Spain is one of the most attended countries all over the world. Rare wealth of its culture, plenty of magnificent architectural monuments, particular national coloring of Spanish cities and villages, fine climate and astonishing in their variety and beauty landscapes make this country especially attractive for tourists. You and I are not exclusion.
Welcome to Madrid, the capital of Spain and one of the most astonishing cities all over the world!
Attractions in Madrid are famous all over the world and thousands of tourists arrive to see them by their own eyes. The heart of Madrid is La Puerta del Sol (Sun Gates) - Oval Square surrounded with buildings of XVIII century. La Puerta del Sol is the geographical centre of Spain. Here begins counting out of kilometers on Spanish roads; here is the central metro junction and bronze bear at arbutus is a city symbol. On the New Year's Eve people gather in La Puerta del Sol by Spanish tradition to eat 12 grapes and say goodbye to past year.
Speaking about attractions in Madrid we cannot but tell about Palacio Real or Royal Palace. Palacio Real is the largest one in Europe and Madrid's main historic monument. It was built in 1734 by project of Italian masters Sachetti and Sabatini. It's located among luxurious gardens Campo-del-Moro. They say, when Napoleon saw Palacio Real he was amazed! He considered it much better than his own in Paris. It was used as a royal palace until 1931, when King Alfons XIII did abdicate. The King of today, Juan Carlos I, lives in the Zarzuela Palace outside Madrid, but the old palace is used from time to time for official occasions. Although the King and Queen don't live here whenever foreign diplomats are in town they usually have lunch or dinner at the palace. These things aren't announced in advance so if you get to the palace and it's closed, that's probably the reason.
Important cultural and tourist attractions in Madrid include the so-called Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising the famous Museo del Prado or Prado Museum, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum, where Pablo Picasso's Guernica hangs.
Prado Museum is one of the most important art attractions in Madrid which contains arguably the greatest collection of European Painting all over the world, rivaled only by the National Gallery of Art in London, and the Louvre in Paris. The collection consists of over 7,000 works of which only 1,500 paintings are presently available for view. The collection was brought together by the royal family of Spain throughout XVI to the XIX centuries. The collection of Prado Museum is of course very strong in Spanish art. The most important pieces by Velazquez, Riberia, El Greco, and Goya are all here. Also well represented are Bosch, Rubens, Titian, Tinteretto and many more artists. It is easy to see most of the major works depending of course you know where they hang. The shop sells an excellent guide book for such purposes. The museum is open from 9am to 7pm from Tuesday to Sunday and from 9am to 2pm on holidays. It costs just from 3 to 6 Euros to visit it which makes it one of the least expensive world class art museums.
During another interesting attractions in Madrid we can name the Plaza Mayor; the Gran Via; the Cason del Buen Retiro (hosting the 19th-century collection of the Prado Museum; currently closed for reform), the Templo de Debod (a temple brought stone-by-stone from Egypt), the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales and the Parque del Buen Retiro. We can list the attractions for a long time, so it would be better for you to arrive and see them by your own eyes!