Old town and Madrid of the Habsburgs
In its old town the narrow streets and squares display great architectural beauty. Visitors can easily walk around the town centre and the area of the Habsburgs.
Puerta del Sol
- In it you will be able to admire different buildings like the Casa de Correos (Post Office) that is the dominant element among the other buildings.
- It was built by Ventura Rodríguez and commissioned by Charles III in 1760.
- Currently, it is home to the local Council of Madrid and witnesses every year important events like the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
- In the square we will find important statues like the popular Oso y el Madroño (the Bear and the Strawberry Tree).
- This central square is a big arcaded square built in the 17th century and you will find the statue of Philip III.
- It was in this very square where the patron saint of Madrid, San Isidro, was beatified in 1621.
- It was also the place where Rodrigo Calderón, Philip III’s secretary was executed.
- Under its arcade you will find many different bars and restaurants where you will try the local delicacies. This square attracts many tourists as well as young people who come here to start their night out.
- It is the official residency of the King and Queen of Spain, although they don’t live in it at the moment.
- The last king who lived here was Alfonso XIII.
- It has more than 3,000 rooms, the main ones are: the Main Stairs, the Throne Room, the Halberdiers’ Room and the picture gallery.
- Building work started in 1883 and its façade integrates with the Royal Palace creating a unique effect.
Madrid of the Bourbons
In the east area of the Madrid of the Habsburgs was an area with vegetable gardens, hence its name ´Prado´ (prairie). In the 18th century, Charles III extended the city around this area, a gate was built and the foundations of what would become the Prado Museum were laid. In this area you will also find other important museums like Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Puerta de Alcalá
- Situated in the middle of the roundabout of the Plaza de la Independencia and designed in 1869 by Ángel Fernández de los Ríos.
- it took the place of an old Baroque gate built by Philip III to welcome his wife Margaret of Austria.
- It was used exclusively by the Royal Family until the 18th century.
- In it they organized bullfighting shows and even naval battles.
- Currently, it is a large public park that can be enjoyed by everybody with several differentiated spaces like the park, its paths or the lake with its boats.
- In summer, there are also outdoor concerts and exhibitions.
Gastronomy in Madrid
All over Madrid you will be able to enjoy a delicious and very attractive gastronomical offer elaborated with the best artisan ingredients. In the centre you will find fantastic eateries like bars serving great ham, taverns and tapas bars. The most typical dishes of the local cuisine are cocido madrileño (soup accompanied by chick peas with potatoes, meat and fat), game and offal. Also popular are rolls filled with acorn-fed ham and calamari, ideal as a snack in one of the bars around the centre.
Gran Vía is the most famous street in Madrid. Alfonso XIII commissioned its construction in 1910 and with time it has become one of the main symbols of the capital city, because it was the first avenue to join the east and west parts. The Gran Via is also very well-known because of its theatres. It has also being called the ‘Madrilian Broadway’. This term was used because of the many theatres and cinemas that have taken over this avenue throughout the years. With time, many buildings were altered to become cinemas or theatres, like Palacio de la Música or Cine Avenida. Later on, during the 80s, one of the most emblematic shops of the Gran Via was born, Madrid Rock, that was one of the main ports for buying records and CDs for many, many years. Other cinemas in this avenue are Palacio de la Prensa, Callao, Capitol, Coliseum, Rialto, Imperial and Lope de Vega.
Shopping on the Gran Via
Around the Gran Via you can find almost anything you need. Only a few steps away from the hotel you will find Calle Fuencarral, where you will be able to buy modern clothes in innumerable shops selling national and international brands, or maybe you can visit the Fuencarral market and see some of its original shops in one of the most modern areas in Madrid. On the other hand, you can also walk around the streets of El Carmen and Preciados, where you will not just find big department stores like FNAC or El Corte Inglés, but also many different shops selling shoes, music, clothes, souvenirs and many other interesting things. Sundays you will be able to enjoy the street market, El Rastro, just a few minutes walk from the hotel. In this famous and quaint street market you will find a variety of products from valuable antiques to many different types of souvenirs.