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Attractions

Steeped in history, Madrid is a sightseeing paradise with the arts taking centre stage. It will take visitors several days to explore Spain's energetic capital and see all the historical landmarks, museums, art galleries, and parks the city has to offer.

The Paseo del Arte (Art Walk) links the three art museums that make up Madrid's famous 'Golden Triangle', namely Prado, Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornomisza, where the works of such Spanish masters as Picasso can be viewed. The Times Square of Spain, Puerta del Sol is the official centre of Madrid and a must see, where visitors can take in such famous landmarks as the El Oso y El Madroño, a 20-ton statue of a bear eating fruits off a Madrono tree, and a large equestrian statue of King Carlos III. Take a stroll through Calle and Plaza Mayor (medieval Madrid), lined with beautiful old buildings and impressively ornate churches, and visit Goya's tomb at the Panteon de Goya.

The best, and most old-fashioned way to see the city is by foot as there are so many tucked away places to explore as well as many to appreciate en route to the next attraction, and with plenty of green lungs dotted throughout Madrid, exhausted sightseers can relax and rest their legs on a park bench and watch the world go by. Visitors to Madrid are advised to purchase the Madrid Card which offers free entry to more than 40 museums, and discounts in many shops and restaurants, as well as free public transport. It is available from tourist offices.

West facade of The Prado, Madrid

The Prado

One of Madrid's most famous attractions is the 19th-century Prado Museum, one of the world's greatest art galleries, with more than 7,000 paintings that include masterpieces by Fra Angelico, Botticelli, El Bosco, Titian, Rembrandt and Velazquez. The museum began as a Royal collection, which...  see full details



Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The second gallery in Madrid's 'golden triangle' of art museums is the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Housing the former private collection of the Thyssen family, the works were bought by the city of Madrid to enrich its impressive collection of art treasures. The collection, housed in...  see full details



Guernica by Picasso

Reina Sofia National Art Centre Museum

The third of Madrid's famed art galleries, the Reina Sofia is dedicated to 20th century Spanish art, having been designed to give Spain a museum to equal France's Pompidou Centre and London's Tate Gallery. The museum was opened by Queen Sofia in 1986,...  see full details



Royal Palace, Madrid

Royal Palace

The massive, bright-white Royal Palace (Palacio Real) on the Plaza de Oriente in Madrid dates from 1734, when the 3,000-roomed royal residence was commissioned by Philip V. The imposing palace was built on the site of a Moorish fortress which dated back to...  see full details



Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

Madrid's famous central arcaded square dates from 1619 and was built by Philip III, whose statue still stands in the centre of the cobbled expanse. In medieval times the Plaza de Arrabal, as it was then known, was the venue for numerous public...  see full details



Goya\'s self-portrait

San Antonio de la Florida

The Panteon de Goya (Goya's Tomb) is situated in the Glorieta de San Antonio de la Florida, and is known as Goya's Sistine Chapel. The artist decorated the dome and cupola of the little chapel with a fresco depicting the miracles of St...  see full details



The Fountain of the Falling Angel

Parque del Buen Retiro

Madrid's lush central park, one of many green spaces in the city, covers 350 acres (142 hectares) and was laid out originally as the private garden of Philip IV. This beautiful, huge park, was opened to the public in 1868 and remains a...  see full details



Flamenco dancers

Flamenco at Corral de la Moreria

Listed as one of Madrid's top ten sights, the tablao flamenco (flamenco show restaurant) is renowned as the oldest and most famous flamenco show in the world. The multi-award winning establishment draws kings and queens, international presidents, film stars, and well-known artists and writers...  see full details



The Bear and the Madrono Tree

Puerta del Sol

One of the most well-known plazas in the country, Puerta del Sol is the historical and geographical heart of the city. Named after Madrid's eastern city gate of the same location; the 15th-century entryway earned its name by being bathed in the rays...  see full details



The Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Botanic Garden

Located nearby the Prado Museum, the Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid is one of the oldest botanic gardens in Europe. With the foundation of the garden ordered by King Ferdinand VI in 1755, the Royal Botanic Garden has been cataloguing and nurturing rare species...  see full details



National Archaeological Museum of Spain

National Archaeological Museum of Spain

A worthwhile visit in a country known for its rich history, the National Archaeological Museum was founded in 1867 with the purpose of being a depository for the collection of numismatic, archaeological, ethnographical and decorative art collections compiled by the Spanish monarchs. Situated in...  see full details



Joaquin Sorolla

Sorolla Museum

A hidden gem, the Sorolla Museum was the home of renowned Spanish Impressionist painter Joaquín Sorolla and his family. Donated to the government in 1929 by Sorolla's widow, the house now operates as a memorial and museum, displaying a large collection of Sorolla's glowing...  see full details