Plaza de Cibeles picture1 of 3
Plaza de Cibeles2 of 3
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Key Info

Plaza de Cibeles

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Free Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
3.6scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 3.5Atmosphere

Plaza de Cibeles is considered to be the most famous plaza in Madrid. Located at the intersection of Calle de Alcalá (which leads into Sol) and adjacent to Paseo del Prado/Paseo de Recoletos, the plaza and its stunning architecture are big draws for tourists. The main building in the square, the Cibeles Palace, was formerly a post office but now serves as Madrid's City Hall. The plaza's fountain features the Roman goddess Cybele, "the Great Mother" who represents fertility. The goddess has unofficially been adopted by the city's fútbol (soccer) team, Real Madrid. When Real Madrid, or the Spanish National team, win a title, the city holds a parade that ends in Cibeles with one of the players fastening the team's flag to Cybele. 

Visitors are allowed in select areas of the palace, including the observation deck, which affords panoramic views of the city. And what's more, it costs only 2 euros to get in. But travelers should note that the palace is currently undergoing renovations and is closed to the public. 

Still, the palace is almost as beautiful outside as it is inside. In fact, for a great photo op, recent travelers strongly suggest visiting the plaza at night, as the lights illuminating the building and fountain highlight the plaza's unique architectural details. You can get to Plaza de Cibeles from the Banco de España metro station. It is free to visit 24/7.

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Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro)1 of 13
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Time to Spend
#1 Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro)

To the east of central Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro (Buen Retiro Park) can be translated as "Park of the Pleasant Retreat," and that's what it is – a sprawling swath of lush greenery filled with formal gardens, lakes, cafes, playgrounds and more. This 300-some-acre park previously housed Felipe IV's palace and gardens, and didn't become open to the public until the late 19th century.

Today, you can still rent a rowboat to the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace), which holds regular art exhibitions or stop and smell the roses in the Rosaleda (Rose Garden), which has more than 4,000 roses. Plus, for those traveling with little ones, the Teatro de Titeres hosts puppet shows most weekends. 

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