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Thursday, April 11, 2013 (read 537 times)

What to do in Madrid

by Lauren

Madrid is the capital city of Spain as well as the largest city in the country. According to Forbes magazine, Madrid is one of the most visited cities in Europe. The city has applied to host the 2020 Olympic Games and the winner is due to be announced later this year (2013).

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Madrid is the official home of the Spanish Royal Family. However, for the majority of the year, they reside at their slightly more modest abode on the outskirts of the city. Certain rooms of the Royal Palace are open to the general public throughout the year. However, during royal visits, the Palace is not open to guests.

Museums in Madrid

The Prado Museum located in the centre of Madrid is the most famous art gallery in Spain and possibly even the world. The Prado is a museum of sculptures and paintings produced between the 12th and the 19th centuries. The Prado receives a staggering 3 million visitors per year making it one of the most visited sites in the world. Some of the most famous works include paintings by Francisco de Goya and Diego Velazquez. The Reina Sofia is another art gallery in Spain that displays 20th century artwork exclusively. Along with the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia is part of The Golden Triangle (three important museums in the centre of Madrid including the Thyssen Bornemisza).

Undoubtedly, the most famous masterpiece displayed in the Reina Sofia Museum is Picasso’s “Guernica”. Interestingly, the museum building used to be a hospital until it was renovated in 1980. Then, later that decade, the building underwent a major façade change when an architect decided to add three glass towers costing in excess of 30 million EUR each! The Puerta Del Sol is the busiest and most well-known landmark in Madrid. It is a central point in the city where all the roads come together. On New Years Eve, thousands of people gather around the Puerta Del Sol to eat the traditional twelve grapes in time with the chiming of the clock and to bring in the New Year with their friends and family.

Plaza Mayor and Retiro Park

The Plaza Mayor is a square in the centre of Madrid surrounded by residential buildings and their balconies which look down onto the hive of activity below. There are nine entrance ways to the Plaza Mayor, some of which lead to the main shopping streets in the city. The Temple of Debod is a fascinating piece of architecture that was bestowed upon Madrid City from Egypt in the sixties. The temple was a thank you present to Madrid for their help in Egypt’s hour of need. The Buen Retiro is the biggest park in Spain. It used to belong to the Spanish Royal Family until it was opened to the public in the 19th century. Located close to the Prado Museum, people of all ages can be seen strolling around the peaceful lake at all hours of the day.

The park is filled with various statues and in the summertime there are various dancers and performers to keep the onlookers entertained. As a visitor to Madrid, you should not miss out on a visit to the Buen Retiro Park especially since entrance is free!

In conclusion, if you are planning a trip to Madrid, the recommended sites to see before you leave are as follows: the Royal Palace, the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia, Puerta Del Sol, Plaza Mayor, the Temple Of Debod and the Buen Retiro. If you are looking to do a lot of site seeing whilst in the capital city, you may like to invest in a Madrid Card. There are four different cards to choose from (24h, 48h, 72h and 120h). Each entitles the card holder to access all the museums, monuments and the Bernabeu football stadium. Prices start at 40 EUR and increase by 10 EUR for each added day.

Keywords: madrid,capital spain,spanish cities,what to do in madrid,trip to madrid,visit madrid,museums in madrid

Posted In: Travel, Spain


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