Madrid - from Puerta del Sol to Palacio Real de Madrid

MAY 02,2018 - MAY 02,2018 (1 DAYS)

Spain

1 DAYS

Citywalk

Madrid - from Puerta del Sol to Palacio Real de Madrid:

Part 1 Main Attractions: Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Mercado San Miguel, Calle Mayor, Plaza de la Villa, Catedral de la Almudena, Plaza de Oriente, Sabatini Gardens, Plaza de Isabel II, Calle de Arenal, Iglesia de San Ginés de Arlés,  Chocolatería San Ginés, Perez the Mouse Museum, Puerta del Sol.

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.

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Start: Sol Metro Station. End: Opera Metro Station. Duration: 1 day. Distance: 9 km. Weather: Bright or quiet day.

Our ItinraryWe start at the Puerta del Sol square and the adjacent Metro station. Puerta del Sol ("The Gate of the Sun") square is one of the best known and busiest places in Madrid. Originally it was the site of one of the city's gates, which faced the east and was adorned with an image of the sun, hence the square's name. This is the centre (Km 0) of the radial network of Spanish roads, located in the very heart of the city, not far from Plaza Mayor. Outside the Casa de Correos is a stone slab on the pavement marking Kilometer Zero - the official starting point for Spain's 6 National Roads. The square is actually almost semi-circular in shape and owes its current form to the major renovation work carried out between 1854 and 1860. This is a vibrant part of the city - full of bars, restaurants and shops. Leading off the Puerta del Sol are several streets, amongst which we can name Arenal Street, Calle de Alcalá, Calle Mayor, and Calle Preciados, this last one a pedestrianised street on which large department stores such as El Corte Inglés and FNAC are located, together with international clothes shops such as Zara, H & M, Bershka and many more. Many old and historic shops selling traditional goods may be found close to this historic square.

The square is dominated by the monument to King Carlos III

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and the famous bronze sculpture of "the bear and the strawberry tree" ("El Oso y El Madroño"). on 25th September 2009, this statue was returned to its original location at the East side of the square, below the famous "Tío Pepe" advert. This was the statue's location when it was placed here in 1967, so it has simply returned home. The Oso & Madroño is the official symbol of the city although with an unclear origin - it seems that there used to be many bears in the fields around Madrid although the original symbol was supposed to be a female bear (osa). And the strawberry tree seems to be have actually been a hackberry tree (almez), which was once in abundance around Madrid:

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If you look to the "flat" south side of the semi circle you will see a clock tower, part of a building known as the "Real Casa de Correos". This clock tower with its bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes at a new year celebration that's been broadcast live on the Spanish national TV since 1962.

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We exit the Puerta del Sol from its southern edge. Continue onto Calle Mayor, 230 m. Turn left onto Calle de Felipe III, 35 m. Plaza Mayor, originally known as "Plaza del Arrabal", was built during the Habsburg rule period and is a central square of Madrid, located only a few blocks away from Puerta del Sol. Rectangular in shape, the square measures 129 by 94 meters, and is surrounded by three-story residential buildings with a total of 237 balconies facing the Plaza, nine entryways and a ring of old and traditional shops and cafes under their porticoes. Casa de la Panadería, a municipal building, dominates Plaza Mayor. In the course of history, the square has hosted many different things, including markets, bullfights, soccer games, and even public executions of condemned heretics back in the days of the Spanish Inquisition. The square was redesigned with gardens, but those were removed in 1936. At the center of the square is a bronze statue of King Philips III, constructed in 1616 by Juan Cristóbal González, Jean Boulogne and Pietro Tacca.  Plaza Mayor as we know it today is the work of the architect Juan de Villanueva who was entrusted with its reconstruction in 1790 after a spate of big fires. The statue of Philip III dates to 1616, but it was not placed in the centre of the square until 1848. This place is excellent to hang out or start an interesting tour. The Plaza Mayor, a grand arcaded square in the center of Madrid is very popular with tourists and locals alike. The symmetrical rectangular square features a uniform architecture. The Plaza Mayor has been the scene of multitudinous events: markets (Christmas Market), bullfights, soccer games, public executions, etc. The Plaza Mayor also has a ring of old and traditional shops and cafes under its porticoes. Celebrations for San Isidro (patron saint of Madrid) are also held here. The Plaza Mayor is now a major tourist attraction, visited by thousands of tourists a year:

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The Casa de la Panadería: It is a municipal and cultural building on the north side of the Plaza Mayor. It is four stories high, the ground floor comprising porticos and the top floor in the form of an attic, with its sides crowned by angular towers. At the top center of La Casa de la Panadería, there is a Spanish Coat of Arms. They are the royal Spanish arms from the reign of Carlos II.

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From Plaza Mayor exit and walk north toward Calle Mayor, 35 m. Turn left onto Calle Mayor, 160 m. Turn left to stay on Calle Mayor, 40 m. Turn right onto Plaza de San Miguel and the Mercado de San Miguel is on your left, 25 m. further. No holiday in Madrid is complete without a visit to the Mercado de San Miguel in the heart of the Old Madrid. Established in 1916, Mercado de San Miguel is one of the oldest and most alluring markets in Madrid. With its stunning 20th-century glass walls, it could easily be considered among the finest examples of iron and glass architecture in the Spanish capital, alongside the city’s Crystal Palace in Parque del Buen Retiro. It really is a must for gourmets and gourmands alike. The market is housed in a glass fronted 20th century Art-Deco (Beaux Arts) building and is known as the Cultural Culinary Centre of Madrid. There are over 50 individual stalls, each run by a specialist in his chosen field, e.g. fresh fruit, vegetables, fish or meat. You can browse through the stands of locally grown fruit and vegetables where the odor of herbs and spices fill the air; nothing here has seen the inside of a freezer, none of the produce is ready-packed in plastic and the layout of the goods is an art in itself. The fish stalls display a vast range of rather ugly-looking seafood, fresh from the Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the produce on sale is Spanish, but you will also find charcuterie from France, Viennese Patisseries and a selection of fine European cheeses. The market also contains several cafes, restaurants and shops selling books on Spanish cuisine and kitchen utensils. The only thing a bit off-putting about this really great market is the number of signs forbidding potential clients from touching the produce, so you won’t be able to pick and choose your purchases. Mercado de San Miguel is not only the most popular market in town, but a genuine “culinary cultural center”. In 2000, it was declared Bien de Interés Cultural (Property of Cultural Interest), and nowadays, after a major restoration project, it has become a gastronomic temple with a vibrant, high-quality food scene:

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From Mercado de San Miguel - head west on Plaza de San Miguel, 30 m. Turn right to stay on Plaza de San Miguel, 45 m. Turn left onto Calle Mayor and walk 50 m. to see, on your right the building at #66:

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Calle Mayor, the name of which reflects its importance, runs from the Puerta del Sol to the Royal Palace. Back in the Middle Ages this was the main street of Madrid housing shops of silversmiths, coopers and fletchers who used to sell their wares to the rich merchants passing by to the city center. Today, Calle Mayor is renowned for its boutiques, cafes and restaurants, much as for excellent street musicians and a number of peculiar buildings associated with historic personalities and events. At N° 48 you will find the Cervantes House Museum, a place where Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, #1 Spanish writer was born. N° 61 is the narrowest house in Madrid, measuring only 5 meters across. Pedro Calderón de la Barca lived in this narrow house at no 61, next to the Queen Mother's former pharmacy.

Continue west  on Calle Mayor toward Plaza de la Villa, 30 m. and turn left onto Plaza de la Villa (opposite Calle Mayor #72), 35 m. If you would like a bit of quiet in the heart of busy Madrid, the best place to go is Plaza de la Villa, not far from Plaza Major. This small, medieval square is surrounded by lovely buildings, each with its own story. Among them is Madrid’s old Town Hall (Casa Villa), built in 1696 and renowned for its graceful stained glass windows and frescoes by Antonio Palomino. Remarkably enough, at some point this building was used as a prison. Adjoining the town hall by an archway is Casa de Cisneros (see later, below), an early Spanish Renaissance castle built in 1537. It boasts a Plateresque façade, quite rare in Madrid, and an outstanding collection of fine tapestries. The nearby Casa and Torre de Los Lujanes are supposedly the oldest buildings in the city; the tower dating back as far as the early 15th century. According to a legend, King Charles 1st imprisoned King Francis 1st of France here after the battle of Pavia in 1525. The reason for that the French King's refusal to show respect to and bow his head to the captor, upon which King Charles ordered the tower door to be lowered, so that Francis would have to bow when entering and leaving the building. That gave people an impression that the French monarch was indeed bowing to their king. In the center of the square stands a statue of Alvaro de Bazen, the Spanish admiral who planned the Armada and, remarkably, never lost a battle in his entire 50-year-long career. The statue was sculpted in 1888 by Benlliure and was set in the plaza in 1980:

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THe building in N° 88 went down in history in 1906 when the anarchist Mateo Moral attempted to kill King Alfonso XIII along with his bride on their wedding day by throwing a bomb from this house's top balcony. The royal couple was unhurt, but there were many innocent victims in memory of which a monument has been erected opposite the house:

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From Calle Mayor, 88 - head west on Calle Mayor toward Calle de Bailén, 30 m. Turn right onto Calle de Bailén, 60 m and the mighty Catedral de la Almudena, Calle de Bailén, 10 is on your left. It stands opposite opposite the Royal Palace. A Baroque-style cathedral which is less than twenty years old. This lovely church was designed by the Marquis Francisco de Cubas. Construction of the church began in 1879 on the site of a medieval mosque. The original plans gave the church a Gothic Revival style with a Neo-Classical cupola. One unusual feature about the church is its orientation – North-South, instead of the traditional East-West. Construction of the church limped along for over 50 years and it was abandoned entirely during the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939. Work started again in 1950 under the direction of Fernando Chueca Goitia who adapted the original plans and gave the church its present day Baroque style:

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The cathedral was completed in 1993 and was consecrated by Pope Jean Paul II, a statue of whom is to be found in front of the building. Don’t miss the bronze doors by Sanguino which bear the legend of the discovery of the image of the Virgin in the 15th century.

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The interior of the cathedral is modern Neo-Gothic, with many small chapels and statues of contemporary artists in diverse styles. The crypt is Neo-Romanesque with a 16th century image of the Virgin de la Almudena. In 2004 new paintings by Kiko Arguello were hung in the apse.

Capela del Confession:

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Almudena Cathedral - Capella Santimisma:

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Madrid - Almudena Cathedral - La cruz de Lampedusa:

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The Virgin of Almudena (Virgen de la Almudena) is a medieval icon of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. It serves as a patroness of Madrid. One story is that in 712, prior to the capture of the town by the advancing Muslim forces, the inhabitants of the town secreted the image of the virgin, for its own protection, inside the walls surrounding the town. In the 11th century, when Madrid was reconquered by the King Alfonso VI of Castile, the Christian soldiers endeavored to find the statue. After days of prayer, the spot on the wall hiding the icon crumbled, revealing the statue. Another legend is that as Christian soldiers approached the town, they had a vision of Mary imploring them to allow her to lead them into the city. Again the miraculous crumbling of the wall occurred, with the icon showing an entry route through the walls. The original Virgin of Almudena statue is on display at Almudena Cathedral. The Cathedral of Madrid is dedicated to this advocation of the Virgin and her feast day, 9 November, is a major holiday in Madrid. La Virgen de la Almudena.

The original Virgin of Almudena statue is on display at Almudena Cathedral:

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From Catedral de la Almudena we head north on Calle de Bailén and slight left onto Calle Requena for 190 m. Turn left toward Plaza de Oriente, 65 m. Turn right toward Plaza de Oriente for 35 m. further. Turn left toward Plaza de Oriente, again, for 35 m. and you see the Palacio Real on your left. Come closer for 120 m. to watch the guards:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Plaza de Oriente is a very beautiful plaza with many beautiful gardens. It resides between the Royal Palace (west) and the Royal Theater (east) in the heart of Madrid. The plaza is glowing with its brilliant white color all around. Nice place to have a stroll but it is very crowded during weekends or nice afternoons. Area is nice with statues, open spaces, cafe etc and of the course the amazing view of the royal palace in all its glory.

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During our visit in Madrid in Spring 2018 - the main characters of Las Meninas, Diego Velázquez’s masterpiece that hangs in the Prado Museum, have wandered off the canvas and stepped forward into central Madrid sites.  Las Meninas is a 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez, one of the Spanish Golden Age’s leading artists, who worked in the court of Philip IV. The painting, which is one of the star attractions of Madrid’s Prado Museum, depicts the young princess Margarita Teresa surrounded by several members of the court, including her ladies in waiting, dwarves and, in the background, Velázquez himself. 80 sculptures of Las Meninas (‘the ladies in waiting’) placed in iconic spots around the Spanish capital, from the bustling Puerta del Sol to the Plaza Mayor, its grand central square. The artwork is the brainchild of Spanish sculptor Antonio Azzato, who designed the sculpture and recruited a group of artists, fashion designers and singers to help decorate the Meninas. Each artist applied his/her own technique, so each Menina is a unique, one-off artwork. The sculptures remained on the streets of Madrid until July 2018, were made from fibreglass and were 1.8 metres tall and weighed 30 kilograms:

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Plaza de Oriente - Statue of Reinando Isabel Segunda de Borbon, behind it is the Royal Palace:

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If you walk from Plaza de Orient a bit to the north and cross Calle de Bailén from east to west - you enter the  Sabatini Gardens. These Classical-style gardens were built in the 1930s on the site of the former stables. Located in front of the north façade of the Royal Palace, the gardens, whose construction began during the Second Republic, were completed after the Civil War. Their architectural and ornamental styling as an extension of the Royal Palace were enhanced on account of the exhibition of several sculptures that were originally planned to decorate the cornice of the palace. Their geometric design and fortunate location make them some of the most beautiful gardens in Madrid. Although they look spectacular at any time of the day, at dusk they are truly magnificent, as it is one of the best sites in Madrid from which to watch the sunset. From the large rectangular pond in the centre of the garden, surrounded by fountains, trees, and white marble sculptures, your can contemplate how the yellow and red tones alter the colouring of the gray stones of the Palace, and watch the sunset from the perspective of the Casa de Campo:

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 We leave the Sabatini Gardens from the south-east edge and head, again, eastward. We cross Calle de Bailén from west to east and continue eastward along  Calle de San Quintín for 140 m. Calle de San Quintín turns slightly right and becomes Calle de Arrieta, 170 m. Continue straight onto Plaza de Isabel II, 40 m. Opposite you see the Teatro Real. This squre is commonly called also the Opera Square. The square occupies part of the site where between 1738 and 1817 was the old Theater of Los Caños del Peral - due to the fountain with 7 piles and their corresponding pipes that were once used to drink and wash clothes, as well as an ornamental element. Under the surface of the square, entering through the entrance of the metro, you can access the Museum of the Caños del Peral where remains of the old fountain are preserved. On the surface a new fountain has been installed in memory of the old Fuente de los Caños del Peral , but with smaller dimensions. Between 2008 and 2011, the square underwent a new urbanization. 

Teatro Real in Plaza Isabel II:

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Head south on Plaza de Isabel II toward Calle de Vergara, 30 m. Turn left to stay on Plaza de Isabel II, 55 m.

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Continue onto Calle del Arenal, 220 m. The name of Calle de Arenal t is derived from the word "arena", meaning "sand", and refers to the sandy banks of a small stream which flowed along this route in medieval times. During the time when the Moors ruled this part of Spain, from the 8th to the 12th centuries, this was the district where the Christians lived, and it later because an area for wealthy residents. A pedestrian and traffic-free zone (zona peatonal) for most of its length, the Calle del Arenal is one of the 10 streets emanating from the Puerta del Sol Square. It is one of Madrid's busiest thoroughfares, with a variety of shops, including gifts and souvenirs. However, because it joins the Puerta del Sol with Plaza Isabel II, Plaza de Opera and the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), you are still likely to encounter some traffic. This is one of the most centrally placed areas of Madrid:

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Walking eastward along Calle de Arenal - we cross Calle de San Martin. On our right - we see the Iglesia de San Ginés de Arlés. One of the oldest churches in Madrid. The church was one of the churches of the medieval Madrid, of Mozarab origin, from between the 12th and 13th centuries, and its name comes from the fact that it was dedicated to the patron saint of notaries and secretaries, Saint Genesius of Arles (San Ginés de Arlés):

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We turn right (south) to a narrow alley, Pasadizo de San Ginés - to watch the Chocolatería San Ginés, Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5. A chocolate and history. Excellent churros with chocolate. Rich and generous portions. A classic of Madrid. This classic place exists from 1894. After you order your generous portion - you can choose to sit outside, in the ground floor or at the lower floor. The hot chocolate is served in Spanish style - thick, dark and strong - and the churros - deep fried batter, similar to a light, crispy, linear doughnut, cut to length by the staff - are served hot and freshly cooked, ready for dunking. The interior is decorated with mirrors and green wood panels, with green velvet seats and marble tables. In 2010, a San Ginés's branch was opened in Shibuya, Tokyo (Japan). It closed one year later, in 2011...:

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Near the entrance to the Chocolatería - note the frescoes of Delicias de San Gines:

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In Spain the Tooth Fairy is a Tooth Mouse – called Little Perez – who slips into children’s bedrooms at night to take the fallen tooth the child has put under his pillow and to leave a small gift or coin in its place. According to a legend, Perez the Mouse once lived at N° 8 Calle de Arenal in a sweet shop. There is a plaque at N°8 attesting to that and the children all over Madrid send cards and letters to this address. The building now houses a small shopping mall on the ground floor and the Perez the Mouse Museum on the first floor, featuring theme mugs, notebooks and other souvenirs. Next door, at N°9, is the Palacio de Graviria, which is a cocktail bar during a day and a cabaret/dance floor/night club at night. You can see this mouse opposite C. de Arenal # 11:

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We continue to walk along C. de Arenal - until we arrive, again, to the Puerta del Sol. Skip to Tip 2 below.

Citywalk

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:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

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:

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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:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

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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:

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The mighty building of Telefonica is in the Gran Via #22:

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Gran Via #26:

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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.

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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:

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The Gran Vía meets the Calle de Alcalá in the Banco de España Metro station:

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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:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

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:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

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:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

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.

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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:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

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:

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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:

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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:

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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):

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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.

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Palacio Real - Main staircase in entrance to the palace:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Giaquinto's fresco above the staircase:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Salon de Arbardores:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Salon de Columnes - here, King Juan Carlos signed on his resignation:

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Salon Gasparini:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Patrimonio Nacional - Gala Dining Room:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The Porcelain Room:

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Salon of Carlos III:

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Antechamber of Queen Maria Christina with 5 violins including one Stradivardius:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The Royal Armoury:

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The Royal Throne - Salón del Trono:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Royal Crown - Sala de la Corona:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Bernini and Caravaggio Exhibition Room:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The Royal Chapel:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The Internal grand Court:

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Sala de Fumar de Alfonso XIII:

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When we exited the Royal palce - we just caught the Royal Guard parade:

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Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , Spain, visiting things to do in Spain, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

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.

 

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