Trace Madrid's Fascinating History at the City's Best Historic Sites

Hands down, Madrid is one of Europe’s most fascinating capitals with its well-preserved architecture and dozens of remarkable monuments and historic sites. While you can still appreciate some remnants of the city’s origins, most of Madrid’s historic sites were actually built after it became the capital of a nation and grew into a world-class city. 

For a full picture of Madrid’s past, try gazing at the churches of its early days, touring the Renaissance houses of its greatest writers, admiring the palaces and gardens of the Spanish Enlightenment, strolling past the grand houses and boulevards of the 19th century, enjoying the café haunts of its artistic generations, finding the vestiges of Franco’s dictatorship, and then, appreciating today’s ardent efforts at preserving all of the city’s tumultuous and impassioned history.

While the visiting history and architecture enthusiasts will no doubt be eager to appreciate Madrid’s treasures, you certainly don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy Madrid’s historic sites. From the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Royal Palace to the fun Railroad Museum located inside the remarkable Delicias Station to the city’s charming transplant from Egypt, the ancient Temple of Debod, Madrid’s historic sites are a prominent and well-deserved feature on any Madrid itinerary.

Containing the largest Christian dome outside of Rome, the Basilica de San Francisco El Grande is an 18th century Roman Catholic basilica built in the Neoclassical style. The interior is richly decorated with murals, paintings and statues and...  Read More

Parque de Templo de Debod

One of Madrid's most unique attractions is the Temple of Debod. Located in the Parque del Oeste and mostly surrounded by an artificial pool of water, the ancient Egyptian temple dates from the second century BC and was dedicated to Amun and...  Read More

This busy crossroads is Madrid's main meeting place and crowds always loiter around the statue of the bear and the madro?o ("strawberry tree") at the bottom of C/Carmen. It is also officially the geographical official heart of Madrid and...  Read More

Plaza Mayor
Photo courtesy of Dalbera

Madrid's Plaza Mayor is a grand, historical square in the heart of the city. There you should admire the mural-like fa�ade of what is known as the Casa de la Panader�a and the equestrian statue of King Felipe III. Wander, too,...  Read More

Plaza de Cibeles

The Plaza de Cibeles is Madrid's most famous confluence of streets, where Paseo de Recoletos, Paseo del Prado and Calle de Alcal� meet. In the middle of the roundabout lies Cibeles Fountain, a 1782 sculpture and fountain of the classical...  Read More

Retiro Park is Madrid's most popular green space and for good reason. The extensive downtown park has hectares of manicured lawns and paths good for strolling as well as several picturesque gardens and multiple exhibition spaces. Flanked by...  Read More

Built as Madrid's main central rail station, Atocha was inaugurated on February 9, 1851, under the name Estaci�n de Mediod�a. After a fire in 1864, the station was revamped by Alberto de Palacio, a colleague of Gustave Eiffel, in a...  Read More

Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales

Founded in the 16th century and housed in a Renaissance-style royal palace, the Convent of the Barefoot Royals amassed great riches over the years from the dowries of the Spanish noblewomen who were once cloistered here. Today the church and...  Read More

Casa-Museo de Lope de Vega
Photo courtesy of Ecemaml

The Casa-Museo de Lope de Vega provides insight into the life of the celebrated Spanish playwright Lope de Vega as well as what life was like in Madrid during the 1600s. Located in what is now known as Madrid's Literary Quarter, Lope de Vega...  Read More

With its beautiful Baroque exterior of white stone and opulent interiors designed to impress all who enter, Madrid's Royal Palace is a must see. Madrid's monarchs resided there from Charles III in the 18th century until Alfonso XIII in the early...  Read More


Meet Sarah Rogers

Born and raised in northern California, Sarah grew up to become an expat, traveler and wordsmith. She spent seven years in Madrid, Spain and now calls Buenos Aires, Argentina home. She has had...  More About Sarah