Madrid Hotels Articles

May 8, 2010

Shopping in Madrid – a Manual to the Location of Spain

The city’s Eastern section houses the Paseo des Arte with three massive museums scattered among striking gardens, the Centro de Arte de Reina Sofia, The Prado and the Thyssen Bornemisza all within easy walking distance. Small, seedy museums create the perfect ambiance to showcase the exclusive restaurants and apartment buildings in this area. Just behind the Prado you will find the luxurious length of the rertiro gardens,covered by ponds and fountains,pavilions of glasss,and rose gardens,it is a lovely shaded place to find some relief from the summer heat.

To the West of the Paseo del Arte you can find the exciting barrio of Santa Ana, it’s thin sloped lanes surrounded on either side by tiled tapas bars and restaurants. Cervantes and Lope de Vega’s influences were instrumental in fashioning the area into a progressive, cultural bastion. In the past, the brothels and theatres competed with each other for business, and the place is still quite lively after dark. Standing room only crowds. During the calmer daylight hours, chic dogs out walking with their trendy professional owners amuse and delight the older neighbors who relax on the benches of the area. 

This beautiful plaza is the heart and soul of old Madrid. The large, impressive square which was long ago the site of royal ceremonies and religious persecutions,  is now, sadly, just filled with tourist restaurants.  The oldest streets in the city, are twisted, bent lanes that curve away from the square; these are the last echos of a city that used to be beautiful. Lined on either side with churches, palaces, convents, and speciality shops that make traditional guitars or sharpen your knives, all seem completely impervious to the slow passage of time. To the east is the Palacio Real, a sight that must be seen.

These average blue collar neighbourhoods lie randomly under the Plaza Mayor.  Much of the area is poor and run down although renovation is definitely evident with its own cutting edge brilliance.  There is an enticing combination of people who reside in this area, including not only the eclectic young artists with their newly opened pubs and coffee shops, but also the native people of Madrid, and North African and South American immigrants.  The flea market is where you want to find yourself at the end of the weekend.

Enjoy rustic cinemas and luxurious shops as you stroll along wide Gran Via Avenue, which connects the northern section of the old city with east and west. Two neighbourhoods north of Gran Via, Malasana and Chueca, have what could be called alter egos, during the day, they are quaint and comforting, but after sunset, the night life can get a little crazy. The hip and trendy shops and bars meshing hand in hand with the famous endless nightlife makes these places the coolest areas in Madrid to hand out in.

Chic apartments and fine dining can be found in Swanky Salamanca, in the northest part of the city.  The feeling of money oozes out of this place, from the ritzy designer shops of Calle Serrano, to seeing Ferraris outside of clubs that one will never be able to get into.  Some mansions from the nineteenth century only add to the upscale atmosphere, and the glossy towers lining the Paseo Castellano are an excellent attraction for those interested in modern architecture.

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