The oldest part of Madrid combines the majestic Royal Palace with the popular atmosphere of Plaza Mayor and surroundings
Plaza Mayor, La Encarnación Monastery and Plaza de la Villa, with buildings erected in the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries – Casa de la Villa (formerly, Madrid City Hall), Los Lujanes Tower, Cisneros House –, are the main architectural complexes built under the Hapsburgs. Another must-see landmark is the Descalzas Reales Monastery, a nunnery that was the royal seat of Charles I of Spain. In it, you can view the permanent collection, containing works of art from the sixteenth century on. Finally, the Santa Cruz Palace, built in 1629, is home to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This part of Madrid, peppered with churches and crowned by the Alcázar (a huge building destroyed by fire in 1737), was chosen by the Bourbons to raise the Royal Palace. Nearby are Plaza de Oriente, La Almudena Cathedral, which has a museum that gives access to the dome, affording beautiful views of the sierras, and other buildings from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. Some of these sights are the Collegiate Church of San Isidro (Madrid’s cathedral until 1993), the Basilica of San Miguel, the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande and the Teatro Real opera house.
Following your sightseeing tour of the area, head for the Sabatini Gardens, across the north façade of the Royal Palace.
Home to the Kings of Spain from Charles III to Alfonso XIII, Madrid’s Royal Palace takes us on a journey through the history of Spain. Though it is no longer the royal family’s home, it continues to be their official residence.
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
Real Madrid is one of our city’s three professional football teams, together with Atlético de Madrid and Rayo Vallecano. Holder of multiple European and international titles, the club opens its doors 363 days a year for football and sports fans to explore its historic stadium, an absolute must on your trip to Madrid.
This portico lined square is situated at the heart of Hapsburg Madrid, the old part of the city and one of the capital’s most charming districts.
El Retiro Park
This green oasis in the centre of Madrid has125 hectares and is home to over 15,000 trees. From the botanical point of view, the Park includes some very important gardens: the Jardín de Vivaces, the Jardines de Cecilio Rodríguez (classical gardens of an Andalusian style), the Jardines del Arquitecto Herrero Palacios, the Rose Garden, and the Parterre Francés with the oldest tree in Madrid, a bald cypress that is believed to be 400 years old.
Puerta del Sol
Central and bustling, Puerta del Sol is one of Madrid’s best known squares. Several busy historical streets, such as Calle Mayor, Calle Arenal, Calle Alcalá and Calle Preciados, converge here and it contains several of the city’s best known landmarks.
The Cibeles Fountain, created in 1782 and situated in its current location since 1895, has ended up lending its name to one of the most emblematic squares of Madrid. It has also become a symbol of the capital. The Fountain depicts the Roman goddess of the same name (Cybele in English), symbol of the Earth, agriculture, and fertility, atop a chariot drawn by lions.
Puerta de Alcalá
The gate was built by Sabatini in 1778 as part of the city decoration restorations promoted by Charles III. It is made of granite and is an excellent example of proportion, harmony, and elegance. The King commissioned the work to Sabatini in order to commemorate his arrival at the capital in 1778. The gate was located at the entrance of the city, next to the Alcalá de Henares road, from which it received its name.
Las Ventas Bullring
Based on a project by José Espelius, who died during its construction, it was completed by Manuel Muñoz Monasterio in 1931 and opened in the same year. Las Ventas holds 23,798 fans and, at 196 feet in diameter, the arena is one of the largest in the world.
The former communications palace is a colossal building and one of the city’s landmarks. Designed and built by Antonio Palacios and Joaquín Otamendi as the headquarters of the Spanish Post Office and Telegraph Company, it was inaugurated in 1909 and since 2007 it has housed the offices of the Madrid City Council.
Gourmet Food Markets
Madrid is brimming with revamped markets where locals do their weekly shopping and meet friends for a drink and a bite to eat.
Antigua Farmacia de la Reina Madre
It is well-known with this name because queen Maria Cristina used to appoint here her medications in the XIX century. Has been restored in 1913 by modernist architect Carrasco-Muñoz Encina, being one of the most remarkable example of the modernist style in Madrid. It features his little library and the formulas of some “miraculous remedies” as the red-brown cream for baldness and the mummy bits as a remedy against tubercolosis.
Art and Culture
This area, known in English as Art Walk, boasts art and beauty as you’ll see nowhere else in the world. Along a stretch of just over one kilometre, you’ll find the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía Museum, as well as a number of other institutions and buildings well worth visiting.
A cult venue for lovers of good Flamenco, Casa Patas, which you can find in the Sol area, combines a performance area and a restaurant and is listed by all the best tourist guides as the most authentic Flamenco tablao in Madrid.
This hundred-year-old flamenco bar is one of the most traditional spots for enjoying Madrid nightlife. Founded in 1911 by two bullfighters, it is located on Plaza de Santa Ana, next to the old Victoria Hotel which was famous for providing accommodation to numerous bullfighters.
How to get to Madrid
Madrid is a very well connected city nationally and internationally by train, air and road.
Madrid’s main two railway stations are Chamartin and Atocha. Atocha Railway Station is the largest and primary train station in Madrid.
Metro: Atocha Renfe, línea 1
Bus: 47, 55, 19, 85, 10, 24, 57, 102 y C.
The main international airport in Madrid called Adolfo Suárez Madrid Barajas Airport, which is extremely well connected and close to the city center.
Airport Madrid-Barajas Madrid Barajas International Airport, also known as Adolfo Suárez Airport, is Madrid’s main and only international airport. It is located in the district of Barajas, 8 miles (12 km) northeast of the city center. Madrid-Barajas has four terminals and a satellite
Getting to Madrid from Barajas The fastest and easiest ways of getting to Madrid from Barajas Airport are the following
Cercanías Line C-1 of Renfe Cercanías runs from terminal T4 of Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport to the city centre.
The Aeropuerto T4 station has wider turnstiles than usual to allow for luggage, and ticket machines selling all Renfe products.
There are free buses that connect all the airport’s terminals.
One-way ticket: €2.60 / Return ticket: €5.20
Airport transfer service The easiest and most relaxing way to get to the city center is to book an airport transfer service. The chauffeur will be waiting for you at the arrival terminal with a sign with your name on it and will take you straight to your hotel. The service costs just 28€ (cheaper than a taxi) and is the best option if you want to avoid any misunderstandings and language barriers.
Taxi The price of a taxi from Barajas International Airport to the city center (inside the M-30) has a fixed tariff of 30€. This rate is applicable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 364/5 days a year.
Public Transport in Madrid
Madrid’s public transport system is extremely efficient.
Madrid Metro is the fastest and most efficient means of transport to get around the city
Nowadays, the metro system has 13 lines and 301 stations, as well as 3 light rail (Metro Ligero) lines, these are low trams that connect the peripheral parts of the city.
Tariffs The city is divided into various areas (called zonas) with different tariffs, but if you move around the city center, you won’t need to worry as the tariff is the same (Zona A).
The Metrobús is Madrid’s public transport ticket and is valid for both the metro and urban buses. Children under the age of four may travel on any means of transport for free.
Type of ticket
Single ticket: Between 1,50 and 2€ depending on the number of stations
Airport supplement: 3€
10 trips: 12,20€
Where to buy the tickets The one-way tickets and 10 trips may be purchased in any metro station from specific red-colored vending machines.
Running times The metro runs every day from 6am until 2am (The last train leaves the first metro station at 1:30am).
Subway Station near of FEMP
Línea 1, Station Tirso de Molina (Walk for a nine minutes)
Línea 5, Station La Latina (Walk for a five minutes)
Running times The running times vary depending on each specific route, although normally buses operate from 6 am until 11:30 pm. Some run less hours, so check each bus timetable to see when the last bus runs.
Night buses Madrid has 26-night bus lines that operate from 11:55pm until 5:50 am every night. These are called “Búhos” (meaning owls in English) and cover most of the Madrid.
One-way ticket: 1,50€
Metrobús (10 trips for both metro and buses): 12,20€.
Note that the only ticket you can purchase once you are onboard a bus is a single ticket. The 10 trip metrobus must be bought in any metro station.
Station bus near of FEMP
Puerta Cerrada: 31, 50, 65 (Walk for a two minutes)
Plaza de la Paja: 31, 50, 65 (Walk for a three minutes)
Running times Most cercanía lines operate Monday to Friday between 5 am – 5:30 am and midnight, although the times can vary depending on each line.
The frequency also depends on the areas of Madrid. For example, the closer to the city center the more frequent the trains are (every 5 minutes approximately), while trains pass the peripheral areas every 15 minutes or so.
1 and 2
A one-way journey is valid for the next two hours after validating it. The Bonotren (Train pass) is a 10-journey card that is valid for one month and can be used by more than one person.
The children under six years old can travel for free in Cercanías, although this doesn’t insure them a seat. Only two children can travel for free with one adult.
Madrid Taxi Service
Taxis in Madrid are a great option especially when traveling at night, if you are in a hurry or if you are carrying too many bags or suitcases.
Monday to Saturday from 6 am – 9 pm: 2,40€
Sundays and any other day from 9 pm to 6 am (on the following day): 2,90€
Price per kilometre
Monday to Friday between 7 am and 9 pm (not on public holidays): 1,05€
Bank holidays, Saturday, Sunday and every day from 9 pm – 7 am: 1,20€
Taxi from any coach or train station: 3€ supplement.
Taxi to and from Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I: 3€ supplement.
Taxi on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve between 9 pm and 7am (on the following day): 6,70€ supplement.
Radio Taxi Independiente: +34 914 05 12 13
Radiotelefono Taxi: +34 915 47 82 00
Servitaximadrid: +34 91 230 26 69
Taxi Mercedes Madrid: +34 91 593 20 20
Tele Taxi: +34 913 71 21 31
Places to eat in Madrid
Calle Cava Baja, 35
+34 913 65 32 52 www.casalucio.esEl Madroño
Plaza Puerta Cerrada 7
+34 913 64 56 29
Calle Nuncio, 19
+34 913 66 25 91