April 7, 2024
Lifestyle in Madrid

What to see in the Madrid Centro district

Madrid is one of the most cosmopolitan, vibrant and cultural cities in Europe. In 2022 more than 6 million international tourists visited the city, making it the most visited city in Spain, and the district of Madrid Centro is the one that attracts the most tourism and it is not surprising, as it is an area full of life and charm, with many interesting places to discover.

In this post we take a look at what we consider to be the 5 must-see places in Madrid.


The 5 essential visits

Puerta del Sol

No one who comes to Madrid should miss the emblematic Puerta del Sol. Since 2020 it has been completely pedestrianised and is home to the famous Casa Correos clock, which chimes every 31 December to welcome the new year. Here you will also find the Km 0 plaque, which marks the beginning of the country's radial roads leaving from Madrid, as well as the mythical Bear and the strawberry tree, symbol of the city. From the square run the historic and busiest streets of the capital, such as Mayor, Arenal, Alcalá and Preciados.

Puerta del Sol *

Plaza Mayor

A short walk from the Puerta del Sol is the Plaza Mayor, a must-see place in Madrid. Philip II had it built at the end of the 16th century and today it is one of the most visited places in the city. The Casa de la Panadería (Bakery House), now converted into the Madrid Tourist Centre, and the Arco de Cuchilleros Arch, one of the ten most photographed entrances to the Plaza Mayor, stand out for their humble and peculiar access via a stone staircase. In the centre of the square is the equestrian sculpture of Felipe II, one of the most valuable works of art in the streets of Madrid.

During the Christmas season, the Plaza Mayor is the site of the city's largest Christmas market, with an infinite number of handicrafts, typical sweets, as well as figures and accessories for setting up the traditional Nativity Scene.

Plaza Mayor de Madrid **

Royal Palace

The Royal Palace, also known as Palacio de Oriente, is another of Madrid's must-see sights. Former residence of the monarchs, today they do not live here, although it is the official residence of the Spanish Royal family and it is here that receptions, ceremonies and official acts of state are held.

Part of the palace is now open to the public and can be visited. Highlights include the Plaza de la Armería, the painting gallery and the Royal Kitchen.

From the Royal Palace you can also access the Mirador dela Cornisa, with spectacular views of the Jardines del Moro and the Casa de Campo.

Next to the Royal Palace stands the spectacular and imposing Almudena Cathedral.

Madrid's Royal Palace **

The Art Triangle

Located on the Paseo del Arte and made up of the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía National Museum, the Art Triangle is the most important group of museums in the country. In a distance of just over a kilometre, art lovers will find one of the largest concentrations of art in the world.

The Prado Museum houses one of the best and most extensive collections of paintings from the 16th to the 19th centuries, with masterpieces by great artists such as Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens, Bosch and Goya.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza has an extensive art gallery that offers the possibility of a journey through the history of art, from the 13th century to the end of the 20th century. Highlights include the sections on Impressionism, German Expressionism, Russian Constructivism and other avant-garde movements.

The Reina Sofía National Museum offers the possibility of enjoying great 20th century works as well as contemporary art pieces by Spanish artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró, the most famous painting in the museum being Picasso's Guernica.

Prado Museum ***


Cibeles Fountain

The Fountain of the goddess Cibeles is one of the most emblematic and representative monuments of Madrid. It was conceived to supply water to the people of Madrid and a century later, in 1895, it became a decorative element and symbol of the city. Surrounded by imposing buildings such as the Palacio de Cibeles (former Palacio de las Comunicaciones), the Palacio de Buenavista, the headquarters of the Bank of Spain and the Casa América (former Palacio de Linares), it is one of the most beautiful and most visited squares in Madrid.

Plaza de Cibeles Madrid ****

Do you want to know more about Madrid Centro? Don't miss the following posts:

Madrid Centro (I): From historic centre to trendy district
Madrid Centro (III): Shopping
Madrid Centro (IV): Markets and Gastronomy

* Credit to: Turismo Madrid

** Credit to: Kristijan Arsov

*** Credit to: Libertad Digital

**** Credit to: Madrid Film Office

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