BIRD´S EYE VIEW. CIRCLE OF FINE ARTS TERRACE.
If there is something that makes Madrid a special city, that is undoubtedly its sky; the shades of its sunsets and that unique light that hypnotises visitors and locals alike, about which everyone talks.
It’s worth enjoying the skies over Madrid when you visit the Spanish capital; well, let Europamundo recommend you the right place. You won’t be disappointed!
To enjoy a sunset with 360-degree views over Madrid, Europamundo recommends the rooftop of the most important cultural centre in the capital, the Fine Arts Circle (Círculo de Bellas Artes). Enjoy unique and spectacular views of some of the city’s most emblematic buildings and landmarks. With the sun setting, let Madrid remain forever engraved in your hearts and minds, so go ahead and visit the Fine Arts Circle’s rooftop!
You can reach the Fine arts circle’s rooftop terrace by going up to the seventh floor of the building using the lift in the main hall after paying an entrance fee of 4 euros in advance. The rooftop also has a cocktail bar, where you can have a drink and enjoy the best bird’s eye view of Madrid. If you fancy trying some of the dishes in its restaurant, don’t forget to book in advance and experience first-hand one of the city’s most famous sayings:
“FROM MADRID TO HEAVEN”.
CIRCLE OF FINE ARTS TERRACE (Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes) Alcala, 42 Madrid
Banco de España (Line 2)
Sevilla (Line 2
CRAZY ABOUT CROQUETTES!!
A very popular fritter eaten in most Madrilenian and Spanish homes, made using a very traditional recipe. It is one of the most appetising, delicious and crunchy dishes from our gastronomy. We could claim that a good croquette has everything to make it a perfect Spanish tapa, making it a must-have on every Spanish restaurant menu.
This dish will allow us to unleash our creativity, as you can make croquettes with a wide variety of ingredients, offering us a wide range of delicious possibilities. Would you like to learn a little more about this classic dish that we are so fond of? If so, keep reading to understand more about the Spanish croquette!
While the recipe’s origins can be traced back to 1691 in France, it was in Spain where they got perfected and became part of our gastronomy and popular culture. The word croquette derived from the French word croquer, meaning “to crunch” in French, whereas croquette could be translated as “crunchy”.
The first documented Spanish recipe of croquettes dates from 1830; they were rice croquettes and were meant to be served as a dessert. It was also included in a cookbook from that year. Since then, croquettes started to gain popularity, and different new ingredients were added to the original recipe. By the 19th century, poultry, rabbit, veal, crab, salmon, hake and lobster croquettes were already widely available.
Nowadays, they are an essential part of the menu in many restaurants, taverns and tapas bars, as they are one of the most favourite and popular foods, besides being part of our childhood memories. Many Spanish have nostalgic memories about their grandmother’s, mother’s or mother-in-law’s croquettes and try, usually in vain, to reproduce those recipes.
Many tapas bars, taverns and restaurants serving Spanish food, be it modern or traditional, are likely to have them on their menu. You can easily find them in many bars around the city made with different ingredients, from the classic ones with cured ham or chicken to those with cheese, prawns, vegetables. Not to mention the more innovative ones with dried grapes, lobster, and almost any other ingredient you can imagine.
Welcome to the WORLD OF CROQUETTES! You can try them anywhere and at any time. ENJOY!
When it comes to shopping in our city, let’s recommend one of the streets that has been setting trends in recent years where you will find a wide variety of both Spanish and international brands: from boutiques with unique and innovative products to vintage shops, shops offering handmade garments and products to, of course, major international retailers and brands. We are sure that you will love this one kilometre and a half long shoppers paradise.
When it comes to the type of products you can find, the list is vast: men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, household goods, footwear, sports shops, gourmet food, soaps, cosmetics, tattoo shops, decoration, accessories, the list is endless.
Calle Fuencarralis conveniently located between the Malasañaand Chuecaneighbourhoods. Two of the oldest neighbourhoods in Madrid, which are also excellent shopping areas. It is also located behind the Gran Via, a busy “conventional” shopping area in Madrid. You can find large department stores like ZARA, MANGO, H&M, PRIMARK, etc., true temples of large-scale fashion in Madrid and worldwide.
Calle Fuencarralis mostly a locals’ shopping street, significantly less touristy, as it only emerged to be a popular shopping area during the last decade. You will find people of all ages shopping in this trendy and fashionable area of the capital.
We suggest you visit one of our favourite gastronomic venues in Madrid, San Ildefonso Market (El Mercado de San Ildefonso), if you have time to spare or if you want to rest after shopping. It is very close to Calle Fuencarraland was the first covered food market the city had. You can find all kinds of high-quality tapas, skewers(pinchos)and gastronomic delights in this market.
Some other nearby shopping streets worth a visit are Augusto Figueroastreet, in Chueca, with its famous shoe shops, and Espiritu Santoand Corredera Baja de San Pablostreets.
Make sure to explore all these earlier mentioned spots to enjoy a different shopping experience before leaving the city!
CHUECA Line 5
GRAN VÍA Line 1 and 5
BILBAO Line 4
THE DEBOD TEMPLE VIEWPOINT AND THE ORIGINS OF MADRID
This viewpoint is located on top of the Príncipe Píomountain, next to the majestic Temple of Debod. Even though not many locals know about it, it offers the best views of the site where Madrid was born.
When and where was the city of Madrid born? Why were the Moors attracted to this geographically and strategically privileged location back in 856 AD? Why did they choose to build the first building that the city ever had at this spot? If you want to find out the answer to these questions, don’t miss this recommended site. An area filled with history and symbolism. The place where Madrid rooted, the Muslim Mayrit, the “The Origins of Madrid”.
However, when you arrive at the Temple of Debod viewpoint, located at the back of the Temple, although you will see “The Origins of Madrid”, don’t expect to find the first building constructed in this city, called the Alcazarof Madrid, about which we mentioned earlier, before you. You may ask why. The reason is simply that this building no longer exists; a devastating fire destroyed it on Christmas Eve in 1734. The Alcázarwas then the palace, where the kings of Spain spent much of their time throughout the year. Apart from other artworks, more than 500 priceless canvases that decorated this eminent palace’s rooms were lost. Faced with such a loss, when the first king of the Bourbon dynasty, Philip V, came into power, he ordered the current Royal Palace’s construction. This Majestic Baroque Palace will be the first building to attract your attention when you look out from the viewpoint.
This stunningly beautiful Royal Palace is the largest in Western Europe, measuring over 135,000 square metres with more than 3,000 rooms. The most important symbols of the Spanish Monarchy, such as the Throne, the Crown, the Sceptre of command, in addition to the most exquisite collection of artworks you can imagine. The tapestries, the masterpieces by Goya and the wonderful allegorical frescoes by masters such as Mengs, lamps, porcelain, imperial style baroque furnishings all make it well worth a visit.
Besides being able to admire the Royal Palace from this viewpoint, you will also be able to see two other silhouettes that define Madrid’s skyline: the Almudena Cathedraland the enormous dome of The Basilica of San Francisco el Grande.
One other thing you should not forget to do when you visit this location is to visit the Egyptian Temple of Debod. Yes, you read that right. We have an Egyptian temple in Madrid. With an estimated age of more than 2,200 years, it is the oldest building in the city, older than the city of Madrid itself.
The Madrilenians are more than proud of this gift that the Egyptian nation gave us when Spain participated in the Nubian temples’ rescue, condemned to perish under the waters after the Aswan dam’s construction. The Temple was dismantled stone by stone and sent to Madrid in 1970, where the decision was made to install it in this unique location in Madrid.
We sincerely hope that all this information combined with your imagination will help you better understand Madrid’s Origins. This very site where Madrid began and where these monuments are now located somehow portrays two different images of Madrid, the majestic Madrid of today and the legendary and historical origins of Madrid, which will undoubtedly provide you with a very informative and unique experience. Please don’t forget to share your photo from this special viewpoint with Europamundo!
DEBOD TEMPLE VIEWPOINT
Ferraz street N1,
PLAZA DE ESPAÑA,
Line 10 and 3
THE OLDEST TREE IN MADRID AND THE RETIRO PARK
Before becoming a public park and being surrounded by the city of Madrid, the RetiroPark was the garden of King Felipe 4th’s recreational residence built in the 17th century. Covering a perimeter of 4.5 kilometres, it contains 118 hectares of history, trails, monuments and secrets.
A true OASIS in the middle of the city admired by us. Once you cross its gates, you no longer feel like you are in a city; you leave behind the hustle and bustle to enter a new pace, that of the centuries-old trees, the trails. Everything inside the park seems to be moving at a slower pace, accompanied by vibrant colours.
A unique treasure from our city can be found in the Jardin del Parterre, one of our favourites from the French-style park: the oldest and most fascinating tree in Madrid, El Ahuehuete, linked to some rare and unique history.
There are different stories and legends about its arrival to Madrid and about its origins, from the claim that it was brought by Christopher Columbus after one of his first voyages to the American continent to how its branches had the shape of the tears of Hernan Cortés when he mourned the defeat of the Spanish army by the Aztecs. Another legend that surrounds it is why it was believed to have been spared from the French troops’ hands, as the artillerymen used it to support their guns due to its sturdiness.
However, the official version states that it was planted in 1633 in the new palace garden that the Count-Duke of Olivares ordered to be built for the monarch Philip IV, the Buen Retiro Palace.
We hope you get to admire and enjoy Retiropark and its unique tree.
RETIRO. Line 2.
TOP TEN CENTURY-OLD TAVERNS OF MADRID
We have an exciting Food and beverages challenge ready for you: Are you prepared to get to know Madrid’s ten century-old taverns?
Madrid has century-old and iconic businesses, through which the history of the city can be rewritten. These are legendary places that have stood the test of time and which we consider necessary to preserve and support. As we believe in protecting the legacy to understand the future better. These are not just age-old businesses but part of the identity of the people of Madrid. Madrilenians believe in giving the value they deserve to local businesses that are withstanding the cities’ homogenisation caused by the increasing number of international businesses and franchises. From all these places, we have chosen the Taverns for their ability to transport us to the social atmosphere of old Madrid, and also because of the importance that the production and consumption of wine had in the city.
Why are taverns considered so important in the history of Madrid? Back in the year 1083, when the Christians reconquered Madrid, they opened the firstalojerias, which would give rise to the birth of the early taverns over time. But what were the “alojerias”? They were places where alojawas sold, a drink based on honey, water and spices, the origin of which can be found in the Christian camps where this drink was used as a medicine. These places soon evolved into taverns.
The oldest taverns in Madrid were located outside the city, outside the city walls, in the area known today as the La Latinaneighbourhood, in streets at present known as Calle de Toledo orCalle de Tabernillas. In the 17th century, this is where many taverns were located to sell the wine produced in the outskirts of Madrid, for example, the wine from Parla.
When Madrid was named Spain’s capital by Philip II in 1561, the surrounding villages’ vineyards began to produce more and more grapes to supply the Court. Thus, winemaking prospered in and around Madrid. This led to the creation of taverns buzzing with social life, where locals came not just to drink wine but also to snack and chat. It is not known precisely when a slice of bread with cheese or sausage was served with the wine to “cover” the glass’s mouth. That is how our famous TAPAS culture was born.
It is easy to identify the taverns and any other traditional establishment in Madrid by the golden plate displayed on the outside, which tells us the year it was founded. The taverns, in particular, have some distinctive characteristics that are described below so that you don’t miss them. The first aspect that makes them unique is the colour of their façade, purplish-red, the colour of red wine. And all of them still keep using original furniture, cutlery and interior decorations like the carved wooden counters, the tin basins, the wooden or tiled baseboards, the forged iron pillars, the round walnut tables with stools and benches, the acid-etched glass with engraved signs. They usually bore the tavern owner’s name and the street’s number, features that make them unique to this day.
As Madrid grew, so did the number of taverns, which became the meeting places for many peasants and other people who came to the city searching for a better life. The Tavern keepers adopted the taverns personality, and the type of gastronomy offered depended on what part of Spain they came from. This fusion of different Spanish cuisines enriched the cuisine of La Mancha, which until then was the predominant type of cuisine in this city, thus creating, as a result of this fusion, the gastronomy of Madrid.
The fact that there were more than 1,500 taverns in Madrid at the beginning of the 20th century would give you an idea of these places’ success and popularity. Unfortunately, in
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE ALCALÁ GATE
When visiting Madrid, the Puerta de Alcaláis one of the must-see places because of its historical importance and as it’s one of the city’s most emblematic architectural symbols.
While it is not a gate but rather an Arch of Triumph, the Puerta de Alcaláhas been welcoming visitors to Madrid for ages. There is even a famous Spanish song by Víctor Manuel and Ana Belén “Look at her, look at her, the Puerta de Alcalá...there she is watching the time go by”.
And of course, it has been there witnessing the passage of time since 1778, when it was built, during the reign and at Carlos III’s request. Unknown to many people is the fact that it is a commemorative monument, specifically a Triumphal Arch that the king himself ordered to be built to commemorate his arrival to the city in 1759 from Naples. When its construction was completed, it became the first triumphal arch erected in Europe after the Roman Empire’s fall, making it unique. This arch was later to be followed in Europe by the Brandenburg Gate (1788) in Berlin and the Arch of Triumph in Paris (1806).
What makes the Puerta de Alcalá unique is that it has two different designs on each of its sides. The king chose Sabatini from among the architects, who presented him with two equally appealing designs. Unable to choose between the two, both designs were incorporated, one on each of the monument’s two sides. Asymmetry is perhaps another feature that makes this monument different from other monuments of its kind.
You are welcome to explore the two sides of the same coin and find out what makes them both so different. Let yourself be surprised by one of Madrid’s most emblematic and best-loved monuments!
BANCO DE ESPAÑA. Line 2
THE LITERARY QUARTER OF MADRID
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Madrid became the epicentre of theatre and literature in Europe. Nowhere else on our continent did such a high level of literary and artistic production take place. Personalities such as Cervantes, Tirso de Molina, Lope de Vega, Góngora and Quevedo took our poetry, literature and, above all, our theatre to its peak.
Around the year 1565, King Philip II authorised comedy theatres in the capital performed in the open-air venues or courtyards. In Madrid’s history, the real heyday of theatre occurred during Felipe IV’s reign during the beginning of the 17th century. This was why this century came to be known as the Golden Age or the Age of Enlightenment.
There was an area of Madrid where all this cultural climax was taking place during this period. In the current Literacy Quarter (Barrio de las Letras), it was common for writers like Cervantes and his great rival Lope de Vega to cross paths in the street without saying a word. This was also where the great poets Góngora and Quevedo wrote their sonnets; interestingly, they all shared the same neighbourhood.
The Corral de Comedias del Príncipe, inaugurated in 1583, was also located here, one of the first of its kind in Madrid, nowadays still functioning as The Spanish Theatre (Teatro Español). How can we miss this part of Madrid’s history? This area is located between Paseo del Prado, Atocha, Carrera de San Jerónimoand Carretasstreets.
You can start your stroll in the liveliest part of the city, in the Plaza de Santa Ana, where you will find the Teatro Españolmentioned earlier. The streets like Huertas, Echegaray, PríncipeandCruz are not to be missed. And to finish, we suggest a much more intimate and discreet area, the one that lives behind our emblematic Paseo del Prado, with streets such as Calle de la Verónica, Calle de Los FúcarorCalle de Moratín. Two sides of the same coin elegantly complement each other. And to make it even more interesting, you will be able to see engravings on the streets’ pavement with excerpts of some of the most important poems and passages from our literature.
What museums and buildings can you expect to see during this walk? For instance, El Convento de las Trinitarias Descalzas de San Ildefonso, where Cervantes is buried, House-Museum of Lope de Vega, or the Caixa Forum Cultural Centre. Get ready for a walk that will immerse you in the literacy and theatre of Madrid. Welcome to the Golden Age!
Ideally, start this walk from the centrally located Puerta del Solsquare.
SOL. Lines 1, 2, 3 and 5.
TERRACES OF PAJA SQUARE, IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF LA LATINA
How can you leave Madrid without experiencing its true essence? How can you avoid getting lost in those narrow streets with their squares, churches, and corners where our capital’s true identity was forged? Let’s go to Madrid’s quintessential neighbourhood called La Latina, an unavoidable part of this great city.
La Latina was where the Muslims built their mosques after founding the city and where the Christians arrived later in the 11th century. They converted the mosques into churches and made the perimeter of the old Islamic wall wider to expand the city. in 1561, Philip II moved the capital from Toledo and named Madrid the capital of Spain. It also became the home of the king who lived in the AlcázarPalace.
People from all walks of life wanted to settle in La Latina, close to the Court and the king. Everything revolved around Madrid, and in those days, Madrid was La Latina. Madrid’s importance, particularly the area that currently makes up this neighbourhood, boomed at that time, causing an extraordinary growth, a melting pot of cultures and a reference point of social life as it had never been known before.
Strolling through La Latinameans discovering its nooks and corners, narrow streets, squares, and reliving scenes from that era in history when Madrid was declared the capital of Spain, the Madrid of the 16th and 17th centuries. This is where the traditional identity of the people of Madrid was forged, an identity that will accompany us throughout history right up to the present day. Any corner or square in La Latinais special to us, but there is one square that we are particularly fond of and hence recommended to you. La Plaza de la Pajais somewhat discreet and unknown to many, yet lively and dynamic, where you can feel the city’s heartbeat.
Don’t miss the opportunity to sit on one of these terraces in the Plaza de la Pajaand see how its fascinating history and impressive buildings blend with the most traditional, popular, vibrant and modern Madrid, especially at aperitif time during the weekends. While you are enjoying your break watching life go by, bear in mind that you are in what was the main square of the town of Madrid during the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, until the construction of the Plaza del Arrabal, nowadays the Plaza Mayor, in the 16th century. The Plaza de la Pajawas where Madrid’s commercial activity was concentrated, especially the sale of straw for the mules, which is where it got its name from.
Given that it was an important trading centre, Madrid’s noble families built their palaces here. Even the Catholic Monarchs spent time in this square, specifically in the Palacio de Los Lasso de Castilla, a building that no longer exists but whose location is remembered with a commemorative sign. Suppose you choose to take a break around here you will be surrounded by impressive buildings, such as the Bishop’s Chapel (Capilla del Obispo), the Vargas Palace (El Palacio de Vargas, the family for which San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of Madrid, worked) or the Palace of the Prince of Anglona (Palacio del Príncipe de Anglona)..
After spending some time people watching on one of the terraces of this square, don’t miss the small garden that can be accessed from the square, the Prince of Anglona’s (Jardin del Príncipe de Anglona) garden, a peaceful place in a UNIQUE setting. Europamundo is a big fan of this secluded little garden that is eminently Arabic and elegant.
We hope you enjoy this break and cherish every moment in this place. And don’t forget to make a toast. CHEERS!!
LA LATINA Line 5