The streets of Madrid!!

And while we are at it, it’s Summer time,and that is Madrid time as well. For me it is always Madrid time. I come back to this wonderful historic ,architecturally stunning, and humane friendly city of my youth and ever lasting life. Madrid is and will be Madrid to heavens and a hole in the sky to look down on it every day. Is all of Spain in one, or Spain, is everything under the Sun.

I like to tackle a huge subject as briefly as possible. The streets of Madrid, there are many good ones, hard to do, however, I will choose some that are dear to me for been by them the most over the course of my already long life.

First, I have written before on the districts of Madrid, the barrios of my Madrid; proud to say mine was Ciudad Lineal in the neighborhood of Quintana in another era long ago. Here is the previous blog post on them: Districts of Madrid

And differently , will give you the webpage of the tourist office of Madrid on the maps sections : Tourist office of Madrid on maps

Now, let me tell you about my favorite streets of Madrid amongst the favorites streets of Madrid.

Gran Via ,start your walk from the lovely Plaza de España, taking in the atmosphere of the crowded Plaza del Callao. Here you can enjoy stunning views of Gran Vía from the Gourmet Experience, situated atop the Corte Inglés shopping department store. Don’t forget to look up as you stroll down Gran Vía, keeping an eye out for the iconic angel on top of the Metropolis Building. Enjoy the grandeur of some of Madrid’s most famous buildings like the Telefónica Building or veer off to one of the beautiful squares, like Plaza de España or Plaza de Callao. Today the street is known as the Spanish Broadway, and it is one of the streets with the most nightlife in Europe. It is known as the street that never sleeps. It leads from Calle de Alcalá, close to Plaza de Cibeles, to Plaza de España.

Madrid

Calle Fuencarral, Tree-lined Calle Fuencarral draws the line between funky Malasaña and gay-friendly Chueca neighborhoods. Life is slower here, with locals doing their shopping and enjoying coffee breaks. Don’t miss Mercado de San Ildefonso, a New York-inspired indoor food market that, unlike Madrid’s more traditional food markets, spans three floors. it is a popular shopping street and tourist area. It also serves as the dividing line between the Chueca and Malasaña neighborhoods of downtown Madrid

Calle del Espiritu Santo, closer to the heart of Malasaña, smaller Calle del Espíritu Santo is the quintessence of this neighbourhood, with a unique mix of street art, cobblestones and colourful coffee shops. Here you’ll see locals walking their dogs, dragging their bikes along and chatting with friends. If local charm is what you’re looking for, this street is definitely one you shouldn’t skip.

Calle de Alcalà,(My street at no. 331!!!) . Where Gran Vía ends at the Metropolis Building, Calle de Alcalá picks up and continues the stream of magnificent architecture, from the buzzing Puerta del Sol to the picture-perfect Palacio de Cibeles with its rooftop lounge. Along the way you can enjoy the city’s most stunning views from the rooftop terrace of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, as well as from the impressive Banco de España building. The longest street in Madrid, it starts at the Puerta del Sol and goes on for 10.5 km, to the northeastern outskirts of the city. Along this street it is possible to find landmarks such as Banco Bilbao Vizcaya at number 16, the former Alcalá 20 discothèque at number 20, Edificio Metrópolis, the Unión y el Fénix Español building at number 23, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Plaza de Cibeles, Puerta de Alcalá, the Spanish Ministry of Education, the Instituto Cervantes HQ building, the Bank of Spain building, Parque del Buen Retiro and Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas. Stunning indeed!!!

Madrid

Calle Virgen del Sagrario, ok not a famous one ,but I lived around the corner as a young boy with my mother at Alcala St 331 corner with Virgen del Sagrario street, metro Quintana line 5 was just outside the front door. If you go into this street, you reach the wonderful Parque El Calero in those days, and the best patatas bravas of Madrid since 1963 across the street in the Plaza de Quintana, Docamar, still there! Further down you have Victor’s Calzados (shoes) store at 278 Alcala St, where my mother bought me my shoes as a boy and I came back to buy them for my sons, traditions of my Madrid and Spain.  My old school Colegio Obispo Perello here since 1955 the first stone was laid, right along this street and near the park. Right there is a parish Church of Our Lady of Lluc (Mallorca)  my mother went with me Parroquia Nuestra Señora De Lluc; even thus later we went to one closer to Retiro Park, San Manuel and San Benito Church at Alcala st 83 near metro Retiro, line 2. Wonderful memories all very well guarded in my heart.

Madrid

Madrid

Paseo del Prado, from Plaza de Cibeles, you’ll catch one of Madrid’s best-known boulevards – Paseo del Prado, which shares the same name as the world-famous art museum. Other than the prominent Prado, the boulevard stretches past Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, almost reaching Museo Reina Sofia in an area known as “The Golden Triangle of Art”. Other notable highlights along the way include the vertical garden at the Caixa Forum, the Royal Botanical Garden and the Fountain of Neptune, and Cibeles. Paseo del Prado ends at the Atocha Railway Station, which is famous for its interior rainforest. a few of Madrid’s most famous hotels, including the Ritz-Carlton Madrid and Westin Palace Madrid.  When walking, make sure to stay in the green area in the middle, where you’ll spot plenty of monuments, statues, fountains and people walking their dogs or enjoying an afternoon stroll. The Paseo del Prado is the oldest historical urban street in Madrid  It runs north-south between the Plaza de Cibeles and the Plaza del Emperador Carlos V (also known as Plaza de Atocha), with the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo (the location of the Fuente de Neptuno, and of the Ritz and Palace five-star hotels) lying approximately in the middle. The Paseo del Prado forms the southern end of the city’s central axis (which continues to the north of Cibeles as the Paseo de Recoletos, and further north as the Paseo de la Castellana).

Calle de las Huertas, this calm street runs through the literary neighbourhood of Huertas, also commonly known as Las Letras (“The Letters”). Here you can literally follow the quotes of famous writers, looking down at golden letters on the pavement. Calle Huertas is most atmospheric at night when its many tapas bars come to life and beckon you inside.

Calle Bailén, this street offers the most spectacular views of downtown Madrid. Starting from Plaza de España, it takes you past the idyllic Sabatini Gardens to the stunning Plaza de Oriente, situated between the Royal Palace and the National Opera. It’s a romantic backdrop for a picnic, and you might be lucky enough to catch some excellent street musicians. Take a look inside the colourful and modern Almudena Cathedral, cross the viaduct and end your walk at the often overlooked Real Basílica de San Francisco el Grande.

Madrid

Calle de Serrano, often called La Milla de Oro (the golden mile), the street is one of the most exclusive in Madrid, thanks to the high-end boutiques and shops that line it. Here you’ll find the typical fancy stores like Prada and Gucci as well as many expensive Spanish shops too. It’s also home to the newly renovated Museo Arqueológico Nacional, featuring many permanent exhibits related to Prehistory, Medieval Times, ancient Greece and more.

Calle Cava Baja, If you’re hoping for a quaint, authentic Spanish street, this is it. The small, curved pathway (part cobblestone too) of Cava Baja is lined with some of Madrid’s most typical Spanish restaurants and bars. The street was once a jumping off point for postmen to take the mail from Madrid to the smaller villages outside the city back in the 17C. Today, it does retain a certain old-city charm, where you’ll find plenty of tapas bars, some with caves down below where you can eat and drink.

Calle Mayor, lined with some of Madrid’s most beautiful monuments, the street is home to Plaza Mayor, starting at the Puerta del Sol and ending up next to Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral. You’ll also stroll by several plazas, such as the lovely Plaza de la Villa, a few churches,  and souvenir shops. Plus, you’re right near the famous Mercado de San Miguel, where you can stop by for some tapas and a glass of wine mid-walk.

Puerta del Sol,  more commonly known as just Sol, is the square in the heart of Madrid (and indeed, the whole of Spain). The distances of Spain are measure from here in km zero. Famous features include the Royal Post Office that serves as the president of Madrid’s office. It’s also where locals gather every New Year’s Eve to ring in the new year.

Madrid

Plaza de Oriente, this pretty plaza is in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid. Also nearby are Teatro Real, the city’s opera house originally built in 1818, and the Royal Monastery of the Incarnation, a women’s convent.

Madrid

Plaza San Andrés,  at this grandiose Romanesque ,Church of San Andrés and especially the dome of the Chapel of San Isidro. To one side is also conserved the building of the old Palace of the Counts of Paredes (walls), rehabilitated since 2000 as Museum of the Origins and House of San Isidro . The children play outside while their parents drink in the vibrant cafe around the corner.

Plaza Santa Ana, designed in 1810, the square  became a favorite of intellectuals, poets, artists and writers, including American writer Ernest Hemingway. It features many cafes and Teatro Español, Madrid’s oldest theater, which opened in 1583.

Plaza de la Paja, which means “straw square,” is said to be the oldest plaza in Madrid. At the bottom of this sloping square is a garden called Jardín del Príncipe Anglona.

Plaza de Espana, if you reach Plaza España from Gran Via, your first impressions of Plaza España may not be so great. However, the plaza is bigger than it first appears. You’ll find some of Madrid’s tallest skyscrapers here. As as the statue to Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra, writer of Don Quijote.

Madrid

Calle de Segovia, This meandering street in the historic Palacio (Royal) neighborhood passes by the best paella restaurant in Madrid. It also goes under the city’s famous viaduct, which is pedestrian friendly.

Paseo de la Castellana , commonly known as La Castellana, is one of the longest and widest avenues of Madrid. It is named after an old fountain that used to exist in Plaza de Castilla. It starts at Plaza de Colón, passes through the Nuevos Ministerios, Plaza de Lima, Plaza de Cuzco, Plaza de Castilla, and ends near the Nudo Norte (North Junction), connecting with the M-30 and the road to Colmenar Viejo. The Paseo de la Castellana is the continuation of Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo del Prado, and these three avenues vertebrate the north-south axis of the city.

Madrid

Paseo de Recoletos is a wide boulevard leading from Plaza de Cibeles to Plaza de Colón. The center part of the boulevard is a pedestrian walk, lined with gardens, trees, statues, fountains and varied street furniture. The first and largest stretch of the boulevard (from Plaza Cibeles to Calle de Prim) has a row of eight ponds lined with white double doric columns; an Equatorial Sundial are nearby. The second and shortest stretch (from Calle Prim to Calle Almirante/Recoletos) contains the Café Gijón (number 21), an historic literary café founded in 1888 with an outdoor terraza on the boulevard.  On the fourth and last stretch (from Calle Bárbara de Braganza/Villanueva to Plaza de Colón) is the Café El Espejo (number 31), another quaint café with an impressive glass pavilion influenced by Art Nouveau.

Calle Carretas , it is said that, in order to defend the watchtower of Puerta del Sol, the rebels built a barricade with carts. This street (along with Montera), were the first streets in Madrid that had sidewalks in 1834.

Other streets scenes of Madrid

Madrid Madrid MAdrid

You get an idea of the wonders behind these streets, just walking them and history, architecture, and just good things will show up upon you.  Madrid, a living museum above ground, and free. Enjoy it in your future walks as I do.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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