In the heart of Spain, Madrid is the capital of the country, but also one of the favorite destinations for tourists in Europe. And for good reason, this city is full of sites and monuments, each more magnificent than the next. There is always something to do in Madrid and here are the 8 great must-sees to start discovering the city.
- 1. The Prado Museum
- 2. Puerta del Sol square
- 3. The main square
- 4. The Temple of Debod
- 5. The San Miguel Market
- 6. The Royal Palace
- 7. Retiro Park
- 8. Visit historic towns nearby
1. The Prado Museum
Besides being one of the main attractions of the city, the Prado Museum is one of the largest and most important art galleries in the world . Inaugurated in 1819, it now displays more than 9,000 works of art. By going to the Prado Museum, you will discover many works and collections, and especially European paintings from the 14th century to the beginning of the 19th century.
And why stop at just one museum when the city has some of the best museums in the world? If you like art, do not hesitate to stop at the Reina Sophia museum , at the Thyssen , but also in the archaeological museums of Madrid.
2. Puerta del Sol square
Many people consider this square to be the heart of Madrid . Indeed, it is here that most of the most important streets begin . It is therefore wise to start the visit of the city there. You will discover one of the symbols of the Spanish capital, namely the statue of the bear and the strawberry tree created by Antonio Navarro Santafe.
3. The main square
In the heart of the historic district of Madrid, you cannot miss this huge square full of charm. With the statue of Philip III on horseback in its center , the Plaza Mayor is completely pedestrianized and allows you to take a break while marveling.
4. The Temple of Debod
Given as a gift in 1968 , this 2,200-year-old Egyptian temple has today become one of the symbols of the Spanish capital. This monument dedicated to Amun and Isis is located on a hill above the Casa del Campo park. During the day or at dusk, this place is magnificent and is very pleasant for a small picnic.
5. The San Miguel Market
For the greediest , the Mercado de San Miguel is ideal! Indeed, this old traditional market has been revisited as a high place of gastronomy in Madrid . In this trendy place, you can discover new smells and flavors. Before you decide to buy a product, you can taste it in small quantities for free or for a symbolic €1.
6. The Royal Palace
As you know, Spain remains a monarchy. El Palacio Real, also called Royal Palace of Madrid, is the official residence of the Kings of Spain . However, the current kings do not reside there and prefer the Zarzuela Palace also located in the capital. But this palace is well worth a look! Indeed, this building dating from the mid-1600s is just incredible. It is therefore a highlight of Madrid both for its history and for its architecture and beauty.
7. Retiro Park
Despite the fact that Madrid has many parks, we retain only one: the Retiro Park which is not far from the hypercentre. In addition to being the largest park in the city, this one is historic as it also dates back to the mid-1600s . On 125 hectares , you will discover abundant vegetation , lakes and magnificent monuments . There is no better place in Madrid to enjoy sunny days in peace and quiet.
8. Visit historic towns nearby
If you have some time on your hands, we advise you to go a little further from the center of Madrid in order to discover some historic towns in the surrounding area. For this, you will have the choice between nine UNESCO heritage sites within a two-hour drive from Madrid: Salamanca , Cuenca , Avila , Segovia , the Escorial Monastery , Aranjuez , Alcalá de Henares , Toledo and Cordoba .