This guide is intended to help you to organize a flash visit to Madrid. With so limited time it is a hard but not impossible task to visit the most iconic places of the third most crowded city of Europe. In order to get more practical, we are going to split the journey on four steps, each one including the areas that you must visit when you are on Madrid.
Step 1: Plaza Puerta del Sol (Sun Gate Square) / Royal Palace (9:30 am – 11:30 am)
It is a good idea to begin the trip from the Zone 0 of the city, known for being the hearth of Madrid: Plaza del Sol (Sun Gate) where you will have the opportunity to see the sculpture of “Oso Madroño” (a bear aside a typical bush of the area), the Kilometer Zero (Zero Mile) from where all the distances of Spain are measured and which may be identified by a plaque on the floor on the sidewalk in front of the Postal Office; this building may be recognized because of the clock tower, the place where almost all Madrileans join every new year eve. The second important statue of the square is the one of King Carlos III (Charles III)
After visiting Sun Gate you must head toward Opera, after 10 minutes walking you will find the historic centre of the city, from there you will be able to reach the Royal Palace but before getting there it is a good idea to visit the Sabatini’s Gardens and the East Square Sculptures. If your visit in on Wenesday you will have the opportunity to see the Changing of the Guard at 11:00 o’clock on the morning. Going further you will find the Almudena Chatedral (a visit inside could take a whole day itself); now it is time for a break, it would be a good a idea to go for a drink at the restaurant “El Anciano Rey de los Vinos” (literally The Ancient King of Wines)
Step 2: La Villa Square / Market of San Miguel –St. Michael- (12:00 pm a 13:30 pm)
The way from Royal Palace to Major Square may be done on feet but it is strongly recommended to take the bus from the line 3 at the corner of Bailén and Mayor streets until “Mayor 21” stop; there you will find Casa Ciriaco on the exact point where the killing attempt against the wedding caravan of King Alfonso XII (Alphonse XII) took place. This corner is plenty of history with names as Lope de Vega or Calderón de la Barca. A little bit further you will find La Villa Square and after a narrow pass you will get to San Miguel (St. Michael) Square where is located the famous St. Michael’s Market, a good opportunity to stop and have some rest while eating some tapas (a kind of bite size, Spanish appetizer)
Step 3: Plaza Mayor / Cuchilleros Arch (15:00 pm a 17:00 pm)
Once you leave behind the market, you are entering to Major Street, a few footsteps away you’ll find the 7th July Street connecting with Major Square; the central point of this iconic, architectonic complex is the statue of Felipe III (Phillip III), after visiting Major Square you may go out through one of its seven arches, the most famous of them is Cuchilleros Arch near where it is located the most ancient restaurant of the world: “Sobrino de Botín” (Literally Botin’s Nephew)
Step 4: Cibeles Square / Gran Vía (Literally “Great Way”) / Alcalá Gate
Now it is time to take the Madrilean subway (if you have not taken it yet); look for one of the entrances, there are plenty on this area. Take the subway towards Banco de España and get out on that station. Just when you exit from the subway, you will find in front of you the stunning building of Banco de España (Bank of Spain) and after a few meters walk, the Cibeles Fountain and the City Hall Building welcomes you; keep walking on that direction to find Puerta de Alcalá (Alcala’s Gate) where it is mandatory to take a picture.
With this four steps, you have covered the most of classic Madrid, remember to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Now it is time to discover what to do at night in Madrid.