October 26, 2013

The Cosmopolitan and Art City of Madrid, Spain

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What to explore in Madrid.

Located in the center of Spain, Madrid is a city known for its culture. The city has a variety of museums and parks.

Visit the city's museums.

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The city's main museums are the famous art museums of Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Bornemisza. These three museums form the Golden Triangle of Museums, which is located in the city center near the centric Atocha train station and the Paseo del Prado, a boulevard decorated with trees.

The Paseo de los Recoletos is a large boulevard that connects the centric Plaza de Cibeles to the Plaza de Colón. There are many ancient aristocratic mansions along this boulevard, many of which are now used as museums. In the Plaza de Colón area there are many grand hotels and museums, including the National Archaeological Museum and the city's Wax Museum.

Walk around the city's squares and streets.

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The city can be explored on foot, and most of the city's landmarks are located near the city center. The Puerta del Sol is the city center, a square filled with fountains, statues and shops. The statue of a bear climbing up a madroño tree is the city's symbol, and is located on this plaza. A short walk away visitors will find another plaza, the Plaza Mayor, which is filled with restaurants and shops.

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The Palacio de Oriente is the city's Royal Palace, a white and gray building that has more than two thousand rooms. The ancient royal residence is now used for official events. Guided tours are organized around part of the palace, including a throne rooms and several halls decorated with paintings by Goya and Velazquez. After touring the palace and the palace square, which is filled with locals, visitors and street musicians, visitors can explore the Almudena Cathedral.

A short walk away from the Royal Palace is Plaza de España. This square is another popular meeting spot and is located near the main Gran Vía street, filled with cafés, restaurants and shops. The square has several fountains and statues, including the statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza presided by a column with the carved sculpture of Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. Next to this square visitors will find many tapas bars where they will be able to enjoy a selection of authentic tapas, including huevos rotos con jamón fried eggs and jamón serrano ham.

Tour nearby towns.

There are many places to visit outside of the city center. North of the city center visitors will find the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the stadium of the Real Madrid Football Club. East of the city center is the Ventas bullring, where the Bullfighting Museum is located.

A short trip away visitors will find many historical towns. These can be reached by bus, car and train. The town of Aranjuez is located to the south of the city. There are several camping grounds, a river where kayaks can be rented and a large royal palace with gardens decorated with fountains.

San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a town located near the mountains, north of the city center. The town's main landmark is the ancient monastery and royal residence of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The town of Segovia is located farther north. Segovia is known for its ancient Roman aqueduct and is collection of ancient Roman ruins. After visiting the Roman part of town visitors can enjoy some cochinillo, roasted sucking pig, in any one of the city's restaurants.

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