Plaza Mayor (Town Square), Madrid

Plaza Mayor (Town Square), Madrid (must see)

The grand and dramatic Town Square ("Plaza Mayor"), was originally conceived by Felipe II, who in the late 16th century envisioned a more prestigious focal point for his new capital. The oldest building in the square is the Bakery House ("Casa de la Panadería"), dating back to 1590, but like much of the plaza, it underwent reconstruction after fires in the 17th and 18th centuries. The elaborate frescoes adorning its facade were added as recently as 1992. Today, the building houses the municipal tourist office (daily: 9:30am–8:30pm).

With a capacity of up to fifty thousand people, the square was historically used for beatifications, coronations, public trials of heretics followed by the burning of the victims, theatrical performances, and bullfights. It has now become a popular destination for tourists, boasting expensive outdoor cafés and restaurants. Despite its transformation, the square retains an air of grandeur and continues to host public events, including outdoor theater, music performances, Christmas fairs, and a Sunday market for stamps and coins.

The central bronze equestrian statue depicts Felipe III and dates back to 1616.

Why You Should Visit:
The square is always a hub of activity, serving as a focal point for numerous open-air special events, ceremonies, and celebrations.

****FOOD WALK***
While many of the restaurants in the square tend to be a bit on the pricey side and often crowded with tourists, the ambiance of the place itself is truly delightful, making it a perfect spot to relax and indulge in a glass of fine Spanish wine accompanied by delicious tapas. One particularly noteworthy culinary delight is the calamari sandwich, a signature dish of Madrid, consisting of crispy battered calamari served in a bun, which pairs perfectly with an ice-cold beer.

Among the numerous gastronomic gems surrounding the square, you'll find the renowned Los Galayos historic restaurant. Open from 10am to 11:30pm every day, this establishment has been serving traditional Madrid recipes since 1894. Their specialty lies in the succulent beef tenderloin cooked on a sizzling hot stone block. With several dining rooms and two outdoor terraces, Los Galayos caters to those looking for a leisurely meal or a quick snack of tapas. Another hidden gem worth exploring is Casa Revuelta (Tue-Sat: 10:30am–4pm, 8–11pm; Sun: 10:30am–4pm), a charming and unpretentious bar tucked away in a nearby alley just south of the square. Here, you can savor their mouthwatering signature tapa of "bacalao frito", which features perfectly battered and fried cod that simply melts in your mouth.

Furthermore, on nearby Calle de Cuchilleros street, you'll find Restaurante Botín (1–4pm, 8–11:30pm daily), the world's oldest restaurant, founded in 1725, which has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.

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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Plaza Mayor (Town Square) on Map

Sight Name: Plaza Mayor (Town Square)
Sight Location: Madrid, Spain (See walking tours in Madrid)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Madrid, Spain

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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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Madrid Introduction Walking Tour

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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.

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

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