The Spanish capital is both majestic and bohemian. The city offers a seamless blend of architecture, gastronomy and culture. Lively and always on the move, it brings a welcome exotic touch. Here are some ways to take advantage of this beautiful Spanish city on one day in Madrid.
Morning at Retiro Park
The tour begins at the Puerta de Alcala, one of the city's historic gates. Right across the street, Retiro Park awaits its visitors. Its 308 acres contain many wonders, including the famous lake where tourists canoe, the magnificent Crystal Palace built in 1887, and the rose garden with its 4,000 rose bushes.
Exploring the Prado
Near the Retiro is the Prado, Madrid's most important museum. This enormous neoclassical building houses a world-renowned art gallery. It's a joy to admire Velazquez's Las Meninas El Greco's The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest, or Goya's The Third of May.
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The Statue of the Bear and the Madrono Tree
As your day in Madrid continues, head for the huge Plaza de Cibeles. In the centre, a beautiful fountain draws attention, while in the south-east, Madrid's imposing city hall tries to take the spotlight. The nearby subway takes you to Puerta del Sol, the city's nerve centre. It's a chance to see one of Madrid's iconic monuments : the Statue of the Bear and the Madrono Tree.
Head to Plaza Mayor
From Sol, you can walk to one of the city's gems : Plaza Mayor. The rectangular plaza is entirely surrounded by arcades, and features an equestrian statue of Philip III in the centre. What could be more pleasant than admiring it from the terrace of one of its restaurants ? Especially since this time of day is perfect for tasting tapas, and if you only have one day in Madrid, delicious tapas must be top of your to-do list.
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The hidden statues
Located on the east side of the Palace, Plaza de Oriente is bordered by beautiful colourful 19th century houses and the Royal Theatre. There are statues hidden beneath the trees and beautifully designed flowerbeds. It is a solemn spot, but absolutely lovely.
Afternoon shopping break
Returning to the city centre, it's hard to resist a bit of shopping during your 24 hours in Madrid : the vast and lively Gran Via has many international brands while the Calle Fuencarral has a mix of well-known brands and small shops. This pleasant street is the gateway to the colourful neighbourhoods of Malasana and Chueca.
Rest at Cafe del jardin
Need a break? Cafe del jardin, set in the backyard of the Museum of Romanticism, is the perfect place. In Malasana and Chueca, imperial Madrid is disappearing in favour of small bustling squares and narrow streets where you can get lost. During your 24 hours in Madrid, you can stroll these charming bohemian neighbourhoods at your whim, soaking up their characteristic atmosphere.
Dinner in Chueca
It will soon be dark, but the Spanish capital stays up late. It's time to mingle with the Madrilenians and head out to dinner. There are plenty of possibilities, especially in Chueca. Taberna Carmencita on Calle Libertad was founded over 150 years ago. It offers updated traditional cuisine in a rustic yet modern setting. The night has only just begun, so make the most of it.