If you want to lose yourself in the beauty, go to Barcelona. If you are into sunny beaches or want to experience that special and charming atmosphere of a Spanish countryside where you can enjoy the finest wines, visit the region of Andalusia. But if you are interested in cultural activities and bustling nightlife, Madrid has to be your first pick. There is no time for siestas in a vibrant city like this! When you get hungry from all the activities, don’t forget to try the best tapas in whole Spain.
One useful tip is to avoid Madrid at summer because it can get really, really hot. Spring and Fall are the best choices. While you are there, check out these five amazing places.
1. Royal Palace
Palacio Real is the most attractive tourist destination in Madrid. It is the Spanish version of Versailles and it was designed to impress. The size of it is mesmerizing. This Palace in late Baroque style was built for 36 years. It contains 2,500 rooms that are ornately decorated. Walls in the hallways are decorated by paintings of remarkable artists: Goya, Velasquez, El Greco, and Rubens - just to name a few.
Royal Armory within the Palace is considered one of the best in Europe and it features 3000 exhibits that go back to 16 century.
2. Puerta Del Sol
Puerta del Sol or “Gate of the Sun” is the heart of Madrid’s historic center and it’s bursting with people, shops, bars, and restaurants. Most famous building on the square is the home of the regional government- Casa de Correos.
There is an old saying: “all roads lead to Rome”. In Spain, all roads lead to the famous Plaza Puerta Del Sol. That is because all distances between highways in the country are measured from here. The plaque called “Kilometer Zero” is marking the starting point of the entire highway network in Spain.
3. Prado Museum
With the collection of more than 5000 paintings, Prado Museum can stand proudly, arm to arm, with the Louvre museum in Paris. It is the home for paintings made by Spanish artists between 12th and 19th century. The collection includes respectable 140 artworks signed by Francisco Goya.
Besides Spanish masterpieces, you can also enjoy the best works of Italian, British, French, German and Flemish artists.
4. Retiro Park
Retiro Park or "Park of the Pleasant Retreat" in English is the biggest park in Madrid and it spreads on 350 acres, containing a vast number of gardens, buildings, and fountains. It was part of the royal park until it was open for public us in 1868. Really popular among tourist and local is the artificial pond where you can rent a kayak or a canoe and enjoy in peace and quiet. The park also hosts many events during the year.
5. Temple of Debod
This is one of truly unique and most unusual sites in Madrid. The Temple is situated in Parque Del Oeste, beautiful park near the Royal Palace. It originally stood on the bank of river Nile in Egypt and was constructed to celebrate the Egyptian goddess Issis. When Aswan Dam was built, it had to be relocated so the flood wouldn’t damage it. Spaniards greatly assisted in moving the whole Temple and, in the sign of gratitude, the Egyptian state donated it to Spain in 1968. The Temple is 4000 years old and it’s ornamented with bas-reliefs which depict the God Amonn and goddess Issis.