City Break Madrid: Impressions, real pictures and important details from the capital of Spain

My name is Andrei, I’m from Romania, and I want to share with you my experiences in City-Break Madrid. I was leaving Bucharest from Otopeni Airport to Tenerife. I was making a stopover at Bergamo, then one night in Madrid. We had 2 days to walk the streets of Madrid and take the most beautiful things in the city. From Barajas Airport we headed to the Plaza de la Independencia in the center of Madrid with the Express bus, which has a cost about 5 euro.

Independence Square in the center of the City


Impressions from Madrid

Spread across Meseta, the central plains of Madrid, Madrid is perfectly located to fulfill the coordinating function of the 18 autonomous regions of Spain. The city has not a long past, being the capital of Spain only since 1561, when King Philip of -2th one moved the Court of Toledo here. In March 2004, Madrid was painfully embedded in the consciousness of the world as a result of the devastating bombing of the Atocha station of Islamic extremists. The cultural identity of Madrid has been imposed in the world consciousness partly thanks to the ambitious cultural projects of the Paseo del Arte itinerary. The city is cosmopolitan with excellent food, fashion and nightlife. Think of the many hotels in the excellent transport system and you will have all the ingredients for a very pleasant stay. Madrid is the highest capital in Europe, located at an altitude of 646 meters, and the most pleasant climate is during spring and autumn.

Along the Salamanca boulevards, north of the Parque del Retiro, there are shops with sic workshops. Life-filled clubs and tapas bars fill the narrow streets that start from Plaza del Angel. In the Northeast, Paseo de la Castellana are modern office buildings. Paseo de la Castellana connects with Paseo del Prado, forming the main north-south axis of the city. We have chosen to serve cerveza and jamon, the very affordable price place called Museo del Jamon (picture attached below).

Jamon (Bacon) Museum


The streets of Modern Madrid

Madrid Skycrapers 1


Madrid Skycrapers 2


Top sights of Madrid

Palacio Real

Without being the most harmonious or refined palaces of Spain, Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is distinguished by opulence. Along with the decorative excesses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the palace reveals some of the character of the monarchs who ordered it. Set on the Moor Fortress from the 9th century, it became a royal residence in 1561 and was rebuilt in 1734 after a devastating fire. Three Italian architects and several French artists contributed to the completion of the construction in 1764. The palace is mainly a product of the Bourbon court (see page 34), and the furniture is almost entirely in the original Baroque or Rococo style of the 18th- century. King Alfonso Xlll lived in this palace until the 1931 exile, when the Republicans took power. At present, the palace is used only for state ceremonies.

Palacio Real- One of the most important attractions in Madrid


From the entrance in front of the cathedral, you pass into a vast courtyard behind which an imposing staircase leads to the royal apartments. The main exterior construction materials were the white stone and the granite of the Sierra de Guadarrama, while inside the marble stretches over impressive surfaces. The Halebardier Hall (the royal guards), with the ceiling painted by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), leads to the opulent Hall of the Columns, where the walls are decorated with 17th-century Flemish tapestries, and the sculptures symbolize the planets. Here was the body of the dictator Franco in 1975 and here, in 1985, the formal ceremony took place in which Spain joined the European Economic Community.

Then you will enter the most sumptuous room, the Throne Hall, where the Tiepolo-painted ceiling, depicting the “Apoteosis of the Spanish Monarchy”, looks down on Neapolitan furniture, Venetian chandeliers, mirrors and clocks in San lldefonso de Granja, and bronze Boticelli.

The throne room of Palacio Real


From here, go to the King’s Apartments, the reception hall, the dining room, the dressing room and the bedroom, each of which is full of precious objects and furniture, many French. Among the paintings is the portrait of Goya’s Carol (Carlos) IV and his wife, Maria Luisa. In the Living Room, you will notice the extraordinary watch made of marble, bronze and mahogany with a diamond lace. The rococo extravagance of the locker was created by the Italian decorator Gasparini. The combination of silk, gold, silver decorations hanging on the walls, marble floor with elaborate floral patterns, and stucco decorated ceiling create the appropriate setting for the daily ceremony in which the king was dressed in front of his courtiers. The bedroom, now furnished as a living room with Empire white and gold furniture, has a painted ceiling by Vicente Lopez and contains many references to religious and honorary orders founded by Carol (Carlos) III.

King’s Apartments


Then you will see some of the most special rooms, starting with the Porcelain Chamber, a small room whose porcelain wall panels were designed as a smoking lounge. The Buen Retiro workshop, set up by Charles III, was the producer of panels, decorated with grapes, garlands and flowers. Next to it is the Yellow Room, decorated with fine tapestries, where the ladies were sitting on Dugourc inlaid chairs and eating chocolate and other sweets while gentlemen smoked in the adjoining smoking room.

Now comes the culmination: Hall of Bal. Vast and ornamented, was created in 1879 by Alfonso XII in three smaller ballrooms built for Charles III’s wife. After her premature death, Carol closed the halls, which have been locked for more than a hundred years. It is currently used for banquets, with 150 inviting places to admire the ceiling paintings depicting Christopher Columbus announcing the discovery of the New World in front of King Fernando and Queen Isabel. On the walls are the Flemish tapestry of the 16th century, the hall is decorated with huge vases, Chinese and French.

The Ballroom


The Music Hall has a rare and unusual collection of stringed instruments made by the lucite genius Antonio Stradivarius (1644-1737). The instruments are occasionally used in private concerts organized by the current queen, Sofia, a great meloman. He also admires the pearl guitar dating back to 1796. After visiting the Silver Room, where there is a rather small collection of silver, you will reach Capilla Real (Royal Chapel). Colossal marble columns support Vocal Rodriguez’s neoclassic, glowing and shining project. The last four smaller rooms are Queen Luisa’s apartments. These include a porcelain smoking room, a Chinese room and a marvelous marble inlay and painted silk ceiling panels.

The Music Hall


Plaza Mayor Square

This walk takes you to the heart of historic Madrid, where winding streets pass by the churches and tapas bars, serving as an introduction to the history of the Spanish kingdom. Go through the day and night, because the ambience changes radically. Start the walk in the Mayor Square, a majestic, portico square, built at the beginning of the 17th century, as the center of Habsburg Madrid. The works took place during the time of Philip III, whose equestrian statue looks toward the market, and was led by Juan Gómez de Mora. The most striking building is the House of Panadería (1672), built in the style of cake-sweet houses, which hosts the Breasle of the bakeries. The original frescoes on Carlos Franco’s walls are the third row of paintings that covered the facade. In the opposite direction is the House of Carnicería (Butcher’s Guild) and houses the municipal offices and the tourist information center. Weekly markets, bullfighting, and auto-da-fé (the procession and execution of heretics), which once filled the market, disappeared in the meantime. At present, this is just a popular meeting place.

Nice view of Plaza Mayor Square

Get out of the market through the bow of the northeast corner that takes you to Calle de Ciudad Rodrigo. On the left you will see the wrought-iron green façade of the Mercado de San Miguel, which was once a food market, and now it has become a large food hall left to the crowded Caile Mayor and you will soon end up in the charming historic market Plaza de la Villa O. On the right side of this slope market is the Ayuntamiento or Casa de la Villa (town hall), designed in 1640 by Juan Gómez de Mora, as the city council and the prison. In front of you there is the House of Cisneros, a reconstruction of a palace from the 16th century, and on the left is the Torre de los Lujanes, dating back to the 15th century and in 1846 was the birthplace of the composer Federico Chueca, and is now part of the university. The tumulus has mudejar arches on the top, and in the opening to the narrow street Calle del Codo, a horseshoe-shaped arch entrance.

Return to Calle Mayor, take it to the left and go to the end of the street. As you go, you will see the surroundings of Madrid disappearing and reminding you of the height at which the city is located. Soon, the white and massive forms of Almudena’s Nuestra Señora Cathedral (phone 91 542 22 00) will appear in front of you. The cathedral was built in 1985-1992, but its first plans were made a century before. Cross the paths of Bailén if you want to visit the interior, a strange combination of pure white stone, screaming paintings of the ceiling and sidewalks of doubtful taste. Next to the cathedral is the great Palacio Real. Return to the corner between Bailén and the Mayor and descend on the stairs near Capitanía General, built in the form of a palace in 1611 and now hosting a military institution. The city suddenly descends here and you will soon find your way back up to the high viaduct (1934) on the Caile de Bailén. Turn the back of the palace into the parking lot, and then take it to the right side of the Villa Route to get to Segovia.

In front of you, you will see the dome of Capilla del Obispo (Plaza de la Paja, tel. 91 365 48 71) dating back to the 16th century and is the only gothic chapel in Madrid currently undergoing restoration. Go to her Costanilla de San Andrés to the Plaza de la Paja, a pretty residential market with a few bars and restaurants. In the Middle Ages, it was the commercial center of Madrid. Turn left to Calle Principe Anglona to see the San Pedro Church close by. Its 14th-century mudejar style mumbai replaced the minaret of a mosque somewhere there. Return to Plaza de la Paja, cross it and go to Calle Redondilla. This ends in Calle de Bailén, where you will turn left to San Francisco el Grande, a neoclassical basilica. Built between 1762-1784, the church has a Goya painting depicting San Bernardino and a richly painted dome.

Paja square


Go to Carrera de San Francisco (moving away from the church) to the Plaza de Puerta de Moros. On your left will be the Baroque building of Iglesia de San Isidro and the Church of San Andrés. Both of them guard a quiet market flanked by a fresco in the trompe l’oeil style of the contemporary period. Pass by San Andrés to the Piazza de Humilladero and turn left onto Calle Cava Baja. You can stop for a refreshing drink at one of the restaurants and small bars with façades with wooden panels that will accompany you all the way to the Plaza de Puerta Cerrada. Or you can cross Calle de Cuchilleros 0, where there are more bars and cafes, before climbing the arched steps leading to Plaza Mayor. Philatelists and numismatians meet Sunday morning in Plaza Mayor to exchange collectibles.


Madrid City Hall


Prado Museum

The most known Madrid Museum maintains one of the most important collections of classical art in the world and is for many tourists the main reason to visit the city. The bulk collection of 8,600 paintings contains a lot of masterpieces and is easy to absorb if you focus on a limited number of periods. If you can only make one visit to Prado, allocate it for at least three hours and avoid the weekend crowd. An ingenious new wing of the museum, created by Rafael Moneo, was finally inaugurated in 2007.

The entrance of Prado Museum


The new wing includes the interior galleries of the Los Leronimos Church, which was controversially demolished and rebuilt. Now it is above the underground galleries that are linked to the Villanueva main building under a roof-garden. The new wing has large spaces for temporary exhibitions, as well as a spacious café and a shopping area. Tickets for individual visitors are sold to the Puerta de Goya, and access is made either through the main front entrance, the Puerta de Velázquez or the back – Puerta de los leronimos. Museums often change their presentation modes, so the things described here may change. The source of this incredible body of work, Titian, was the Spanish royal family who has commanded and passionately collected works of art for centuries. Besides the great Spanish painters like Velázquez, Goya, Ribera and Zurbaran (see page 47), Prado has important collections of works by Italian masters (including Titian and Titian) and Flemish artists. Many of the works of the Flemish artists were collected by Philip II, a great art lover whose taste had been influenced by Flemish art. Both he and his father, Charles V, preferred Titian (d. 1576), Philippe IV chose Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) as a painter of the Court, and Carol al lll The one named Francisco de Goya in this posture (1746-1828). In 1819, Fernando Vell opened the collection for the public (in this building, designed by Juan de Villanueva, 1739-1811).

Prado Museum – Porta de la Goya (Goya’s Gate)
Prado Museum- Velazquez’ Gate


Parque del Retiro (Retirement park)

Madrid isn’t a geen city, but its 142-hectare park represents a great relaxation space. In the sec. In the 17th century, the park was surrounded by the palace of Philip IV. Is conveniently close to the main museum area of the city and is the perfect place to rejoin the physical and mental challenges of visiting museums.

The park was created in 1636 by the Conde-Duque de Olivares, and the gardens, groves, wells, statues and alleys are still preserved. Everything left in the palace is Casón del Buen Retiro, now an annex to Prado, with a selection of Spanish paintings and sculptures from the 18th century. (Chapter 91 330 28 00, is closed on Monday and could also be closed for renovation). The building is at the entrance to the park via Calle de Alfonso XII, just behind the Prado Museum and the Iglesia San Jerónimo el Real building.

Parque del Retiro- Retirement Park


In the park, you can take a stroller ride, take a boat trip on Estanque Lake, watch theater tracks on the street, listen to a concert, visit an exhibition or just walk around. This is a popular meeting place for Madrileni, especially on Sunday. The equestrian statue near the lake depicts Alfonso XIII (reigned between 1874 and 1885), who was not one of the most illustrious leaders of Spain but one of the youngest – he died just 28 years old. To the south of Prado, in the far southwest corner of the park, lies Real Jardín Botánico (Royal Botanical Garden), founded in 1774. The garden has about 30,000 plants, some of which are exotic and ancient, designed by Juan de Villanueva 1739-1811). Also in the south half is Palacio Velazquez (tel 91 573 62 45, closed on Tuesday) and the glass walls of Palacio de Cristal (phone 91 574 66 14, closed on Tuesday). Both palaces host contemporary art exhibitions. There is a pool and a cave nearby, and at the far southern end of the park are the rose gardens.


National Art Museum REINA SOFIA

National Art Museum Reina Sofia  is located in the south of central Madrid, opposite the Atocha rebuilt station. Reina Sofia was opened in 1986, in tune with the frenetic movida, animated by artistic and personal freedom, and hosts Picasso’s “Guernica” painting. In 2005, a new wing was built, designed by the acclaimed French architect Jean Nouvel. With triangular shape, it hosts temporary exhibitions, a library, an auditorium, and a restaurant supervised by the famous chef Sergi Arola, around a central atrium covered by a lattice ceiling.

National Art Museum Reina Sofia

The main building is a converted 18th-century hospital with immaculate white walls and transparent exterior elevators. The permanent collection of the sec. The XXI-th century is very rich in Spanish artwork, but less in terms of artists from other countries. To begin with modernism, climb to the 2nd floor, where exhibition halls lead you from the beginning of the century. The 20th to the Second World War. At the beginning of the century, the two main centers of artistic activity in Spain – Euskadi (Basque Country) and Catalonia – produced a plethora of artists: Ignacio Zuloaga, Francisco Iturrino; Hermenegildo Anglada-Camarasa and other post-Impressionists. Rooms 3 and 4 walk you through constructivism, cubism and dadaism. Look at the powerful color of Robert Delaunay (1885-1941), his wife, Sonia, and Mexican Diego Rivera. Delear with the geometric shapes of Joaquín Torres García (1875-1949). The world famous names of the period are Juan Gris, Pablo Gargallo, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, who are exposed in the connecting rooms. Halls 5-8 show the agile context of the “Guernica” painting (1937) through Picasso’s contemporary photography, sketches and works: Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, Julio Gonzaléz and Albert Sánchez. Eventually, you will even face the painting in all its monochromatic, flawed splendor. Guernica “was painted in moments of raging fury after German planes bombed the Basque city of Guernika. Other exhibits feature Miró’s career, among which numerous expressive sculptures such as “Pájaro Lunar” (1966), a huge black bronze being.

The Guernica painting of Picasso


America Museum

Madrid doesn’t have a public museum dedicated to the ex-colonies of Latin America until the Museo de América opened in 1993, bringing together a large number of scattered documents and exposeing them under the same roof. The presentation is ingenious, but it is limited to the colonist’s perspective. There is no mention of the atrocities and exploitation of which the Spaniards have been guilty, and the native peoples appear to be exotic curiosities.

America Museum

That being said, the 2,500 exhibits are presented in inventive ways. The main part of the collection comes from the Royal Cabinet, but other items were bought or donated: the Colombian government gave the fabulous Quimbayas thesaurus. Room 1 is dedicated to the trips of explorers, Spanish chroniclers, including Christopher Columbus, a study room from the 19th century. The 18th reconstituted and fascinating maps. There are also stunning engravings, paintings and artifacts, such as the Amazonian feather hats, the fantastic Paracas feather cloak, Costa Rican Diquis gold and colonial antique pieces. The central part of the Hispanic collection fills the first half of the first floor in Hall 2 and 3. It is arranged on topics such as birth and death, housing and tools. You can admire ceramic figures from Colima, Mexico, maya sculptures, olme jade objects, beautiful Mexican Gulf cultures, Chilean textiles, still artifacts, Ecuador ceramics, Columbia and Costa Rica gold ornaments, hopi and chumash indian baskets And an enormous canoe in the Amazon. Fantastic Mexican paintings of the sec. 18th century illustrates Conquista, and Chinese furniture highlights the maritime links with the Philippines, another Spanish colony.


The most precious exhibits of the museum are those referring to the religious traditions of pre-Hispanic American societies and are located on the upper floor (sometimes closed to allow temporary exhibitions to take place). Here is the Stela Maya of Madrid, the Colombian gold treasure of Quimbayas, the Tudela codex manuscript (1553) and, above all, the Trocrotesian Codex (the XIV th century), one of The four Maya manuscripts that exist in the world.

Next to the magnificent building of the museum is the surprising Faro de Moncloa (Lighthouse of Moncloa, Avenida Reyes Católicos, phone 91 722 04 00, closed Monday), a steel tower that rises to over 76 m, designed by Salvador Pérez Arroyo 1992. Climb the elevator onto the observation platform to admire the magnificent images of Madrid.


El Escorial Palace

Philip II’s palace monastery, now a popular venue for Madrillian tourists, leans over the little town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The King wanted the palace to restore the glory of the Habsburg dynasty but, at the same time, to be a place where he could retreat into a more contemplative existence than he could in Madrid. The construction of the building was begun by Juan Bautista de Toledo in 1563 and quickly completed by his student Juan de Herrera in 1584, with the King’s constant contribution. It’s grandiose, but austere and fits in with its dazzling décor. The style was in the likeness of Philip II, but reflects a wide-ranging fashion reaction to their unity during the reign of Carol V.

Escorial Palace


If you visit it during the winter, you may have the chance to see snow on foot because you are at an altitude of 1,028 m. Regardless of the season, the view from the 2,673 windows is sublime and includes everything from Fences guarded to the remote mountains. The small town of San Lorenzo has a large number of hotels and restaurants. You will be glad to be so, because Escorial is a vast maze of patio, corridors, hallways, stairs and chapels that require a visit of at least three to four hours.

You have to follow a preset route around the building: it is well signaled and the information panels give descriptions in both Spanish and English about the main objectives in each room. The first thing you will notice when you enter the palace is the series of tapestries called Golden Tapestry and massive work by El Greco “Martyrdom of St. Matthew “. From here you go down to the Museo de Arquitectura, which offers a huge array of architectural drawings, plans, patterns and examples of carpentry used for arbors. The next is the Museo de Pinturas (Painting Museum), which hosts Italian, Spanish and Flemish masterpieces. Here you will find works by Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Van Dyck and Rubens. Among these, he searches for the famous brightness of the work of Archangel St Michael, Luca Cambiaso (1527-1585), and the triptych made by Michel Coxcie (1499-1592). If you were at the Prado Museum, maybe you will recognize “The Descent on the Cross” by Rogier van der Weyden. However, it is inferior reproduction. The place of honor is given to the Calvary.

A gorgeous fresco in the Royal Library is Tibaldi’s work

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium

Visit the stadium of the legendary  football team Real Madrid.

The stadium of Real Madrid- Santiago Bernabeu


Vincente Calderon

Vist to Atletico Madrid’ stadium.

Vincente Calderon Stadium -Atletico Madrid Football Team

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