You should always be looking up in Madrid to capture the rich architectural details on display. From historical churches and beautiful palaces to grand Art Nouveau and Art Deco specimens scattered through the city, the Spanish capital definitely contains a number of architectural jewels. For starters, here are a few of Madrid’s buildings I encourage you to get to know better:
Spain’s Royal Palace: An opulent 18th century building of white stone, Spain’s Royal Palace is a grand feature of Madrid’s western side and historic core, surrounded by gardens, squares and other beautiful buildings. Spain’s current royal family does not actually reside in the Royal Palace (they live at La Zarzuela Palace), but state dinners are held there.
Longoria Palace: While some confuse it with an Antoni Gaudí creation, it is an exquisite, curvy Art Nouveau building the color of sand. Today the palace is the headquarters of Spain’s General Society of Authors and Editors (SGAE).
Cibeles Palace (also known as Communications Palace): A fantastic structure that looks like a cross between a white sandcastle and a wedding cake, this palace houses a portion of Madrid’s city hall offices and overlooks emblematic Cibeles fountain.
Atocha Station: A major transportation hub as Madrid and Spain’s main train station, it features a large, distinctive 19th century greenhouse structure housing a small tropical rainforest and tons of turtles swimming below. The station’s newest feature is the glass March 11 monument commemorating the victims of the 2004 attacks.
Spain’s Lower House of Parliament at the Palacio de las Cortes: Where Spain’s MPs debate and have it out is a beautiful and formal neoclassical building with two bronze lions in front. And in case you were wondering, Spain’s Upper House of Parliament (the Senate) can be found near the Royal Palace, but it isn’t as splendid a building as the first.
[Photo: Konstantinos Dafalias]