Ready to explore Madrid in all its grandeur? We present our essential guide to get to know Madrid. From iconic places to hidden corners, we will take you on a unique journey to experience Madrid like a true Madrileño. We’ll divide it into sections so you can find what truly interests you.
Discover the Monuments of Madrid
Madrid is filled with monuments from different eras that are worth seeing.
However, we’ll give you three very typical options from the city center that represent the capital.
- Temple of Debod (Calle Ferraz, 1) At one end of the Parque del Oeste, you’ll find this ancient Egyptian jewel that is over 2,000 years old.
In 1968, the Egyptian government donated this monument to Spain as a thank-you for the help provided in saving the temples of Abu Simbel during the construction of the Aswan High Dam. It was relocated in 1972, stone by stone, before its inauguration. The Temple of Debod attracts many tourists at sunset, as it has a viewpoint from which you can contemplate Madrid. Just imagine how beautiful it must be to see the evening sky with those views… Stunning!
- Royal Palace (Calle Bailén)
Felipe V, the first Bourbon of the dynasty, decided to commission the design of the new palace inspired by Bernini’s sketches for the Louvre in Paris. Today, it boasts more than 3,000 rooms.
This palace is surrounded by gardens where you can take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the scenery. You can enter the palace to see firsthand the immensity of this place. You can walk through the halls and rooms where ancient kings and queens walked centuries ago.
Additionally, on the first Wednesday of the month (except in January, August, and September), the Solemn Changing of the Guard takes place. It features a parade of lancers, halberdiers, rifle companies, soldiers, and sentinels, on foot or on horseback, accompanied by fifes and drums. It lasts for 50 minutes, and admission is free.
- Gran Vía
In this bustling street in the city center, apart from being one of the main shopping thoroughfares, it’s filled with monuments commissioned by King Alfonso XIII in the early 20th century.
Simply taking a stroll along this street allows you to see up to five architectural landmarks that capture the essence of Madrid. These monuments include the Metropolis Building, the Telefonica Building, the Carrión Building, and, as you go further down Gran Vía, the Spain Building.
Immerse Yourself in Art and History with Madrid’s Museums
What many people, including us, love about Madrid is the abundance of museums. Each one is different from the other, catering to the tastes of every individual, allowing you to visit the one that interests you the most without straying far from the city center.
We’ll provide you with a shortlist of museums you can’t miss, all conveniently located near Woohoo accommodations.
- Prado Museum (Calle de Ruiz de Alarcón, 13)
In this museum, you can observe paintings from the 16th to the 19th centuries, including works by famous artists such as Velázquez, El Greco, and Goya. An added bonus is that, in addition to regular admission, you can enter for free on Mondays to Saturdays from 6 PM to 8 PM and on Sundays and holidays from 5 PM to 7 PM
- Reina Sofia Museum (Calle de Sta. Isabel, 52)
This museum is renowned for one of the largest works in its halls, Picasso’s Guernica, a massive mural measuring nearly 8 meters and painted in 1937. Clearly, you can’t miss seeing this work and its gigantic size.
The large canvas painted by Picasso has a powerful story behind it, depicting the horrors of the Spanish Civil War and serving as a premonition of what would happen in World War II.
But it also features other important works by artists such as Dalí, Joan Miró, and, as mentioned earlier, Picasso. This museum also has free admission hours: from Monday to Saturday starting at 7 PM and on Sundays starting at 1:30 PM.
- Museum of Illusions (Calle del Dr. Cortezo, 8)
This museum, unlike the others mentioned, is a bit less serious, making it ideal for kids. Well, and for the young at heart as well! It has several interactive rooms where the whole family can enjoy themselves.
Among them are the Ames Room, the Inverted Room, the Infinity Room, the Tilted Room, and more.
In addition to the various rooms, there are also activities in which all of us can participate and have a great time.
Explore Madrid’s Parks and Gardens
Even though Madrid is a bustling city, it boasts various park and garden spaces. Many of them serve as the lungs of the city center, providing a touch of greenery and vegetation to the buildings.
The most iconic park in the city center is El Retiro. It spans 118 hectares and features landmarks such as the Crystal Palace, the Fountain of the Fallen Angel, and the Monument to Alfonso XII. Additionally, you can rent a rowboat and enjoy a leisurely ride on the lake.
As mentioned in the section on monuments, there are also two gardens next to the Royal Palace where you can relax and enjoy the view of the palace.
- Campo del Moro Gardens
Spanning over 20 hectares, these gardens were declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931. Their lower position compared to the Royal Palace allows for one of the best panoramic views of Madrid, forming a vast and shaded romantic garden next to the palace, adorned with monumental fountains.
- Sabatini Gardens
This classical-style garden was created in 1930 and is in front of the north facade of the Royal Palace. Its architectural and ornamental character, as an extension of the palace, was enhanced with the installation of several sculptures that were meant to decorate the cornice of the Royal Palace.
You’ve now explored the most iconic places in Madrid, and it’s time to rest. We hope our essential guide has provided you with a comprehensive view of this incredible city.
But remember, Madrid always has something new to offer. From cultural events to lively festivals, there will always be something exciting waiting for you around every corner. Don’t forget to keep exploring, immerse yourself in local culture, and experience Madrid like a true Madrileño.
Madrid is ours, and we are the perfect travel companion on your next visit to Madrid. Live the Woohoo experience!