If you find yourself in Madrid for a week, here are some places I really enjoyed and found were worth the walk!
1. Puerto del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Mercado de San Miguel & The Palace of the Spanish Royal family. I put these together as they are all must-sees down the same road! The “Palacio Real” is an absolute must and on your way there, you pass the best indoor food market I’ve ever been to. Begin at “Puerto Del Sol” on your map, which is a gorgeous square with some fascinating entertainers, many of which are keen to take pictures with you for a euro. It also has branches in every direction to alleyways and streets with restaurants and shops. It’s great for pictures and to get the essence of local life. It seems to be in the centre of everything and you can take an easy metro line to “Sol” and you pop out right there. Travel straight down the street “Calle Mayor” right next to the square, and you will eventually end up at the palace. Very easy! The street “Calle Mayor” is a main street and very pretty. You pass many local cafes, bakeries and some iconic monuments and cathedrals. A beautiful square about 5 minutes walk down the street from “Puerto del Sol” is “Plaza Mayor”. It’s on your left. It’s packed with restaurants and cafes and I enjoyed having a sangria and a spanish omelette here! Shortly after the square, also on your left, is my favourite place ever, the “Mercado de San Miguel” – an indoor food market night & day. You can’t miss it. I highly recommend a visit. The fresh food is incredible. In total it will take you about 20 minutes to get to the palace from “Puerto del Sol” depending on how fast you walk. But take it slow and take in all the sights and sounds of this street the locals love. Get a coffee and a pastry along the way…
2. Cathedral de la Almudena, Sabatini Gardens, Plaza De Oriente, Temple of Debod. If you literally carry on walking down Calle Mayor, you end up with the Palace and a beautiful cathedral called “Cathedral de la Almudena” in front of you. You naturally turn right to gain entry into these places and you are in a street called “Calle Ballen”. After your visits, continue walking up this street in the direction of “Temple of Debod” on your map. You will pass “Plaza De Oriente” on your right with some fantastic monuments showing important figures from the history of Spain and “Sabatini Gardens” on your left which are beautiful. Carry on in a straight line up and eventually you hit the “Temple of Debod”. It’s literally one straight line all the way, so walking this is very easy and you kill four birds with one stone (us tourists have limited time!). I enjoyed the Egyptian “Temple of Debod” which is fascinating in that it is original and was given to Spain as a gift from Egypt in 1968.
3. Gran Via, Plaza de Cibeles, Museo Del Prado. Gran Via is the most famous street in Madrid. It has the iconic Rolex building and many more. If you walk down it in the direction towards the “Plaza de Cibeles” on your map, you will enjoy this famous square with its stunning fountain of Neptune. Once there, turn right and start heading down the street “Paseo del Prado”. You will eventually hit the “Museo Del Prado” on your right and the “Ritz Hotel” on your left. I thoroughly enjoyed the “Museo Del Prado” where there were paintings from masters such as Goya, Rembrandt & Raphael. You won’t be disappointed, I spent about 5 hours there!
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