Gran Vía is one of Madrid’s major thoroughfares. Marked by constant traffic and big crowds walking up and down the very wide pavement, this 1,300m-long street is lined with shops, coffee houses, restaurants and one or two legendary cocktail bars.
Once packed with cinema theatres, Gran Vía is divided into three stretches. The first one flows between Calle Alcalá and Red de San Luis; the second section reaches Plaza de Callao; and the last one finishes at Plaza de España. As you walk down this street, look up to take pleasure in the majesty of buildings such as the Metrópoli (Gran Vía and Calle Alcalá), the Palacio de la Música, which was a cinema theatre in the old days (Gran Vía 35), the Lope de Vega theatre (at the corner of Calle San Bernardo) and the Coliseum (Gran Vía 78). All of them are notable buildings that embody the historical and architectural heritage of this area.
Shopping and history
In the first section of this historic avenue, you’ll come across traditional brands that are best represented by Loewe, whose shop on Gran Vía 8 opened in 1939. Since then, this brand has been dedicated to leather goods. Currently it has an exhibition space on the ground floor, the Loewe Gallery, where visitors take an interactive tour of the history of the firm.
In the following stretch of Gran Vía, there are Spanish fashion retailers like Zara, Cortefiel, Mango and Custo Barcelona, whose stores are housed on the ground floor of some of the local landmark buildings. Sweden-based H&M has two stores on this lively shopping street, one of them in the building that used to house the Cine Avenida, which retained the original foyer and dual stairways, as well as the clear layout of the original stalls.
The latest technologies have found their place at the Telefónica Foundation Space, a must-visit if you want to catch up on the hottest trends in mobile phones and other contraptions. The space runs exhibitions and meetings, and it has shop too. As a traveller, you must know that books are great travel companions. Find yours at the four-storey Casa del Libro, one of the most important Spanish bookstore chains.
Need a break?
Choose from the many coffee houses, bars and restaurants to have a coffee, a snack or a scrumptious meal. In one of the liveliest streets of Madrid, there’s something for everyone and activities for all ages. Along Gran Vía, particularly in the final stretch to Plaza de España, there are clubs and lots of theatres as well – the perfect place to finish your day.
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