Fly to Madrid
The Spanish city of Madrid, not only known for being the capital of Spain, but known for its breathtaking architecture, vibrant squares and its various art galleries makes it a city worth visiting.
The majority of tourists tend to stay in the area of Puerta del Sol, when visiting Madrid, being the hub of the transport system and a popular meeting place. Be sure to spot the central marker on the pavement just outside the council building (Ayuntamiento), this marker being the geographical centre of Spain with all road distances in Spain being measured from this point.
A popular tourist attraction, not too far from Puerta del Sol is the Plaza Mayor (main square), surrounded by a range of shops and stalls selling a range of great tourist collectibles such as, coins, bags, keyrings and T-shirts. As well as this, there are a range of cafes and restaurants to dine at (although they can be pricey!) You can be sure to find artists busy at work here and with a tourist office nearby, you will never get lost or be short of ideas. In its original form, Plaza Mayor was initially a small market in the 15th Century and later also served as a hotspot for carnivals, festivals and even bull fights. Plaza Mayor still hosts the city’s festivals for instance at Christmas, a traditional fair bustles and every Sunday morning there's a coin and stamp market. Curious? Have a look at the map of Madrid
Just near Plaza Mayor, is the historic Calle Mayor, a traditional street that captures the atmosphere of old Madrid. Here you can find more souvenir shops, clothing shops, bakers and much more! Some of the most dazzling architecture of Madrid can be found here too.
If you are interested in architecture and history why not take a trip to Madrid’s main cathedral. The cathedral is known for taking over 100 years to build due to political conflicts and financial difficulties. Finally being open to visitors from 1993, its architecture is a mix of a traditional (Gothic style) and contemporary style, that has caused some controversy.
Another superb attraction, The Palacio Real (The Royal Palace) will leave you in wonderment, with its immense size and lavishly decorated rooms as well as its classical Spanish art. Containing nearly 3000 rooms, the Palacio Real is only used for state functions and other than that is open for visiting. Although only 50 rooms of this vast building is open for visitors to explore, the Throne Room with its magnificent sculptures, Dining room, and the hall of mirrors can all be viewed.
If you are a lover of art, The Museo del Prado (the Prado Museum) is a huge tourist attraction that cannot be missed, being one of the world’s greatest galleries and containing more masterpieces that any other museum in the world. Such is the wealth of art here that it is only possible to display about 1,500 works of its 9,000-piece collection at any one time!
If you fancy something abit different, the Parque Juan Carlos I – Madrid’s biggest park is a modern park hosting the recinto ferial (fairground). A range of exhibitions take place here with the park holding the largest collection of macro-sculptures in Spain. As well as this, it is common to find people fishing here as well as other activities such as kite flying and bike riding.
Or if you would rather prefer a peaceful and relaxing time at the park, the Parque del Retiro is a lovely place to unwind. Not too far from the main centre attractions, the Retiro is a popular place for taking strolls, jogging and rowing boats, particularly on a Sunday.
Last but not least, you can enjoy a ride in a cable car that runs from Rosales in the west of the city to a restaurant in the Casa de Campo park. This 10 minute ride gives visitors a great view of Madrid's skyline.
With all the various attractions to visit it might be easier to purchase the Madrid Card. This card can provide visitors with free admission to over 40 major museums, the Madrid Vision bus tour, as well as discounts in selected shops, restaurants, theatres and more. These cards can be bought from main tourist offices and even online.
With summer on its way, why not take the opportunity to explore this historical city.
Petra Vaškových, Apr 12, 2011
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