Madrid Favorite Tips by SirRichard Top 5 Page for this destination
Madrid Favorites: 411 reviews and 438 photos
The place at night
Favorite thing: This giant lighted ad is a real icon in the very center of Madrid.
Celia & Lucas at a snow fight
Favorite thing: If you have a car, this mountain pass close to Miraflores (a little town in the north mountains) is a good place to go and see the snowy mountains in winter. Is just 1 hour away and is a good alternative to Navacerrada, always sooo crowded in winter weekends. Here U won't find ski slopes or cafeterias, just nature and woods, so is less crowded.
To go, exit Madrid towards Colmenar, go on till Soto del Real and follow to Miraflores. From there take the road to "Puerto de Canencia and Rascafria".
If you don't have car, U better go to Navacerrada, U can go by train from Atocha or Chamartin (line 8b of "Cercanias" trains).
Favorite thing: This cultural centre includes a theatre, a cafe (with live shows) and an exhibition hall. You can find schedules in the "Guia del Ocio" and in the main newspapers.
It is located in the basement floor of the Colon Square, under the statue.
I always remember the entrance of this place as one of my first memories of Madrid. Here you can find a little waterfall falling around you, creating a ver special atmosphere, like being inside a waterfall...
Atocha station & Mediodia Hotel
Favorite thing: If you wanna see south Madrid from the top, you can do that from the crystal walls elevator of the Reina Sofia Museum.
If you go on a weekday or saturday morning, you will have to buy the museum ticket to enter, but is free on saturday evenings and sundays, and is a nice view from 4th floor.
Toledo and the river Tajo
Favorite thing: If you have enough time, keep a whole day to visit Toledo. This old town, 1 hour away from Madrid is exceptionally well conserved. Walking by its streets takes you to the XVIth century. You can wander the same charming cobbled streets and visit the ancient shrines that once hosted leading scientists, philosophers, poets, and artists. Sadly, many were Jews who were forced into exile in the late 1400s. But it was Toledo's atmosphere of antiquity and mystery that attracted the painter El Greco, who made his name here -- along with some of the nation's finest metal workers, who still produce world-famous swords.
The city fell to the Romans about 193 BC and was named Toletum. From about AD 534 to 712, Toledo was the capital of the Visigothic kingdom in Spain and because a great ecclesiastical center. After its conquest (712) by the Moors, the city became an important Moorish center and in the 11th century the capital of a short-lived Moorish kingdom (1035-85). In 1085, after a memorable siege, the city was captured by the forces of Castile and annexed to the Castilian realms, of which it was made the capital (1087-1560). From July to September 1936, during the Spanish Civil War, rebel forces in the Alcazar were besieged for 70 days by Loyalist, or Republican, forces.
Fondest memory: See transports to Toledo at my "Transportation" section.
One of the main gates
Favorite thing: If you need a break from the hush & rush of Madrid, come to the Retiro. You can sit at one of its many terraces and enjoy an 'horchata' (drink made out of milk) and a spanish tortilla. You can take a boat ride on the big central lake or attend a puppet show in the open air theatre. There is also the Crystal Palace (see photo), built to house a collection of exotic plants from the Philippines, and an observatory for stargazers. On weekends, look out for street musicians, jugglers, clowns, and even gypsy fortune-tellers. On sundays is too crowded.
Fondest memory: Metro: Retiro
Gran Via from Cibeles Square
Favorite thing: One of the oldest big streets of Madrid, and probably the most touristic. It goes from Cibeles Square to Plaza de España. Here you can find a lot of hotels, souvenir shops and cinemas. It's a nice street to watch people passing buy, always busy and noisy.
You will find the worst traffic jams in Madrid on saturdays at 3-4 am (in the morning, yes!!!)
Cibeles at night
Favorite thing: A real symbol of Madrid, this fountain represents goddess Cibeles in a chariot with 2 lions. In the same square you can see (clockwise from Post Office building):
- Central Post Office. The main building, with those big towers.
- Bank of Spain.
- Ministry of Defence
- Casa de America (House of America, Cultural centre).
In this fountain is where Real Madrid supporters gather to celebrate when their team wins a championship (often, by the way!)
If you see foreign flags around the fountain, it means that a foreign president or king is visiting Madrid at that time (rock stars don't count for this, LOL)
Royal Palace from Oriente Square
Favorite thing: A wonderful building with even more wonderful gardens. You can tour the palace on your own, at your leisure, or for a few pesetas more you can take a guided tour in English, Spanish, German, or French. Also, international student discounts are offered at most museums so be sure to bring your student ID. The entrance is on the south end of the Palace. Unless there are lines you might not notice it immediately.
Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM / Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 AM to 16:00PM
Fondest memory: Some History: The palace was commissioned in the early 1700s by the first of Spain's Bourbon rulers, Felipe V. It took 26 years to build, and today it takes nearly two hours for a guided tour to even begin to scratch the surface of its treasures. They include a two-ton crystal chandelier in the Salon de Gasparini, King Carlos III's ornate private apartments; the Royal Library, which boasts a first edition of Cervantes's DON QUIXOTE; and the Music Museum, which has the world's largest collection of instruments built by the legendary luthier Stradivarius. Don't worry about running into the King and Queen: no royalty has lived in the palace since 1931.
Favorite thing: The most famous Museum in the 'Art Triangle' (Prado, Thyssen, Reina Sofia) of Madrid. Velazquez, El Greco and El Bosco are my favourites, but there are thousands more. 2 hours for a quick visit, a whole week for art lovers.
Located at Paseo del Prado, by the Ritz Hotel. Metro: Banco de España, Atocha. Bus: 9, 27
Fondest memory: www.museoprado.mcu.es
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