Gateway of the Sun (Puerta del Sol)#4 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
Price & Hours
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.
More Best Things To Do in Madrid
#1 Plaza Mayor
This square, located in the heart of Madrid, is more a must-experience attraction than a must-see one. Surrounded by cafes and bars, Plaza Mayor practically begs passersby to take a seat, order a coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and people-watch. Not only do throngs of tourists pass through, but multiple street performers plant their feet here to entertain. The square starts getting busy around 2 p.m. and will grow increasingly busy as night falls. If you find yourself in Madrid during the holidays, locals recommend visiting the holiday markets held in the plaza.
Recent travelers acknowledge the touristy nature of Plaza Mayor – the souvenir shops, the less-than-gourmet yet overpriced restaurants, for instance – but for most travelers, Plaza Mayor still affords a lovely ambience. If you want to learn more about the history behind Plaza Mayor, which dates back to 1617, reviewers suggest you sign up for a walking tour. One of the city's most emblematic pieces of public art, the statue of Philip III on horseback, can also be found here.
Explore More of Madrid
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.
Holly JohnsonJanuary 16, 2020
Kyle McCarthyJanuary 8, 2020
Lyn MettlerDecember 23, 2019
Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019
Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019
Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019
Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019
Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019
Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019