Discover Madrid’s financial district on a walking tour that passes by a sports classic: the Bernabéu football stadium
What to see
Where to sleep
Food and drink
In the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries, the present-day Paseo de la Castellana ran north to south across Madrid. Starting at Plaza de Colón in the south, the first section of this thoroughfare has kept a few noble mansions that were once the typical constructions of the area, now housing embassies, ministries and international cultural centres. There’s the Museum of Public Art, former ‘Open-Air Sculpture Museum’, which contains works by Joan Miró, Pablo Serrano and Eduardo Chillida, among other outstanding artists.
At Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz, on the right-hand side, there are the National Museum of Natural History – a must for travellers with kids – and the High Technical School of Industrial Engineering.
On the site of the former La Castellana Racecourse, which was operative until 1932, today stands the Nuevos Ministerios building, the seat of the Ministry for Development and the Ministry of Work and Social Security. Next to it there starts AZCA, the financial hub of Madrid, dominated by the Picasso, Europa and BBVA towers. Opposite the Palacio de Congresos y Exposiciones, whose façade exhibits a mural by abstract artist Joan Miró, there rises the Santiago Bernabéu football stadium, where Real Madrid play their home games.
Further ahead is Plaza de Cuzco and a section leading onto Plaza de Castilla, with such iconic buildings as Puerta de Europa Towers, aka Torres Kio, and Canal Foundation, which usually holds interesting exhibitions.
La Castellana ends at the Cuatro Torres Business Area, a business park developed on the site of the old Real Madrid Sports City. The complex features four towering skyscrapers: Torre Bankia – with 250m in height, it’s the tallest tower in Madrid and across Spain –, Torre PwC, Torre de Cristal (Glass Tower) and Torre Espacio(Space Tower).
Two of Madrid’s most stylish hotels – Villa Magna and Miguel Ángel – stand on Paseo de la Castellana. Other excellent hotel properties can be found in the area: several AC establishments, like the Cuzcoor the Aitana, and the accommodations on intersecting streets like the Meliá Castilla, the NH Eurobuilding and theNH La Habana.
The city gives you the chance to live – and sleep – in the sky. Up La Castellana, at Chamartín station, in the Cuatro Torres Business Area is the Eurostars Madrid Tower, a spectacular, modern hotel with the latest technology, fine decoration and the best possible service.
In La Castellana you can choose from a wide array of places to dine. El 38 de Larumbe stands out for its contemporary décor;Vintage 56 is great for tapas and raciones (dishes to share). And where else can you eat surrounded by rock & roll memorabilia than in the Hard Rock Cafe on Paseo de la Castellana? La Vaca Argentina, serving charcoal-grilled meat, has two restaurants, in AZCA and on Castellana 214.
Parallel to Paseo de la Castellana, Calle de Orense and Calle del Capitán Haya accommodate a host of restaurants and cafés in a range of styles and with a variety of menus, some at affordable prices. Close by is Mesón Txistu, a traditional Basque tavern right in Madrid.
In the stadium of Real Madrid Football Club lies La Esquina del Bernabéu, a nice restaurant that serves typical food from Castile. You’ll eat looking at the football field through a huge glass wall. During the summer months, they open a terrace on the stands.
If during the week AZCA is a financial district, at weekends it becomes a vibrant nightlife area. The place is packed with cocktail lounges, nightclubs (most of them on Avenida de Brasil), and nice outdoor and rooftop hotel bars.
Probably the largest El Corte Inglés department store is here in La Castellana. On the elegant ground floor, you’ll find the leading designer brands of fashion accessories, with a section boasting the finest jewellery and all kinds of watches.
A great many fashion chains have a store around Calle Orense (Zara, Mango, Promod, H&M, Springfield, Sfera, and so on), and on Calle General Perón fashion is still the big star, with companies like La Compañía Fantástica and the stores in Moda Shopping (Purificación García, Roberto Verino, Geox, Sebago, NAF NAF, Benetton, Adolfo Domínguez, Bimba & Lola, and many others). In this shopping centre you can also buy perfumes, jewellery, gifts and chocolates.
The perfect place to go when the weather isn’t great is a shopping centre, isn’t it? Well, in the area there’s ABC Serrano, close to the Rubén Darío tube station. It even houses a supermarket. La Esquina del Bernabéu, adjoining the football stadium, offers clothing, accessories, food, services, etc.