Walking Tour of the Habsburg Quarter and Royal Palace
A Look at the Old City: "Madrid of the Austrias"
DURATION: UP TO 4-HOURS
Step into the "old world" glamour of Madrid, with a knowledgeable English-speaking guide, through the Habsburg (Austrias) quarter of the city.
Madrid became the capital of Spain in the 16th century, which gave way to a Golden Age and a flux of great monuments in the area that is nowadays referred to as the Madrid de los Austrias. One of the most famous areas of the city, The Austrias district houses the Plaza Mayor, churches, convents, and is full of art and atmosphere. The austere façades of the Baroque style contrast with the lavish interiors of the palaces. The 18th century left its Neoclassical mark on the splendid Royal Palace complex, the Sabatini Gardens, and Campo del Moro, located in the city centre.
During the Middle Ages, the site of the Plaza Mayor was just a market place outside the city walls. It is now a grand arcaded square that has been the center of festivities, bull fights, and royal coronations. In the middle of the square is a bronze statue of King Philip III, constructed in 1616 by the Italian sculptors Giovanni de Bologna and his apprentice Pietro Tacca.
From the Plaza Mayor, you will walk to the Puerta del Sol, one of the most popular and busy squares in Madrid, sitting in the very center of town. In reality, the square is a semi-circle, where many gather for New Year's Eve celebrations year after year. You will see the famous Bear and the Strawberry Tree statue, as well as the statue of King Carlos III.
Passing through some narrow streets you will walk to the Descalzas Reales and the Monastery de la Encarnación, and Palacio de Uceda. You'll travel through Calle Mayor, to Plaza de la Villa, a beautiful square with interesting buildings: Casa de la Villa, Casa Cisneros and Tower of Lujanes. Other buildings worth visiting in this part of town are the Cathedral of San Isidro, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Casa de Lope de Vega, the house of the famous writer, located in a street named after another great man of this genre, Calle Cervantes.
The Royal Palace, sometimes called the Palacio de Oriente (Palace of Orient), is a wondrous site to behold on your tour. Built during the neo-classical period in the 18th century, the building occupies the area of the old Alcazar of the Hapsburgs, which was destroyed by a fire in 1734. While it is not home to the royal family, it does house an extensive art collection, along with its vast and lavish rooms. With 870 windows, 240 balconies, 44 sets of stairs and 110 doors, it is one of the largest palaces in Europe.
This 4-hour tour includes:
- Palacio de Uceda
- Puerta del Sol
- Plaza Mayor
- Casa de la Villa & Cisneros House
- Royal Palace
Pick-Up/Drop-Off: Your guide will pick you up from your Madrid city-centre hotel. Your tour will conclude at a point within the city-centre, where your guide may assist with instructions to return to your hotel.
Includes: A private expert English-speaking guide for up to 4-hours, Entrance Fees to Royal Palace.
Excludes: Guide Gratuity, Extra Hours.