The best things to see in Madrid
Spain´s cosmopolitan capital city can easily overwhelm a first time guest with the sheer amount of beautiful places to visit and amazing things to do. Madrid is always changing but there are some breathtaking sites, like Retiro Park and the Royal Palace, that have stood the test of time and should be on every visitor’s bucket list.
Detailed below are some of the best places to visit in Madrid with insider advice.
This 350-acre park containing more than 15,000 trees is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Arrive at El Retiro Park by metro and you will be greeted with the imposing 18th century Puerta de Alcalá outside of the park’s Plaza de la Independencia entrance. Here you can easily rent an electric bike that will make crossing the park a breeze.
Stroll down a hedge-lined sidewalk from any entrance and you will reach Retiro´s famous lake. Watched over by the impressive Monument to Alfonso XII, this body of water used to be the King and Queen’s personal sailing and leisure site. Lucky for us, this idyllic park is now open to the public.
If you are feeling active, you can enjoy the sunshine while rowing a rented boat on the water. Large grouper fish and geese will join you as they watch the park visitors expectantly, waiting for someone to drop a crumb.
Just a quick walk away, the gorgeous Crystal Palace is fronted by a pond that turtles and ducks call home. This building was originally a botanical garden but the almost completely glass structure now houses exhibitions. Head inside and see what the rotating art installation of the season is.
If you packed a lunch, a picnic under the nearby trees is the best way to spend a nice day. If not, do not worry, since there are many restaurants in the park where you can relax and enjoy a glass of sangria and a snack.
During the spring and summer, the park’s rose garden is in full bloom with more than 4,000 flowers. When the flowers aren’t in season, the ivy-covered trellises and stone fountains are still worth the visit. You can easily spend half the day walking among the statues and well-maintained plants of Retiro.
Displaying more than 7,000 works of arts and 1,000 sculptures, a trip to the world-renowned Prado Museum can’t be skipped and is one of the best things to see in Madrid! The rich history of Spain is shown through the work of some of its most celebrated classical artists, such as Diego Velázquez. Masterpieces dating as far back as the 12th century from artists from all around the world, including Rembrandt and Claude Monet, also decorate its walls.
Make sure to leave time for the basement, where you can see Francisco Goya’s infamous “Black Paintings” firsthand. Transferred from the walls of his home after his death, they offer a glimpse into the troubled artist’s mind. Next door sits the largest public collection of work by the mysterious Dutch artist, Hieronymus Bosch, who painted captivating and detailed religious paintings.
The Royal Palace
With more than 3,000 rooms, the Royal Palace of Madrid can proudly call itself the largest in the world. The palace’s impeccable white stone facade is perfectly framed when viewed from the Sabini Gardens on its northern side.
Then you should head east to the Plaza de Oriente where a magnificent equestrian fountain of Philip IV stands. 18th-century limestone statues of the “Gothic Kings” line the rest of the plaza and its gardens. Many surrounding restaurants serve drinks on their terraces which offer great views of the Palace.
If you are lucky enough to be at the Royal Palace on a Wednesday or Saturday morning, you can catch the changing of the Royal Guard. The first Wednesday of every month there is a special “Solemn Changing of the Guard”, featuring traditional 18th-century uniforms and 100 horses followed by a free concert nearby.
The luxuriously decorated interior of the palace is home to priceless paintings by some of the royal family’s favorite classical artists, like Goya, Sorolla, and Velasquez. The sweeping white marble staircases lead to various rooms with beautiful frescos, intricate tapestries, and mahogany furniture that gives you a glimpse of how decadent daily life was for the Spanish Royal Family.
Temple of Debod
End your busy day of sightseeing somewhere unexpected by climbing up to Madrid’s Temple of Debod. Perched on top of a hill in Parque de Oeste, this 2nd-century authentic Egyptian temple was saved from a flood and donated to Spain. It was rebuilt stone by stone and now is the only one of its kind in Spain.
With its lush green lawns, tropical palm trees, and sweeping views of the Almudena Cathedral and the forested Casa del Campo, this park is a perfect place to relax.
Facing East to West, the temple stands over a shallow pool of water. The beautiful reflections of the setting sun make this the best place to start your night in Madrid.
That was the best things to see in Madrid with Madrid Discovery. If you want more contact us !
Bianka Rose Cramblit