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It’s no secret that Madrid is a stunning city. The tree-lined boulevards with towering monuments and fountains at every turn and the small iron-clad railings lining the balconies of the city’s gorgeous buildings make it a truly picturesque place to walk around. In fact, a DIY walking tour is often the best way to see a city, and Madrid is no different. Whether you use this as inspiration to walk a similar route through the city or simply to add a little beauty and inspiration to your day at the office, here’s a tour of Madrid in 14 perfect Instagram photos.
You’ll want to start your walk in the most central plaza in Madrid, the Puerta del Sol. In fact, it’s apparently the exact center of Spain, and there’s a plaque that you can stand on, the Kilometer Zero, which marks the spot. Make sure to admire the famous Tio Pepe sign, which has been illuminating the plaza since 1936. In 2011, the sign was removed when the Apple store moved into the plaza. The sign, which managed to survive the Spanish Civil War, also managed to withstand Apple’s arrival and was returned to the plaza by popular demand in 2014, though placed on top of a different building.
Continue your walk by taking a stroll down Calle Mayor and passing the Plaza de la Villa, which features many different styles of architecture in one small plaza.
After a visit to Plaza Mayor, continue down Calle Mayor until you arrive at the Almudena Cathedral. The cathedral, from start to finish, took over 100 years to construct!
Sitting next to the palace, you’ll spot the famous Palacio Real, Spain’s Royal Palace. It’s one of the largest in the world, complete with trees, statues, and fountains.
Next, walk up to Plaza España and head over to Gran Vía, one of Madrid’s most famous streets known for its shopping, theaters, and bright lights.
If you’re tired or hungry, stop for a little snack of wine and cheese. Madrid is known for having some of the best tapas in all of Spain.
Don’t forget to admire Madrid’s Metropolis building, topped with statues and gold.
Make sure not to miss Calle Alcalá, leading up to the famous Plaza de Cibeles, featuring the picturesque Cibeles fountain and Palacio de Cibeles, which is the city hall.
Keep walking up this street, and you’ll find yourself in front of the Puerta de Alcalá monument, which used to be the door to the city of Madrid.
Next to this magnificent monument is the Retiro Park, one of the most famous parks in Madrid. There’s a lot to explore in the park—you can check out the Crystal Palace, which is made almost entirely of glass, or row a boat around the lake.