Photo: PMRMaeyaert on Wikimedia Commons
A cafe-lined Castilian square dating back to the 16th century
Noteworthy for: From the earliest days of the city, Plaza Mayor was the site of coronations, bull fights, fiestas and executions.
Word to the wise: Though you might be tempted, don't have tapas here but go to the nearby La Latina neighbourhood instead.
The city’s most celebrated square is the medieval heart of Madrid and witness to four centuries of history. While its cobbles no longer play host to jousting tournaments or bull fights, it’s the sight of many events throughout the year, including outdoor theatre, concerts, book fairs and a Christmas market in December.
Tourists fill the cafés, bars and shops in the shade of its porticoed arcades and it’s framed by elegant three-storey, red-brick buildings, with façades covered in colourful frescoes and lovely flower-filled balconies. Look out for the allegorical murals on the Casa de la Panadería – the former headquarters of the baker’s guild – at the north end of the square, created in 1992 by Spanish artist, Carlos Franco.