Madrid is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. To experience its true spirit, you just have to lose yourself among its lively streets and immerse yourself in its alleys and terraces. In addition to its great cultural offerings, the wealth and quality of its cuisine and its nightlife make it one of the most entertaining cities in Europe.
The city’s main arteries are the Paseo de la Castellana and Gran Vía. Along these, the fountains of Cibeles and Neptuno can be found, as well as palaces and buildings dating back to the beginning of the 20th century, such as the Banco de España (the Bank of Spain), Casa de América (House of America) and the new City Hall, in addition to café terraces, offices, theatres, restaurants and hotels.
It’s also a pleasure to stroll through the streets and squares of the old town, discovering a piece of Spanish history at every turn. Between the Puerta del Sol and the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) you’ll find Madrid de los Austrias, a neighbourhood which is home to buildings such as the Real Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales (The Royal Monastery) and the Convento de la Encarnación, although the most iconic construction of Madrid de los Borbones (Madrid of the Bourbons) is undoubtedly the Royal Palace. A guided walking tour is the best way to discover the hidden delights of these neighbourhoods.
The Barrio de las Letras, meanwhile, is located around Calle Huertas and Plaza de Santa Ana, both of which are pedestrianfriendly. The most famous writers of the Spanish golden age , such as Miguel de Cervantes, Quevedo, Góngora and Lope de Vega once lived in this area. The very first Corrales de Comedias de Madrid (open-air theatrical courtyards) were also found here, as well as the printer Juan de la Cuesta, where the original copy of the first part of Don Quixote
de la Mancha (1604) was made. The Convent of San Ildefonso de las Trinitarias Descalzas, where Cervantes was buried, can be found hidden amongst these streets.
Literature remains very important to madrileños (people from Madrid) and La Noche de los Libros (the Night of Books) is excellent proof of this. During this event, readers are given the opportunity to converse with writers and participate in numerous literary activities, such as workshops, readings, discussions, book signings and more… throughout the entire Region of Madrid.
And if you’re in search of peace and tranquillity, there’s no shortage of parks and gardens: Retiro, the Real Jardín Botánico (Royal Botanical Gardens) and the neoclassical Parque del Capricho, plus the recent addition of Madrid Río, a park situated along the banks of the city’s river.
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