From Rafaelhoteles Atocha, VT members Santi (Redang) took us for a walk to Puerta del Sol. It was a nice walk. We passed the Atocha station, Centro Reina Sofia National Museum, Caixa Forum Madrid Cultural Centre, Botanical Garden, and Prado Museum. Before we got to Sol we decided to have a Tapas lunch, then we continued on.
When we arrived the first thing I saw of Puerta del Sol was the statue of Carlos III, the hustle and bustle, the commuters running toward Sol metro station, the Japanese tourist following the tour director carrying a flag, red roofless tourist bus, the blind busker with Labrador dog, police patrolling on foot. It was a busy sight. The ambiences were definitely electrifying.
We are now standing in the heart of Madrid historic square of Puerta del Sol. It is the starting point for us as tourist to take photos of the bustling activities. In Sol you will find many great shops, restaurant, café, hotels, and the twenty ton statue Bear eating strawberry fruit (Madrono), Kilometre Zero. You will see the old 18th century Post Office with the clock tower. I’ve heard from the grapevine at New Year the Madrid people consume 12 grapes for 12 wishes whilst listening to the countdown from the clock bell. They have to consume one grape per second, luckily for the Madrilènes it’s not orange they have to consume.
The Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor and Royal Theatre are close walking distance from Puerta del Sol square.
In May 2nd and 3rd 1808 the famous uprising against the French happened in the square when Madrid’s people fought against Napoleon soldiers and many died. Today protesters are still using the square to rallies and protests against violence and war.
This attractive statue in bronze and concrete of a bear and madrona (strawberry )tree was installed in 1967. It is the badge or symbol of the city, and it weighs 20 tons!
I was a bit confused about a strawberry tree -as far as I was aware, strawberries grew on plants. I now realise that Medrona or Arbutus is a species of tree, whose fruit slightly resembles a strawberry!
Look out for this coat of arms on manhole covers, taxi cabs etc around the city.
Another popular place for a rendezvous, or watching people taking photos of each other posing against the statue.
A beautiful Square and the center of Madrid, The Sun Gate. There are huge and famous buildings around . A very busy area. You will find here the Post office, radial network, the statue of the bear and the madrono Tree, and the famous clock tower whose bells mark the traditional New Year's Eve celebrations.
Puerta del Sol isn’t beautiful as Plaza Mayor but it’s occupied by people day and night! This is the “point zero” of spanish road network. What you can see here except the large ugly Tio Pepe sign are:
-the statue of Carlos III riding a horse
-the big clock on the red building, it’s the clock where many locals gather on new years eve. The custom says that they count down the last 12 seconds while eating 12 grapes!
-the historical Post Office of the city that was built in 1766 and housed the Franco’s ministry of Interior and Security. Now, it houses the offices of government of Madrid Community. In front of the building is the sign of “zero point”
-the statue of the bear reaching for strawberries from a madrono tree, a symbol of Madrid because once Madrid had a lot of bears and madrono trees.
From here you go and enjoy the nightlife at the nearby pubs or do shopping during the day. El Cort Inglés department store is right there but also two pedestrian streets that will satisfy your wife’s desire for clothes and empty your wallet :) I noticed many street artists at these streets. The area is also full of budget hotels and hostels. Some of them are nice, some others are…oh my god :)
This area represents the very heart of Madrid. For two reasons, first because it contains the kilometre cero (the mark from which distances from the city are measured). Also because it has been the chief meeting place over the years. Before newspapers, people came here to find out the latest news or gossip. Also there was one of the largest brothels here, another attraction for men from out of town to visit.
Still Madrid's most popular meeting spot is by the monument with symbols of Madrid ( a bear and a madrano (strawberry tree). Whilst you are here look out for the Tio Pepe sign that lights up at night.
In Madrid, all roads seem to lead to the Puerta del Sol - or rather, they all start from there, as indicated by the KM 0 sign on the pavement. Because it is such a central location, Sol makes for a great meeting point and a nice place to start exploring the city. There isn't that much to do besides looking around and taking pictures, and yet the place is always teeming with people and activity, which makes for a fun atmosphere.
I think most people will agree that the nicest building around the Puerta del Sol is the "Casa de Correos", dating back to the 17th century. On New Year's Eve, Madrileños gather around the Casa de Correos with 12 grapes, which they eat as the building's clock chimes, thus turning the Puerta del Sol into Madrid's Times Square. Also, while you're there don't forget to look for the statue of "El Oso y El Madroño" (the bear and the strawberry tree), which is the symbol of the city of Madrid.
On the pavement, near the kerb edge, In front of the Casa de Correos is a plaque marking the spot Kilometre Zero.
This is allegedly the centre of Spain, and all measurements of distance from Madrid are taken from this point. House/ shop numbers in Madrid also start from this point.
It's a popular spot for people to take photos of each other in various poses on the sign- If You want a photo of the plaque without someones foot on it, You might have to wait a while! So when You get the chance, Stand on it and pose!
It's an absolute institution to try chocolate con churros here... and San Gines is undoubtably the best and most popular place in the city for it!!!
So popular - and big - is this place, that you pay first and they have a ticketing system for collection... *and* they serve the freshest yummiest chocolate (Spanish hot chocolate, which is very very thick and unlike any other I've tasted in another country) partnered perfectly with churros (a long stick of 'doughnut' type consistency... though far far better than any doughnut in my opinion). There are also porras, which are similar to churros, only thicker. Early evening prices are halved to cater for the local shopping crowd who wander by from Sol and Plaza Mayor
Coffees and a bar of the usual drinks are also available here, though most of the patrons you will find being consumed with chocolate!! The place is huge, across 2 floors, and being open throughout the night from Wednesday to Sunday (I'm told it closes at 7a.m. ish, but am sure to have been here after that time).... it gets packed full of people from all walks of life - old and young, families, party people, some in full costumes... a great place to meet people too. It's very close to Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor, tucked down a little side street.
This is the very center of Madrid, and it's usually packed with people. Because of this it is very common to find lots of people (usually inmigrants) trying to sale pirate DVDs and CDs, rip off accessories and things like that. Also there are many beggars around that area. Still don't let this get in the way of visiting the square. There you can find the famous Clock that all of Spain is watching to follow the countdown to the New Year. You will also find plenty of Souvenir shops in the area if you wish to get something from the city.
this is the famous madrid's bear and a berry tree that is represented in Madrid's local flag.. on the picture you are watching preciados street always crowded.. so many cops on the area because its so touristy place and for sure so many rabble people and pickpockets, so its always great to see that for ur comfort!.. behind me there is the tower where every Dec 31st all locals celebrate the new year!!
Puerta del Sol is the most popular and crowed square in Madrid and it´s been scene of importants events in the history of Madrid. Is place of Kilometer 0, from there you can calculate the kilometers between Madrid and othe cities and meeting point of people from Madrid to say goodbye and give welcome to the new year.
La Puerta del Sol es una de las plazas más populares y concurridas de Madrid desde siempre y escenario de acontecimientos importantes en la historia de la ciudad. Es el kilometro cero de las carreteras del pais y es el punto de reunión para despedir el año viejo y dar la bienvenida al año nuevo.
The Puerta del Sol marks both the epicenter of the city and the epicenter of Spain. It is from this point in Spain that all distances are measured and all of the six major highways originate. There is a plaque marking the spot. Don't blink because you might miss it.
This square is at the center of the city. There are some nice buildings surround the square, as well as lots of tourist shops. It’s a good place to start your tour of the city. Watch your belongings since it’s really crowded. There is a metro stop (“Sol”) on the square.
This is Madrid's equivalent of Times Square in NYC. Demonstrations and celebrations are held here, and it is the nexus of activity. City hall is facing this square, and there is a statue of the city's mascot, the bear eating from a strawberry tree. At the time of my visit it was being dug up for construction of the new train station.
This is the most popular and commercial area, connected to several pedestrian shopping streets. 500 years ago, this was a gate of the city, with a sol drawn on it. It represents today the geographical centre (marked “kilometre 0”) when measuring the distance to other Spanish cities. It has always been a popular place for demonstrations and meetings.
Mention the "real casa de correos", seat of the presidency of Madrid government.