The Royal Palace (see Palacio Real) marks a decisive break with the austere tastes of Spain’s Habsburg rulers. Felipe V had been brought up at Versailles where the International Baroque style was in vogue. Architect Filippo Juvarra died two years into the project, but his successor, Giovanni Battista Sacchetti retained the Baroque spirit.
Plaza Cibeles 1
Home of the Madrid City Hall since 2007, this extraordinary building was the first major commission of Galician architect Antonio Palacios and his partner, Joaquín Otamendi. The style of this palace (1907–19) has influences ranging from Spanish Plateresque to Art Nouveau. The most striking feature of the interior is the glass-domed roof.
Art Nouveau is usually associated with Barcelona rather than with Madrid and, in fact, this superb example is by the Catalan architect José Grases Riera. Bold and original in design, the palace (see Palacio Longoria) is full of typical Art Nouveau features, such as the florid sculptural detail, sensuous curves and the balustrade.
The Fine Arts Club (see Círculo de Bellas Artes) dates from the 1920s and is Antonio Palacios’ Art Deco masterpiece. The crowning feature is the statue on the roof, representing the goddess Minerva, patroness of the arts. Pay the one-day membership fee and you can see the other highlights – the staircase, theatre, ballroom and the Salón de Fiestas, with its painted ceiling.
One of Madrid’s signature buildings, Edificio Metrópolis was designed in 1905 by the French architects Jules and Raymond Février. The high points – literally – of this lovely Neo-Baroque design are the bronze wreaths garlanding the cupola, which glint in the sunlight.
Though much altered over the years, this 16th-century church (see Parroquia de San Jerónimo el Real) is an important architectural monument. It has also been a place of refuge for Spanish kings and queens through the ages. Former king Juan Carlos I was crowned here in 1975 after the death of General Franco.
Plaza de Castilla • Metro Plaza de Castilla
The “Gateway to Europe” is a modern version of a triumphal arch. Twenty-six storeys high, the leaning towers of glass and metal were completed in 1996.
Pabellón Transatlántico, Calle del Pinar 21 • Metro Pinar del Rey • Closed to the public
This liberal college was founded in 1910; early alumni here included artist Salvador Dalí and poet Federico García Lorca. Designed by Antonio Flórez, the main building was nicknamed “transatlantic” by students because the balustrade resembled the rail of an ocean liner.
Paseo de la Castellana 259 • Metro Begoña • Closed to the public
Located in the Cuatro Torres Business Area, Torre de Cristal, or the Crystal Building, is Spain’s tallest skyscraper at 249 m (817 ft). It was designed by Cesar Pelli, who also laid out Brookfield Place in New York City. The tower serves as an office building.
Calle de la Cruz 17
The interior of this 1920’s tavern (see Fatigas del Querer) is decorated with Andalucían tiles and murals.
Tiled mosaics adorn the façade of this taberna dating from 1908.
Tiled inside and out; look for the Cibeles fountain on the façade (see Viva Madrid, Taberna Inusual).
Fantastic ceramic decor dates from the days when this restaurant (see Tablao Villa Rosa) became a flamenco club.
Calle de S Vicente Ferrer
Two tiled frontages. The pharmacy advertised “inoffensive cigarettes”, while the painted hens next door provide a clue that this bar was once an egg shop (huevería).
Stunning tiled façade and interior, from the early 20th century (see Taberna Ángel Sierra).
Andalucían decor can be found in this typical tapas bar (see Taberna Almendro 13).
Calle de la Victoria 1
Pretty, historic café converted into a Guinness pub.
Plaza de Tirso Molina 9
The façade here features modern tiles reproducing works by French poster artist Toulouse-Lautrec.
Ceramic motifs cover the bar and façade of this classic Madrid taberna.