Atocha. The street occupies the central area of the city. The Paseo del Prado is densely populated by trees on both sides of the boulevard, with wide pedestrian area, which makes this location perfect for a walk in the center of the city of Madrid.

You will first start from the Plaza de Cibeles. The Plaza de Cibeles is a memorable symbol of Madrid. A square built in neo-classical style with sculptures is in front of the Cybele Palace. You will also see the fountain of Cybele, which is devoted to Phrygian goddess. It comes from cult in Rome, but it became an important symbol of Madrid, with the statue of the goddess inside the chariot, which is pulled by two lions.

Here you will find two very popular Madrid’s restaurants. Garcia de la Navarra, a restaurant perfect for trying out delicious Spanish cuisine, is quite near the Cybele Palace. Condumios Taberna Madrid, with combination of Japanese and Spanish cuisine is also quite near.

This area of the city is also a home to a museum. Although not as famous as other museums in this part  of the city, the National Museum of Decorative Arts (the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas) is one of the oldest museums in the city. It focuses on minor art and it presents the evolution of industrial design. Therefore, furniture, ceramics, and textiles are some of the exhibits in the collection of this museum. Most of the pieces inside the museums’ collection are from the 16th and the 17th century.

As you start from the Plaza de Cibeles, the first building you will see is the National Central Bank of Spain, Banco de España. Behind the bank, you will find Círculo de Bellas Artes, an art and cultural center with movie theatres, live performances and exhibitions. Besides the tour of the center, Terrazas Circulo Bellas Artes, is the place to visit, as it is located at the top of the center, with an amazing view of the city landscape. This place is often recommended for taking memorable pictures, as the view is magnificent. There is a cafe and a restaurant on the top. So if you would like to enjoy your meal or drink while sitting on a terrace as you overlook the city’s streets and roof tops, this is the place to visit.

The next nearest attraction is Teatro de la Zarzuela, a theatre in Madrid devoted to zarzuelas, traditional Spanish musical theatre genre. Featuring concerts, recitals, exhibitions and other cultural performances, the theatre nurtures Spanish culture and tradition. Located in the impressive building, in both interior and exterior, the theatre was first opened in 1856. Some parts of the original design were destroyed during renovations in the beginning of the 20th century, but the building is now declared the National Memorial and it is considered to be an important landmark of Madrid’s cultural life.

On the opposite side of the street, you will see the Naval Museum of Madrid (Museo Naval de Madrid), with a huge collection of weapons, navigation instruments and maps from Spanish navy.

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The next notable landmark in the Paseo del Prado is the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, an art museum featuring a private collection, which is considered to be the second largest private collection in the world. The museum features several collections, including the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo painters. Besides Spanish artists, the works of Italian, German, and North American painters are displayed in the museum as well. The artworks date from the 14th century onwards, with contemporary artworks also being part of this impressive collection.

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As you pass the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, you get to the Fountain of Neptune (Fuente de Neptuno). The fountain is located on the Plaza de Canovas del Castillo and it is built in the glory of the sea god, Neptune. The fountain was built in the 18th century, with Neptune standing in the chariot pulled by sea horses. The chariot is surrounded by dolphins and seals. The fountain is an amazing architectural peace, which makes even greater spectacle at night, when the fountain is lit.

If you up for a little break at this point, there are some cafes and restaurants around the fountain, which might be perfect for having rest from an exciting walk. Souvenirs are sold here, so if you want to buy them for your friends and family, or if you want some souvenirs for yourself, this is the place to buy them.

Having resumed the walk down this enchanting boulevard, we get to the highlight of the avenue, the most commonly visited place in the Paseo del Prado. That is the Prado Museum (Museo del Prado). Prado Museum is the main museum in Spain, with one of the finest collections of European artworks in the world. The artworks date from the period between the 12th and the 19th century, with painters like Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Francisco de Goya, being featured in the exhibitions of the museum. The building of the museum was constructed in the 18th century, and it is surrounded by a beautiful garden. The Prado Museum is one of the most visited museums in the world, so your walk along the Paseo del Prado should include a visit to this museum. Even though there are several museums along this Madrid’s boulevard, you should visit at least this one, as it features an amazing collection of internationally famous artists, with some of the most valuable artworks in the world.

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The Fountain of Apollo (La Fuente de Apolo) is located in the garden outside the Prado Museum. The monumental fountain is also called the Four Seasons, because of the pedestal sculptures at the bottom, which represent four seasons. The central part of the monument features effigy of Apollo, the god of light and art. The construction of the fountain was completed in 1802.

You should continue your walk along the avenue and next landmark you will see is the Plaza del Murillo, a nice square dedicated to the painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo from Seville. It is located next to the Prado Museum. Passing the Plaza del Murillo, you get to the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid (Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid).

The garden occupies around 8 hectares and it was founded in the 18th century. A different location was chosen at first, but in 1774, it was decided that the garden would be placed next to the Prado Museum. The goal of with having botanical garden in the capital city of Spain was not only to exhibit different species from around the world, but also to teach about nature, to promote science and to enhance the desire for exploration. The garden evolved and expanded over time, with the collection of plants, flowers and trees constantly expanding. Today, the garden is divided into seven outdoor sections and five greenhouses, which house a grand collection of over 90.000 species from all over the world, as well as a herbarium with over million specimens preserved inside. The interior of the garden is wonderful spectacle, especially having in mind that you are actually in the center of an urban zone. However, you will not feel like that with all that plants and flowers around you, as you walk around the garden.

Villanueva pavilion is a remarkable building in the Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid. Having been constructed in the 18th century, the building represents an amazing addition to the garden. It has been recently renewed and it features a large lobby, two halls and one lecture hall.

Opposite the Prado Museum, there is another frequently visited landmark of Madrid. CaixaForum Madrid is a cultural center with exhibitions and performances organized as part of the center’s activity. The interior of the center with stainless steel walls and stunning staircase houses different kinds of exhibitions. Outside the building, there is a vertical garden, which is often considered to be the highlight of the building. There is a nice little gift shop inside, where you can buy souvenirs and a coffee shop at the top of the building, which is a great place to take a break from sightseeing.

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The walk ends with the Plaza de Atocha, or the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V, as it is commonly called. The most notable landmark on this square is certainly the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spanish national museum featuring artworks from the 20th century. Although mainly devoted to Spanish art, with Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, being the most famous representatives of the Spanish art, the collection also includes some works by international artists. Since the museum is mainly devoted to national history, besides paintings, it houses a large collection of books, recordings and videos, which are related to art and history of the art.

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The reason why the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V is commonly known as the Plaza de Atocha is the vicinity of the largest train station in the city, Madrid Atoch (Estación de Madrid Atocha). The station is serving commuter trains that connect different parts of the city, as well as regional trains and high-speed trains. The building that exists today is the product of renovation in the 19th century, after the original building was destroyed by fire. The name Atocha comes from the basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Atocha, which is located nearby.

By the time you get to Atocha, you must be quite tired from walking down the Padeo del Prado, which is why you should have some rest in this area. There are a lot of restaurants and cafes in this part of the city. Cafetería Dunkin’ Coffee Madrid is a perfect choice if you are up for hot or cold drinks. If you want a traditional Spanish lunch with specialties such as tortillas, Restaurante Sanabria is also located nearby. Since Spain is internationally famous producer of ham, called jamon in Spanish, there is a restaurant with this specialty on the menu. The restaurant is called Restaurante Museo del Jamón.

Even though you might not be able to see all of the places we recommend here, as one day in the Paseo del Prado is not enough to see all the beauties of this boulevard, this is a great guide for you not to miss some places, that might deserve your attention, being important parts of Madrid’s cultural and urban life. As you walk along the Paseo del Prado, you will also see a lot of shops where you can buy, not only souvenirs, but clothing, shoes, accessorize, etc. The central area is everything you want it to be. A true representative of city’s history with magnificent pieces of architecture, monuments and buildings centuries’ old, as well as urban hub of a cosmopolitan city such as Madrid.

The 10 sights you should not miss on your visit to Madrid

In order to improve your holiday in Madrid, it is very useful to browse through the websites specializing in tourism and to plan what you want to see while you spend your time in a nice apartment in Madrid. Do you want to visit museums, go shopping, go out and explore the stunning scenery surrounding the Spanish capital? No matter what your answer to that question is, undoubtedly you should spend at least one or two evenings admiring the architectural and sculptural monuments that define the urban landscape of Madrid. If you want to find the alternatives to what you have already planned, we offer a list and a short description of the sights you cannot miss during your visit to Madrid.

1. The Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid is now the official residence of His Majesty the King of Spain. The royal family lives in the Zarzuela Palace which is located on the outskirts of Madrid. However, the Royal Palace is still home of the festivals and official ceremonies. It is commonly called Palacio de Oriente, which is the consequence of confusion due to the proximity of the Plaza de Oriente, located on the east side of the Palace. This is a very old building, which dates back to the ninth century when a fort was built by the Caliph of Toledo, and later, in the sixteenth century, the kings of Castile built the Alcázar in this place. When the Palace was destroyed due to a fire in 1734, King Philip V decided to build a castle worthy of the dynasty. This long history is reflected in both the exterior and the interior, and its exquisite decor is what makes the Royal Palace of Madrid to be considered as one of the finest and most beautiful palaces in Europe. For tourists visiting Madrid, this is a monument that cannot be missed and you may spend up to an hour admiring its architecture before even starting a proper tour inside the palace. Inside, each room has its own story. Particularly spectacular are the Throne Hall and the Royal Armories, sites that show the history of the place. The Armory displays the history of firearms from the fifteenth century, with short and long guns, and even canons. It is advisable to purchase tickets in advance if you want to visit the Royal Palace of Madrid to order to take the most out of the time that you plan to spend on travel this amazing monument.

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The official website of the Royal Palace of Madrid: useful for checking schedules, routes and prices.
http://www.patrimonionacional.es/real-sitio/palacios/6039

2. The Puerta del Sol

The Puerta del Sol is perhaps one of the greatest locals emblems. Its long history dating back to the eighteenth century gives meaning to this destination as kilometer zero of the capital and of Spain, i.e. the point where all paths start and converge. It has been the scene of major historical events, such as the start of the rebellion against the Napoleonic invasion on May 2, 1808 and the proclamation of the Second Republic in 1931. Closer in time, in 1997, a million of people from Madrid marched there to protest against violence and terrorism. The Puerta del Sol is formed by an oval square surrounded by historic buildings from the eighteenth century. In the center of the square you can admire the famous “El Oso de Madrid”, a statue symbol of the city of Madrid. It is the meeting place and traditional meeting point for all the locals who are used to always welcome the New Year with great festivities on this location.

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The official website about Tourism in Madrid, dedicated to the Puerta del Sol
http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-del-sol/

3. The Temple of Debod

This is where ancient Egypt is located in the heart of the Spanish capital. The Temple of Debod is an incredible opportunity to be transported in time and space and take advantage of the presence of an incredible and authentic Egyptian monument in the middle of Spain. This monument, which dates back 2000 years in time, is a site where Pharaohs walked to make offerings to their gods. Visiting the Temple of Debod offers various opportunities, including admiring the city from the viewpoint of the gardens, thanks to its location in the Principe Pio Mountains, from which you can admire much of Madrid’s urban landscape, as well as visiting other exceptional sites located nearby, such as a tour to the mythical rocks that were transported in 1970 to Spain, but were previously located near the Nile river. According to historical records, the shrine was built as a chapel in honor of the god -sun Ammon. Is there a better way to see an amazing sunset Madrid since this ancient Egyptian temple?

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The official site dedicated to the Temple of Debod
http://templodedebod.memoriademadrid.es/eng/index.html

4. The Puerta de Alcalá

Alcala Gate is a symbol of Madrid, and it is a monument worthy of admiration with its beautiful and smooth neoclassical architecture. It is located in the central area, and it is close to Retiro Park, plus all the ornaments adorning this location make this famous Triumphal gate a place tourists must not pass through during their visit to the Spanish capital.

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Tourist information about the Puerta de Alcalá
http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/puerta-de-alcala/

5. Plaza de la Villa

Speaking of beautiful places, Madrid is undoubtedly one of the most successful cities in this regard. Among these, the Plaza de la Villa is one of the most beautiful. It is surrounded by buildings that exemplify the Spanish baroque of the seventeenth century, recognizable by its use of bricks, rocks and iron. On one side there is the old town hall, an exuberant Baroque style building Habsburg; secondly, there is the House Lujanes with its legendary brick tower. It is said that this is where King Francis I of France was captured in the sixteenth century. Finally, on the other side there is the Casa de Cisneros with Renaissance visual details representing real pleasure. You should round up this tour that takes us to Madrid’s medieval past, with the monument Marino Álvaro de Bazán, worth admiring, located opposite the Casa de Cisneros.

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Amazing House Lujanes
http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/plaza-de-la-villa/

6. Monastery of Barefoot Royals

It is impossible to list the monuments of Madrid without mentioning a sacred or religious monument. In this case, we will speak of the Monastery of Barefoot Royals. This monastery dates back to 1559. Originally inhabited by women of high aristocracy, it was filled through the centuries with treasures such as jewelry, paintings and religious relics. Thanks to these treasures, the convent was rich. Yet, for the mid-twentieth century, the inhabitants were very poor women. Despite the wealth contained in the convent, the nuns were forbidden to benefit from these treasures. The Spanish State intervened and as a result, the convent was opened as a museum since the early sixties. This mysterious space is still inhabited by nuns barefoot and silent, but you can admire pieces containing relics of the Holy Cross and bones of St. Sebastian. Also, you can admire paintings by different artists, plus tapestry inspired by drawings Rubens. A monument to the once sacred and aesthetic wealth is a complete visit.

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Tourist information of the Monastery of Barefoot Royals
http://www.patrimonionacional.es/real-sitio/monasterios/6095

7. Bank of Spain

An amazing monument and an example of nineteenth-century Spanish architecture, is undoubtedly the building of the Bank of Spain. This building is a landmark and it has been enlarged several times. It features a French style, especially visible in front, but its successive restorations (1884, 1891, 2003, 2006) have given a monumental air, and although it can only be admired on the outside, you might enjoy elements of Carrara marble and stained glass windows, besides the ornaments that discreetly refer to Mercury, the God of Commerce.

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The headquarters of the Bank of Spain
http://www.bde.es/bde/es/Home/Videos/Visita_virtual__89c260c2da0a741.html

8. The Four Towers

When it comes to exploring the urban landscape and monuments in Madrid, not all of the recommendations are the ancient monuments. We also have stunning works of modern architecture, for example, the complex colloquially called The Four Towers in Madrid. This set represents the modern and futuristic side of Madrid. Its construction began in 2004 and the towers were opened between 2004 and 2009, reaching its highest capacity occupation in 2010. That same site was occupied by the former Ciudad Deportiva of Real Madrid, and now in addition to the four impressive constructions, you can enjoy different gardens and green areas. We will specify the characteristics of each tower and those are:

La Torre Sacyr is a unique work of Spanish architect involved in the project, Carlos Rubio Carbajal. It is 236 meters high and it is a building with many uses. Its structure is noted for its brilliant blackness and cylindrical form. It has 53 floors, 17 of which are used as offices and two thirds that are closer to the ground floor are occupied by the Eurostars Madrid Tower.

La Torre Espacio was designed by Pei Cobb Freed, and it has a futuristic design with geometric curves and radial segmentation. It is 230 meters tall and it has 57 floors, all dedicated to offices of great stature and embassies.

La Torre Caja Madrid is 250 meters high which makes it the tallest building in Spain. Its facade is made of some Lego blocks and this makes it unique and special. It was designed by Foster & Partners, with a rectangular arch structure and highly efficient in energy issues. Thanks to its location from its windows you can see breathtaking scenery of the Sierra de Guadarrama.

La Torre de Cristal, built by renowned architect Cesar Pelli, is 249 meters tall and it has 52 floors, plus a beautifully twisted obelisk. Both its form and glossy exterior gives a special aura, so it seems as a long glittering diamond sculpture against the sky. It has the largest vertical garden in Europe, and it is also building focused on energy efficiency.

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The official Blog of The Four Towers of Madrid
http://www.torresmadrid.com/blog/

9. The Equestrian Statue of Philip IV

As we already mentioned, there are numerous charming places in Madrid that are a delight for any lover of the monuments and the urban landscape. In one of these squares, at the “Plaza Oriente” (which in fact is not on the east side of town, but on the contrary), located opposite the Royal Palace, there is a sculptural monument which defines Madrid, almost as much as famous statue of Cibeles, where fans of Spanish soccer team celebrate their team victories. We are talking about the Equestrian Statue of Philip IV. What is special about this sculpture is that the Italian artist Pietro Tacca, the manager of the transaction, created it by echoing the portrait of the monarch that had been made by Diego Velázquez, and which can be seen in the Museo del Prado. The intent of King Philip IV, when ordering such work was to exceed such sculpture bearing the likeness of his father. A competition of greatness that was his intention resulted in beautifying Madrid.

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More information about this Equestrian Statue on the blog “Art and Iconography”
http://www.arteiconografia.com/2013/06/la-estatua-ecuestre-de-felipe-iv.html

10. Sculpture by Fernando Botero

Again demonstrating the cosmopolitan character of the city of Madrid, we have decided to close this selection of monuments with sculptures of famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero. After his 1994 exhibition of the Paseo de la Castellana, the city of Madrid decided to preserve some of the exhibits by renowned sculptor. These works are “The Hand” located in the center of the Castellana, the “Woman with Mirror” on Genoa Street and the “Man on a Mule” in Plaza Colón. These sculptures, with the traditional and majestic volume given by Botero, adorn Madrid along with many other monuments. The truth is that it is impossible to limit the list to only ten, since it is a city that shines with its urban landscape and works of architects and sculptors who have enriched the city over the centuries.

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Woman with the Mirror by Botero, a renowned outdoor sculpture that adorns Madrid
http://www.abc.es/local-madrid/20130522/abci-diez-esculturas-madrid-201305201841_1.html

Admiring the Cityscape of Madrid

There is no better way to get to know the city than to walk around the city on your own. Observe carefully the cityscape and fill your eyes with the beauty it has to offer. This is especially true for Madrid.

If we start from the idea that we are talking about the Spanish capital, one of the most important European cities, and of course, the home of numerous cultural, economic and recreational sites, there is no doubt about the beauty of its urban landscape.

To properly enjoy a weekend, a short break or a holiday in this city, our recommendation is to rent a design apartment, comfortable and edgy, located in the heart of the city. Thus, with great convenience, you can afford to go around the city knowing that you have an accommodation that makes you feel at home.

Once settled, there is nothing left to do than to dive in and explore every inch of the city.

Recall that the long history of Madrid, their arrivals and departures, different governments and other aspects of its historical development, have given the city a special charm from the various architectural styles that influence the city’s look. Not only can these styles witness the influence of Spanish history, but they also remind of neighboring countries and the European avant-garde both past and present centuries.

An initial tour to enjoy Madrid’s cityscape can certainly start from the Puerta del Sol. If we consider that this point is one of the most famous squares of the city, and that it is within walking distance of other traditional sites such as Plaza Mayor, we understand why it can be a good starting point. As to the Plaza Mayor, it’s a real pleasure to walk through this ancient site dating from the seventeenth century.

Now if what you really want is to imbue with the bustle of a big city, you should go to the street Gran Via, the most famous street around Madrid and find cinemas, theaters, bars, restaurants. .. Everything a gourmet tourist or a sophisticated tourist could want. No wonder it is said that this is the street that never sleeps.

Now, if you want a more familiar, but completely central site where you could enjoy in the city but with more tranquility, you can go to the park El Retiro, the most famous park in the city and a traditional meeting place for children.

The options for enjoying Madrid cityscape do not end with these few alternatives presented. You can explore the Plaza de la Cibeles , Puerta de Alcalá , the Royal Palace , the Almudena Cathedral , or maybe something more modern, such as the Four Towers (buildings that are currently the highest skyscrapers on the European continent) .