In the central location of Madrid, the Plaza Mayor is one of the most famous squares. This public space in the heart of Madrid was once the center of old Madrid. It lies between the Palacio Mayor and the Puerta del Sol in the center of Madrid. Arcades and three-story buildings surround the plaza, which is 129 meters long and 94 meters wide.
During the reign of Philip III, its construction first started. Juan de Herrera and Juan Gómez de Mora were the real creators of Plaza Mayor. It caught fire four times. Hence, it was reconstructed or renovated several times by different architects.
In the 15th century, it was known as the Plaza del Arrabal. Over time it adopted other names like plaza de la Constitution, Plaza Real, and Plaza de la República. It has retained its current name since the end of the civil war.
Red buildings on four sides surround it and give you a feeling of being stuck in a box. Moreover, these buildings are uniform in height and look. Public celebrations, royal coronations, bullfights, execution, and festivities are the events that abounded throughout history. The bronze statue of King Philips III is at the center of the square.
You will come across various street performers, cafes, and restaurants here. The Casa de la Panaderia is a predominantly cultural and municipal building in the square. The building is adorned with frescoes dating back to 1590. Frescoes underwent reconstruction several times. Carlos Franco reconstructed it in 1992.
Giant yoga workshops, festivals, and concerts do take place even today. The tradition of annual Christmas markets remained steadfast since 1860.
Its rich history dates back several hundred years witnessing major public events and catastrophes. During the reign of Philip III, architect Juan de Herrera undertook the original design. This initial design was completed in 1619. The building suffered many fires. After the first fire in 1631, Juan Gómez de Mora reconstructed it. Again a fire broke out in 1670. Then, Tomas Roman engaged in revamping it. Misfortune did not stop here. Another fire struck the plaza in 1790. Juan de Villanueva rebuilt it into the plaza that we see today. The construction was finally completed in 1854 after the death of Juan de Villanueva. His pupils Antonio López Aguado and Custodio Moreno, completed the process.
Timings are subject to change. You will be automatically booked into a time slot as part of the check out process. Please visit the official website to confirm the time slot before your visit.
Check Out the Puerta Del Sol
It is another well-known plaza nearby. It offers some fun things to check like the bear statue, the clock tower, a fountain, Kilometer Zero plaque, and the giant Tio Pepe sign.
Almudena is a famous cathedral with its modern interior and stately exterior. It features a newer side because its construction began in 1879. It looks different from any other church you might visit in Spain.
Visit the Palace
Palacio Real stands right next to the cathedral. It is exciting to see its exterior even if you do not visit the interior. Maze-like trees, gardens, and bushes around a pond and statues are beautiful attractions.
Walk The Square
You can stroll and behold the statue of Felipe III on his horse in the middle of the plaza. Enter the square through any of the ten archways, and move around to see 237 balconies that face the square's center. You will not take much time to walk around the plaza, measuring 129 meters in length and 94 meters in width.
You will discover beautiful frescoes at the Casa de la Panderia on the north side of the Plaza Mayor.
Have a Drink Al Fresco
You can take a breather and have a drink or meal in one of the outdoor cafes as a fun thing to do at least once.
Shop the Christmas Markets
Plaza Mayor is lit up with holiday lights and decorations in January and February. Numerous market stalls sell decorations, holiday trinkets, crazy wigs, and gag gifts. Mercado de San Miguel is a heaven for shoppers in Madrid, just a minute away. Traditional food, drinks, and seafood are the offerings in this market.
Explore Calle Cava Baja
Madrid’s coolest street is Calle Cava Baja, which houses the most traditional tapas bars and restaurants. Enjoy drink and tapa in a restaurant on this cobblestone paved street.