Madrid is known for its palaces, elegant boulevards, and manicured parks. The capital of Spain has profited handsomely from centuries of royal largesse. At the same time, royal refinement doesn’t stop the residents from having a fiesta! According to Monocle Magazine, Madrid is the 17th most livable city in the world. The you’re taking a trip to Spain, don’t skip Madrid. Go shopping on the Gran Via, sunbathing in the park, and have some sangria under a striped umbrella. Here are some definite activities you don’t want to miss out on.
Palacio Real de Madrid
The Palacio Real is the official home of the Spanish Royal Family in the city of Madrid, but it’s only used for state ceremonies. First built from 1738 to 1755 and renovated by various kings and architects, the Palacio Real is the largest royal palace in Europe by floor area, with 3,418 richly decorated chambers (including paintings by Caravaggio and Goya). Today, the Spanish Royal Family chooses to live the more comfortable Palacio de la Zarzuela on the outskirts of the city and the Palacio Real is open for tourists and visitors. You can also stroll across the plaza to the adjacent Almudena Cathedral.
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
The Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is home to modern art from the 20th century and it's the world’s largest museum of modern and contemporary art. The Centro is dedicated to collecting Spanish artists. However, it does have some other pieces, including the famous painting “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso. In addition to its permanent collection, the museum always has a temporary exhibit on display so find out what new and fascinating show is available when you’re in the city. It also has a free library (specializing in art) if you want a greater understanding of the world’s artistic masterpieces.
Buen Retiro Park
Buen Retiro Park, or “Park of the Pleasant Retreat,” is a huge park filled with beautiful sculptures, monuments, galleries, and a peaceful lake. The park hosts a variety of events making it one of Madrid’s premier attractions. During the summer, Buen Retiro has a series of free concerts for the public, book fair, stunning firework shows, and differenant cultural events d celebrations of national holidays. Take a break from the city and head out onto the lake in a paddleboat.