HomeAway travel expert
After living in Madrid for four years, I can safely say that it's one of my favorite places in the world: there's always something new to discover in this dynamic city. I work in the travel industry, and always tell people that it's almost every day I discover a new spot or a new hidden corner in Madrid, making me fall in love with the city all over again. When you open your heart to Madrid, it answers: this is a city well worth opening up to.
With each of the routes detailed below, you'll see the most important parts of the city; parts that will make you want to come back and find new places, as well as rediscover the same ones. It would be impossible for me to make a guide with all of my favourite spots in Madrid, but I can be sure that you'll truly enjoy the city when you spend time in one of these five areas: each offers you a different taste of Madrid, and a thirst to come back for more. But remember: don’t try to see Madrid all in one visit. Instead, try to take advantage of each small corner that you discover, and your welcome to this amazing and cosmopolitan city will prove all the better.
Cultural tours of Madrid
Centro: the historic city centre
You could spend an entire weekend on this route alone. You can start at Plaza de Ópera, taking in the history, and later visit the Cathedral of la Almudena, The Royal Palace, the Sabatini Gardens and the Opera Palace. If you walk up the Calle Mayor, you will get a feel for the historic past of the city. I recommend a stop at the Plaza Mayor. Nearby, there are two classic places for having good tapas: Mercado San Miguel and La Latina. To finish this route you can also visit one of the most emblematic spots in Madrid: La Puerta del Sol.
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Perhaps one of my favorite places in Madrid, this street provokes a marvellous energy and beauty. In the middle of the street you can take a cable car to enjoy Madrid from the sky, and reach the park of Casa de Campo in order to forget the noise and the bustle for a while. Also along Pintor Rosales, you can find the Rosaleda (the rose gardens) and the Templo de Debod (a gift to Madrid from Egypt). From here you have a great view of the wonderful sights of the city, and probably one of the best sunsets that I’ve ever personally seen. At the end of the the street you also have three unforgettable and modern areas: Plaza de España, Gran Vía and Calle Princesa.
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Barrio Salamanca is the most noble and elegant part of Madrid: just walking though its streets makes me feel like a gentleman in the 19th century. Plaza de Colón is the door to this beautiful area, from which you can walk down Calle Goya stopping along historical streets like Velazquez, Alcalá and of course Serrano (the golden mile), all the while admiring the impressive and unique architecture of the buildings. You can’t miss the famous Puerta de Alcalá and the “green lung” of Madrid, either: El Retiro. When I'm in the park, I feel like I'm being transported into another world: the tranquility of nature is at its finest here, particularly around the peaceful lake.
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Madrid's industrial side is less well known, even for people from the city; but reflecting the symbols of the first industrial processes of the capital, this route makes for an interesting day out. You can start at Plaza de Embajadores and visit the Tabacalera, managed now by the neighbors as a kind of creative space. Make sure to pay attention to the architecture while you walk through the Ronda of Valencia and past artistic buildings like Teatro Circo Price or La Casa Encendida. Most of these buildings are old factories that have been converted for modern use. Next to the Museum Reina Sofía it is still possible to see the typically small “corralas”. You can complete the route by visiting Atocha, Delicias and Legazpi and finish up in the Matadero.
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Paseo del Prado
If you are an art lover, this is the street for you: it houses possibly the most important collection of art in the world. You can start by visiting the fountain of Cibeles and the Palacio de las Comunicaciones, where you will get great views of Madrid, before spending some time in one or all of the four museums here. Of course, if you only have time to visit one, go directly to Museum of Prado to enjoy the works of some of the world's most important classical artists. If you have enough time, I strongly recommend visiting the other three (Thyssen-Bornemisza, Reina Sofía and Caixa Forum).
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Holiday Rentals in Madrid
Study in Málaga center with capacity for up to 4 people. Great location in San Telmo street, just one minute from Constitution Square and the famous Café Central.
Studio youthful decor. Double bed in a bunk bed and double sofa bed. It has air con...
Independent Villa 'El Pinar', in Pelayos Dam, 50 km from Madrid. Capacity up to 21 people, fully furnished and equipped, urbanization, nestled in a quiet place in nature with large green areas, 45 minutes from the M501 motorway M40 near the marsh ...
House of 250 m2 with 2 bathrooms with a hairdryer and magnifying mirror.
5 bedrooms: 4 double with ceiling fans and one quad on the ground floor with TV, fan and bathroom inside the bedroom and direct access to the garden.
Spacious living ro...
An island with a castle for you all alone! Enjoy the sun and sand at the beach with views of the Sierra de Gredos.
Discover secluded coves and forests in the nature park.
Only 1 hour drive to Madrid ...
And ... you learn Spanish capital know:...