Plaza de España
The Plaza de España lies at the intersection of some of Madrid’s busiest streets. The bustling Gran Vía becomes Calle de la Princesa as cars, trucks and buses honk and hurry their way around. Even though it’s at the heart of the city, you’ll often see people taking time out here to relax under the trees.
Look up at the Edificio España, one of Madrid’s classic examples of 20th-century architecture. The 25-story neo-baroque skyscraper was constructed between 1947 and 1953, making it the tallest building in the city at the time. Turn your eyes to the Torre de Madrid on the adjacent corner. It was built by the same architect between 1954 and 1957 and surpassed the Edificio in height, becoming the tallest concrete structure in Europe at 466 feet (142 meters).
Head to the center of the plaza to check out the monument to playwright and novelist Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Literature lovers will recognize Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza cast in bronze at the foot of the monument, with Cervantes carved in stone overlooking his characters. To either side you’ll find a representation of Quixote’s true love: Dulcinea del Toboso on one and Aldonza Lorenzo on the other. Walk to the head of the plaza to find a large fountain that lights up in the evenings.
Take a break and relax under one of many trees around the park. In summer you’ll see street vendors selling food and other items. There are also dozens of restaurants around the plaza.
The Plaza de España is in central Madrid and a short walk from the Royal Palace or Gran Vía. The plaza has its own metro station and can be accessed at any time of day or night.