Elegant, historic, quaint Madrid

Madrid is one of the oldest and most beautiful of the European capital cities. A city of elegant boulevards, manicured and maintained parks and fabulous museums, Madrid is also one of the greenest cities in Europe. There are examples of great architecture everywhere and the taverns, restaurants and cafés offer cuisine from all regions of the country including vegan options. Travel advisors from GetAway Travel are ready to plan your trip so you can make memories in Madrid where Hemingway and Dali once walked. 

 Architecture and green space 

 There’s a rich range of architectural variety throughout the city. The pedestrian-friendly Plaza Mayor is an open area surrounded by gorgeous building facades each with a balcony or portico facing the square. More than 230 balconies jut out from the fronts of the buildings and there are stunning frescoes between the balconies. 

Plaza Major, Madrid

The Templo de Debod is an authentic Egyptian temple gifted to Spain in gratitude for the country’s help in restoring the temples of Abu Simpel in Southern Egypt. It was dedicated to the goddess Isis and the god Amun and rebuilt stone by stone in Madrid’s Cartel de la Montaña Park.  

Templo de Debod, Madrid

Inspired by the design of the Louvre, the Royal Palace in Madrid is the official residence of the King and Queen of Spain, although they don’t live there. It’s the largest functioning royal palace in Europe. Visitors to the city on the first Wednesday of the month can see the Solemn Changing of the Guard at the palace which includes a parade of horses and the Spanish Royal Guard. 

Royal Palace of Madrid – It is one of the few official seat of a Head of State that is open to the public. Almost 2 million visitors come every year to discover its rooms, works of art and treasures that are unique in the world.

The city has the highest number of trees and green space per resident of any European city. Retiro Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 292-acre park is Madrid’s most famous park and was once reserved for Spanish royalty and aristocracy.  

Retiro Park, Madrid

Admire the manicured gardens, ornate fountains, statues of Spanish writers and heroes, cute gazebos, and open-air cafés. If La Roseleda Rose Garden is in bloom, the 4,000 roses are a stunning sight! 

Retiro Park, Madrid

Check out the Madrid Atocha, the first major rail station that opened in Madrid in 1851. In 1992 service at the original building was moved to an adjacent site and the old station with its fabulous architecture was repurposed into shops, cafés, a nightclub and a tropical garden. 

Madrid Atocha Station

 Museums feature the masters 

 Prada Museum has works by Goya, Veláquez, Zubarán and other Spanish masters. It has the world’s most comprehensive collection of Spanish paintings as well as by works by other European masters with an emphasis on Italian and Flemish artists. The Reina Sofia museum has collectionis from 20th century artists including works from the Surrealist and Cubist masters such as Salvador Dali and Picasso. Picasso’s huge anti-war masterpiece, Guernica hangs here. The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisca houses what were the private art collections of Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisca and his son, Hans. There are about 1,000 paintings from some of the world’s most famous European and American artists from the 13th to the 20th century. 

Momument to Francisco Goya – He is considered the most important Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

There’s the National Archeological Museum, the Railway Museum and the fascinatingly different Sweet Space. 

Picasso’s Guernica. It is one of his best-known works, regarded as the most moving and powerful anti-war painting ever created.

The Sweet Space features rooms created by modern artists with an emphasis on sweets as well as a shop that allows tasting. Who can resist cotton candy palm trees, a candy forest and an ice cream laboratory? 

 So many quaint places to see! 

We would be remiss from discussing art if there wasn’t a mention of flamenco. Referred to as a dance, it is actually a celebrated art form. Indeed, it is recognized by UNESCO as part of the world’s cultural heritage. The world’s first flamenco theatre is in Madrid. Catch a performance at a theatre, bar or restaurant. 

Take an evening or daytime Hemingway tour. You can explore some of the places mentioned in his books and see where he ate, wrote, drank and watched the bullfights while he covered the Spanish Civil War. One of his favorite places was La Venencia, a sherry bar that seems preserved from the era. 

Sopa de ajo – Soup with egg

El Sobrino de Botin is the world’s oldest continuous operation restaurant and the roast suckling pig there was one of Hemingway’s favorite dishes. He was also a fan of sopa de ajo which is an egg poached in chicken broth flavored with sherry and garlic. De Goya was a waiter here while he waited to get accepted into the Royal Academy of Arts. 

Spanish sherry and some snacks

Visitors to Madrid can get tastes of local dishes and pick their favorites by taking advantage of the tapas offered at bars and some bodegas.  

Wineries around Madrid offer tours and tastings, some of the most popular are Bodegas Y Viñedos Valleyglesias, Bodega Del Nero and Solera Bodegas. 

Cibeles fountain on the Plaza de Cibeles, Madrid

Is a visit to Madrid in your travel plans? GetAway Travel can help you plan a memorable adventure to this most fascinating city! Contact a travel advisor at: (262) 538-2140, e-mail: sue@getaway.travel or paul@getaway.travel 

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