Salamanca: the most exclusive and glamorous district of Madrid
When Madrid began to grow as a result of the industrial revolution, the high bourgeoisie class moved to the neighbourhood of Salamanca. The district features wide avenues, lined with majestic buildings and amazing houses. The streets around Salamanca are well structured in a grid, contrasting with the old town, which was built radially around the Puerta del Sol.
Salamanca: Main monuments and sightseeing
In the Salamanca – Retiro neighbourhood you will find some of the main monuments Madrid has to offer, such as the Palacio de los Deportes, which used to be a bullring but is now a major sports campus and is home to Madrid’s two basketball teams: Real Madrid and Estudiantes. The city’s current bullring – the famous Plaza de Toros de las Ventas – is also in this district, more specifically in the Guindalera quarter. Despite these landmarks Salamanca – Retiro is a relatively modern district.
Madrid’s longest street – the Calle de Alcalá – starts in the Puerta del Sol and threads through the Barrio de Salamanca. It then goes past Plaza de Cibeles, the Puerta de Alcalá, and runs for 10.5km, ultimately all the way to the northeastern outskirts of Madrid.
The Barrio de Salamanca is also the luxury neighbourhood of Madrid. In the Serrano, Velázquez and Goya streets you can find some of Madrid’s most luxurious shops.
El Retiro: Madrid’s main park
The Parque de El Retiro is Madrid’s lungs. It is ideal for a relaxing day around nature or for practicing several sports: from cycling, skating and jogging, to tennis, paddle and football. You can have a picnic on the grass in the shade of ancient trees, you can rent a boat on the pond or see the different street artists who have puppet shows or are playing music.
The statue of the Fallen Angel – the only one in the world depicting the devil – is El Retiro’s main attraction, but there is also a rose garden with roses of all colours, as well as the Bosque del Recuerdo, in honour of the 192 victims of the 2004 terrorist attacks in Madrid.
The Prado is the most important museum in Spain and one of the most important art museums in the world. Here, you’ll find works from most of the major painters since the Renaissance, including the Spanish geniuses El Greco, Velazquez, Goya and Picasso. Besides that, the Prado also has temporary exhibitions of past and contemporary global artists. You can visit it at a reduced price if you are a student, or for free on Sunday mornings. If you leave the Prado through its southern exit, you’ll be faced with the Botanical Gardens: a wonder of trees, plants and flowers that are over 300 years old and where you can find a big variety of plant species in the world.
The National Archaeological Museum is in Calle Serrano, where the history of Spain is told through its human and cultural remains. There you can see a cool reproduction of the Altamira Caves, one of the first cultural signs of humanity, with cave paintings of bison.
Fact sheet: Salamanca – Retiro
One place to eat: Bric a Brac – A good restaurant with rich and original food. The restaurant serves typical Spanish dishes, but cooked in a very innovative way. The place is small, but very friendly and cosy.
Address: Calle Doctor Castelo, 21
On place to drink: Mercado de Torrijos – The best place for students to have a drink in the barrio of Salamanca. It has the cheapest drinks of the neighbourhood. If you also want to have a bite to eat there are plenty of choices to choose from. You can have a pizza and a pitcher of beer for €4, or, for only €3,5, a burger and beer.
Address: Calle del General Díaz Porlier, 8,
One place to study: Biblioteca Eugenio Trías – Inside the El Retiro Park you’ll find the most modern and bright library of the area. Its glass facade fills the space with natural light and when you need a break, you can always go for a walk in the park.
Address: Inside El Retiro, next to the Ibiza metro station entrance.
One place to see: El Prado is the most important art museum in Spain. Tickets are at a reduced price if you are a student, or for free on Sunday mornings.
Address: Paseo del Prado, s/n
One thing to do: Rent a boat in El Retiro Park. It is the perfect plan for a well-spent afternoon with friends.
Address: Paseo de Colombia, 2. Parque de El Retiro
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