City Guide

Madrid

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Introduction to Madrid

Madrid is one of the world’s greatest cities and the capital of Spain.

The city centre is surprisingly small, with the majority of its main attractions within walking distance. The heart of the centre is called Sol. This can be considered as one of the main tourist attractions as it is classed as the very heart of Madrid’s old city. There is even a plaque on the floor which states you are stood in the centre of Madrid. It’s not hard to miss it as you usually see tourists having their picture taken or jumping up and down on it! All the main shops and department stores, such as El Corte Ingles are situated in the area of Sol. It is a very popular area during both day and night and never seems to be deserted; no matter what time you visit.

Gran Vía is only a few minutes walk away from Sol. It is a large street lined with theatres, bars, cafes and shops running from the Plaza de España up to the corner of Calle de Alcalá.

Plaza Mayor is a great place to visit when you tour the centre of Madrid. As the name suggests, it is the main square in Madrid and is extremely popular with tourists. The Plaza is lined with bars and restaurants as well as tourist shops selling a range of Spanish souvenirs. During the summer, the bars become very popular as the plaza is a great sun trap. However, as a warning, drinks can be pricey. A soft drink can cost up to 5€!

Salamanca is a very chic area of Madrid which is located at the north east of Gran Via. All of the famous brands have shops which are on Salamanca’s main street, Calle Serrano. The street is not only lined with shops, but when you look skywards, Madrid’s more wealthy inhabitants live in the apartments above the outlets. It is the most affluent area of Madrid where you are most likely to see the wealthy and famous faces from the world of sport, television and film roaming the streets.

Fuencarral is an area of Madrid where you can find all sorts of unique shops. Calle Fuencarral is situated just off Gran Via and you can often see students roaming the streets hopping from shop to shop.

“El Rastro” is a great flea market to visit on a quiet Sunday morning. It’s a typical busy Spanish market selling Spanish market goods with a great atmosphere. However, as a word of warning be extra vigilant with bags and belongings. It is advised not to take handbags or rucksacks as expert pick pocketers are in action.