Madrid being the capital and biggest city of Spain with around 3.5 Million inhabitants you might feel overwhelmed at 1st by the amount of things to see and do on a short week-end trip. You sure won’t be able to visit all of the museums, galleries, palaces, parks, architectural sights, Churches, Cathedrals, etc. it has to offer. Instead of running a marathon, take your time, one of the great things about Madrid is its easygoing atmosphere. If you want to get the most out of the city do just how the Madrilenos do by taking things slowly with lots of coffee breaks and long lunches spread throughout the day.
Aerial view on the final approach to Madrid
Arriving in Madrid at the Bus terminal I was so pleasantly surprised by the 21°c that I made it this my first picture. Since temperature does play a role on how you will enjoy a trip I couldn’t be happier for what still is an early month of March. Downtown Madrid can be easily reached from the Airport with public transportations in about 10 to 15 minutes for only 1€ . Look either for the Metro line 8 that will drop you off at the Nuevos Ministerios station or take bus number 200 outside of the terminal 1 and 2 that will get you to Avenida de America station.
The Plaza de Cibeles where you can see the Palacio de Comunicaciones (Communications Palace) building in the back. More known by the locals as the General Post Office this extraordinary building was made by Architects Antonio Palacios and Joaquin Otamendi. The influences of this palaces range from Romanesque, Renaissance Gothic, Art Deco and Spanish Plateresque.
In the middle of the Square is the statue of Cybele the Phrygian goddess in a chariot pulled by lions
The Metropolis is another one of best known architectural sights of the Madrid. The building was designed in 1905 by French Architect Jules et Raymond Février for an Insurance company.
The highlight is the dome that glows in the sunlight and its winged statue on top
Parque Del Retiro’s boating lake in front of the Monument to Alfonso XII. This large park of 350 acres when it first opened in 1767 was only the playground royalty and aristocracy. Ordinary Madrilenos and visitors has to wait another hundred years before the gates were opened to them.
Monument in honor of Jacinto Benavente (1922 Literature Nobel Prize) in Parque Del Retiro
Home to one of the best arts collections is the Prado Museum. Top on the list of most tourists attractions it boats over 9000 paintings with most famous by: Velázquez, Titan, Goya, Bosch, El Greco, Rubens, Raffael, Tintoretto. Admission: 6€ Mon-Sat (Free on Sundays).
A view of the busiest streets of the city: Gran Via
The Palacio Real: Madrid’s famous Royal Palace with no less than 2800 rooms is considered one of Europe’s most spectacular architectural monument achievements. Open to the public 7 days a week with an admission charge of 8€ (9€ guided tours). Free on Wednesday for EU citizens.
The Royal Palace seen from the Sabatini Gardens
The bear and the Strawberry Tree at Puerta del Sol. The statue that symbolizes the city “El Oso y El Madroño”. Madrid’s name even comes from the name of the plant “madroño”.
King Carlos III’s statue again at Puerta del Sol
The San Jeronimo church (15th Century)
Eucharistic celebration going on inside
Some of Madrid’s café and tapas bars
Madrid’s most popular square: The Plaza Major
Capable of holding 50 000 people it was built on a grand scale. During its history it has been used(not in order)as: A market, open-air theater, bullfighting ring, a place where executions and tournaments were held though nowadays its mainly used as a place to relax in the sun…
Statue of King Philip III and its fabulously painted bright red facades of Plaza Major in the back
Catedral de la Almudena
Entering from one side
The Gothic interior
Exiting from the other side facing the Palacio Real
The Plaza de la villa with at its center the statue of Admiral Alvaro de Bazan who was made famous for defeating the turks in 1571 at Lapano.
Art can sometimes be found everywhere… don’t forget to take a look on the top of some buildings
Close up on one of them
Time for a much deserved break in this fine looking establishment…
Some good wine and as always drinks are accompanied with some free tapas
The feel from the interior on one side
Monastery of the Incarnation dating from 1611
The Puerta de Alcalá located in the middle of Independence Square was designed in 1769 by Francesco Sabatini
Welcome to the “Museo del Jamón” or Museum of ham where you can sample just about any kind of ham possible at the counter
The Real de Calatravas church 17th century church
La latina district located in the center of Madrid is know for its cafés
and good restaurants
Streets around la Latina
This café gave me some souvenirs from the Philippines and its San Miguel beer I hadn’t tasted since…
The Café central Jazz club is rated one of the finest in Europe and since it opened its doors in 1980 booked some of the top international acts. Shows 7 days a week in an exceptional setting for 10€
The best place to start your day on a Sunday morning in Madrid would the be Spain’s most popular open air flea market: El Rastro