Plaza Mayor

Address: Plaza Mayor, Madrid, 28012, Spain

- Free


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. 

Value for money

Expert tips

Watch the prices and check your change in the cafes.

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Culture vultures
  • First-time travellers
  • Mature travellers
  • Seasoned travellers
  • People watching
  • Relaxation
  • Sightseeing
  • History
  • Design and architecture