Things to see in Madrid!
Beyond the clichés, Madrid really is the city of Movida, a way of life in which day and night replace each other without cancelling each other out. But the Movida in Spain’s capital city is not just about having fun: Madrileños love to stay up late, hang out in the streets, drink and eat with others. They leave the office and meet up somewhere. Some finish the movida and go straight back to the office. It is no coincidence that the movida has also given rise to expressions such as Madrid me mata (Madrid kills me) and Madrid nunca duerme (Madrid never sleeps).
Here, life goes on as if the passing of time had a completely different value from the rest of the world. But it is not just a capital city of bars, chats and late nights. There is a Madrid that appeals to everyone: art lovers, who find three great museums here, Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen, and those who don’t even know what museums are for and spend their days in the Chueca district. For those who believe that you don’t have to give up one of these souls of Madrid, here are the 10 things to see and do during a visit to Madrid.
Prado Museum, Madrid
The Prado is one of the most important museums in the world, and it is well worth devoting a good number of hours to visit. From Caravaggio to Goya, Raphael to Velasquez, the Prado brings together the history of European art from the last five centuries.
Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid
The Reina Sofia is Madrid’s museum of art from the 20th century to the present day. The construction that accommodates it, was born like hospital and like such it has been used until 1986 when the Center of Art Reina Sofia was opened. In the museum special emphasis is placed on Spanish painters such as Dali, Miro and Picasso.
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid
The paintings in the museum are from the private collection of the German steel magnate, Thyssen-Bornemisza, who became very rich during World War II.
The Royal Palace of Madrid
The present Royal Palace of Madrid dates back to 1764 and stands on the ruins of the former residence of the royal family destroyed by a terrible fire on Christmas night 1734: the Alcázar, which had housed the Spanish royal family since the 16th century.
Almudena Cathedral in Madrid
Just a stone’s throw from the Royal Palace, we encounter another story of ruins and subsequent reconstructions: that of the Almudena Cathedral, a history far more troubled than that of the neighbouring Palace, which bears the mark of five centuries of clashes, stormy negotiations between the Catholic Monarchs and the Bishops of Toledo, economic and political problems.
Plaza Mayor in Madrid
Looking at it today, could you imagine that until 1580 Plaza Mayor was the city’s market square, the scene of executions, popular festivals and bullfights, and that between the 17th and 18th centuries it suffered three major fires? Once again, the current appearance of this elegant 129 metre long and almost 100 metre wide square, surrounded by buildings that are all three storeys high, is the result of the renovation of the old Plaza del Arrabal ordered by Philip II of Habsburg when he moved his court to Madrid in 1561.
Puerta del Sol in Madrid
In perennial contention with Plaza Mayor for the title of Madrid’s main square, Plaza de la Puerta del Sol is Madrid’s New Year’s square.
Buen Retiro Park in Madrid
Built in 1640, Buen Retiro Park was only opened to the public after the revolution of 1868, when the gardens became municipal property. In fact, the Park was created as a place of escape and recreation for the monarchy, after the Duke of Olivares donated 145 hectares to King Philip IV to be used for this purpose.