Centro in Madrid is the core of the city, its geographic center and a commercial and cultural hub with centuries of history, iconic shops, famed plazas and the Royal Palace. Here you can view hundreds of years of history, monuments, artworks, sculptures and architecture. You can visit famed museums and wander elegant royal gardens. You can discover a vibrant local nightlife and relax in vintage tapas bars or go shopping at stores featuring some of the most elegant, upscale haute couture brands in the world.

If you enjoy theater and live entertainment, this neighbourhood offers flamenco dance performances, musical theater, opera, famous live music artists and every kind of performance you can imagine. If you're looking to experience all that Madrid is in one place, from history to postmodern hip culture, elegant museums and wild nightclubs, Centro is the neighbourhood to set up shop in.

Centro in Madrid - one of the highlights of 10 Most Popular Neighborhoods in Madrid (Read all about Madrid here)

What are the highlights of Centro in Madrid?

Among the highlights of Centro in Madrid is the Paseo del Arte, or Art Walk. This public square and cultural meeting point is a center of leisure activity and learning through design, architecture, poetry, literature, fashion, urbanism and the arts that seeks to reflect on issues of change in the social landscape of the city. This square hosts constantly changing exhibitions, workshops, concerts, performances and screenings. One of the major attractions of Centro is the iconic Gran Vía shopping street, which has been described as the Broadway of Spain and hosts dozens of famed upscale brands.

Directly at the center of the area is the Puerta del Sol, a semicircular public square lined with cafes and landmark sites like the Bear and the Strawberry Tree statue, the 18th-century Royal House of the Mail Office and the 3 museums that form the Golden Triangle of Art.

A brief history of Centro in Madrid

Centro in Madrid is the city's oldest section and dates to the Muslim period of Spain in the 9th century, reflecting over 1,000 years of history and culture. In the late 800s, the emir Muhammed I built a fortress on the location of the modern Royal Palace whose purpose was to watch the Sierra de Guadarrama passes and serve as a staging ground for raids against nearby countries.

During the Crusades, it changed hands, and King Philip II chose the city as the site of his court in 1561. Many buildings that still stand in Centro's El Madrid de los Austrias area date to this period. The city grew by leaps and bounds over the ensuing centuries, and by the 19th and 20th centuries with the arrival of democracy, Isabella II saw the Congress of Deputies building constructed. Today, Centro is a symbol of history, culture and change.

What else is good to know about Centro in Madrid?

Depending on when you visit Centro in Madrid, you may find one of several regular festivals and celebrations held. These include Las Vueltas de San Antón in January, Fiesta Dos de Mayo in May, La Fiesta de San Antonio in June and Virgen de la Paloma in August. Centro is a popular area for both visitors and locals, and it can get crowded at times. It's important while here to remember that you are in an important cultural center and to respect Spanish and city culture.

The area is largely flat and easy to navigate, making it accessible in the outdoor neighborhoods to people in need of mobility assistance. People with disabilities are always advised to call ahead to any points of interest you may be visiting regarding accommodations you might need. Centro is serviced by many local bus lines, the Metro, taxi cabs and rideshares. Two bicycle-share docking stations are available.

Centro in Madrid

Location: Madrid, Spain