Puerta del Sol

The centre of Madrid's New Year celebrations, and mile zero of Spain's network of roads.

TravelCurious Tip

This is the transport hub of Madrid, and makes for an excellent central rendezvous.

The heart of Madrid

The Puerta del Sol originated as one of the gates in the city wall that encircled medieval Madrid: it got its name from the rising sun which decorated the entrance, as the gate was oriented to the east.

Today a busy and vibrant spot at the centre of the city, Puerta del Sol offers a fine range of shops, restaurants and cafés down its side streets, an array of entertainments in the square (the typical street-performer cast of mimes, human statues and magicians vie for tourists' attention) and great opportunities for people-watching throughout.

All road lead to Puerta del Sol

In front of the Post Office, which serves as the office of the President of Madrid, is a plaque in the pavement marking the starting point of all the roads in Spain: they all radiate out from here like the rays of the sun. Its central and symbolic location has made the square a popular spot for protest and demonstrations in recent years.

The square is also home to a famous clock, whose bells sound for the Spanish tradition of the eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of a new year. The New Year's celebrations held in the square has been broadcast live on national TV since 1962. On the east side stands a statue of a bear and a madrone tree (madroño), the heraldic symbol of Madrid; another landmark is the huge neon-lit advertisement for Tío Pepe, a brand of sherry, which has dominated the square since 1936.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Madrid
San Antonio de Los Alemanes
Beautiful 17th century Baroque gem with frescos by Luca Giordano.
Teatro Lara
A performing arts theatre, located at Corredera Baja de San Pablo.
Jamon Serrano
Jamon serrano - Spanish ham - is a staple of many tapas and is a delicacy not to be missed.
Classic Spanish Tapas
Spanish tapas are the heart of any social gathering.
Plaza Mayor
This colossal square has hosted a variety of events over its 400 year history, from street markets to public executions.
Plaza de Santa Ana
One of Madrid's liveliest areas, filled with restaurants, cafés and tapas bars.

Related Tours

Private Tapas Tour of Madrid
Enjoy the vibrant buzz of Madrid on this walking and food tasting tour of the local tapas bars and taverns. On your private tour you will:

  • Enjoy the personalised attention of your private guide.
  • Set out to taste your way around Madrid’s delicious local tapas barstaverns and restaurants, as recommended by your local guide. 
  • Explore the highlights of Madrid at the same time, including the imposing Plaza Mayor, the awe-inspiring Royal Palace, the stunning Gothic Catedral de la Almudena, and stop in at the amazing San Miguel food market. 
  • Learn all about Spanish cuisinewine and beer, and the history of its culinary favourites like Jamon Serrano, tortilla, croquetas, Padron peppers – all while tasting as you tour!
  • Enjoy a refreshing Spanish wine, beer, or sangria to accompany your tapas plates.
  • End at a local tapas bar, and get recommendations from your guide to explore further.
Do you love food? Are you keen to explore new cities and cultures through their fascinating cuisine? If so, you will absolutely adore this tapas tour. Let yourself loose in Madrid’s best restaurants, markets taverns, and bars, as you sample Spain’s excellent variety of cheeses and wines on this sensational gastronomic tour. 

On this delicious three-hour tour, you will visit some fabulous foodie destinations, where your knowledgeable and experienced city guide will tell you all about local culinary, traditions behind tapas, and how and why it developed into such a popular cuisine in Spain and across the world. You will not only enjoy a variety of delicious tapas; you will also discover the best-kept secrets of the city, places where locals gather to have some quality time with their fellow Madrileños. 

Madrid is known for its majestic, historic buildings, stunning plazas, delicious food markets and tapas bars – and of course its balmy blue sky weather. All of which you’ll be able to enjoy on this cultural and foodie tour of the Spanish capital: You will see the highlights of Madrid such as Plaza Mayor, the royal palace and the stunning Gothic Catedral de la Almudena and perhaps the lovely, manicured Park Retiro while stopping in at some of the city’s best local tapas and wine bars to sample traditional Spanish favourites. 

This tour takes you from one gastronomic gem to the next, eating and drinking and discussing local cuisine with your private guide, and its fascinating place in Spanish culture.
Welcome to Madrid: Private Half-Day Introductory Walking Tour
Embark on a 3-hour tour of the most emblematic and beautiful places in Madrid, see the most popular highlights of Spain’s stunning capital city, and discover what makes the city so special.

On your private tour, you will: 

  • Begin your tour at the vast Plaza Oriente at the mighty equestrian statue of King Philip IV in the heart of Madrid;
  • Admire the awe-inspiring Gothic Catedral de la Almudena  surrounding the square;
  • Hear stories of the Royal family as you stand at the doors of the exquisite Royal Palace which served as a Royal Residence until the early 20th century;
  • Stop in front of the magnificent Teatro Real (Royal Theatre), which is considered one of the most important opera houses in the world;
  • Wander down the elegant boulevards, pausing by monuments, markets and other marvels! 
  • Enjoy the vibrant buzz of Mercado de San Miguel, a bustling market to sample some of the best local food and wine;
  • Stroll through the iconic Plaza Mayor in the heart of the city, admiring the stunning architecture of the surrounding buildings with its elegant porticos;
  • Head to Puerta del Sol, the geographical centre of Spain and another iconic square;
  • See Puerta de Alcalá, a beautiful neoclassical monument and one of the most popular landmarks of Madrid;
  • End your tour at Parque del Retiro, and discover its amazing lake, statues, thousands of trees and gorgeous palatial-style museums.

Madrid is a city of vast plazas, elegant boulevards, magnificent palaces, awe-inspiring Gothic churches, world-renowned art museums and vibrant, delicious food markets. It is also famous for its many green spaces and manicured parks. 

This half-day welcome tour of Madrid is the perfect way to get familiarised with the city's history, culture, and architecture. It will take you through some of the most iconic places in Madrid, including the Plaza de Oriente, Teatro Real, Palacio Real, Catedral de la Almudena, Mercado de San Miguel, Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, El Oso y el Madroño, Puerta de Alcalá, and the Parque del Retiro, one of Madrid's most beautiful parks. 

Along the way, you'll learn about the significance and history of each landmark, and gain insight into what makes Madrid such a special and unique city, and by the end of the tour, you'll have gained a deeper appreciation for Madrid's rich history and culture and a greater understanding of why the city has become such a popular destination.
The Best of Madrid: Private Half-Day Tour including Prado Museum
Explore the highlights of Madrid, Spain’s historic, vibrant and beautiful capital city on this half-day private walking tour, including entrance to the iconic Prado Museum. 

On your private tour, you will:

  • See the main attractions of Madrid as you learn about the fascinating history of the city;
  • Learn about the history of the Spanish royal family and its links to the Papacy as you stand outside the Palacio Real, the royal palace – considered the most important Baroque palace in Spain;
  • See the astonishing Catedral de la Almudena;
  • Stop by famous monuments and wander down elegant boulevards;
  • Explore Plaza de Oriente, Teatro Real and the Market of San Miguel;
  • Experience the grandeur and elegant atmosphere of the iconic Plaza Mayor, the beating heart of Madrid;
  • Admire the myriad of stunning architectural styles in Madrid, from Baroque to Spanish Gothic;
  • Enjoy a guided walk around the beautifully manicured Parque El Retiro;
  • Arrive at the Prado Museum, and enjoy a guided visit to this treasure trove of art;
  • Admire the world-famous Spanish masters such as Bosch, Goya, El Greco, and Diego Velazquez;
  • End your tour inside the museum, to continue at your own leisure.

Madrid, Spain's stunning capital, is a vibrant city famous for its elegant boulevards and vast, dazzling Plazas like the portico-lined Plaza Mayor, in the heart of old Hapsburg Madrid. You’ll see vibrant food markets, awe-inspiring cathedrals, and statues of famous Spaniards. 

The city is also very green with expansive, manicured parks such as the Parque el Retiro, where you will enjoy a stroll along as you bask in the sunny Spanish climate under fabulous blue skies!

Spain has one of the oldest and proudest royal families in Europe, and it remains a working monarchy to this day. Learn all about the history of the Spanish royals, like Ferdinand and Isabella, Philip II and many others, whilst standing in front of the magnificent Royal Palace. 

The city is also famous for being a cultural hub and is home to several museums – the most famous of which is of course the Prado, and your half-day highlights tour includes a fully guided tour of this repository of the best of Spanish art. Admire works by Goya and Velazquez, Bosch and El Greco among others – and let your guide know if you have any favourites or “must-sees”. 

You will end your tour inside the Prado to continue exploring at your leisure, explore the gift shop and enjoy a well-earned coffee break at the café. 


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