Plaza de Cibeles

In a city of many plazas and squares, this one is unmissable. The neo-classical marble statues and fountains providing a foreground to the magisterial Cybele Palace, nowadays serving as the city hall, have become an instantly recognizable symbol of Madrid. For a spectacular reveal, approach from the south via the beautiful and iconic tree-lined Paseo del Prado, but for a more lavish boulevard stroll, the Calle de Alcalá provides stately grandeur in abundance.

Be aware, however, that this plaza is a rather busy affair when it comes to traffic, as the central fountains perform double duty as a grand roundabout and pedestrian access is strictly limited to the sidewalks of the avenues that meet here. If money is not an issue, the palatial city hall also houses an upmarket restaurant that offers terraced dining for a great view of the plaza and the prominent historic surrounding buildings.

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Madrid