21 Things Madrid Is Known and Famous For

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Madrid is the famous capital city of Spain. It sits in the heart of the country and consists of 21 diverse districts ranging from traditional to industrial vibes. Through the center runs the Manzanares River. The city enjoys a dry climate with cool winters and hot summers.

What Is Madrid Known For?

Madrid is known for its delicious traditional Spanish food with unique combinations, such as calamari sandwiches! Additionally, it is home to the oldest restaurant in the world. Also, Madrid is famous for being the capital of flamenco, a folkloric dance featuring a flamboyant red and black costume.

Culture, History, And Traditions Madrid Is Known For

The War Of Independence

An important part of history in Spain is the War of Independence. 

The aim of this was to revolt against Napoleon and his invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, beginning in 1808 during an uprising in Puerta del Sol. This is known as the Dos De Mayo Uprising, overlapping with the Peninsular War.

Consequently, May 2nd is a public holiday in Madrid. People visit the memorials peppered around the city to honor those who died that day.



Madrid is often closely linked to flamenco. Whilst the folkloric dance originates from southern Spain in cities such as Andolusia and Marcia, it is hugely associated with the capital. 

Las Tablas is a flamenco house founded by two dancers located in Plaza de España. It has one of the biggest flamenco stage in Madrid, and performers dance every night. There are also many other venues where you can enjoy an immersive showcase of this graceful art.

Catching a live Flamenco show is one of the activities Madrid is famous for. It makes for a perfect evening out where you can listen to live music, watch performances, and indulge in mouth-watering cuisine.

>Check Live Flamenco Show



Bullfighting is a popular yet controversial sport that is primarily practiced in Spain. Other countries include Portugal, Mexico, and Columbia, which are also Spanish-speaking.

Whilst the origin is unknown, bullfighting is claimed to have begun by Iberian tribes. It was further amplified in Ancient Greece when the bulls versus human fights were made into a performance. 

In the bullring, special attire is worn, called a ‘suit of lights’ due to the many sequins.

The Madrid Gastrofestival

It becomes very apparent when you visit, that Madrid is famous for its rich diversity of foods. The gastro festival is a culinary occasion lasting two weeks, usually in May when the weather is sunny and enjoyable.

In addition to talented professional chefs cooking five-star meals, there are several interactive activities to partake in. For example, workshops teach how to properly prepare exciting new meals, and you can watch live demonstrations. 

The festival extends to museums and restaurants that also include the program in their events. From tasty Spanish snacks to classic traditional dishes, it’s literally food galore. 

Districts And Areas Madrid Is Known For



Chueca is a part of central Madrid and is an inclusive, welcoming district. There are friendly bars scattered along every street corner, yet are considerably more affordable than those right in the heart of the city. 

There are also many interesting places to visit in Chueca. The Museum of Romanticism, for example, is a historic art museum that was initially the former palace of the Marquis of Matallana. It has an impressive collection of paintings and furniture dedicated to this period.

This is a district worth visiting and you can get a bit more of a local vibe compared to the very touristy zones.


Sol is the must-see district that contains several of the most renowned landmarks in Madrid. It is a bustling neighborhood with character and charm.

For instance, the Plaza Major is the historic square built for King Philip III. There are always activities to do here depending on the season, as well as street stalls and cafes. 

Additionally, you must visit the Oso y el Madroño sculpture, translated to The Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree. The significance of this is disputed, ranging from the magical powers of the strawberry tree to the fight for authority over nature.

La Latina 

In contrast to other modernized areas that Madrid is famous for, La Latina remains traditional. The cobblestone streets and rustic tapas bars mirror the charming qualities of Old Madrid, as well as the old buildings. 

In La Latina, you can find several things to do. For instance, you can visit Casa Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world. You can also learn about the history of Madrid at the Saint Isidore Museum, which has pieces dating back to the Paleolithic period.



If you are a student or young person looking to visit Madrid with friends, Malasaña is the ideal option. It is affordable, dynamic, and has a great variety of nightlife. There are also vintage boutiques and boho cafes. 

Conversely, during the day, you can explore the Plaza Dos de Mayo. As we mentioned, the uprising was fundamental to Madrid’s independence, and this square is a compelling reminder of the War of Independence.

Landmarks And Architecture Madrid Is Known For

Royal Palace 


The Royal Palace is one of the most famous palaces in Madrid. In fact, it is the largest palace in Europe, dominating 135,000 m² of space. This makes it double the size of Buckingham Palace in England!

The 18th-century structure is made of marble and has a unique mixture of Baroque and Classical architectural styles. Inside you can find sculptures of lions, planets, and cardinal virtues, as well as a chapel and crown room.

It is also the official residence of the Royal Family of Madrid.

This is an incredibly popular attraction, so it is highly recommended to get a skip-the-line ticket beforehand to save on hours of queueing. For a more meaningful visit where you can learn the history of the palace and city, a guided tour will be the best option.

Santiago Bernabéu Stadium (Real Madrid FC)


The Spanish are well known for their love of soccer (or football, depending on where you are from), and there is perhaps no more popular cub than the legendary Real Madrid FC. This star-studded squad calls the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium home, making it one of the most famous football stadiums in the world.

The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium has a capacity of over 80,000 seats and regularly welcomes fans from all over the world. It has seen some of the most epic football matches in history and has been the stage for countless victories and stunning feats of athleticism.

If you’re a football fan, then taking a behind-the-scenes stadium tour is an absolute must. You can walk in the footsteps of legends and explore the halls of the stadium, learning about its rich history and some of the most incredible moments that have taken place there.

During the tour, you’ll get to see a range of exclusive areas, including the dressing rooms, the presidential box, the player’s tunnel, and even the pitch itself! 

So if you find yourself in the Spanish capital, be sure to head to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium for an unforgettable experience!

Plaza Mayor


Plaza Mayor was constructed by King Philip III and opened in 1619. To this day, you can find his monumental bronze statue of the king on his horse, in the heart of the square where his memory lives. 

On the north side of the square, you can also see Casa de la Panadería, a huge historical building.

Exploring the square is especially interesting at the end of the week when there is a Sunday Market. Similarly, there are lights on during the festive period and seasonal displays throughout the year.

This is also a common meeting point for activities and city tours around Madrid.

Prado Museum


The Prado Museum is the largest art museum in Spain, and unsurprisingly, the most popular museum in Madrid.

It holds over 7,600 artworks, 1,000 of which are sculptures. The pieces begin from the 11th century and include some renowned works from the Spanish Golden Age, making it one of the most prominent Spanish landmarks

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch is considered to be the most famous. Aside from this, it is significant in Europe because the museum is heavily influenced by the Renaissance and Baroque styles.

You definitely want to get your tickets early to reduce any queueing time, especially when visiting during the peak season. To get all the highlights and explanations behind the masterpieces, it is worth going with an expert guide.

Cibeles Fountain


The Cibeles Fountain is located in the Plaza de Cibeles during the reign of King Carlos III in the 18th century. 

The marble statue depicts Cibeles, who is considered the mother of gods and goddess of fertility in Greek and Roman history respectively. She sits in her chariot drawn by two lions enclosed by the fountains.

In the square, you can also find Cybele Palace, an imperial white building that is the seat of the Madrid City Council.

Food Madrid Is Known For

Cocido Madrileño


The traditional food of Madrid is called cocido madrileño, otherwise known as chickpea stew. Whilst it may not sound glamorous, it is the warm and hearty dish that fuels people through the winter. 

In addition to chickpeas, filling root vegetables such as potatoes and onions are chopped and added. The beauty of the dish is that you can use whatever is left in the cupboards, creating an affordable recipe for dinners. 

Cocido madrileño is a protein-rich dish consisting of meats like beef brisket, chicken, chorizo, and bacon. It’s certainly a classic Spanish soup and stew to try.

Bocadillo de Calamares

What is Madrid famous for if not their calamari sandwich? Although this sounds like a bizarre combination, the mixture of textures works cohesively. 

Calamari originally comes from Italy, however, the sandwich element is strictly from Madrid. Fish, often squid, is battered and fried before being added to a warm, toasted hotdog bun. The star of the show, however, is the sauces. The toppings range from heavenly spicy ketchup to tangy mustard or cool mayonnaise, and often all three are combined!

An exciting fact about Madrid is that is it home to the oldest restaurant in the world, Casa Botín, established in 1725. The menu has its section dedicated to fish dishes like squid, shrimp, and eel.

Huevos Estrellados

One of the most versatile Madrid foods is fried eggs, called ‘huevos’. A popular dish is huevos estrellados, a tapas dish. It consists of eggs, thinly cut potatoes, and chorizo. To give it more depth, it is seasoned with paprika, black pepper and garnished with lemon. 

On the other hand, huevos rancheros is a combination of fried eggs, pinto beans, tortillas, and cheese. This comes from Mexico but is commonly eaten in Madrid too. 

Unsurprisingly, both are popular breakfast foods in Spain since they are filling and packed with protein.

Churros Con Cholocate 


Every city has at least one world-renowned dessert food; in Madrid, it is their churros con chocolate. 

Churros are made from a choux pastry dough which is fried in hot oil. Characteristically, their shape is long and straight, but can also be heart-shaped or curly. Their ridges are what makes them distinct from regular donuts. 

To top them, icing sugar and cinnamon are used. They are then consumed hot and dipped in a cool melted chocolate sauce. This is one of the most delish desserts in Spain that you can snack on anytime!

To sample local delights and discover the hidden gems in Madrid along with other fellow foodies, a wine and tapas food tour is always a great introduction to the gastronomic scene.

Famous People From Madrid

Enrique Iglesias

One of the most famous singers that Madrid is known for is Enrique Iglesias.

At the beginning of his career, he sang exclusively in Spanish, however, began to transverse into the English market. Overall, this helped boost his career internationally and influenced Hispanic culture in English-speaking countries. As a result, he has sold over 70 million records worldwide.

In addition to singing and songwriting, Enrique Iglesias is a celebrity figure. This has helped land him cameo roles and reoccurring appearances on legendary USA shows such as ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and ‘Two and a Half Men’. 

Elsa Pataky

Elsa Pataky is a model and actress born in Madrid. She lived her childhood there, as well as attending university for journalism and acting classes on the side.

Initially, Pataky began acting in the Spanish series ‘Al Salir de Clase’ where she rose to fame. Her breakthrough international role was considered to be ‘Snakes on a Plane’, where she played one of the main characters, Maria. 

Additionally, she is most well-known for her part in the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise.

Alejandro Garnacho

Alejandro Garnacho is a professional footballer, who began by playing for Atlético Madrid. Subsequently, Garnacho progressed in his career by joining Premier League club Manchester United.

Internationally, Garnacho has played for Spain under-18s, and also as part of the initial squad of Argentina in the World Cup.

Aside from this Madrid is famous for its other talented football clubs, including Real Madrid. Notable players of this club have included Benzema, Ramos, and Modric.

Julio Iglesias

A prominent celebrity figure from Madrid is Julio Iglesias, who is considered to be one of the biggest Spanish icons in the entertainment industry. He is also a former professional footballer.

Iglesias is an international singer who has recorded songs in over 14 languages.

His biggest achievements include Grammy’s for Latin Music as well as Lifetime Achievement. Furthermore, he is acclaimed for awarding The Julio Iglesias Scholarship in which he funded students for their tuition in Bachelor in Music.

Discovering More Things Madrid Is Known For

All in all, the Spanish capital boasts so much history, culture, and culinary gems. From the War of Independence to the Royal Palace, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to Chueca, there is always something to see or explore in all areas.

The food in Madrid is exceptional, and you can taste the city’s essence with every bite. Whether it’s the classic calamari sandwich or the hearty cocido madrileño, it can be an exciting adventure for foodies.

These are just some of the things Madrid is famous for; to truly experience Madrid, you need to visit and immerse yourself in the city’s charm and character. 

With so much to explore, from museums to traditional tapas bars, there’s always something to discover in this vibrant and exciting place. You are bound to leave with unforgettable memories and a newfound appreciation for this sensational city.



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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