Top Five Madrid


El Retiro is a jewel among parks.  Covering nearly 122 hectares, the gardens date from the 1630s, when they were laid out as part of the Buen Retiro palace  of Philip IV, most of which was destroyed in the Napoleonic Wars.

Charles II first opened sections of the gardens to the public in 1767, but it was only after the fall of Isabel II in 1868 that they became entirely free to the citizens of Madrid.  Since then, the Retiro has a very special palce in the hearts and habits of the people of Madrid. Among the activities , you can see puppet shows, boules, buskers, tarot readers



Madrid’s grand main plaza was the city’s hub for centuries.  It was first built in the fifteenth century as a humble market square.  After Madrid was made capital of Spain by Philip II, they drew up plans for it to be completely rebuilt.  Bullfights, carnivals and all the great festivals and ceremonies of imperial Madrid were held here.


 3.The Big Three Museums :

A JOINT Paseo del Arte ticket is available for all of Madrid’s ‘Big Three’ : The Prado,the  Museo Thyssen Bornemiszca and the  Museo nacional centro de Arte Reina Sofia.The latter’s greatest attraction is  Picasso’s Guernica.

To stand before this magnificent canvas  is to be bowled over by the artist’s depiction of the horrors of war.

Few visitors to Madrid dare miss the

Museo del Prado , one of the world’s greatest galleries, with many  more masterpieces than any other.  It is so full of treasures that it is only possible to display a small part of its 9,000 piece collection at any one time.

Among the great artists featured are Velazquez, and Goya whose work includes the haunting black paintings he created near the end of his life.



You are unlikely to catch sight of Spain’s royal family her, as his 3,000 room official residence is only visited by them for occasional state functions requiring additional grandeur.  The rest of the time the palace, commissioned by Philip V is open to view.The  weekly changing of the guard here is a colourful ritual worth catching.


5.Day Trip to Toledo 

One of the most beautiful cities in Spain, Toledo is known as the city of the 3 cultures.  For centuries Christians, Jews and Muslims coexisted here in harmony.

But in 1492 , Isabel and Ferdinand . the Catholic King and Queen of Spain expelled the Jews and in  the same year that Columbus discovered America and their re-conquered the last of the Muslim kingdoms in the Iberian peninsula.

Given its military history , there is a huge tradition of sword making in Toledo.  Many Swords in Hollywood movies like Lord of the Rings or Gladiator are made here in Toledo.

Toledo is just 70 kilometres and one hour away from Amadeus by road and rail .