Puerta del Sol is a popular public square that's best known for its famous clock and for being the centre of the radial network of Spanish roads. When you visit this park, you'll not only be treated to welcoming open spaces and charming cafes, but you can also spot some of the most iconic symbols of Madrid, including the legendary statue of the bear and the strawberry tree at the entrance of Calle Alcala.

Everyone can enjoy a visit to Puerta del Sol. Kids and adults alike are welcome to take in the alluring architecture, history and opportunities for relaxation. Even the events held here are generally appropriate for the whole family. Most people spend about 2 hours or so here, but your visit can take a lot longer if you take the time to explore each of the iconic landmarks within.

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What are the highlights of Puerta del Sol in Madrid?

Puerta del Sol has plenty to see and do, but there are 3 major points of interest you won't want to miss. The first is El Oso y el Madrono, or the statue of the bear and strawberry tree. Located at the entrance of Calle Alcala, this statue marks one of the most iconic meeting places for locals and travellers while also representing Madrid's coat of arms. Essentially, no holiday to Madrid would be complete without a visit there.

While in Puerta del Sol, you'll also want to see the Real Casa de Correos, or the house of the post office. This is where you'll find the famous clock that marks the Spanish new year tradition of the eating of the 12 grapes. Finally, you can visit Kilometre Zero, which is the spot where all major roads in Spain intersect, and it shows how distances in Madrid are measured.

A brief history of Puerta del Sol in Madrid

Puerta del Sol wasn't always a city square. It began as one of the gates in the city's outer wall in the 15th century. This is where the name of the square comes from, as the rising sun would decorate the gate's entry every morning since it was facing east. With the post office being located here, the square established itself as a popular meeting place in the 18th century.

The 19th century saw Puerta del Sol obtain its current form through the efforts of Lucio del Valle, Juan Rivera and Jose Morer, who were brilliant architects. Further enhancements were added in the 20th century, including the central fountain and the square's pedestrianisation. Given the square's popularity and central location, it has also been the site of numerous protests throughout history.

What else is good to know about Puerta del Sol in Madrid?

When you visit Puerta del Sol in Madrid, there are a few factors to keep in mind. You'll need to walk there, as the square itself is closed to traffic, with emergency services and supply deliveries being the only exceptions. Fortunately, the Sol metro station will bring you right into the square itself, so access via train is easy.

Visiting Puerta del Sol will put you close to several other prominent attractions as well. Plaza Mayor is located just a short distance to the west, while the Museo de las Ilusiones Madrid is due south. East of the square, you can explore Parque del Retiro and the nearby Puerta de Alcala and the Museo Nacional del Prado. If you venture north, you can visit the Plaza del Dos de Mayo, a historic market square.

Puerta del Sol in Madrid

Ubicación: Plaza de la Puerta del Sol, s/n, 28013 Madrid, Spain