Plaza Mayor, a historic public square in Madrid's city centre, is a large, open space surrounded by porticos, historical buildings with period architecture and restaurants, cafes and outdoor seating areas. Located just a few minutes away from Puerto del Sol, Plaza Mayor can easily be reached by bus, metro and car, with onsite parking available.

Locals and visitors alike are drawn to Plaza Mayor, or Main Square, which is often referred to as the heart of Madrid. Visitors often spend up to an hour taking in the sights around the square, with many stopping to enjoy delectables from one of the surrounding cafes or restaurants. A variety of seasonal markets and events throughout the year add to the charm of this historic public space. The square not only serves as a popular stop for tourists and holidaymakers, but it is also an important piece of Spanish cultural history.

Plaza Mayor in Madrid - one of the highlights of 10 Best Free Things to Do in Madrid and 15 Best Things to Do in Madrid (Read all about Madrid here)

What are the highlights of Plaza Mayor in Madrid?

The history of Plaza Mayor in Madrid can be traced back to the 15th century as the town’s main market space, Plaza del Arrabal. Over the centuries, the plaza has seen everything from bullfights and games to executions, ceremonies and 3 major fires. After the last fire destroyed over a third of Plaza Mayor in 1790, the plaza was reconstructed to its current uniform architectural style.

Today, Plaza Mayor serves as a multifaceted public-use space in the centre of Madrid. Street artists perform magic, music and storytelling, locals sip drinks under shady umbrellas at chic cafes and tourists examine statues and public art around the plaza. Annual events include seasonal markets, the Tamborrada drum parade, a celebration marking the end of Madrid’s Holy Week, and the Plaza Mayor Christmas Market in November and December.

What other attractions are near Plaza Mayor?

With Plaza Mayor’s central location in Madrid, it’s easy to incorporate a visit here into a full day of sightseeing. Major landmarks include the official residence of the Spanish royal family, The Royal Palace of Madrid, as well as the historic Museum of the Almudena Cathedral. Opulent architecture can be found in the Real Church of Saint James and Saint John the Baptist, as well as in the Basílica pontifícia de San Miguel.

Unique entertainment spots are also plentiful around Plaza Mayor in Madrid. You can check out performing arts centres like Teatro Calderón, Teatro Real and the Figaro Theatre, or you can head to the Museo de las Ilusiones Madrid to witness mind-bending illusions. Don’t forget to check out Sobrino de Botín, one of the oldest restaurants in the entire world.

Good to know when visiting Madrid’s Plaza Mayor

A great place to start your visit is at the Plaza Mayor Tourist Information Centre, housed in the Salón de Columnas room of Casa de la Panadería. Within the Information Centre, you’ll find tourism guides and maps as well as local information and referrals. Locals recommend following Spain’s tipping etiquette, so be sure to tip street performers, tour guides and any service professional who goes above and beyond for you.

Onsite parking is available in an underground parking deck below Plaza Mayor, though it is pricey. Less expensive parking options exist in the areas nearby, but they may have limited availability during peak times. Multiple metro and bus stops are located within easy walking distance of Plaza Mayor in Madrid.

Plaza Mayor in Madrid

Ubicación: Plaza Mayor, 28012 Madrid, Spain