Madrid running routes:
Madrid Old Town Sights route
Madrid Parque del Oeste route
Madrid Parque del Retiro route
Madrid Casa de Campo trail run
For more running routes, see Route List.
Most photos courtesy of www.pixelio.de
|Royal Palace from Calle de Bailén, © Konstantinos Dafalias / PIXELIO|
- Start at the main plaza, the Puerta del Sol
- Head through the main shopping area to the theater area (Callao)
- Pass by the Opera and into the Plaza de Oriente across from the royal palace
- Do a small loop through the palace's Sabatini Gardens
- Take in the Almudena Cathedral,
- Provide a stunning view to the countryside to the west from the viaduct
- Go through the park below the bridge to the San Francisco basilica
- Then heads back through some alleys to the historic city hall and the magnificent Plaza Major before heading back to the Puerta del Sol
We'll start in one of the liveliest (meaning busiest) plazas in Madrid, the Puerta del Sol. This is the heart of town, with the regional government building along the south side, metro- and bus-stations in the middle, and the main pedestrian shopping streets leading off the north side. This is also the place where people come to speak their minds, such as the recent student demonstrations.
There is also a marker in the pavement here, kilometre zero, locating the central spot where all road distances are measured from in Spain. So kilometre zero will also be our starting point...
|Kilometre zero, © Helga / PIXELIO|
|Bear and tree, © Helga / PIXELIO|
|Gran Via, © Daniel / PIXELIO|
Now turn left on Calle de Campomanes as it curves around to the plaza in front of the Tearto Real, the royal opera.
|Teatro Real, © Gabi Eder / PIXELIO|
|Royal Palace, © Dirk Pollzien / PIXELIO|
Now turn left and head along the north edge of Plaze de Oriente towards the palace and cross the street, the Calle de Bailén. To the right of the palace, you'll see a formal gardens, the Sabatini. Go down the stone stairs and do a loop through this beautiful little oasis.
|In the Sabatini Gardens, © Daniel / PIXELIO|
|Almudena bronze door, © Helga / PIXELIO|
But the view down in the park below is great too. So turn around and run back to the beginning of the bridge (north end), and cross to the other side of the street. There is a stairway going down from there to the bottom of the viaduct. Once down at the bottom, you'll discover that the bridge is a spectacular arched viaduct.
|The viaduct, courtesy of Google StreetView|
Just follow the street straight back to where it joins Bailén again, which will be right out front of the San Francisco de Grande basilica. The church is named after St. Francis of Asisi, who founded a monestary on the same site 800 years ago.
|San Francisco de Grande basilica, © poldy / PIXELIO|
In just a few blocks you'll come to a plaza on the left with a domed church, San Andrés, behind it. The plaza is a favorite hangout for teenies and other locals, and is a laid-back place to do some people-watching. The streets to the right, Cava Alta and Cava Baja, are full of interesting restaurants (known as La Latina, this a great area to come back to in the evening), but we'll head up along the left side of the church through a series of plazas, keeping to the right. This whole part of town is full of interesting little alleys and hidden-away plazas, and is the oldest quarter in Madrid.
The last plaza ends at Calle de Segovia, where you turn right (if you look backwards to the left, you'll see the arch of the viaduct again).
In just 100 meters, the street makes a jog to the left. Turn left here to head up the narrow alley, Calle de Cordón. You'll soon go up a few steps and see a beautiful stone building in front of you. Keep running straight up the alley along the side of the building. You will come out to a plaza at the town hall. This is an ensemble of historic municipal buildings.
On the other side of the plaza is Calle Major, (Main Street). Turn right and run just two blocks and you'll see a little plaza with some stone balls guiding you towards an archway. Follow the way through the archway (the town marketplace is off to the right). You now find yourself in Plaza Major, Madrid's great square, and the town's most popular hangout. Just take it in, this is the place to spend some time: The house to the left has a beautifully painted facade, the arcades along each side are full of restaurants and bars, and there are strolling musicians all over.
|Plaza Major, by Allan Reyes -- Flickr Creative Commons|
Now go back up the steps and cross the plaza to the right side to leave through the arch on the east side, in the northeast corner, running eastwards into Postas, a lively side-street.
Postas comes back out to Calle Major, just a block from our starting place. Just turn right and run the one block back to kilometre zero at the Puerta del Sol.