The Palacio Real
The Royal Palace is probably one of the most important places in Madrid and it is open to the public, except when official business is taking place. It is set in formal gardens on the site of a Moorish fortress that burned down in 1734. There are many rooms to be seen including the throne room and the Royal Farmacia. Across the courtyard you will find the Royal Armoury with an impressive display of armor; this is included in the tour price.
The Plaza Mayor
The Plaza Mayor is a huge square constructed in 1617. It has been pedestrianized and can be entered by any one of nine arches. The famous square has played host to bullfights, fiestas and even public executions. From time to time, events such as concerts and fiestas are still staged here. The square contains 136 houses with 437 balconies from which people used to watch the events held here. The square has always been a popular meeting place, especially on Sundays when the many bars and restaurants complement the weekly stamp and coin fair.
The Casa de Campo
Literally called the “Country House”, the Casa de Campo consists of 1722 hectares and is therefore one of Europe’s largest public parks. In the 16th century, Felipe II ordered the purchase of the Vargas’ country house, around which further grounds and estates were added. The park was declared the “Royal Forrest” under the reign of Fernando VI. It suffered enormous damage during the Civil War and was finally handed over to the City Authorities in 1963. Its flora is represented mainly by Mediterranean oaks, ash groves, copses and reforestation areas; the fauna by a variety of birds and small mammals, rodents, and insects. Within the Casa de Campo limits, we can find a trade fair area, an amusement park, Madrid’s Zoo and the Teleférico (cable car).
If you have never seen a bullfight then Madrid is the place to see one. It is known to be the very home of bullfighting. Once you have been you may be so disgusted or shocked that you never want to go again, or you may enjoy it so much you long to see another. Whichever, the fights in Madrid are among the best in Spain with the top matadors competing. Madrid’s largest bullring seats over 32,000 people.