The biggest city in Spain and 3th biggest in the European Union, Madrid sometimes takes a backseat to Barcelona, but it’s beautiful all by itself.
Madrid was founded around the year 860 A.C and it’s located in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula, and is surrounded by mountains and natural parks. Although it is located in the centre of the country, it has traditionally been the hub between different areas of Spain and is therefore connected to all major Spanish cities by train, road or air. The city is many times overlooked so many people don’t know most of Madrid landmarks.
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Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace was designed in a French style to reflect the tastes of the Bourbon King Philip V and was completed in 1755, illustrates this wealth and power. Its interiors feature paintings by artists including Caravaggio and Velazquez, as well as notable collections of silver, porcelain and furniture. Even though the Palacio Real is still the official royal residence, the members of the royal family have been living and receiving guests in the petite Palace of Zarzuela since 1962. But rather all ceremonial events and official meetings with the current King, Felipe VI, have taken place in this rather modest royal mansion.
Puerta del Sol
The Puerta del Sol is one of the best known and busiest places in Madrid. This is the centre of the radial network of Spanish roads (Km 0). It also contains the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of a New Year.
The Puerta del Sol originated as one of the gates in the city wall that surrounded Madrid in the 15th century. The name of the gate came from the rising sun which decorated the entry, since the gate was oriented to the east.
This former brewery, now a gallery, was refurbished by Aranguren & Gallegos in 2011. The six-storey building features an exterior wall of asymmetric glass and steel tiles, which also cover the courtyard, where they serve as skylights to the basement exhibition space. Its interior is clean and minimalist. Museo ABC showcases illustrations and cartoons encompassing more than 100 years of Spanish history from Spain’s oldest existing newspaper, ABC.
The Gran Via is a one stop shop for many of the things one wants to do while visiting a city, such as eat great food in excellent restaurants, shop or even get a drink at the end of the day.
To do a little bit of shopping we recommend going to El Corte Inglés, a quintessential Spanish store, but you can also find the usual high fashion and high-street fashion stores.
There is no shortage of events at Madrid’s Gran Vía, which is known as the city’s very own Broadway. Watch the Lion King, the Cirque du Soleil, Les Miserables, flamenco, a stand-up comedy performance, ballet or great Spanish plays at one of the many venues on and around the Gran Ví.
Completed in 2005 at the height of the Spanish real estate boom, Mirador by Dutch architects MVRDV stands out as a lasting architectural statement within the sea of otherwise uniform housing blocks that fill the new neighbourhoods on the outskirts of Madrid. Home to 156 apartments, it features a large lookout space, 40 metres above the ground, which has a communal garden and frames the distant Guadarrama Mountains.
Madrid is definitely a city worth exploring, so next time you consider your next weekend getaway, keep Madrid in mind.
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