CITY GUIDE: MADRID, SPAIN
The capital of Spain Madrid, is a wonderful city home to the Spanish royal family and magnificent art galleries. Like most capital cities in Europe, the architecture never fails to impress. Make sure you visit the bakeries for a snack run and order a flaming hot paella with a tapas for a starter. Madrid may require you to take a subway here or there if you get tired of roaming by foot. I wouldn’t call Madrid a walking city unless you really enjoy long-distances.
The Royal Palace: (entrance is free with the Madrid card) This palace happens to be the largest in Western Europe and still remains open to the public. You can take an official iif you choose or marvel at the art frescos, tapestries, ceramics, and paintings. The palace gardens called the Campo del Moro are also gorgeous as to be expected from its royal status.
Plaza Mayor: Is located in the very center of Madrid. It’s a central gathering space for Spaniards and tourists that like to order tapas and wine while people-watching.
Puerta de Alcalá: This “gate” of Madrid stands in the middle of the Calle de Alcalá – one of the oldest streets in Madrid. The construction of this granite gate took nine years total and has three massive archways.
Buen Retiro Park: Located adjacent to the Puerta de Alcalá and central within Madrid. The Retiro Parks has got to be one of the most marvelous in Southern Europe due to its preserved buildings, bright floral designs, and overall cleanliness. Here you’ll find a large lake in which you can rent a rowing boats, visit the Rose Garden, or the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal palace).
El Rastro Market: The biggest open-air flea market situated in the historic center of Madrid. Wander through over 1,000 market stalls on a clear Sunday.
Gran Via (Great Road): The most active street in Madrid known for its upscale retail stores and lively nightlife. This street is also aligned with multiple hotels and cinemas and therefore is a main area for entertainment also. The most notable building on the Gran Via is the Metropolis (aka: Edificio Metropolis) that is decorated is a fanciful French style with sculptural elements.
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