Madrid Sights

You won't find the soul of Madrid on the tourist-packed arteries of the Gran Vía and the Paseo de la Castellana; look instead on the quiet, residential streets and squares that give the city its signature charm. Duck into the warren of villagelike byways in the downtown area between the Palacio Real and the Parque del Buen Retiro, or get lost in the more alternative neighborhoods between Plaza

de Lavapiés and the Glorieta de Bilbao. Broad avenidas, twisting medieval alleys, grand museums, stately gardens, and boisterous taverns are all jumbled together, creating an urban texture so rich that walking is the best way to soak it in.

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Fodor's Choice

Area

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Palacio 11

Retiro 10

Moncloa 6

Barrio de las Letras 6

Malasaña 4

La Latina 3

Salamanca 3

Sol 3

El Escorial 2

Lavapies 2

Rastro 1

Chamberi 1

Chueca 1

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Archaeological Site/ Ruins 1

Arts/ Performance Venue 2

Building/ Architectural Site 4

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

Local Interest–Sight 2

Market/ Bazaar 1

Museum/ Gallery 16

Neighborhood/ Street 1

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 2

Park/ Playground 1

Plaza/ Square/ Piazza 9

Promenade/ Boardwalk 1

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 10

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

Viewpoint/ Scenic Overlook 2

Zoo/ Aquarium 1

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Best For

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Family 4

Green 1

Historical 7

Views 4

Madrid Sights

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Plaza Mayor

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

Austere, grand, and often surprisingly quiet compared with the rest of Madrid, this public square—finished in 1619 under Felipe III,...

Puerta del Sol

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

Crowded with people, hawkers, and street performers, the Puerta del Sol is the nerve center of Madrid. The city's main metro interchange,...

Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

  • Museum/Gallery

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

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