Explore Madrid

One Day in Madrid

Things to Do — By Sarah E. Rogers on September 28, 2011 at 3:28 am

Maybe you’re in town for a business conference. Maybe you have a long layover. For whatever reason, you only have one day to enjoy the Spanish capital, but there are so many things in Madrid to see. What do you do to make the most of that day? Use our one-day Madrid plan!

Start at the entrance to the Metro stop Banco de España where the Paseo de Recoletos from the north meets the Paseo del Prado to the south and Calle de Alcalá from the west and east. At this crossroads you will see beautiful Cibeles Palace (also known as Communications Palace) to the southeast, the Bank of Spain at the southwestern corner, and in the middle, the city’s symbolic fountain featuring a statue of the goddess Cibeles.

Walk west on Calle Alcalá and past the pretty Metropolis building dome towards the Puerta del Sol. Don’t forget to look up and admire the unique architectural details of these buildings.

In the Puerta del Sol take a minute to look at the Bear and Strawberry Tree statue, Madrid’s symbol and local meeting spot, and admire the absolute center of Spain. The Kilometer Zero plaque in front of Casa de Correos, the red government building with the bell tower, marks this. Then walk southwest to the Plaza Mayor.

Madrid’s Plaza Mayor (Main Square) is an historical and stunning square. After you’ve had a good look, head next door to San Miguel Market to sample local foods, tapas and wines. Then head west along Calle Mayor until you reach Almudena Cathedral. Next walk a little north to the Plaza de Oriente.

The Plaza de Oriente is a charming square with the Royal Palace to the west side and the opera house to the east. There you will find statues of kings, manicured garden and stone benches.

For dinner, head south along Calle Bailén and then take a left at the large church of San Francisco El Grande. Try one of the interesting restaurants lining Calle Cava Baja.

[Photo: Greenwich Photography]

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