Surroundings

About La Latina

The conference venue is in the La Latina district, one of the most genuinely authentic neighborhoods in the city of Madrid. It is located in the centre, and its mediaeval streets are arranged around the squares of La Cebada and La Paja.

The streets in this neighborhood are an illustration of the most popular side of Madrid. This district is much frequented by Madrid locals thanks to its numerous bars, pubs and traditional taverns full of character in streets such as Cava Baja, Cava Alta and right in the squares of La Cebada and La Paja. Although it tends to be very lively all the time, the atmosphere is particularly animated in the evenings and at weekends. Additionally, every Sunday the neighboring streets are home to Madrid’s famous El Rastro open-air street market. Please, find here a list of recommended restaurants and bars in the area.

Other sights of interest in the La Latina quarter are the basilica of San Francisco el Grande and the park of Las Vistillas, which is the ideal spot for watching the sunset against the backdrop of the cathedral of Santa María Real de la Almudena.

This neighborhood today is on the site of what was Madrid’s first urban walled enclosure in the Middle Ages, and even now some remains of the defensive wall which originally surrounded it can still be seen. In the past this area was mainly occupied by artisans and manual workers, and the squares of both the Plaza de la Cebada (‘barley square’) and the Plaza de la Paja (‘straw square’) were home to busy markets selling farm produce and fodder respectively.

About Madrid

Madrid has more than 20 museums, even if the best known in the world are the three included in the golden triangle of the Paseo del Prado (also called “Paseo del Arte” or “Art Avenue”). These three main museums are:

  • the Reina Sofia National Museum is one of contemporary art galleries in the world. Located in Madrid near the Prado Museum has in his works of painters such as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso, author of the most important paint and well known of this museum, El Guernica. It is located at the beginning of the Paseo del Prado, next to Atocha railway station.
  • the Prado Museum, is one of the most famous finest art museums in the world. His valuable collection has pieces of El Greco, Goya, Velazquez, Rubens or Rembrandt;
  • and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is a museum with a privately owned collection with paintings from the fourteenth to the twentieth century. More than 700 artists’ works are featured, including; Van Eyck, Caravaggio, Renoir, Degas, Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Mondrian, Picasso, Rothko, Pollock, etc.

The main parks in the city are Retiro Park, just in the centre of Madrid, and Casa de Campo, at the west. The Botanic Garden, next to Prado Museum, is also very interesting,

Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor and Plaza de Oriente, where you can visit Royal Palace, are three of the most charming Madrid squares. They are 10 minutes’ walk from each other. Other pleasant walks are the Austrias’ Madrid, from the 16th and 17th centuries, and the Borbons’ Madrid, from the 18th century: Paseo del Prado, Paseo de Recoletos and the streets around.

There is an interesting and cheap option for visiting many of all these places: the Madrid Card. This tourist card allow free access without any limit to more than 40 museums and offer discounts to many other attractions in Madrid. The card can be bought for a period of 24, 48, 72 or 120 hours.

Sightseeing around Madrid

The most known and famous places to visit around Madrid are:

  • Toledo: located half an hour by train from Madrid-Atocha, Toledo has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. Toledo is the repository of more than 2,000 years of history. Its masterpieces are the product of heterogeneous civilizations in an environment where the existence of three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – was a major factor.
  • Alcalá de Henareslocated about an hour by train from Madrid-Atocha, also this city has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This city is very interesting because of its historical area, which includes its ancient University, started at the end of XV century.
  • El Escorial: it can be reached also by train form Madrid-Chamartin. It is an immense palace, monastery, museum, and library complex and it was built as a monument to commemorate the Spanish victory over the French in the battle of Saint Quentin on 10 August 1557.
  • Aranjuez: It was established as a place for resting and relaxation for the royal family. The Aranjuez Royal Palace, built and modified during the 17th and 18th centuries, with some other joined gardens, show a splendid Baroque landscape.
  • Segovia: the historical area includes many interesting places from the Roman empire through to the 16th century. They include the world famous Roman Segovia aqueduct, very well preserved, and also the Alcazar (11th century) and a Gothic cathedral.
  • Ávila: the city is famous for its medieval town walls (Las Murallas), the best-maintained example to be found in Europe.

You can arrive to all of them by train or bus. You only need almost between 30 and 60 minutes from Madrid to get there.