Thinking about your next trip to Madrid? Spain’s capital city center offers countless cultural opportunities, street routes and the best tapas. Rent a hybrid car and check these tips to enjoy Central Madrid at your leisure.
Best places to see in Central Madrid
Whether this is your first visit to Madrid or you’re coming back to the city, here are some plans that will definitely grab your attention. Get ready to enjoy the city’s most emblematic streets and monuments. We start our route!
We could not start anywhere else than at the famous Puerta del Sol, one of Madrid’s most famous squares and an emblem of the capital, where the New Year bells are struck every year. In this square you can find many picture-worthy spots like the statue of the bear and the strawberry tree, symbols of the city, or km 0, starting point of all the country’s roads.
From there, you can go to Calle Mayor, an ancient road where the Catholic Monarchs strolled in the 16th century and the city’s artisans guilds were located, nowadays you will find emblematic places to drink a coffee or a beer while guessing how the city was centuries ago. From there, at the other end of the street, you will find the imposing Cathedral of Almudena. In the vicinity you will find the remains of what is the oldest part of the city, the Arab wall, built in the 9th century.
Stroll along Calle Arenal, the city’s oldest street. There you will find must-see spots such as the San Ginés chocolatier or the legendary Joy Eslava concert hall. At the end of this street you will find the Royal Palace of Madrid, the official residence of the Spanish royal family, although today it is used for diplomatic purposes only. Go into the palace and walk through the Sabatini Gardens, a nice walk outdoors to see the statues of the Spanish kings, this is always a good plan.
Right on the sides of the palace we find the mythical Plaza de Oriente and Plaza de la Ópera (or Isabel II square), which every day become a stage for all kinds of human sculptures and street musicians that give a special charm to the area. It is the perfect place to stop along the way and visit restaurants and tapas bars, which are ubiquitous.
Our route through Madrid must include a visit to the Gran Vía, the mecca of the theater, where you can see Spain’s best shows every day. From there you can go and contemplate interesting exhibitions at the Telefónica Museum, then continue to Plaza de España, where you can see the Debod Temple, an impressive Egyptian temple with the most stunning sunsets in the city.
We go now to one of the city’s liveliest neighborhoods. La Latina awaits us, with its streets full of tapas bars and its theater next to Plaza de la Cebada. If you go through the neighborhood, you will see the Collegiate Church of San Isidro, the patron saint of the city. No far from there, the Las Vistillas garden, with a good view over the city’s monumental area.
In Lavapiés you will see an enclave of unique multiculturalism with curious corners. One of them is the”plaza de las corralas”, a typical Madrid construction from the 17th and 18th centuries. In addition, it has charming places and restaurants with food from different parts of the world.
Want to mix nightlife and history? nothing better than walking alongCalle Huertas, in the heart of Barrio de las Letras. If you want to experience the Madrid nightlife, go to the neighborhoods of Chueca and Malasaña, the epicenter of the “movida ochentera” in Madrid. There you will also find interesting tapas routes, we recommend you to visit the El Tigre taverns.
Cultural sightseeing in Central Madrid
Find at Paseo del Prado the three most important city museums: Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen. A walk through painting and sculpture works of all times in a charming neighborhood. Take some time to visit the Botanical Garden and finish your route near Parque del Retiro... go for a boat ride and turn your trip into an unforgettable experience.
For the fortunate ones who visit Madrid with time in their hands, we recommend going on a trip through the Hayedo de Montejo or the Castañar de los Morales, just 1 hour from Madrid capital.