Welcome to Spain: What to See in Madrid

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I finally have finished telling the story of my three week trek through France and Italy and can now share some stories from Madrid, the city I have been living in for the past two months, teaching English at an elementary school.

Madrid is located in the middle of Spain (the geographical center of the country is in fact in Madrid), and is the third largest city in the European Union.

Madrid may not have an Eiffel Tower or Leaning Tower of Pisa that makes it instantly recognizable, but it is filled with plazas, statues and gardens that give it its own unique sense of beauty.

What to See in Madrid

The largest and most famous plaza is Plaza Mayor, located in the center of the city, this once ancient market place and stage for royal ceremonies is now marked with shops, cafes and a bronze statue of King Phillip III triumphantly riding atop a horse.

What to see in Madrid -plaza mayor

The city’s main transportation hub is Puerta del Sol. Hoping at all hours of day and night you can catch a metro or bus to anywhere you need to get to from here and also get a photo taken with a knock off Mickey Mouse character or street performer.

Madrid has a huge art scene and is dominated by three large museums: Museo del Prado (classical art), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (modern art) and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza (both classical and modern art).

What to see in Madrid- Parque de Buen Retiro

The “Central Park” of Madrid is the Parque del Retiro. Here you can paddle boat in a man made lake, walk through a crystal palace and wander around European-style gardens.

What to see in Madrid - Puerta de Alcala

Puerta de Alcalá is perhaps the city’s most famous monument, symbolizing the entrance to the city.

My personal favorite building is the Banco de España, the national central bank of Spain, housed in a historic building.

Typical food in Madrid is tapas, small appetizers, and it seems as if every other building is a café or bar offering vino tinto (red wine), cocktails or Mahou, the local beer.

Madrid is known for its eclectic mix of barrios, neighborhoods. From upscale Salamenca and intellectual Barrio de las Letras to LGBT Cheuca and hipster Malasaña, there’s a scene no matter what your style.

what to see in Madrid - Calle Fuencarral

I am living in a piso, or flat, in Malasaña on the main street, Calle de Fuencarral. This long street is filled with colorful shops, cafes and street musicians. There’s never a dull moment.

My next few posts will share more information about attractions around Spain. I hope you enjoy reading!

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