Plaza Mayor

Price guide: Free

Plaza Mayor, Madrid, 28012

Price guide: Free

Plaza Mayor 1
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#8 of 30
expert-rated things to do in Madrid
Expert overall rating:4.7 out of 5
Value for money:
Recommended for:
Couples, Culture vultures, First-time travellers, Mature travellers, Seasoned travellers, Design and architecture, History, People watching, Relaxation, Sightseeing

Best for First-time visitors - Expert review of Plaza Mayor

If cobbles could talk… Madrid’s main square has been the stage for major events for 400 years.

Try to block out the sight of the other tourists in the Plaza Mayor by looking up and around until you are wafted back to the 17th century. Framed by elegant red-brick buildings with slate roofs and spindly spires, the elegant square may no longer be the hub of city life that it once was, but is still used for concerts and all sorts of events, and is full of pavement cafes with tapas bars and traditional shops in the porticoed arcades. Designed by Juan Gomez de Mora, over the centuries it has been used for bullfights, as a theatre for plays by Golden Age writers, jousting and the sinister trials known as autos-da-fe, held by the Spanish Inquisition. The frescoes on the north side of the square were created relatively recently, in 1992, by Carlos Franco, and decorate the building known as the Casa de la Panaderia, which was originally the headquarters of the bakers' guild. Nowadays, the ground floor houses the city's main tourist office. 

Expert tips: 
Watch the prices and check your change in the cafes.

More information on Plaza Mayor:

Price guide:
Historic site, Landmark / monument, Square
Plaza Mayor, Madrid, 28012
Months open:
All year round
Free tags / Keywords:

Have you been to Plaza Mayor? Would you recommended it?

Community comments (1)

I had every intention of checking out the Plaza Mayor during the day but totally forgot. Then while trying to find our way back to the hotel one night we happened to walk right into it. It took a minute for me to realize where I was but it was pretty cool. A bunch of people just out and about hanging around having a good time. I regret not spending more time there but I would recommend anyone to hang out there for a while if they can.