Plaza de la Villa, Madrid

Plaza de la Villa, Madrid (must see)

If you would like a bit of quiet in the heart of busy Madrid, the best place to go is Plaza de la Villa, not far from Plaza Major. This small, medieval square is surrounded by lovely buildings, each with its own story. Among them is Madrid’s old Town Hall (Casa Villa), built in 1696 and renowned for its graceful stained glass windows and frescoes by Antonio Palomino. Remarkably enough, at some point, this building was used as a prison. Adjoining the town hall by an archway is Casa de Cisneros, an early Spanish Renaissance castle built in 1537. It boasts a Plateresque façade, quite rare in Madrid, and an outstanding collection of fine tapestries. The nearby Casa and Torre de Los Lujanes are supposedly the oldest buildings in the city; the tower dating back as far as the early 15th century. According to a legend, King Charles 1st imprisoned King Francis 1st of France here after the battle of Pavia in 1525. The reason for that the French King's refusal to show respect to and bow his head to the captor, upon which King Charles ordered the tower door to be lowered, so that Francis would have to bow when entering and leaving the building. That gave people an impression that the French monarch was indeed bowing to their king. In the center of the square stands a statue of Alvaro de Bazen, the Spanish admiral who planned the Armada and, remarkably, never lost a battle in his entire 50-year-long career. The statue was sculpted in 1888 by Benlliure and was set in the plaza in 1980.

Why You Should Visit:
Not a big plaza and there's nothing very touristy about it; rather, it is discrete and feels like stepping back in time which is very cool.
The buildings are quaint and well maintained; the garden in the centre is nice and well kept.

Tip:
Go at night when it is beautifully illuminated for an even better shot.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Madrid, Spain within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. 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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Plaza de la Villa on Map

Sight Name: Plaza de la Villa
Sight Location: Madrid, Spain
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Madrid, Spain

Create Your Own Walk in Madrid

Create Your Own Walk in Madrid

Creating your own self-guided walk in Madrid is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Madrid Introduction Walk I

Madrid Introduction Walk I

Madrid is a vibrant metropolis full of taste, vigor, and wealth. This walk starts in the city's most prominent areas - Gran Vía and Sol. The latter is Madrid's epicenter and popular meeting place. Gran Via ("Great Way") is a high-end thoroughfare in the heart of the capital, nicknamed Spanish Broadway for world-class shopping and nightlife. The walk follows through Plaza Mayor...  view more

Tour Duration: 4 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.6 Km or 3.5 Miles
Gran Via and Sol Nightlife

Gran Via and Sol Nightlife

Citizens of Madrid are famous for being dynamic and very outgoing. Living in one of the liveliest cities in Europe, locals enjoy the nightlife, when Madrid transforms into an array of colors and music. Check out the most popular nightlife spots in Central Madrid in the next self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles
Museums Walking Tour

Museums Walking Tour

Madrid is not only a big cultural center in Spain, but in the entire Europe as well. Having a great and interesting history behind, Madrid developed a vast culture over time. The city became world-famed for its museums and galleries. The following tour will guide you through the most famous museums in Madrid.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.2 Km or 4.5 Miles
Buen Retiro Park Walking Tour

Buen Retiro Park Walking Tour

El Parque del Buen Retiro is one of the main attractions of the city of Madrid. Known to the locals simply as "El Retiro," the park is a favorite place to spend weekends and summer days and was considered a Royal Park up until two centuries ago. Highlights of the park include several fountains, palaces, monuments and arranged gardens. Discover this historical site step by step in the...  view more

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

Madrid Introduction Walk II

Madrid is the economical, political and cultural center of Spain. Founded in the 9th century, this city is one of the most relevant destinations that Spain has to offer to its visitors concerning culture and history. Madrid is a vibrant metropolis full of taste, vigor, and wealth. This walk starts in the city's most prominent areas - Gran Vía and Sol. The latter is Madrid's epicenter...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 Km or 3.4 Miles
Hemingway's Walking Tour

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There have been many writers who express a love for Madrid, but one who did so quite famously was Ernest Hemingway. During his life, Hemingway was a frequent visitor of Madrid, finding in it his muse, popular success and critical acclaim. Don Ernesto, as he was called in Spain, was a frequent visitor to specific sites in Madrid that became major tourist attractions. The majority of those sites are...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles

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