Golden Mile Walking Tour, Madrid

Golden Mile Walking Tour (Self Guided), Madrid

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 (Plaza de Colón), named after Christopher Columbus. Overlooked by the grand statue of the famous explorer, the square is a hub for cultural events and celebrations.

For those interested in history and culture, the National Archaeological Museum, located nearby, is a fascinating place to explore and gain insights into the country's past.

When it comes to food, Platea Food Hall is a culinary paradise. This gourmet haven offers a wide range of dining options, from tapas to international cuisine, all within a beautifully restored theater.

For food shopping, the Peace Market (Mercado de la Paz) is a charming marketplace where you can find fresh produce, artisanal products, and local delicacies.

Wine enthusiasts should not miss Lavinia, a renowned wine store offering an extensive selection of Spanish and international wines. Whether you're a connoisseur or a novice, you can explore and taste some of the finest wines here.

Serrano Street (Calle de Serrano) is the main artery of Madrid's Golden Mile, lined with luxury boutiques, high-end fashion brands, and upscale stores. It's a shopper's paradise where you can indulge in a retail therapy session.

Art aficionados can visit the Lazaro Galdiano Museum, which houses an impressive collection of art and historical objects. The museum is a hidden gem where you can admire the works of renowned artists.

As a rich blend of culture, cuisine, shopping, and history packed into one luxurious stretch of the city, the Golden Mile definitely deserves to be included in your itinerary when visiting Madrid. Take this self-guided walking tour and get yourself a journey filled with elegance and sophistication!
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Golden Mile Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Golden Mile Walking Tour
Guide Location: Spain » Madrid (See other walking tours in Madrid)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: emma
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Plaza de Colon (Columbus Square)
  • Museo Arqueologico Nacional (National Archaeological Museum)
  • Platea Food Hall
  • Mercado de la Paz (Peace Market)
  • Lavinia (wine store)
  • Calle de Serrano (Serrano Street)
  • Museo Lazaro Galdiano (Lazaro Galdiano Museum)
Plaza de Colon (Columbus Square)

1) Plaza de Colon (Columbus Square)

Columbus Square presents an intriguing paradox, as it is located near bustling intersections yet offers a serene environment for relaxation. This lovely square is certainly worth exploring, whether strolling through its Discovery Gardens or simply sitting on a bench, basking in the sun while observing children riding skateboards and mountain bikes.

Originally named after Saint James, the square was renamed in 1893 to honor Christopher Columbus, whose monument, featuring a 17-meter column crafted from white Italian marble, now stands in the center. At its pinnacle, the figure of the renowned explorer extends one arm outward, symbolizing the allure of distant lands awaiting exploration. The monument's Neo-Gothic base rests within a stone fountain adorned with a grand cascade, flanked by staircases leading to the Cultural Center of Madrid ("Centro Cultural de la Villa"). The sound of the cascading water is so powerful that holding a conversation in a normal voice becomes impossible.

Another notable monument in the square, created by Joaquin Vaquero-Turcios, is a massive concrete structure engraved with sayings from various philosophers and Spanish leaders. Depending on the viewing angle, it resembles either a fish tail or an anchor.

Why You Should Visit:
There is a mix of contrasting architecture all around, with both modern and old buildings to be found, making it a captivating subject for avid photographers seeking extraordinary shots.

Don't miss the immense Spanish flag, the world's biggest (valued at €400,000) and one of the most eye-catching features of this square. Additionally, adjacent to the square on Goya Street, you'll find Platea Food Hall, a newly established gastronomic market boasting around 20 outlets serving a variety of tapas and other delectable delicacies.
Museo Arqueologico Nacional (National Archaeological Museum)

2) Museo Arqueologico Nacional (National Archaeological Museum) (must see)

Established by Queen Isabel II in 1867, Madrid's impressive Archaeological Museum houses a vast collection of artifacts discovered during excavations throughout Spain, as well as pieces from ancient Egypt, Greece, and the Etruscan civilization.

Among the highlights are exhibitions on the ancient civilization of El Argar in Andalucía and a display of jewelry unearthed at the Roman settlement of Numantia, near Soria. The museum also showcases 7th-century AD gold votive crowns from Toledo province, Greek and Carthaginian coins, remarkable Roman mosaics including one from the 3rd century AD, and exquisite Islamic pottery. Keep an eye out for the Romanesque "Madonna and Child" from Sahagún, hailed as a Spanish art masterpiece.

In the museum gardens, visitors can descend a short flight of steps to encounter a faithful replica of the Cave of Altamira, famous for its Upper Paleolithic paintings gracing the walls and ceiling.

Why You Should Visit:
Following an extensive renovation, the museum's collections have been beautifully set out around a naturally illuminated central atrium. The labeling and video explanations, available in English and Spanish, provide valuable context for the exhibits. Grabbing a quick lunch in the downstairs cafeteria is convenient, and your ticket allows for re-entry at your leisure. The admission fee is reasonable, and the museum is usually quiet. Lockers are available for €1 each, ensuring you don't have to carry around heavy belongings.

You can easily spend half a day here, but if you have limited time, get a leaflet showcasing the top 10 items and try to locate them. On Sunday mornings, admission is free (expect crowds), and children always enter for free.
Platea Food Hall

3) Platea Food Hall

If you're in the Salamanca district and need a break from your shopping spree, look no further than Platea. Situated near Columbus Square ("Plaza de Colón"), this place offers a one-of-a-kind gastronomic experience. Nestled in Madrid's Golden Mile, the food hall spans nearly 6,000 square meters across two floors and three boxes. Inside, you'll discover a diverse array of offerings, including upscale tapas
bars, gourmet food stores, a patisserie, a cocktail bar, and a restaurant.

In the bar area, you can indulge in tapas, skewers, and an abundance of other small dishes, perfect for enjoying with a vermouth as a light afternoon snack or a post-work treat with a refreshing beer. For those seeking a heartier meal, a world of cuisines is brought under one roof, featuring Mediterranean, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Peruvian, and Michelin-starred options. Truly a place that caters to every palate!

But Platea isn't just about food—it's also a spectacle. With live performances ranging from aerobatics to flamenco, the venue offers a dynamic and entertaining atmosphere. Coupled with excellent acoustics and top-notch DJs, it's a destination that provides both culinary delights and lively entertainment. Whether you're seeking a fun outing with family and friends or simply looking for a refuge from the summer heat or winter cold, Platea is the perfect place to visit time and time again.
Mercado de la Paz (Peace Market)

4) Mercado de la Paz (Peace Market)

Despite its high-end location in Salamanca District, the Peace Market is rather moderate in terms of prices. Housed in a building designed in the late 19th century by none other than Gustave Eiffel, known for his iconic Parisian tower, this market has been serving the community since 1943.

As you step inside, the enticing aroma of freshly baked bread fills the air, tempting your taste buds and making it nearly impossible to resist the array of delectable pastries and breads on display. And once you've indulged in bread, you'll find it hard to resist accompanying it with the market's extensive selection of over 100 cheeses, generous cuts of ham, flavorful pâtés, and smoked fish. The abundance continues with fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and an array of mouthwatering tapas. You may even find yourself wishing for a larger basket to hold all the culinary delights, prompting you to rearrange your plans in Madrid to make room for another visit to this wonderful place.

Additionally, the Peace Market boasts two excellent restaurants that specialize in Spanish cuisine. Why not stay for a meal and savor local specialties such as chorizo, smoked with paprika and red chili peppers, or empanadas—similar to Cornish pasties—filled with tuna or sardines, tomatoes, and garlic? For the adventurous, you can even try criadillas—bull's testicles—a unique Spanish delicacy!
Lavinia (wine store)

5) Lavinia (wine store)

Lavinia is known for its extensive collection of wines, making it one of the largest shops of its kind in the city. Visitors will be amazed by the wide variety of Spanish and international wines available, catering to different tastes and budgets. With an inventory of over 4,500 varieties, Lavinia showcases the renowned wine-producing regions of La Rioja and Ribera del Duero, as well as hidden gems like Bierzo and Jumilla, which may be less recognized but equally delightful. Whether you are seeking a familiar favorite or eager to embark on a new oenological adventure, this place is sure to offer something to captivate your palate.

It's worth noting that Lavinia's selection leans slightly towards higher-end wines, presenting a curated assortment that goes beyond what is typically found in mainstream grocery stores, even those offering wines in the €10 price range.

Why You Should Visit:
Lavinia's staff is a standout, possessing a wealth of knowledge and demonstrating a genuine passion for their craft. They are attentive, approachable, and maintain a high level of professionalism, creating a welcoming atmosphere for wine enthusiasts. Furthermore, the store features a fantastic tasting bar on the upper level, providing the perfect opportunity to sample their remarkable selection.
Calle de Serrano (Serrano Street)

6) Calle de Serrano (Serrano Street)

City-chic fashion and shoes, luxury watches and exquisite jewelry... Everything money can buy is within reach inside the fancy shops of Salamanca – if you have deep pockets, that is. Even if you don't plan on making a purchase, window shopping is no crime and a nice excuse to wander around Calle de Serrano, known as Madrid's Golden Mile, home to every luxury brand you can possibly think of.

From Cartier, Chopard, and Bulgari to Tommy Hilfiger, Carolina Herrera, Prada, Gucci, and more, as well as Spain's largest department store chain El Corte Inglés, you'll find a treasure trove of renowned names along this prestigious thoroughfare. Originally named after military leader and politician Francisco Serrano, who resided here in 1868, Serrano Street is Madrid's equivalent of New York's 5th Avenue, Paris' Champs Elysees, or London's Bond Street. As such, it deserves to be high on the must-visit list of every genuine shopaholic.

Whether you're in Madrid for a quick day trip, a leisurely long weekend, or an extended holiday, exploring the local boutiques along Serrano Street is sure to yield the perfect souvenir. Otherwise, you can simply enjoy walking and soaking up the atmosphere without fear of getting hungry, as there are plenty of cute restaurants dotted throughout the area.
Museo Lazaro Galdiano (Lazaro Galdiano Museum)

7) Museo Lazaro Galdiano (Lazaro Galdiano Museum)

After the passing of José Lázaro Galdiano, a prominent businessman, publisher, and arts benefactor, in 1947, his extensive private collection became a magnificent legacy left to the state. Housed within his former residence, the collection encompasses a staggering 13,000 pieces of artwork and decorative objects, spanning from the 6th century BC to the 20th century.

Visitors will find an exceptional array of artistic treasures, ranging from lesser-known portraits by Goya to an impressive assortment of fob watches, including one worn by Carlos I. Among the most captivating exhibits are exquisitely adorned 13th-century Limoges enamels and "The Saviour", a portrait attributed to a student of Leonardo da Vinci. The museum also boasts works by esteemed English artists such as Constable, Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Turner, alongside masterpieces from the 17th century by renowned Spanish painters like Zurbarán, Ribera, Murillo, and El Greco.

In addition to the museum, this palatial Italianate stone building houses Galdiano's library, which preserves his collection of incunabula and manuscripts. Retaining much of its original interior, the grand property showcases elaborately painted Baroque-style ceilings commissioned by Galdiano himself, each intricately themed to reflect the activities once carried out in those spaces. Many rooms also feature historical photographs, offering glimpses into the past when Galdiano resided within these walls. Recognized as an invaluable cultural heritage site, the building was officially designated as such in 1962.

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