Gateway of the Sun (Puerta del Sol)

#4 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
Gateway of the Sun (Puerta del Sol) picture
Gateway of the Sun (Puerta del Sol)
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Key Info

Plaza de la Puerta del Sol

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Sightseeing, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.3scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The true center of Madrid – kilometer zero – Puerta del Sol fills with spurting fountains, shops, restaurants and lots of people. If you're looking for a place to rest your feet after a long day of touring, or a quiet place to stay, Sol is not the place. The area is always crowded, especially at night when the city comes alive with people passing through the square looking to party at some of Madrid's hottest bars and nightclubs (many of which are situated in Sol). However, it is the best place to taste Madrid's life and vibrancy, so even if you're going out to dinner, don't pass up the opportunity to walk through and take in the area. 

Recent travelers said it's a great destination to people-watch considering the concentration of street performers. And if you're visiting over the New Year, you'll find Puerta del Sol is Spain's Times Square. Step off the Sol metro stop, and you'll be right in the thick of things. Access is free 24/7.

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More Best Things To Do in Madrid

Buen Retiro Park (Parque del Buen Retiro)
Plaza Mayor
Type
Time to Spend
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#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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