Carlos’ Madrid Guide

Carlos
Carlos’ Madrid Guide

City/town information

Madrid stands out in the world as one of its best capitals of art. There is the artistic Golden Triangle that encompasses the Prado, the Thyssen Museum, and the Reina Sofia Museum, all within walking distance of each other. The Prado is the wonderful museum that has some of Spain's most famous art, such as the Meninas of Velazquez, the Clothed and the Naked Majas of Goya, the portraits done by El Greco, the Immaculate Virgins of Murillo, and other art from some of Europe's most famous painters of the past like Rubens. The Thyssen Museum shows the history of art from the 12th century to the modern age, while the Reina Sofia has modern art and its most famous painting is Picasso's Guernica. Madrid is a city of palaces, The most famous palace in Madrid is the Palacio Real, with hundreds of paintings, furniture, chandeliers, gilded mirrors, clocks, curtains, carpets, and the Stradivarius Room. There are hundreds of very good restaurants in Madrid. However two are emblematic: El Botin (Calle Cuchilleros, 17) is the oldest restaurant in the world and was founded in 1725. The restaurant is famous for its cochinillo, the roasted suckling pig. This restaurant is one of the most visited restaurants by tourists, from presidents to ordinary tourists. Another great restaurant is Casa Lucio (Cava Baja, 35). This place is famous for its "huevos rotos", which are eggs broken over potatoes. No one ever thought that such a simple dish could be so delicious. If one comes to visit Spain, Madrid is a place not to be missed. Madrid is a beautiful city filled with many surprises and one really has to take the time to see them all.
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Madrid
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Madrid stands out in the world as one of its best capitals of art. There is the artistic Golden Triangle that encompasses the Prado, the Thyssen Museum, and the Reina Sofia Museum, all within walking distance of each other. The Prado is the wonderful museum that has some of Spain's most famous art, such as the Meninas of Velazquez, the Clothed and the Naked Majas of Goya, the portraits done by El Greco, the Immaculate Virgins of Murillo, and other art from some of Europe's most famous painters of the past like Rubens. The Thyssen Museum shows the history of art from the 12th century to the modern age, while the Reina Sofia has modern art and its most famous painting is Picasso's Guernica. Madrid is a city of palaces, The most famous palace in Madrid is the Palacio Real, with hundreds of paintings, furniture, chandeliers, gilded mirrors, clocks, curtains, carpets, and the Stradivarius Room. There are hundreds of very good restaurants in Madrid. However two are emblematic: El Botin (Calle Cuchilleros, 17) is the oldest restaurant in the world and was founded in 1725. The restaurant is famous for its cochinillo, the roasted suckling pig. This restaurant is one of the most visited restaurants by tourists, from presidents to ordinary tourists. Another great restaurant is Casa Lucio (Cava Baja, 35). This place is famous for its "huevos rotos", which are eggs broken over potatoes. No one ever thought that such a simple dish could be so delicious. If one comes to visit Spain, Madrid is a place not to be missed. Madrid is a beautiful city filled with many surprises and one really has to take the time to see them all.

Food scene

Sobrino de Botín is a Spanish restaurant in Madrid, founded in 1725, that is the oldest restaurant in the world in continuous operation. The artist Francisco de Goya worked in Cafe Botín as a waiter while waiting to get accepted into the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. The restaurant is mentioned in an Ernest Hemingway novel and the book Fortunata y Jacinta by Benito Pérez Galdós (published 1886–1887).
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Sobrino de Botín
17 Calle de Cuchilleros
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Sobrino de Botín is a Spanish restaurant in Madrid, founded in 1725, that is the oldest restaurant in the world in continuous operation. The artist Francisco de Goya worked in Cafe Botín as a waiter while waiting to get accepted into the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. The restaurant is mentioned in an Ernest Hemingway novel and the book Fortunata y Jacinta by Benito Pérez Galdós (published 1886–1887).
Very good tapas and vermouth in a family owned establishment. Emilio and José will take good care of you, and their mother Ana is an amazing cook. Try the albondigas and judi ones.
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Bodegas Ricla
6 Calle de los Cuchilleros
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Very good tapas and vermouth in a family owned establishment. Emilio and José will take good care of you, and their mother Ana is an amazing cook. Try the albondigas and judi ones.
Basque stakehouse. Steak, peppers and... Tolosa beans! In addition to the classic Tx Steak and piquillo peppers prepared with the same techniques as in Tolosa, Mikel Gorrotxategi adds these Tolosa beans, which are iconic in Madrid, to the culinary offer. Genuine Basque steakhouse in the heart of la Latina.
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Casa Julián de Tolosa
18 C. de la Cava Baja
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Basque stakehouse. Steak, peppers and... Tolosa beans! In addition to the classic Tx Steak and piquillo peppers prepared with the same techniques as in Tolosa, Mikel Gorrotxategi adds these Tolosa beans, which are iconic in Madrid, to the culinary offer. Genuine Basque steakhouse in the heart of la Latina.
Suckling pig, roast lamb & aperitifs in a cozy, old-fashioned venue with wood beams.
Restaurante El Senador
2 Plaza de la Marina Española
Suckling pig, roast lamb & aperitifs in a cozy, old-fashioned venue with wood beams.
Modern twists on tapas, tomato salads & vermouth at an enduring, retro-chic spot with a vintage bar.
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Celso y Manolo
1 C. de la Libertad
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Modern twists on tapas, tomato salads & vermouth at an enduring, retro-chic spot with a vintage bar.
Upscale tapas in a buzzy bar styled like a market butcher shop, with bench & counter seating.
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Sala de Despiece
11 C. de Ponzano
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Upscale tapas in a buzzy bar styled like a market butcher shop, with bench & counter seating.
Café Comercial served as a meeting place for writers, poets, and bohemians from its opening in 1887 until it shut down in 2015, but the coffeehouse made a well-received comeback in 2017 thanks to Grupo El Escondite. The restaurant group gave the cafe new life, completely refurbishing the space while staying true to its heritage. Historic elements like mirrors, the century-old bar counter, floors, and lamps (which are protected by the city) remain untouched, while the menu mixes modern touches and homages to Madrid’s essential flavors. Try the churros for breakfast, then move on to the ensaladilla rusa (potato salad), meatballs with saffron, or garlic shrimp.
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Café Comercial
7 Glorieta de Bilbao
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Café Comercial served as a meeting place for writers, poets, and bohemians from its opening in 1887 until it shut down in 2015, but the coffeehouse made a well-received comeback in 2017 thanks to Grupo El Escondite. The restaurant group gave the cafe new life, completely refurbishing the space while staying true to its heritage. Historic elements like mirrors, the century-old bar counter, floors, and lamps (which are protected by the city) remain untouched, while the menu mixes modern touches and homages to Madrid’s essential flavors. Try the churros for breakfast, then move on to the ensaladilla rusa (potato salad), meatballs with saffron, or garlic shrimp.
San Miguel Market is the most popular market in Madrid among tourists since it is located in the centre of Madrid, within walking distance from Plaza Mayor. The market is not a traditional grocery market but a gourmet tapas market, with over 30 different vendors selling a wide variety of freshly prepared tapas, hams, olives, baked goods and other foods. Beer, wine and champagne are also available.
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Mercado De San Miguel
s/n Plaza de San Miguel
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San Miguel Market is the most popular market in Madrid among tourists since it is located in the centre of Madrid, within walking distance from Plaza Mayor. The market is not a traditional grocery market but a gourmet tapas market, with over 30 different vendors selling a wide variety of freshly prepared tapas, hams, olives, baked goods and other foods. Beer, wine and champagne are also available.
A family-owned gem hidden in the Arguelles district, Cuenllas has somehow escaped tourists’ radars, remaining a neighborhood staple since 1939. Catch the sunset nearby at Debod Temple, then stop by the gourmet grocery shop at Cuenllas to pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner at the restaurant next door. On the menu you’ll find delicacies such as premium canned goods, fresh foie gras, stewed snails, steak tartare, marinated sardines, and out-of-this-world toasts topped with bone marrow or eel with scrambled eggs. To round out the evening, finish with the truffle risotto and homemade desserts. For a more modern take, stop by Media Ración by Cuenllas at the Urso Hotel. Calle de Ferraz, 5.
Cuenllas
5 Calle Ferraz
A family-owned gem hidden in the Arguelles district, Cuenllas has somehow escaped tourists’ radars, remaining a neighborhood staple since 1939. Catch the sunset nearby at Debod Temple, then stop by the gourmet grocery shop at Cuenllas to pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner at the restaurant next door. On the menu you’ll find delicacies such as premium canned goods, fresh foie gras, stewed snails, steak tartare, marinated sardines, and out-of-this-world toasts topped with bone marrow or eel with scrambled eggs. To round out the evening, finish with the truffle risotto and homemade desserts. For a more modern take, stop by Media Ración by Cuenllas at the Urso Hotel. Calle de Ferraz, 5.
Many Madrileños want nothing more on a sunny Saturday than a vermouth on the rocks during aperitif hour at their favorite bar, an easy thing to find at Casa Camacho in the hipster Malasaña neighborhood. But don’t be fooled by the bar’s location, since it has nothing to do with the fixies and long beards the area is famous for. Instead, Casa Camacho is a quintessential Madrid bar, unglamorous but charming, and adored for serving the iconic yayo cocktail from a 90-year-old metal bar. The drink, which translates to “grandpa,” is a lethal and delicious mix of vermouth, gin, and soda. Make sure to accompany one with a plate of cured anchovies in vinegar, known as boquerones. Calle de San Andrés, 4.
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Casa Camacho
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Many Madrileños want nothing more on a sunny Saturday than a vermouth on the rocks during aperitif hour at their favorite bar, an easy thing to find at Casa Camacho in the hipster Malasaña neighborhood. But don’t be fooled by the bar’s location, since it has nothing to do with the fixies and long beards the area is famous for. Instead, Casa Camacho is a quintessential Madrid bar, unglamorous but charming, and adored for serving the iconic yayo cocktail from a 90-year-old metal bar. The drink, which translates to “grandpa,” is a lethal and delicious mix of vermouth, gin, and soda. Make sure to accompany one with a plate of cured anchovies in vinegar, known as boquerones. Calle de San Andrés, 4.
When wild mushroom season hits in the fall, this is the place to be. El Cisne Azul specializes in all the varieties that grow around Spain, cooked in simple ways that enhance their essences without disguising their true flavors. Look for dishes like cantharellus (chanterelles) with fried eggs, squash blossoms with wine salt and truffle oil, boletus mushrooms with torta del casar cheese, and king trumpet mushrooms with garlic. The owners also have a second restaurant down the street, but the original location still wins out for its loyal customers and old-school staff.
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El Cisne Azul
19 C/ Gravina
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When wild mushroom season hits in the fall, this is the place to be. El Cisne Azul specializes in all the varieties that grow around Spain, cooked in simple ways that enhance their essences without disguising their true flavors. Look for dishes like cantharellus (chanterelles) with fried eggs, squash blossoms with wine salt and truffle oil, boletus mushrooms with torta del casar cheese, and king trumpet mushrooms with garlic. The owners also have a second restaurant down the street, but the original location still wins out for its loyal customers and old-school staff.
La Copita is the place to come when the cold weather hits and your body starts demanding something warm. The stews María Mayo has been making in this modest “house” since 1959 are powerful; they follow traditional recipes from the northern region of Asturias. The house staple is the fabada made with fabes beans, bacon, saffron, pork shoulder, blood sausage, chorizo, and Spanish paprika. The restaurant also offers fabes with clams or the cachopo, a gigantic breaded veal steak filled with ham and cheese and served with peppers and french fries. Wash it all down with some cider.
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La Copita Asturiana
13 Calle de las Tabernillas
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La Copita is the place to come when the cold weather hits and your body starts demanding something warm. The stews María Mayo has been making in this modest “house” since 1959 are powerful; they follow traditional recipes from the northern region of Asturias. The house staple is the fabada made with fabes beans, bacon, saffron, pork shoulder, blood sausage, chorizo, and Spanish paprika. The restaurant also offers fabes with clams or the cachopo, a gigantic breaded veal steak filled with ham and cheese and served with peppers and french fries. Wash it all down with some cider.

Museums

The Prado Museum, officially known as Museo Nacional del Prado, is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It is widely considered to house one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and the single best collection of Spanish art.
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Museo Del Prado
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The Prado Museum, officially known as Museo Nacional del Prado, is the main Spanish national art museum, located in central Madrid. It is widely considered to house one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection, and the single best collection of Spanish art.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, or simply the Thyssen, is an art museum in Madrid, Spain, located near the Prado Museum on one of the city's main boulevards. It is known as part of the "Golden Triangle of Art", which also includes the Prado and the Reina Sofía national galleries.
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Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
8 Paseo del Prado
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The Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum, or simply the Thyssen, is an art museum in Madrid, Spain, located near the Prado Museum on one of the city's main boulevards. It is known as part of the "Golden Triangle of Art", which also includes the Prado and the Reina Sofía national galleries.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is Spain's national museum of 20th-century art. The museum was officially inaugurated on September 10, 1990, and is named for Queen Sofía. It is located in Madrid, near the Atocha train and metro stations, at the southern end of the so-called Golden Triangle of Art.
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Arzábal - Museo Reina Sofía
52 C. de Sta. Isabel
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The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is Spain's national museum of 20th-century art. The museum was officially inaugurated on September 10, 1990, and is named for Queen Sofía. It is located in Madrid, near the Atocha train and metro stations, at the southern end of the so-called Golden Triangle of Art.

Neighborhoods

On the site of a medieval Islamic fort, the lively barrio of La Latina is a maze of narrow lanes filled with tapas bars and cantinas. Neighborhood landmarks here include the San Francisco el Grande Basilica, with its Goya paintings, and the towering Moorish San Pedro el Real church. On Sundays, crowds fill El Rastro flea market, and seek out lunch at the area's cafes and street-food stalls.
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Barrio de La Latina
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On the site of a medieval Islamic fort, the lively barrio of La Latina is a maze of narrow lanes filled with tapas bars and cantinas. Neighborhood landmarks here include the San Francisco el Grande Basilica, with its Goya paintings, and the towering Moorish San Pedro el Real church. On Sundays, crowds fill El Rastro flea market, and seek out lunch at the area's cafes and street-food stalls.
As part of central Madrid, Chueca is a lively, gay friendly neighborhood jam-packed with cozy sidewalk cafes, tapas bars, restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife, as well as boutiques, and popular markets like San Antón and Plaza del Dos de Mayo. It’s home to the Museum of Romanticism, the Museum of the History of Madrid, and several performing arts theaters.
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Chueca
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As part of central Madrid, Chueca is a lively, gay friendly neighborhood jam-packed with cozy sidewalk cafes, tapas bars, restaurants, and a vibrant nightlife, as well as boutiques, and popular markets like San Antón and Plaza del Dos de Mayo. It’s home to the Museum of Romanticism, the Museum of the History of Madrid, and several performing arts theaters.
The grand 19th-century boulevards of glamorous Salamanca are lined with fine-dining restaurants and designer boutiques, especially along the "Golden Mile." Stylish locals frequent Platea Madrid, an upscale gourmet food market in a former theater building. There are prehistoric Iberian relics and art at the National Archaeological Museum, and the Lázaro Galdiano Museum is home to works by Goya and Bosch.
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Salamanca
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The grand 19th-century boulevards of glamorous Salamanca are lined with fine-dining restaurants and designer boutiques, especially along the "Golden Mile." Stylish locals frequent Platea Madrid, an upscale gourmet food market in a former theater building. There are prehistoric Iberian relics and art at the National Archaeological Museum, and the Lázaro Galdiano Museum is home to works by Goya and Bosch.
The Retiro neighborhood centers on vast El Retiro Park, with its wooded footpaths, fountains and boating lake. A short stroll beyond its gates are streets full of stylish hotels and cafe terraces. The renowned Prado Museum has classic paintings by Goya, Velázquez and Bosch, and there are regular art exhibits at neo-Gothic city hall Cibeles Palace, which has panoramic city views from the roof deck.
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Retiro
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The Retiro neighborhood centers on vast El Retiro Park, with its wooded footpaths, fountains and boating lake. A short stroll beyond its gates are streets full of stylish hotels and cafe terraces. The renowned Prado Museum has classic paintings by Goya, Velázquez and Bosch, and there are regular art exhibits at neo-Gothic city hall Cibeles Palace, which has panoramic city views from the roof deck.
Malasaña is a happening, student-friendly area, with streets filled with coffee shops, bakeries and vintage clothing stores. The Plaza del 2 de Mayo, a historic square lined with lively bars and weekend market stalls, is a popular meeting spot. At night, edgy dance and rock clubs host live bands and DJs, and the Conde Duque cultural center shows art and open-air movies in its 18th-century halls and courtyards.
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Malasaña
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Malasaña is a happening, student-friendly area, with streets filled with coffee shops, bakeries and vintage clothing stores. The Plaza del 2 de Mayo, a historic square lined with lively bars and weekend market stalls, is a popular meeting spot. At night, edgy dance and rock clubs host live bands and DJs, and the Conde Duque cultural center shows art and open-air movies in its 18th-century halls and courtyards.
The Literary Quarter, or Barrio de las Letras, was home to great 17th-century writers like Lope de Vega, whose house is now a museum with period artworks and a courtyard garden. Today’s cultural scene covers classic plays at Teatro Español and live flamenco at tablao dinner theaters. Cafes and beer halls open onto lively terraces in Plaza de Santa Ana, and chic bistros and boutiques line surrounding cobbled lanes.
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Barrio de las Letras
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The Literary Quarter, or Barrio de las Letras, was home to great 17th-century writers like Lope de Vega, whose house is now a museum with period artworks and a courtyard garden. Today’s cultural scene covers classic plays at Teatro Español and live flamenco at tablao dinner theaters. Cafes and beer halls open onto lively terraces in Plaza de Santa Ana, and chic bistros and boutiques line surrounding cobbled lanes.

Sightseeing

The Buen Retiro Park, Retiro Park or simply El Retiro is one of the largest parks of the city of Madrid, Spain. The park belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century, when it became a public park. In 2021, Buen Retiro Park became part of a combined UNESCO World Heritage Site with Paseo del Prado.
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El Retiro
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The Buen Retiro Park, Retiro Park or simply El Retiro is one of the largest parks of the city of Madrid, Spain. The park belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century, when it became a public park. In 2021, Buen Retiro Park became part of a combined UNESCO World Heritage Site with Paseo del Prado.
El Rastro de Madrid or simply el Rastro is the most popular open air flea market in Madrid. It is held every Sunday and public holiday during the year and is located along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores, between Calle Embajadores and the Ronda de Toledo.
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El Rastro
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El Rastro de Madrid or simply el Rastro is the most popular open air flea market in Madrid. It is held every Sunday and public holiday during the year and is located along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores, between Calle Embajadores and the Ronda de Toledo.
The Plaza de Oriente is a square in the historic center of Madrid, Spain. Rectangular in shape and monumental in character, it was designed in 1844 by Narciso Pascual y Colomer. The square was propagated by King Joseph I, who ordered the demolition of the medieval houses on the site.
Plaza de Oriente
The Plaza de Oriente is a square in the historic center of Madrid, Spain. Rectangular in shape and monumental in character, it was designed in 1844 by Narciso Pascual y Colomer. The square was propagated by King Joseph I, who ordered the demolition of the medieval houses on the site.
The Puerta del Sol is a public square in Madrid, one of the best known and busiest places in the city. This is the centre of the radial network of Spanish roads. The square also contains the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of a new year.
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Puerta del Sol
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The Puerta del Sol is a public square in Madrid, one of the best known and busiest places in the city. This is the centre of the radial network of Spanish roads. The square also contains the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of a new year.
Ancient Egyptian temple & museum moved from Aswan & rebuilt in lush parkland, with sunset views.
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Debods Tempel
1 Calle Ferraz
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Ancient Egyptian temple & museum moved from Aswan & rebuilt in lush parkland, with sunset views.
The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is a football stadium in Madrid, Spain. With a current seating capacity of 81,044, it has been the home stadium of Real Madrid since its completion in 1947. It is the second-largest stadium in Spain and third-largest home to a top-flight European club after Camp Nou and Westfalenstadion.
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Santiago Bernabéu
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The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is a football stadium in Madrid, Spain. With a current seating capacity of 81,044, it has been the home stadium of Real Madrid since its completion in 1947. It is the second-largest stadium in Spain and third-largest home to a top-flight European club after Camp Nou and Westfalenstadion.
Built between 1910 and 1929, Gran Vía is Madrid’s most famous street, connecting Salamanca and Argüelles and full of shops, restaurants and some of the capital's most iconic buildings.
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Calle Gran Vía
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Built between 1910 and 1929, Gran Vía is Madrid’s most famous street, connecting Salamanca and Argüelles and full of shops, restaurants and some of the capital's most iconic buildings.
El Escorial is a town northwest of Madrid, Spain. It's home to La Granjilla, a 16th-century park and palace created by King Philip II. The park has sweeping views of the neighboring town, San Lorenzo de El Escorial. This town contains the 16th-century Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, with royal tombs and a vaulted library. North, the Valley of the Fallen war memorial was erected during Franco's regime.
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El Escorial
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El Escorial is a town northwest of Madrid, Spain. It's home to La Granjilla, a 16th-century park and palace created by King Philip II. The park has sweeping views of the neighboring town, San Lorenzo de El Escorial. This town contains the 16th-century Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, with royal tombs and a vaulted library. North, the Valley of the Fallen war memorial was erected during Franco's regime.
Segovia is a historic city northwest of Madrid, in central Spain's Castile and León region. Its centuries of settlement have resulted in a rich architectural legacy, including medieval walls, Romanesque churches, a former royal palace and a Gothic cathedral. Its iconic ancient Roman aqueduct has more than 160 arches, most in the original mortarless granite, and stands above Plaza Azoguejo in the heart of the city.
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Segovia
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Segovia is a historic city northwest of Madrid, in central Spain's Castile and León region. Its centuries of settlement have resulted in a rich architectural legacy, including medieval walls, Romanesque churches, a former royal palace and a Gothic cathedral. Its iconic ancient Roman aqueduct has more than 160 arches, most in the original mortarless granite, and stands above Plaza Azoguejo in the heart of the city.
Toledo is an ancient city set on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain. The capital of the region, it’s known for the medieval Arab, Jewish and Christian monuments in its walled old city. It was also the former home of Mannerist painter El Greco. The Moorish Bisagra Gate and the Sol Gate, in Mudéjar style, open into the old quarter, where the Plaza de Zocodover is a lively meeting place.
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Toledo
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Toledo is an ancient city set on a hill above the plains of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain. The capital of the region, it’s known for the medieval Arab, Jewish and Christian monuments in its walled old city. It was also the former home of Mannerist painter El Greco. The Moorish Bisagra Gate and the Sol Gate, in Mudéjar style, open into the old quarter, where the Plaza de Zocodover is a lively meeting place.