Madrid Walking Tour, Spain
What do you see when you have just a day for city Like Madrid! After a lot of planning and brain storming we settled to do a self guided Madrid Walking tour, walking along the streets from Puerta del Sol to Royal Palace Loop.
Memorable Madrid Walking Tour
The first iconic sight that captured our attention as soon as we got out of the glass fish Metro entrance was “Statue of Bear and the Strawberry Tree”. I always knew strawberries grew in small plants. The tree is madrono tree producing a berry Here the sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafé (1906-1983) has depicted it as a tree representing the heraldic arms of the town, and original symbol of the city. Madrid’s official symbol, it is made partly with stone and partly with bronze, hard to miss it on Preciados street from Puerta del Sol. I doubt if any tourist would have crossed this spot without taking the pic of this iconic symbol of Madrid!
Puerta del Sol is the ideal spot to start your Madrid walking tour. You can refer to it as heart of Madrid City. The architecture around is amazing, just four stories yet must have been like skyscrapers during the days they were built. Plaza San Idlefonso with its fountain makes another best photography spot. A bronze statue of King Charles III on horseback adorns the centre of square. The buildings around have a history of their own.
Rick Steves mentions in his guide – The bell atop the governor’s house chimes 12 times, while Madrilenoseat one grape for each ring to bring good luck through each of the next 12 months!
Every street from here spreading out into the city has a name and so uniquely displayed in tiles on the walls. The pictures along with the names give a good idea on what basis the street has been named so. Knowing Spanish of course helps. So we went walking street after street. The Calle de Postas has the coach that carried post those days. Puerta del Sol – Gate of the Sun, named after a gate at the eastern gate of the old city, that has now disappeared.
The little balconies or windows with their flowering pots, locals walking their dogs, made it all so colorful and cheerful. The beautiful houses were designed for upper middle class citizens of Madrid during the beginning of last century. The buildings share a common British style looks, I just hoped they don’t come under the hammer and get replaced by modern buildings.
There are several markets and cafes along the route. We visited the Mercado de San Miguel, a market place built mostly of iron and glass. Several high end vendors displayed their produce ranging from gourmet food to wines and tapas. I found the items in market very highly priced, cherries cost 17euros a kilo compared to 2euros in Lisbon Portugal.
Plaza Mayor of Madrid
The last spot of our Madrid walking tour was the Plaza Mayor, a large cobbled square of Madrid. This was city’s main square from medieval times. Three storey building running all around the square looked so similar to Plaza Mayor of Salamanca, except that there were murals drawn on the walls in the central section. This was designed by the same architect who designed El Escorial, Juan de Herrera. An equestrian statue of Felipe II adorns the center of this square. Innumerable executions, bull fights, fires, royal pageantry and even foot ball matches have been held for centuries in this same place! Overwhelming indeed to just stand in the square and imagine all that history!
The square’s buildings are private apartments costing from 400,000euros to 2million euros depending on the area!
After a leisurely walk till here we visited Royal Palace, Prado Museum and Cathedral de Almudena.