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Best attractions to visit in Madrid

1. Royal Palace of Madrid - Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid

The Royal Palace of Madrid, also known as Palacio Real de Madrid, is the official residence of the royal family. However, the palace is only used for state ceremonies. The palace was built during the 16th century. The square as it exists today was designed by architect Enrique María Repullés, the foundation laid out in 1892. Spread over an area of 1.4 million sq. ft., the Royal Palace is the largest royal palace in Europe with 3,418 rooms. Visitors are amazed by the variety of arts and decoration pieces in the palace. The palace contains paintings by various well-known artists including Velázquez, Caravaggio, and Francisco de Goya. There is also an extensive collection of frescoes done by artists such as Juan de Flandes, Corrado Giaquinto, Anton Raphael Mengs, and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. There are various other collections of historic importance including porcelain, silverware, watches, furniture, and the world's only string quintet known as the Stradivarius. An audio guide is available that provides a historical background of various pieces in the palace. Sabatini Garden is situated north of the Palace that extends to the Cuesta de San Vicente and Calle de Bailén. It is certainly worth a visit while in Spain.

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2. Palacio de Cristal - Madrid

Palacio de Cristal

Designed by the famous architect Ricardo Velazquez, Palacio de Cristal is a gorgeous glass palace modeled after the Crystal Palace in London. This palace was constructed in 1887 in central Madrid, 36 years after the London Crystal Palace was built. Palacio de Cristal is situated in the center of the city’s popular park, Buen Retiro. The intricate design and glasswork reflects quality workmanship that continues to attract tourists from around the world. This palace resembles the shape of a Greek cross. It is entirely made of glass in an iron-framework on a brick-base which is complemented with decorative ceramics. The palace features a dome shaped roof that is 22 meters high. In front of this beautiful palace is a huge artificial lake with geese, ducks, terrapins and black swans. This is a beautiful architectural monument which is often used as a venue for artwork displays and exhibitions held in the city. Although it is not open for public, nonetheless, tourists still come to visit this palace to view Ricardo Velazquez’s architectural brilliance and craftsmanship. The tourists come here to enjoy a relaxing time in the Buen Retiro Park while appreciating this historic marvel that is truly one of a kind in Spain.

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3. The Westin Palace - Madrid

The Westin Palace

The Westin Palace is a luxury hotel resort situated on the Carrera de San Jerónimo at Centro in Madrid, Spain. Known for its sumptuous hospitality since 1912, the iconic hotel is located in the central part of the city, within walking distance of the city's major tourist attractions including the Thyssen, Prado, and Reina Sofia museums. The Westin Palace hotel was built over a period of a year and a half and was opened for public in 1912. It was the largest hotel in Europe at the time – one of the few in the continent that offered such luxuries as intercom, toilets, and telephone in every room. The basement of the hotel contained entertainment options of the visitors including the 'the del Palace' dance hall, a jazz lounge, and a bar. In 1999, the Spanish government designated this hotel as a cultural heritage of the country. Today, the 5-star hotel is part of the Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. Guests can enjoy breakfast/dinner in one of the beautiful atrium of the hotel. Every room is lavishly furnished for the comfort of the guests. In addition, due to its location in the neighborhood of Las Letras, guest can find various leisure, shopping and gastronomic options located nearby.

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4. Plaza de España - Madrid

Plaza de Espana

Situated on the west of the Gran Via Street in the center of the capital, Plaza de España, also known as the Spain Square, is a popular destination among tourists for sightseeing. The plaza features a stunning monument of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra who was a very famous and renowned Spanish poet, playwright and novelist known for his works like Don Quixote. For this reason, tourists from around the world, who also happen to be fans of Miguel de Cervantes, make sure that they stop by, at the Plaza de España to view the monument of their favorite Spanish poet and novelist. This monument was built in five years between 1925 and 1930. The Plaza is located in the middle of two of the most famous and prominent skyscrapers. One is the Madrid Tower which was built in the year 1950 and is the tallest skyscraper in the city. The second skyscraper that is located near the Plaza de España is the España Building. Palacio Real, the Royal Palace is also located a few blocks away. To reach the Plaza de España, use the subway Lines 3 to 10. It is a great place and one of the must-visit landmarks in Madrid.

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5. Plaza Mayor - Madrid

Plaza Mayor

Once in Madrid, make sure that you visit Plaza Mayor. It is a popular place among locals and tourists alike. From the façade of this plaza to the construction work and interior, everything about this plaza is awe-inspiring. Situated in the center of Spain’s capital city, Madrid, the Plaza Mayor is a huge arcaded square boasting a uniform architecture with intricate detailing. This Plaza was constructed during the period of Habsburg and is located near the city’s other famous plaza called the Puerta del Sol. Plaza Mayor measures 129 x 94 meters and is engulfed by 3 buildings having nearly 237 balconies that face the plaza directly. This is a huge plaza that has a total of 9 entrances. This magnificent structure is the work of art of the famous and high-skilled architect, Juan De Villanueva. This plaza also features a stunning bronze statue of King Philip III. It is situated right in the center of the square. This statue was created by Pietro Tacca and Jean Boulogne in the year 1616. The Plaza presents a place for a variety of activities such as football games, Spanish Inquisitions, and bullfights. It also has a ring of traditional cafés and shops and is one of the most popular tourist attractions that the city of Madrid has to offer.

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6. Plaza de Cibele - Madrid

Plaza de Cibele

Featuring Neo-classical style of stunning marble structures accentuated with a beautiful foundation, the Plaza de Cibeles has become the city’s icon. It is situated in the center of the city. The foundation is named after the Greek goddess of fertility, Cybele. It features Cybele on a chariot being pulled by two lions while holding a scepter. The lions pulling the chariot symbolize the power of the goddess. This monument was sculpted in the year 1782 by Ventura Rodriguez. The plaza is intersected by 2 major roads, the road on the north runs towards Paseo del Prado while the road to the west goes towards Calle de Alcalá. Since Plaza de Cibeles is square in shape, on each of the four corners of this plaza, you can find a historic building such as the Palacio de Buenavista which was constructed in the year 1777 that currently serves as the Spanish Army headquarters and the Palacio de Linares which is owned by the organization Casa de América. This building was built in 1877, and there are plenty of things to do in Plaza de Cibeles However, the most prominent of all the buildings located at the Plaza de Cibeles is the Cybele Palace which resembles a cathedral. It was built by Antonio Palacios in 1909 and served as the postal service headquarters until 2007 when it became the City Hall of the capital.

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7. San Francisco el Grande Basilica - Madrid

San Francisco el Grande Basilica

San Francisco El Grande Basilica is also known as the Royal Basílica de San Francisco El Grande. This is a breathtaking Roman-Catholic Church located in the heart of Spain’s capital city. The Basilica is designed beautifully in Neo-classical style designed by Antonio Plo. For designing this architectural masterpiece, Antonio Plo took inspiration from a design created by Francisco Cabezas. The building’s main façade faces the gorgeous San Francisco Plaza. The top of the building features a massive dome that measures about 108 feet in diameter and roughly 190 feet in height, bigger than the Saint Paul’s Cathedral located in London. The shape of the dome of this building is surprisingly more circular as compared to the domes that were normally built during the eighteenth century. The San Francisco El Grande Basilica cathedral contains the finest collections of famous/legendary artists including masterpieces of legends like Francisco Goya, Alonso Cano, and Zurbarán. It also features sculptures from Mariano Benlliure and Ricardo Bellver. It is a beautiful place to visit. The buildings showcase flawless artistry and architectural brilliance that continue to awe-inspire whoever visits this place. You’ll truly enjoy your visit to San Francisco El Grande Basilica, especially if you love history and appreciate art, which is why it is one of the most recommended places to visit.

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8. Almudena Cathedral - Madrid

Almudena Cathedral

Almudena Cathedral is a historic gem dating back to the year 1883. The thought of building this cathedral was conceived in the year 1561 when King Felipe II declared Madrid as the new capital of Spain instead of Toledo. The King wanted a beautiful and magnificent cathedral for Spain’s new capital which led to the creation of Almudena Cathedral. However, the idea was realized in the year 1883 when the construction work to build this cathedral started at full throttle. The project construction was supposed to start earlier, soon after the idea was finalized. However, due to political unrest and turbulence, the construction work was postponed. Originally, the site where this cathedral stands today was occupied by the city’s first mosque. The architectural work of this spectacular cathedral reflects the Neo Gothic style. It is 104 meters long and approximately 76 meters wide. The Almudena Cathedral is nestled adjacent to the gorgeous Royal Palace. The cathedral features bright interior and intricately designed architecture that leaves people amazed. The entrance to this cathedral is free. The Almudena Cathedral also boasts a museum that exhibits great work reflecting the history of the cathedral and the archdiocese of the capital, Madrid. The museum is open for tourists from Monday to Saturday but closed on Sundays.

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9. Temple of Debod - Madrid

Temple of Debod

The Temple of Debod is an ancient Egyptian sanctuary that was taken apart and reassembled in Madrid, Spain in 1968. The temple was originally built during the early 2nd century BC and located about 15 km south of Aswan in Egypt. It underwent renovations during the reign of Potelmic and Roman emperors. UNESCO had made an international appeal to save rich cultural heritage of Egypt due to the threat posed by the Aswan High Dam. Spain provided gracious financial and technical help for the restoration of the Abu Simbel temple in Egypt. As gratitude for the assistance, the Egyptian government donated the temple to Spain. The temple was reassembled at the Parque del Oeste located near the Royal Palace in Madrid. The temple represents one of the very few displays of ancient Egyptian architecture that can be seen outside Egypt, and one of a kind in Spain. Entry to the temple is free. It contains two levels and the guard allows only a small group to enter the temple at one time. Inside the temple visitors can see depiction of Egyptian deities and religious ceremonies. There are also models that depict the location where the original temple was in Egypt.

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10. Museo Nacional Del Prado - Madrid

Museo Nacional Del Prado

Nestled in the heart of Madrid, Museo Nacional Del Prado is one of the greatest museums not only in Spain but around the world. Built in 1785 by Juan de Villanueva, this museum features some of the finest European art collections from around the world, dating back from the twelfth century to the early nineteenth century. Though initially, it was founded as a museum to showcase sculpture and paintings, it now consists of various other types of valuable woks such as prints and drawings. In fact, currently, the museum houses approximately 7,600 artworks from legendary artists, over 1000 sculptures, nearly 8,200 drawings and 4,800 prints and a large number of historic documents. Here, you can view amazing works from legends like Francisco de Goya, Titian, Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco and Diego. Museo Nacional Del Prado is the most visited museum in Spain attracting tourists from all over the world. Due to the large influx of tourists visiting this museum annually, the authority responsible for maintaining the museum continues to invest in the expansion of this building. By 2007, the museum’s exhibition-area was increased by 50 percent. The extensions of the building were designed by Rafael Moneo, a famous Spanish architect.

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