Princesa is one of the largest tourist destinations in Madrid, a district with many must-see attractions.
The district’s main street, Calle Princesa, is one of the longest and busiest in Madrid. It runs between Plaza de España and Moncloa, where you’ll see the Triumphal Arch, the Headquarters of the Spanish Air Force and the Faro de Moncloa transmission tower. Plaza de España was part of the Gran Vía development plan of 1911. Two iconic buildings face the square, Torre de Madrid and Edificio España. The square hosts the Monument to Cervantes, where you can ask a passer-by to take a picture of yourself flanked by Don Quixote and his loyal squire Sancho Panza, the main characters in Miguel de Cervantes’ best known book.
In sharp contrast to the adjacent Calle Princesa, always noisy and crowded, Calle de Ferraz or Paseo del Pintor Rosales are much quieter. In the area are nineteenth-century buildings that were inhabited by minor aristocrats.
Madrid can boast of being one of the very few cities in Europe that have an authentic monument from ancient Egypt. The temple, built 2,000 years ago in the Ptolemaic era, was dismantled stone by stone and brought to Madrid from Lower Nubia. It was a gift from the Egyptian Government in 1972, as a token of gratitude for the help offered by Spain to save the Nubian temples from being submerged during the construction of the Aswan Dam.
Housed in the palatial mansion of the seventeenth Marquis of Cerralbo, the museum shows visitors how an aristocratic family lived at the turn of the nineteenth century. It contains a fabulous collection of weapons, precious decorative objects and paintings by Tintoretto, Frans Snyders and El Greco.
Built in 1792, the present-day shrine is the third of a group of churches dedicated to the popular saint from Lisbon. The exterior sobriety contrasts with the magnificent frescoes inside, painted by Goya in 1798.
Estación del Norte
The old Estación del Norte is one of the finest examples of iron and glass structures in Madrid. It started operating in 1882 and ceased to serve as a railway station in 1993. It was renovated later to become a shopping centre and public transport hub, including intercity bus and commuter train stations.
One of the largest parks in Madrid, Parque del Oeste was developed in the dawn of the twentieth century, commissioned by Madrid Mayor Alberto Aguilera. The northern tip, the oldest part of the park, has beautiful landscaped gardens. The Rosaleda de Ramón Ortiz, with more than 500 species of rose plants from around the world, is well worth a visit.
Surrounding the Egyptian temple are gardens from which you can look at the beautiful sky at sunset, when it takes on contrasting blue and red hues. The battle between warm and cold colours to take over the horizon gives a great chance to take the picture of your life.
La Bombilla Park
Adjoining the Shrine of San Antonio de la Florida, La Bombilla becomes an open-air cinema in the summer. Enjoy an evening out with your family watching a good film.
Not so close to the centre of the city as are the parks we’ve just mentioned, Dehesa de la Villa is exquisitely beautiful. A 15 minutes’ walk from Ciudad Universitaria, it’s more of a forest with landscaped areas than a true park. Cerro de los Locos, the highest part of the park, affords stunning views of Sierra de Guadarrama.
Princesa never sleeps
The area is home to more than one nightlife venues. Close to Ciudad Universitaria and the Metropolitano tube station are pubs and clubs open on weekends and weekdays too. Students gather in them for a drink. A similar atmosphere but with fewer students, with pubs to have a drink and dance to the rhythm of popular hits or listen to live music, can be found in the streets around the Moncloa public transport hub. Electronic music is the star in the clubs close to Plaza de España.
Madrid from above
The Teleférico (cable car) offers unparalleled panoramic views of Madrid’s monumental cityscape and the river Manzanares. The Teleférico travels 2.5 kilometres and climbs 40 metres from Rosales station, in Princesa, to Casa de Campo.
Original language films
There are many cinemas around Plaza de los Cubos and Calle Martín de los Heros where you can watch films in their original language with subtitles. Watching original versions gives you the chance to hear the real voices of actors and actresses.
The main shopping street in this district is, of course, Calle Princesa, particularly at the corner with Calle Alberto Aguilera. There are big department stores and shops offering young fashion, sportswear, bags and travel accessories, cosmetics and gifts.
In this shopping district you can also find all kinds of electronic devices, from the latest cameras and mobile phones to tablets and e-readers. Treat yourself to any of the thousands of products available to take back home.
In the middle of a long day, you may want to eat something. In Princesa there are are fast food eateries and cafés to regain strength before resuming your shopping spree.