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  • Writer's pictureSteph

Getting to Know Madrid & It's Top Landmarks

Updated: Sep 3, 2020

Real Palace Madrid

Day 2

It was a beautiful sunny day in the capital of Spain. We were super excited about the places we have on the sight-seen list. It was my official birthday date, I turned 30 years old and I was super happy and grateful for the trip; to have the opportunity of celebrating my day in another country is just a blessing.

Day 2 started! After a nice breakfast in a cafe next to the hotel, we start the day exploring Puerta del Sol. The city is so beautiful, I love walking around and looking at the amazing architecture, the cool alleys, and finding all sort of things.

Here is the list of places you can visit in a day. Most of them are top attractions in Madrid and some were found while walking around. Is easy to move around the city, even using the Metro.

Puerta del Sol / Gateway of the Sun

Is the main plaza in Madrid, one of the best known and busiest places in the city.

What to look for when you get there:

  • The square also contains the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of a new year.

  • There is a plaque on the floor “kilometro 0” this point indicates the center of Spain.

  • You also will find the popular statue of El Oso y Madroño. This is the official symbol of the city.

  • Puerta del Sol’s third and largest statue is found in the centre of the square and depicts King Charles III of Spain on horseback.

Chocolateria San Gines

On the way from Puerta del Sol to Plaza Mayor, there's a must stop, you should go to the popular Chocolateria San Gines. This place is known for its churros. You can order to go or sit down.

San Ginés opened in 1894 and serves up the most famous churros in Madrid. What you'll get? Warm churros and a small cup with melted chocolate. It is open 24 hours a day. It’s a tourist spot and can be very crowded, you might find long lines.

The Plaza Mayor

It is a major public space in the heart of Madrid. It was once the center of Old Madrid. Located in the heart of Hapsburg Madrid, during the period of Philip III's reign.

Located a few blocks away from the famous plaza Puerta del Sol and the Royal Palace.

Mercado San Miguel

This food market opened its door in May 1916 and it's one of Europe's most recognized gastronomic markets. It's a remarkable site due to its original twentieth-century iron structure. Allows visitor to experience the best food and flavors from all corners of Spain.

An easy walk from Plaza Mayor to this gorgeous marketplace.

Almudena Cathedral

Madrid’s cathedral was consecrated by Pope John Paul on its opening in 1993. Its Baroque exterior matches the older Royal Palace next door, and it was where King Felipe and Queen Letizia married.

It’s facing the Royal Palace and at the end of the plateau.

You can get tickets to visit the museum and the dome.

Royal Palace

The royal family doesn't live here, but it continues to be their official residence. The palace is used for state ceremonies. Built-in the mid-1700s for King Philip V the Royal Palace is on the site of Madrid’s Moorish Alcázar fortress-palace, which burned down in 1734. It is also thought to be the largest royal palace in Western Europe with a total of 3,000 rooms, only some of which are open to the public, including the popular armory room and royal pharmacy.

What you can find inside the palace?

  • Artworks by: Goya, Caravaggio, and Velázquez, as well as stunning displays of watches, tapestries, porcelain, and silverware.

  • You can see the only string quartet of Stradivarius instruments in the world, and the Royal Armoury that includes the personal weapons used by Charles V in the 16th Century.

Outside of the palace:

  • It also has beautiful gardens. The neoclassical Sabatini Gardens are adjacent to the property and easily accessible via the street stairway.

  • Plaza de Oriente, in front of the imposing Palacio Real.

- Changing of Guard happens every Wednesday at 11 am.

- Get tickets ahead of time to avoid long lines.

Teatro Real

The Teatro Real of Madrid is one of the most important opera houses in Europe. Is also a symbolic landmark of the city.

El Rastro

Is a flea market located in the historic center of Madrid, in the popular neighborhood of La Latina. It opens every Sunday and every bank holiday.

Plaza de España

This was closed due to the reconstruction of the time of my visit.

The Temple of Debod

An ancient Egyptian temple from the 2nd century B.C. Located in the Parque del Oeste, to the west of Plaza España. The temple was donated in 1968 to Spain by the Egyptian state in gratitude for Spain's helping save the temples of Abu Simbel.

- Free entrance, but you have to wait in line since there's only a fair amount of people allowed inside the temple at once.

- One of the best times to visit Debod Temple is during the sunset, the view and the sunlight reflecting through make it so magical.

After such a long day around Madrid, my mom and I went back to the hotel and met with my friend. We took a shower, and rest for a while before heading for dinner. My friend was tired and stayed over.

It was my birthday so how would I miss my special dinner. We went to a restaurant near the hotel, closed to Puerta del Sol. It was a Cuban cuisine restaurant with live music after 11 pm, La Negra Tomasa. There was a live band, all women salsa band playing. We had a good time and the food was so good, I totally recommended it.

On the trip, I used the google map on my phone. I had the phone on travel mode, but if you go to a place with WiFi and search for the places you are planning to go and mark them you can still get a reference point of where to go. The blue ball was moving around so it helps us to have a sense of where we were going. Let me know on the comment below what do you use when you are traveling to new cities.

**More about the places we found while walking around in an upcoming post.

This was our fun second and last day in Madrid, Spain. I hope all the information is helpful to you when planning your trip.

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