An area bounded by the calle Alcalá and the Puerta de Alcalá, the Paseo del Prado from Plaza de Cibeles until the Plaza del emperador Carlos V next to the monument of those that died in 14 – M and the Paseo infanta Isabel, situated here is one of the largest and most visited art galleries in the world: The Prado Museum (undoubtedly the best as far as works from the XVI and XVII centuries, with the best works from the period from Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools. Also home to many of the best works of Goya, Velazquez, El Bosco, Rubens , Murillo, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Tiziano, Rafael, Watteau, Tintoretto, El Greco, Ribera, Zurbaran, and many others.)
This is an area that anyone who wants to know Madrid will walk through feeling overwhelmed, because within it, are many of the most emblematic monuments and important sites of the city.
Its streets and avenues date back from the days of Carlos III, the reformist king, who took the throne of his half-brother Fernando VI. Major avenues and buildings along the streets Alcalá, Alfonso XII or the Paseo de Recoletos reflect Madrids era of absolute glory and the Spanish empire.
The area of Paseo del Prado is the institutional heart of Madrid: here there is Banco de España, la Bolsa, the post office ´correos` building, and icons of the city such as Cibeles, Neptuno and the Puerta de Alcalá. Above all, the museums on Paseo del Prado make Madrid one of the art capitals of the world. In this area there are also some of the most classical hotels like the Ritz and Palace, along with some of our favourite tapas bars. Surprisingly though, this is an area relatively calm considering its central position and importance.
The Paseo del Prado goes from Atocha to the Plaza de la Cibeles. This ´paseo` has been renamed the Paseo del Arte, and is the heart of Madrid with one of the best offers of painting in the world. As its name suggests situated here is the Prado Museum, the ´joya de la corona`, the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, and now the new art center CaixaForum. In the plaza Cibeles, is the centre of Latin American culture Casa de America.
Next to the Prado Museum is the Real Jardin Botánico which currently contains more than 30,000 plant species worldwide. It is the perfect place to unwind after a visit to the Prado museum.
Not far from the Paseo del Prado is the Parque del Retiro, the old gardens of the palace. An enormous park, full of hidden places to enjoy and take in its great beauty, inside there is also the pond where you can take a boat ride, the Palacio de Cristal or the Palacio de Velázquez where they have wonderful expositions.
In addition to these monuments there are many others that should not be missed, such as Casón del Buen Retiro, the Museo del Ejército,, the Catedral de los Jerónimos or the Museo de Artes decorativas.