Part 2 Main Attractions: Puerta del Sol, Restaurante El Callejón, Plaza del Callao, Gran Vía, Grassy Edifice is in Gran Via #1, Edifico Metropolis, Plaza de Cibeles, Plaza De España, Palacio Real, Opera Metro station.
We leave Puerta del Sol and continue NORTH along Calle de Preciados, crossing Calle de Tetuán. After walking north for 450 m. we turn left to Calle de la Ternera. Restaurante El Callejón. (Calle de la Ternera, 6) is an eatery, once located in an out-of-the-way alley in the Austrias part of town, fed Hemingway and his wife Mary during their visits in the 1950s. Hemingway wrote in one of his articles for Life magazine that El Callejón had "the best food in town.". Do not miss the sculpture and old, nostalgic pictures of Hemingway in Madrid adorning the restaurant walls:
From the restaurant in Calle de la Ternera, 6 - head north on Calle de la Ternera toward Calle de Preciados, 20 m. Turn right onto Calle de Preciados, 95 m. Turn left onto Plaza del Callao, 35 m. Plaza del Callao is one of the busiest squares in Madrid. Lots of street performers, but most of all tourists. So, it's fun to spend a few minutes if you're passing by. It is very close to the grand, famous shopping stores of Gran Via. Do not miss the views from the top floor of Le Corte Ingles (see below). Big screens are added to the surrounding buildings. The building at #5 was one of the highest buildings in Madrid (FNAC). Its name derived from the May 1866 battle of Callao between the Spanish naval forces under the command of Casto Méndez Núñez and the Peruvian army:
Make you way to the 9th floor of the . Madrid’s number one department store, El Corte Inglés, decided to give itself a much needed facelift and revamp the 9th floor of its location in Callao, turning it into ‘Gourmet Experience’; and it truly is an experience. With an outdoor rooftop and dozens of food stalls, serving Mexican, Italian, Spanish and Japanese food, as well as cocktails, ice-cream and much more. You will have amazing views of Gran Via. The open terrace and the interior offer you the opportunity to enjoy a gastronomic space, high quality and atmosphere. The food can be enjoyed in the restaurants or in the central tables, also on the heated terrace. No need for booking, just wait for a table to be free (it’s usually crowded!). You can try dining in one of the restaurants located in gourmet area: La Máquina: Spanish traditional food, Harina: Bakery and good coffee, Mister Lee: Asian food, Central Mexicana:Mexican food, Hamburguesa Nostra: Hamburgers, Pizza al Cuadrado: Pizzas, Amorino: Ice-creams and chocolates, Street XO: Innovative, Juanillo Club: Cocktails and oysters, Imanol: Pintxos and raciones:
We left Plaza Callau and turned right (east) to Gran Via. Walking east along the Gran Via, you hit Calle de Chinchilla on the 3rd intersection on your right:
The mighty building of Telefonica is in the Gran Via #22:
Gran Via #26:
There is nothing like an afternoon’s shopping and for that, there is nothing like the Gran Via, the most popular and up-market street in Madrid. It also has a variety of interesting buildings. The Via runs from Calle de Alcala to the Plaza de Espana and is lined with theaters, hotels and, of course shops. You will find everything you could wish for here, from leather handbags and shoes to souvenirs with prices to match. Further east along the Gran Via, we cross Calle Clavel on our right and left.
Grassy Edifice is in Gran Via #1. Just next to the Metropolis Building (see below) is the Grassy Edifice (Edificio Grassy), a massive structure named after the jewelery shop it used to host on the first floor. It was built in a modernists art déco style with an original column-like cupola at the top. It is one of the most striking buildings of Gran via and it also contains a museum that exhibits rare watches that have belonged to royalties all over Europe. The Edificio Grassy was built between 1916 and 1917. It was constructed on a triangular piece of land, in the same way as the Edificio Metrópolis next to it. Moreover, its architect Eladio Laredo aimed to achieve an architectural similarity between both of them. This trend was respected to a certain extent along Gran Vía. It comprises two independent buildings, which are joined together by the hall and the patio. Eclectic in its architecture, it boasts a rotunda topped by two superimposed belvederes of Renaissance influence. In 1981, the Edificio Grassy was immortalized by painter Antonio López in his hyperrealist masterpiece "La Gran Vía". A plaque placed at the entrance of the building facing to Calle del Caballero de Gracia informs that in spring 1840 Théophile Gautier lived in this area.
The Via is not without its own splendid tall buildings: the Edifico Metropolis, which was built in the early 20th century and has a winged statue of Victoria on its dome. Metropolis - Gran Via #1:
The Gran Vía meets the Calle de Alcalá in the Banco de España Metro station:
The huge central squre in front is the Plaza de Cibeles. Plaza de Cibeles is a square with a neo-classical complex of marble sculptures with fountains that has become an iconic symbol for the city of Madrid. The fountain of Cibeles is found in the part of Madrid commonly called the Paseo de Recoletos. It depicts the goddess Cibeles (Cybele), the Phrygian goddess of fertility, sitting on a chariot pulled by two lions. The fountain was built in the reign of Charles III and designed by Ventura Rodríguez between 1777 and 1782. Up until the 19th century both the fountain of Neptune and Cibeles looked directly at each other, until the city council decided to turn them round to face towards the center of the city. The fountain of Cibeles has been adopted by the football team Real Madrid as the place to celebrate its triumphs in major competitions such as the Champions League, La Liga or Spanish Copa del Rey:
From Plaza de Cibeles we took bus #74 destination: Pintor Rosales and dropped off at Plaza De España. This large Plaza is located in the city centre, at the intersection of Gran Vía and Princesa streets:
Here you will find the Cervantes Monument, one of the most popular tourist spots. The Monument was made by Rafael Martínez Zapatero and Lorenzo Cullaut Valera and was inaugurated in 1915. Most of the monument was built between 1925 and 1930. The tower portion of the monument includes a stone sculpture of Cervantes, which overlooks bronze sculptures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Around the monument, created a series of landscaped areas for relaxation and enjoyment of pedestrians:
The square has a fountain with a pond, and seasonally landscaped and wooded areas. Flanking the square we find two emblematic buildings of the city: Torre Madrid and Edificio España, which constitute one of the most interesting architectural areas of the capital.
Torre Madrid is in the northern side of the square and is one of the tallest buildings in Madrid. It is 465 feet high and was built in 1957 by the brothers Julián and José María Otamendi Machimbarrena. They had been hired by the Compañía Inmobiliaria Metropolitana, for whom they had already built the Edificio España:
Edificio España is one of Madrid’s most representative skyscrapers and stands in the north-east corner of the square. The Otamendi brothers built it in 1953 in Neo-Baroque style. It has a staggered silhouette of four heights, and enjoys considerable protection from the City Council itself. Standing at 117 metres tall and with 25 floors, it is the eighth tallest building of the Spanish capital, including the Cuatro Torres Business Area skyscrapers:
We return to the Royal Palace - hoping to enter the magnificent palace avoiding the long queues during the morning and midday hours. From Plaza de España head southwest, 45 m. At the roundabout, continue straight onto Cuesta de San Vicente, 100 m. Turn left, take the stairs, 40 m. Turn left, take the stairs, 20 m. Turn right, 30 m. Turn left, take again the stairs, 100 m. Turn right to face, again, the Sabatini Gardens, Calle de Bailén, 2 with far better lighting of the afternoon hours:
Returning to the Royal Palace - you'll find a long queue even in these late afternoon hours. But, now, during the coller hours it is more tolerable. Note the statue of St. Peter (Petrus) in the eastern side of the palace giant courtyard opposite the entrance:
You can observe the Almudena Cathedral in the south side of the courtyard (queuing up to the palace, with your face to the palace, on your back or, later, your left):
The Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace of Madrid), also known as the Palacio de Oriente (The East Palace), is the official residence of the King of Spain in the city of Madrid, and it is only used for State Ceremonies. However, King Juan Carlos and the Royal Family did not reside in it, choosing instead the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of Madrid. The palace is owned by the Spanish State and administered by the Patrimonio Nacional, a public agency of the Ministry of the Presidency. The royal Palace of Madrid is the largest palace building in Western Europe. It is located on Bailén Street, in the Western part of downtown Madrid, East of the Manzanares River, and is accessible from the Ópera metro station. The palace is partially open to public, except when it is being used for official business. Opening hours: Winter hours (October to March). All days: 10.00 - 18.00. Summer hours (April to September). All days: 10.00 - 20.00. Dates closed: 1 January: closed entire day, 6 January: closed entire day, 1 May: closed entire day, 12 October: closed until 17:30 (12 October: open from 17:30 to 21:00), 24 December: closed from 15:00, 25 December: closed entire day, 31 December: closed from 15:00. In addition to the planned closings, there may be additional closings motivated by the holding of official acts. You can consult the list of closures for official acts. Prices: Adult Admission 11 € ( until March 3, 2019 exhibition included). Adult Admission 10 € (from March 4, 2019). Reduced Admission 6 € (until March 3, 2019 exhibition included) or Reduced Admission 5 € (from March 4, 2019): Individual members of large families, Citizens between 5 and 16 years of age, persons over 65 years of age of the member States of the European Union or Latin American countries, students up to 25 years of age with updated national or international student’s card. Only exhibition 5 € (until March 3, 2019). FREE: Children under 5 years of age, 18 May, International Museum Day, Professors in individual visit with teaching staff card, persons with disability with accreditation, From Monday to Thursday from 16.00 to 18.00. (October to March) and 18.00 to 20.00 (April to September) - free admission for citizens of the European Union, residents and holders of work permit in that territory and Latin American citizens. The free offer is limited to the tour without guide. Note: photography NOT allowed.
Palacio Real - Main staircase in entrance to the palace:
Giaquinto's fresco above the staircase:
Salon de Arbardores:
Salon de Columnes - here, King Juan Carlos signed on his resignation:
Patrimonio Nacional - Gala Dining Room:
The Porcelain Room:
Salon of Carlos III:
Antechamber of Queen Maria Christina with 5 violins including one Stradivardius:
The Royal Armoury:
The Royal Throne - Salón del Trono:
Royal Crown - Sala de la Corona:
Bernini and Caravaggio Exhibition Room:
The Royal Chapel:
The Internal grand Court:
Sala de Fumar de Alfonso XIII:
When we exited the Royal palce - we just caught the Royal Guard parade:
We finish this day itinerary with returning to the closest Metro station - the Opera station. From Royal Palace of Madrid - head east, 50 m. Turn right toward Plaza de Oriente, 95 m. Turn right onto Plaza de Oriente, 65 m. Turn right onto Calle Carlos III, 80. m. Turn left onto Calle de Vergara, 70 m. Continue straight onto Plaza de Isabel II, 35 m. Turn left to stay on Plaza de Isabel II, take the stairs, 15 m. You face the Opera station.