The vibrant heart of Spain
Madrid is not only the political and financial centre of Spain, but also the best place to start any tour in discovery of the country. Puerta del Sol,  Pan oval square and home to the symbol of city (a statue of a bear eating fruits from a “madroño” - the strawberry tree), is known as the “zero kilometre” and is the starting point from where all distances in Spain are measured.
Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Photo: Copyright ©, Depositphotos
As well as embodying the traditions of an entire nation, Madrid is permeated by a great artistic and cultural fervour and is capital of an eternal “movida” with night entertainment in the streets, squares, restaurants and bars. Visitors are attracted by the fun atmosphere and captivated by the art in the prestigious Paseo del Prado museum. This museum has more than 100 rooms, housing some of the most important paintings of the great Spanish masters (Goya, Velazquez, El Greco) and genuine masterpieces by European artists ranging from Raphael to Fra’ Angelico, Titian and Flemish artists. In the National Museum, the “Centro de Arte Reina Sofia”, you can admire the famous painting “Guernica” by Picasso and many works by Salvador Dalì and Joan Mirò.
Museo del Prado in Madrid. Photo: Copyright ©, Depositphotos
The splendid Plaza Mayor, which contends Puerta del Sol for the title of most beautiful square in Madrid, welcomes Madrilenos and tourists to the tables of the many cafes found under its porticoes. Only a few hundred metres away, in the heart of Hapsburg Madrid (the oldest part), you can enjoy the medieval charm of the Plaza de la Villa.
Plaza Mayor in Madrid. Photo: Copyright ©, Depositphotos
Plaza de España, dominated by the Torre de Madrid (Madrid Tower) and the Edificio España, both more than 100 metres high, is the lively starting point of the Gran Via, the busiest road in Madrid.
Madrid has Spain’s most famous “Plaza de Toros”, where, from the end of March to the middle of October, some of the most spectacular bullfights in the country take place.
Gran Via of Madrid. Photo: Copyright ©, Shutterstock
The Parque del Buen Retiro, one of the green lungs of the capital with an artificial lake, is also one of the favourite haunts of the inhabitants of Madrid and a not-to-be-missed stop in the itinerary of visitors. Another place that must be visited is the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with the trophies and memorabilia of Real Madrid. And the Salamanca quarter is the “golden mile” of fashion.
The gastronomic specialties of Madrid
The Spanish specialties are varied but from a gastronomic point of view Madrid is the capital of tapas. In the city centre you'll find legendary and traditional places such as El Corral de la Morería, Café de Chinitas, Casa Patas, Torres Bermejas and El Corral de la Pacheca where you can have a drink or try some tapas.
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Bocadillo de calamares
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Tortilla de patatas
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Churros al cioccolato
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Madrid's cuisine is rich and flavorful, offering a variety of dishes that reflect the city's history and culture. Absolute must-tries include the bocadillo de calamares (fried calamari sandwich), tortilla de patatas (a Spanish omelette made with potatoes, onions, and eggs), and churros (deep-fried dough pastries shaped like sticks, typically dipped in thick hot chocolate).
Madrid's Gastrofestival
Madrid's Gastrofestival is an unmissable event for food enthusiasts. Taking place over two weeks in spring, it involves the entire city with a diverse program of events, tastings, and show cooking. Key locations for the festival include:
  • Madrid's gastronomic markets, such as Mercado de San Miguel, Mercado de San Antón, and Mercado de San Pedro;
  • Michelin-starred restaurants in Madrid, such as DiverXO, La Tasquita de Enfrente, and Dstage;
  • Madrid's trendiest neighborhoods, including Malasaña, Chueca, and Chamberí.
Text by Federica Fusco  / Alisè Vitri
Avion Tourism Magazine
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Where to sleep in Madrid
MadridPhoto: Copyright ©, Depositphotos
Madrid is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
WHERE TO GO in madrid
Monuments in Madrid
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Bailén s/n

The Royal Palace was in the past the residence of the Spanish monarchs but nowadays is an interesting tourist place, where sometimes take place State events and international and diplomacy meetings. The origins of the Palace come from the IX century when the Muslim kingdom, located in Toledo, decided to build a new citadel to combat the Christians soldiers. Years later this citadel would be the Castilian monarch residence. King Carlos III was the first one who lived inside this Palace in year 1764. In your visit at the Palace you will see interesting fresh paintings. 

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Plaza Mayor s/n

Plaza Mayor is a symbol of Madrid and must not be missed. Building work began on this huge open area in the city centre in the 17th Century under the orders of Felipe III, whose bronze equestrian statue adorns the square. It was opened in 1620 and is rectangular in shape, with arcades running around the edges. This site used to be the venue for many public events, such as bullfights, processions, festivals, theatre performances, Inquisition trials and even capital executions. Underneath the arcades there are traditional shops.

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This is one of the most well-known monuments in Madrid. Built between 1769 and 1778 under the orders of King Carlos III, it was designed by Francisco Sabatini and erected as a triumphal arch to celebrate the arrival of the monarch at the capital. The granite gate is 19.5 metres tall and is elegant and well-proportioned. The façade features a number of decorative elements with groups of sculptures, capitals, reliefs and masks.

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La piazza della Puerta del Sol, a pianta semicircolare, accoglie il famoso orologio della Casa de Correos, la statua del Oso e il Madroño (l'Orso e il Corbezzolo, due degli elementi presenti sullo scudo di Madrid), la statua della Mariblanca, replica dell'originale del XVII secolo e, al centro della piazza, la statua equestre di re Carlos III.


Museums in Madrid
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Calle Ruiz de Alarcon 23 - Paseo del Prado, s/n 

Designed in 1785, as a Natural Science Cabinet by the Spanish architect Juan de Villanuevaduring the Carlos III kingdom, the Prado didn’t open its doors like a Museum until 1819 under the kingdom of Fernando VII.

Today, the museum has the most complete collection of Spanish painting from the eleventh to the eighteenth century, and many of the masterpieces of the great painters of universal value as El Greco, Velázquez, Goya, Bosch, Tiziano, Van Dyck and Rembrandt

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Santa Isabel, 52

The Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Centre, opened to the public in 1990, it houses an important collection of Spanish and international artfrom the late nineteenth century to the present. Two years after its inauguration, has acquired Pablo Picasso's Guernica, a work essential. Located in the building of a former hospital in the late eighteenth century by the architect Francesco Sabatini, an increasing number of works in the collection has determined the expansion with the opening in 2005 of a new structure designed by Jean Nouvel.

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Paseo del Prado, 8

Located in the Villahermosa Palace, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum was opened as an art gallery in 1992. Since this year, the museum and the Thyssen Bornemisza Foundation haven’t stopped growing: in 2004 the Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza’s Collection has been added to the permanent collection and the palace has been enlarged to house new works. In the building you can do a real walk through the occident painting from the XIII Century to the XX Century: Renaissance, Mannerism, Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism or Pop Art.


Excursions in Madrid
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Plaza de la Independencia s/n

Located in the heart of Madrid, the origins of the Park date from the reign of Philip IV, when the Buen Retiro Palace was built by the Count-Duke of Olivares. The Astronomical Observatory and the Buen Retiro Royal Porcelain Factory were added during the reign of Charles III. During the reign of Ferdinand VII, the pier on the pond and the Casa de Fieras zoo was built. Among the most prominent spots, the park includes the great pond with the monument to Alfonso XII, the Casa de Velázquez and the Crystal Palace, the Rosaleda rose garden and the Parterre.

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Toledo is located just 70 km from Madrid, and is a beautiful city-museum declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Toledo is one of the oldest cities in Europe with various artistic beauties and palaces. Toledo is also known for being the city of residence of the famous painter El Greco in the 16th century. To visit: the cathedral, the Church of San Tomé with "El Entierro del Señor de Orgaz" a masterpiece by El Greco, the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca and the Monastery of San Juan de los Reyes.

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Tours in Madrid
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