How to see views of the city
It is remarkable that there currently are so few places to get up and see the city from above, considering Madrid's size and the large number of tourists. And the fact that it actually has a nice skyline. The skyscrapers and towers have no observation decks, or at least that was what we were todl. The only observation tower according to our hotel, Faro de Moncloa, was closed during our visit (February 2011). There are of course some tall hotels, like Edificio Espana, and office skyscrapers were you can watch the skyline if you are allowed to get in. The only spots were we could see the skyline a bit from above, were from El Corte Ingles at Plaza del Callao. And the windows was only accesible for guests, but with help from one guest I could pass to the windows. If you take the metro to the outskirts, for example Case de Campo, it is possible to see the skyline from afar. And there are some high spots in the city in Parque del Oueste and the Royal Castle for example, were you can see the city from above. I was told later that there are a lot of observation points that the people I asked in Madrid wasn't aware of: Palacio de Telecomunicaciones at Plaza Cibeles, Hotel Reina Victoria at Plaza Santa Ana and Círculo de Bellas Artes on Alcala St.
The structures that form the skyline
Madrid has a good skyline for its size as there are many tall buildings and monuments in the city, and the mountains of Sierra de Guadarrama is a nice backdrop. In the city center, the 2 tallest buildings are the nice skyscrapers from the 1950s at Plaza de España. At Gran Via, there are many beautiful, magnificent highrise buildings with about 8-13 stories. But the tallest buildings are in the outskirts; The 4 tallest skyscrapers in Spain, all nearly 250m tall, are all located in the Cuatro Torres (4 towers) district in Madrid. The tallest of them, and tallest in Spain, is Torre Caja Madrid (250m). In the AZCA district, that is closer to the city center, you can find Torre Picasso and between Cuatro Torres is the famous Puerta de Europa (Kio Towers) that are leaning towards each other. All these skyscrapers are located in the North part of the city, along Paseo de la Castellana. From this long avenue it is possible to see parts of the skyline. Madrid also has a tall TV tower and an observation tower (currently closed) in the outskirts. In the outskirts and suburbs you can also find dull residential highrises, about 8-20 stories high, in Spanish commie block style. Madrid's city center is partly hilly, that in some cases offers views of the city.
Paseo de la Castellana towards Torres Kio and Cuatro Torres
These photos were taken from the café on the top floor of the department store El Corte Inglés branch at Plaza del Callao.
Plaza del Callao with Torre Carrión (left) and Gran Via leading towards Torre de Madrid at Plaza de España. Mountains in the background.
Towards Palacio Real and the mountains of Sierra de Guadarrama.
Looking to the southwest: Almudena Cathedral (right), the national theater and some other churches.
The nearby FNAC store.
Almudena Cathedral and the National Theater. Commie blocks in the distance.
Cuatro Torres, 4 Towers, is a new business area that consist of the the 4 tallest, newest and most striking skyscrapers in Spain. The skyscrapers were
completed in 2008. The tallest one, Torre Caja Madrid, is 250m tall and the tallest building in Spain. Eurostars Madrid Tower is the tallest hotel in Europe.
The district is located in the North end of the city, just next to Paseo de la Castellana, a road that passes by all of Madrid's modern skyscrapers.
Cuatro Torres from the left: Torre Caja Madrid, Eurostars Madrid Tower, Torre Cristal and Torre Espacio. This photo is taken from just outside Chamartín Station.
Cuatro Torres, Four Towers. I wanted to visit Madrid for many years, but decided to wait until they were completed in 2008. Acutally my visit delayed to 2011.
The mountains of Sierra de Guadarrama from Cuatro Torres.
AZCA, sometimew called "Madrid's Manhattan", is a business district situated a couple of blocks North of the city center, along Paseo de Castellana.
Since it was built in the 70s, the designs of the towers are a bit more traditional and boxy, and also lower, then Cuatro Torres.
But still it is the area with the largest number of skyscrapers concentrated. The area is dominated by the famous Torre Picasso, Madrid's tallest building
before Cuatro Torres were built.
AZCA:s skyline from Plaza de Picasso.
AZCA district skyline from the south.
Torre Picasso dominating AZCA:s skyline.
AZCA from the North: Torre Europa, Torre Picasso and Edifcio Masters.
Plaza de Castilla is a modern square in Madrid's north outskirts, along Paseo de Castellana. Puerta de Europa, or Torres Kio, are 2 iconic leaning twin
towers, standing on each side of the plaza. They have a height of 114m and 26 floors. On the plaza you can also find Calatrava's brand new golden, moving,
Obelisco de la Caja, erected in 2010, the José Calvo Sotelo marble monument from 1960 and Cuatro Torres, Madrid's 4 tallest skyscrapers can be see
further away to the North.
Torres Kio (Puerta de Europa), the new Obelisco de Caja and the José Calvo Sotelo Monument.
Hotel Castilla Plaza (in the middle) has an exterior that resembles Torres Kio. To the left: Cuatro Torres, the 4 tallest skyscrapers of Madrid.
Paseo de la Castellano passing under Plaza de Castilla. You can see Torre Europa and other skyscrapers of the AZCA district to the right.'
View from Plaza de Cibeles: Banco de Espana, Metropolis and Palacio de Buenavista are some of the famous buildings in this picture. Palacio de Buenavista (righ), is
a palace built for the Alba family, but now occupied by the army. The Duches of Alba, rumoured to be one of Goya's lovers, lived here.
Towers at Plaza del Callao, seen from Gran Via.
Calle de Raimundo Fernendes Villaverde towards New Tower Windsor and Edifico Longview. To the right is Hospital de Maudes.
Plaza de Colón with Torres de Colón.
Not a Madrid skyline, but a poster I saw at Plaza de Colón mixed up of the world's tallest buildings!
The commie block outskirts seen from Palacio Real. There are large numbers of similar looking highrises outside the city center. Looks a bit like some Brazilian cities.
View towards Campo de Moro at Palacio Real and Zona Deportiva, a large park, or actuallya a forest.
Madrid's skyline seen from Palacio Real.
Torre España. The tallest TV tower of Madrid is situated in the Eastern outskirts. It is 231m tall and was built in 1982.
You can also see a church and some residential blocks.
Seen from Parque del Oueste in the northwest outskirts of Madrid, from the right: Arco de la Victoria (Moncloa Gate), Faro de Moncloa (the one with the closed
observation deck) and Museo de América.
Looking towards Plaza de España from Palacio Real.
Plaza de España: Torre de Madrid, the Cervantes monument and Edificio España.
Temple of Debod and the skyscrapers of Plaza de España.
The southwest commie block outskirts seen from Parque del Oeste.
Palacio Real, Almudena Cathedral and San Francisco el Grande.
The amusement park of Casa de Campo.
I accidentally took the wrong metro train and ended up in Casa de Campo in the southern outskirts of Madrid. From this large park, partly looking like
a forest, that contains an amusement park and is surrounded by dull highrises and commie block, it is possible to see a large part of Madrid's skyline,
since it is located on a hill.
View towards the North from Casa de Campo, from the left: Cuatro Torres, Puerat de Europa, AZCA with Torre Picasso and a ride tower at the tivoli.
The AZCA district and the ride.
The commie blocks of Casa de Campo south part.
Cuatro Torres are clearly visible from the runways of Barajas Airport. These photos were taken during my trip home via Barcelona and Copenhagen.
Madrid from the plane to Barcelona; Puerta de Europa, Cuatro Torres, Sierra de Guadarrama in the background. The city center is to the left, out of the picture.
The bad quality is because of the dirty windows and the shaking plane.