Gran Via (Great Way), Madrid

Gran Via (Great Way), Madrid (must see)

The Gran Vía, or Great Way, constructed in multiple phases at the turn of the 20th century, stands as a symbol of Spain's emergence into the modern era. Built during a period of economic prosperity resulting from the country's neutrality in World War I, the Gran Vía serves as a dividing line between the historic southern part of the city and the newer districts in the north. It showcases a wide range of architectural styles, from Modernist to Neo-Rococo. Bustling with traffic, shoppers, and tourists, this vibrant thoroughfare serves as the commercial heart of the city, featuring grandiose banks and office buildings that are architectural marvels in their own right. In addition, the area is home to several museums and beautiful churches, providing further incentive for exploration.

The most impressive section of the Great Way is its earliest segment, constructed between 1910 and 1924, spanning from Calle Alcalá to the Telefónica skyscraper. Notable landmarks include the Metropolis Building ("Edificio Metrópolis"), characterized by its cylindrical facade, white stone sculptures, zinc-tiled roof, and golden garlands, as well as the nearby Grassy Building. The towering Telefónica building, reaching a height of 81 meters, stands as Spain's first skyscraper. During the Civil War, it served as a reference point for Franco's forces to carry out bombings in the area.

As you venture down towards Callao Square ("Plaza de Callao"), you'll encounter a lively stretch filled with shops, cafes, and cinemas. The square itself serves as the entrance to the shopper's paradise of Calle Preciados. Positioned on the corner is the iconic Art Deco Capitol Building, adorned with eye-catching neon signs. As you descend towards Spain Square ("Plaza de España"), be sure to look up and admire the assortment of statues and decorative elements adorning the rooftops of the buildings, creating a captivating skyline.

Why You Should Visit:
A great place to stroll and take in the sights, particularly the skyline and the frontage of many old buildings lining the street.

Tip:
Early evening is probably the best time to walk this walk, particularly on hot summer days.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Madrid. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Gran Via (Great Way) on Map

Sight Name: Gran Via (Great Way)
Sight Location: Madrid, Spain (See walking tours in Madrid)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Madrid, Spain

Create Your Own Walk in Madrid

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Ernest Hemingway's Madrid Walking Tour

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Amid the many writers who have expressed their love for Madrid, Ernest Hemingway is the one who did so quite famously. A recognized heavyweight of the 20th century literature - the author of The Sun Also Rises (1926), Death in the Afternoon (1932), The Fifth Column (1938), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940) and The Old Man and the Sea (1952) - was a frequent visitor to the Spanish capital.

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One of the iconic food destinations is Plaza Mayor, a bustling town square where you can savor traditional Spanish dishes. The square is home to numerous...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Miguel de Cervantes' Madrid Walking Tour

Miguel de Cervantes' Madrid Walking Tour

The name of the iconic Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes is closely associated with Madrid. The author is known for a number of works, but his 1605 novel Don Quixote de la Mancha is often held as the first modern novel.

Despite being regarded as one of the fathers of modern literature, very little is known about Cervantes' early life. Born in 1547, he had spent some of his young years in...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Buen Retiro Park Walking Tour

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A green oasis in the heart of the city, the park has long been a favorite spot for both locals and tourists to go for...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Madrid Introduction Walking Tour

Madrid Introduction Walking Tour

A city of elegant boulevards, beautiful squares, and manicured parks, the Spanish capital is renowned for its rich repositories of European art, portico-lined Plaza Mayor, baroque style Royal Palace and many other cultural and historical monuments.

Although the site of modern-day Madrid has been occupied since prehistoric times, the first historical document about an established settlement here...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Golden Mile Walking Tour

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Similarly to 5th Avenue in New York City, Champs Elysee in Paris, or Bond Street in London, the Golden Mile is one of the wealthiest and most expensive neighborhoods of the Spanish capital. Forming part of Madrid's Salamanca district, this posh area is known for its upscale shopping, cultural attractions, and gastronomic delights.

One of the prominent local landmarks is Columbus Square...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles

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