When you visit Madrid, Sol and Gran Via are totally impossible to avoid—not that you'd want to. Two of Madrid's biggest tourist magnets, their central location means that their attractions are as convenient as they are essential to a well-rounded holiday in the city. Don't be discouraged by the throngs of tourists, braving the crowds to check out Sol and Gran Via is well worth the hassle.
If this is your first time in Madrid, make sure to check out 100 Things to Do in Madrid or book a tour on the Madrid Sightseeing Bus. If you're planning on visiting more than one city on your vacation, our post What's the No.1 Must-See Sight in Each of Spain's Biggest Cities? will help you with planning your sight-seeing adventures!
Madrid's premier street has some of the most grandiose buildings in the city. Indeed, the Gran Via is a must-see for architecture buffs and people who are interesting in the city's deep history. Also, Madrid's best clothing shops can also be found on the boulevard, so it's a great place to score some new threads. Read more about Gran Via here, and you can find a whole array of local activities and tours here.
Shopping on Carmen and Preciados
Gran Via has more than its share of all different kinds of shops, but if you'd like to vary your shopping experience a little, make your way towards the twin shopping streets Carmen and Preciados. You're sure to find that perfect vintage top you're looking for!
Puerta del Sol
The point in Spain from which all distances are measured, Sol (as it is normally called) is truly the country's proverbial heart. For a quick primer on one of Madrid's most famous landmarks, check out this article. You can easily book a walking tour of the city centre to take an even more in-depth look at Sol when you're there in person!
Cocido Madrileño is Madrid's most famous local dish, a stew that is so big it is served in two portions (soup first, followed by the meat and vegetables). It's served daily at eateries like Restaurante Doña Juana. However, if you'd like to try your own at home, here's a tasty recipe until you make it to Gran Via to experience the real thing!
Convento de las Descalzas
Covento de las Descalzas is a famous convent with a renowned art collection. You can find tips on visiting the convent and guided tours at TripAdvisor.
Don't be discouraged by Casa Labra's super central location on Gran Via—this legendary spot is popular with tourists for a reason. The 100-year-old tapas bar specialises in cod fish, and you're sure to find a delicious plate with traditional Spanish flair. Read more about Casa Labra here.
If you're interested in exploring Madrid's incredible tapas culture, you can take a walking craft beer and tapas tour of the city to really get your fill. ¡Buen provecho!
Templo de Debod
Templo de Debod is an authentic Egyptian temple that has been dismantled and reconstructed in Madrid! The sunsets there are particularly breathtaking. There are many guided tours of the city that swing past Templo de Debod, feel free to book one here.
Madrid Post Office
Possibly the most ornate post office in the world, Madrid's Plaza de Cibeles is possibly the city's most recognizable landmark. It's beautiful when lit up and night—and yes, you can even buy a stamp there. Read more about Madrid's Historic Post Office here.
The always-busy Plaza España is surrounded by buildings that were once the tallest in Madrid. Currently, it's home to two of the city's skyscrapers: Torre de Madrid and Edifico España. You can find more about visiting the area via Viator.
Museo de las Telecomunicaciones
If you're a bit of a techie, Madrid's Museo de las Telecomunicaciones houses the history of telecommunications right in the Telefonica building.