Full of energy and packed with cultural attractions, Madrid is a modern metropolis that offers a taste of the real Spain. Wide avenues are congested with traffic, but beautiful parks break up the urban sprawl. Madrid doesn’t have the traditional charm of Andalusia or the beauty of Barcelona, instead, it offers exciting atmosphere.
The city is constantly buzzing with activity and there are so many things to see and do that tourists will be spoiled for choice.
Buen Retiro Park:
The Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro) is an oasis of peace in the heart of Madrid. Just beyond the busy streets, this lush 120-hectare park offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Created for the Count-Duke of Olivares in the 17th century, the historic park has an elegant ambience with its lovely landscaping and tree-lined paths.
This residence of the monarchy from Carlos III to Alfonso XIII now functions as a museum where you can admire the glitz and luxury of the Spanish royal elite. The architecture was inspired by sketches made by Bernini to build the Louvre in Paris. The décor of the 3,000 rooms inside has been changed to suit the specific tastes of each monarch. Highlights include Sabatini’s main staircase, the Throne Room, the Royal Chapel, and the Royal Apothecary.
Gateway of the Sun:
The true center of Madrid, Puerta del Sol fills with spurting fountains, shops, restaurants and lots of people. If you’re looking for a place to rest your feet after a long day of touring, or a quiet place to stay, Sol is not the place. The area is always crowded, especially at night when the city comes alive with people passing through the square looking to party at some of Madrid’s hottest bars and nightclubs.
Temple of Debod:
It is believed that the Temple of Debod was presented as a token of thanks by the former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser to the archaeologists team of Spain. Considered to be one of the unusual places to visit in Madrid, the team from UNESCO had saved this iconic temple from getting destroyed under the roaring waters of Lake Nasser in Egypt, and is now located in the heart of Parque del Oeste in Madrid.
Museo Reina Sofia:
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía was designed as a modern complement to the historical Prado Museum. It was officially inaugurated by Queen Sofia in 1992. Originally built as a hospital, the museum was expanded in 2005 with a structure designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. The Museo Reina Sofia is home to a broad array of works created by Spanish artists, including extensive collections of artwork by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí. Picasso’s masterpiece, El Guernica, which conveys the horrors of the Spanish civil war, is alone worth the price of admission.