The Paseo de la Castellana, or just Castellana, runs roughly North-South and takes you right from the outskirts of Madrid to the heart of the city. Although it serves as a highway, with traffic racing by at speeds far exceeding the limits, it was designed in such a way that also pedestrians can enjoy the many things to be seen, thanks to green strips of trees. The Castellana was built in the 18th century, and was initially surrounded by aristrocratic mansions, and considered a posh area. Now, apart from being a fast way of entering or exiting the city, it is also an area with monuments, squares, modern architecture, sculptures, bars to enjoy the city life pass by, and much more.
Although the Castellana officially runs only to Plaza Colón, it logically continues much further. Its name changes to Paseo de Recoletos and Paseo del Prado, but I will treat them all together here. Starting to walk from the famous Prado Museum on Paseo del Prado, I directly moved to the inner walking area. Here, you almost get the feeling of being in a park, with benches to sit down, fountains, sculptures, and a lot of trees. You realize how the designers have cleverly been able to combine making a main artery of a metropole with walking areas where one can be at peace.
Walking up north from here, you pass the Plaza de los Cibeles, with a statue surrounded by fountains, in front of the huge Telecommunications building and the Bank of Spain, the National Library, the tall statue of Columbus (Colón in Spanish) on the Plaza de Colón, several ministries and modern banks. Still, you can see older buildings and statues in the middle of the Castellana giving you an idea of the elegance of this part of Madrid in times gone by. Further north, Madrid's Manhattan and especially the Gate to Europe are modern and sometimes futuristic. The Gate of Europe, at the top of the Castellana, are two spectacular towers welcoming the visitor to the city through the Castellana.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Paseo de la Castellana (Spain). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Paseo de la Castellana. Read more about this site.