Madrid Sights

The real Madrid is not to be found along major arteries like the Gran Vía and the Paseo de la Castellana. To find the quiet, intimate streets and squares that give the city its true character, duck into the warren of villagelike byways in the downtown area that extends 2 km (1 mile) from the Palacio Real to the Parque del Buen Retiro and from Plaza de Lavapiés to the Glorieta de Bilbao. Broad

avenidas, twisting medieval alleys, grand museums, stately gardens, and tiny, tilework taverns are all jumbled together, creating an urban texture so rich that walking is really the only way to soak it in.

Petty street crime is a serious problem in Madrid, and tourists are frequent targets. Be on your guard, and try to blend in by keeping cameras concealed, avoiding obvious map reading, and securing bags and purses, especially on buses and the metro and outside restaurants.

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Retiro 11

Palacio 11

Barrio de las Letras 6

Moncloa 5

Malasaña 4

La Latina 3

El Escorial 3

Salamanca 3

Sol 3

Lavapies 2

Rastro 1

Chamberi 1

Chueca 1

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Archaeological Site/ Ruins 1

Building/ Architectural Site 3

Castle/ Palace/ Chateau 1

Financial Institution 1

Fountain 1

Garden/ Arboretum 2

Government Building 2

House/ Mansion/ Villa 3

Industrial Site/ Mill/ Factory 1

Information Center 1

Market/ Bazaar 1

Museum/ Gallery 16

Neighborhood/ Street 1

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 2

Park/ Playground 1

Plaza/ Square/ Piazza 9

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 10

Scenic Drive/ Tour 1

Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train) 2

Zoo/ Aquarium 1

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Madrid Sights

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Puerta del Sol

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

Crowded with people but pedestrian-friendly, the Puerta del Sol is the nerve center of Madrid. The city's main subway interchange is...

Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

  • Museum/Gallery

Designed by José Churriguera in the waning baroque years of the early 18th century, this museum showcases 500 years of Spanish painting,...

Real Fábrica de Tapices

  • Industrial Site/Mill/Factory

Tired of the previous monarchs' dependency on the Belgian and Flemish thread mills and craftsmen, King Felipe V decided to establish...

Real Jardín Botánico

  • Garden/Arboretum

Just south of the Prado, the gardens provide a pleasant place to stroll or sit under the trees. True to the wishes of King Carlos III,...

Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Felipe II was one of history's most deeply religious and forbidding monarchs—not to mention one of its most powerful—and the great...

San Jerónimo el Real

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Ferdinand and Isabella used this church and cloister behind the Prado Museum as a retiro, or place of meditation—hence the name of...

San Nicolás de los Servitas

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

This church tower is one of the oldest buildings in Madrid. There's some debate over whether it once formed part of an Arab mosque. It...


  • Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train)

Kids love this cable car, which takes you from the Rosaleda gardens in the Parque del Oeste to the center of Casa de Campo in about 10...

Templo de Debod

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

This 4th-century-BC Egyptian temple was donated to Spain in thanks for its technical assistance with the construction of the Aswan Dam.


  • Zoo/Aquarium

One of the most comprehensive zoological parks in Europe, Madrid's zoo houses a large variety of animals (including rarities such as...


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