Fountains and Squares in Madrid: A Photo Essay


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Dear Luke and Leia,

Here we are discovering so many beautiful fountains and squares in Madrid, the capital of Spain. Like most European cities, Madrid has built its cities around central squares where people can gather to sell their wares, worship, conduct government business and greet each other. We took the easy way to get around the city. The best way to figure out the layout of Madrid is by taking a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour.

Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol is the most crowded of the squares in Madrid, at least to us. It is also the most central: The kilómetro cero plaque on the pavement marks the symbolic “0 Km” center of Spain. Puerta del Sol means “gate of the sun”and was the original site of the city gates. Another interesting fact is that it isn’t really a square, but a semi-circle.

Plaza del Sol, Madrid

Plaza del Sol, Madrid

Plaza del Sol, Madrid

Plaza del Sol, Madrid

Plaza Mayor

A short walk from Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor is probably the fanciest of Madrid's squares. It seemed the biggest to us as well because of the grand archways surrounding it. No wonder it is so popular with both the locals and tourists. It is a symmetrical rectangular square with uniform architecture, all built during the Habsburg period. Interesting fact: Plaza Mayor is surrounded by residential buildings with 237 balconies (imagine living there!) and there are nine entrances into the square.

Plaza Major, Madrid, Spain

Plaza Major, Madrid, SpainPlaza Major, Madrid, SpainPlaza Major, Madrid, Spain

Plaza de Oriente

Madrid's Plaza de Oriente square was created in the first half of the nineteenth century and is located adjacent to the Royal Palace. The current layout stems from a redevelopment project in the twentieth century, when they decided to turn the square into a pedestrian zone. Now it is popular with tourists who want to take a break and relax after visiting the Royal Palace.
Plaza de Oriente, Madrid

Plaza de Oriente

Royal Palace of Madrid

Speaking of the Royal Palace of Madrid, it is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Now owned by the Spanish State, the palace dates from 1738, but today the royal family prefers to live on the outskirts of the capital in the more modest Palacio de la Zarzuela. They still use the palace for official ceremonies though, and the rest of the time it's open to visitors like us.
Royal Palace, Madrid

Royal Palace, Madrid

Royal Palace, Madrid

Royal Palace, Madrid

When the Royal Palace in Madrid is not being used for formal occasions it is open to visitors.

Beautiful Fountains in Madrid

Here are a sample of the spectacular fountains we found gracing the city of Madrid.
Centro MadridPlaza de Oriente, MadridPlaza del Sol, MadridPlaza de Oriente, Madrid

Sadly, we only scratched the surface of the city so I could only show you a few of Madrid's many squares and fountains. It is time to return home to Panama now, so we will write to you guys from there soon.


Nana and Pap

P.S. – You can click the top left of any photos in our story to add them to your Pinterest boards. 

Even the lamp posts are fancy, not just the fountains and squares in Madrid.

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Written by Dan

Professional photographer specializing in street, food and travel shots at As We Saw It travel blog. “Photography is unique in that it captures light in all forms, and since the Bible says YHVH (God) is light, photography captures Him in many forms.”

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28 thoughts on “Fountains and Squares in Madrid: A Photo Essay”

  1. Great post! Have your ever been to other cities in Spain apart from Barcelona and Madrid? I’m so in love Spain, with its climate and culture and its people. The last few times I’ve been there on holiday I’ve done it through Genteel Home. They have luxury apartments in Seville, Granada, Malaga, Madrid and Barcelona for reasonable prices. So you don’t miss anything of the best cities. My stay each and every time has been excellent, so I Highly recommend. If you dare, please tell us your experience. Here I leave the link to their website:

  2. Having a good time revisiting Madrid through your photographs. Spanish plazas are ideal places to meet up with friends for the day or evening ~ where many fun experiences in Spain begin. Anyway, that’s definitely my story! Hope you were able to explore one of the plazas at length once the bus tour was over.

    • Oh yes, for sure, Melodie. We only use the HOHO bus to get a quick orientation to a city’s layout and history, then we spend the rest of our time exploring it, usually on foot.

  3. Madrid looks wonderful! I love the huge plazas and great architecture. I would love to wander around and enjoy the fountains also! I hope to see these one day! Thanks for sharing!

    • You know, Marcia, I think that’s the biggest problem with visiting a city. There’s always more to see than you can fit into your holiday.

  4. The public squares are one of my very favorite things across Europe. You’ve captured some beautiful spaces in Madrid, and it certainly fuels our #WeekendWanderlust! Now we’re off to figure out how we can live in one of those 237 balconies on Plaza Mayor! 🙂

    • Haha – Rob, you’re so funny. But you’re right, Europe has fabulous public squares. Did you have any particular favorites?

  5. The best thing about Plaza Mayor are the tiny little specialist tapas restaurants all around the outside of the square. Some of the best calamari I’ve ever had is from one of those tiny little shops.

    • I agree with you, Jim. We stayed nearby and had some great tapas at Plaza Mayor. Madrid sure is chock full of tapas restaurants and it can be hard to choose.

  6. I love Madrid! That means I had a blast looking at your beautiful photos of the city. My favorite plaza in the city has to be Plaza Espana. In terms of fountains, I like the Cibeles one.

    • We really liked the Cibeles one too, Ruth. It’s just too bad we don’t have any images good enough to do it justice.

    • It’s funny, we didn’t really think about how good the weather was until we got home and saw the photos. Go figure.

  7. Gorgeous pictures of Madrid, Linda! Puerta del Sol wasn’t so crowded when we were there. It was in late fall and outside the tourist season, but we were very lucky with the weather. I particularly loved Parque del Buen Retiro with its Crystal Palace and Monument to Alfonso XII (to say nothing about Prado museum).

    • There’s a lot to be said in favor of traveling off season, Anda. We weren’t able to see the Crystal Palace in the time we had allotted. I’m glad to hear it’s worth a visit.

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