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Secret places of Madrid

Ever heard of the secret places of Madrid? Beyond the Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol (which are of course unmissable), there's a city packed with history and interesting stories that are worth telling.

The capital has something that captivates and bewitches you because there's a fascinating corner to discover in every one of its neighbourhoods. We invite you to visit the secret places of Madrid, places that don't appear in the tourist guides and that even many of the locals don't know about. We invite you to discover the wonders of 'the other city'. 

El Capricho Park

El Capricho is probably one of the most beautiful secret places in Madrid. Alameda de Osuna, in the Barajas neighbourhood, is home to an artistic garden where the enlightened aristocracy used to meet in the 18th century. Fourteen hectares of verdant gardens were laid out at the express wish of the duchess of Osuna.

You can visit the famous Plaza de Los Emperadores, the palace of the duke of Osuna, the fort, the Casino del Baile (a pavilion for dancing) and the Los Delfines fountain. Soak up the beauty of the monuments in the garden, showing English, French and Italian influences from the time they were built. If you fancy spending a quiet afternoon immersed in a natural setting, you mustn't miss this. 

Palace of the Duke of Santoña

In the heart of the Las Letras neighbourhood is the Palacio de Santoña, an architectural gem listed as a site of cultural interest. This landmark building was constructed in the 16th century, but it was not until 1874 that it was bought by the duke of Santoña, who adapted it to suit the tastes of the day.

A spectacular stairway was built from Carrara marble and decorated in a neo-baroque style, spanning the Italian renaissance, French rococo and oriental styles.

Today it is among the finest 19th-century palaces and one of the sites belonging to the Madrid chamber of commerce, which also offers the possibility of hiring its luxurious rooms to hold events.

Chapel of San Antonio de la Florida

Discover Madrid's secret places through the painting of Francisco de Goya. In the Moncloa-Aravaca neighbourhood is the only surviving chapel of the three that used to exist dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua. A neo-classical building is listed as a national monument, conserving all its value inside.

In 1798, the year in which it was completed, Goya painted "The Adoration of the Trinity" and, in the dome, portrayed "The Miracle of Saint Anthony of Padua". As a curiosity, in order to preserve its paintings, in the early 20th century a twin chapel was built beside it to use for worship, leaving the original building as a museum and pantheon to the artist with the same gravestone as he had in the cemetery at Bordeaux, where he died. 


Garden of the Prince of Anglona

Madrid de Los Austrias is home to the Jardín del Príncipe de Anglona or garden of the Prince of Anglona, one of the few surviving aristocratic gardens of the 18th century to survive and which is now open for visits. This cosy garden covering about 500 square metres was built as a place to relax, and while it has been renovated several times, it still has its original structure and neo-classical style, with Hispano-Arab touches.

In the centre of the garden is a small fountain built-in granite that seizes the attention, as it divides the space into four quarters with paths radiating outwards, laid in the "sardinel" style with bricks laid on end. One of Madrid's charming spots, located right in the city centre, which many people still do not know about.

Cerralbo Museum

The Cerralbo Museum is one of Madrid's best-kept secrets. This is a classical-style palace intended by the marquis of Cerralbo as both house and museum, who collected many works of art on his travels in Spain and Europe.

In its imposing rooms and halls over 50,000 pieces are on display, including paintings, sculpture, pottery, glassware, medals, books, coins, armour and archaeological artefacts, among others. But the most spectacular thing is that all its rooms still have the original décor, with neo-baroque and rococo features, recreating the lifestyle of an aristocratic family in the late 19th century


Liria Palace

The Palacio de Liria, listed as a site of cultural interest, is one of the most spectacular corners of Madrid to visit. It is one of the capital's most imposing 18th-century neoclassical buildings, designed by architects including Ventura Rodríguez. This rectangular building is also known as the 'little brother of the Palacio Real', as it is the biggest private residence in Madrid, with 200 rooms and 3,500 square metres of floor space.

Apart from its architecture, the Palacio de Liria is also famous as home to artistic, historical and bibliographical treasures in one of the most outstanding private collections in the world. Its various halls display paintings, sculptures, tapestries, furniture, engravings, documents and books, as well as an extensive collection of porcelain and ornamental art. It is currently the principal residence of the duchess of Alba and the headquarters of the Fundación Casa de Alba.

El Retiro Viewpoint

The Torre Mirador, or viewpoint, of El Retiro, is one of the secret places of Madrid that even the locals themselves don't know about. Overlooking the large pond in the park is a semi-circular construction in honour of King Alfonso XII of Spain. Hidden beneath the equestrian statue is a glass-enclosed viewpoint with 360-degree views.

After being closed for 30 years and extensive restoration work, it reopens its doors for locals and visitors alike to gaze at this wonderful landscape. After going up 97 steps, you can enjoy spectacular views of the verdant vegetation of El Retiro and the silhouettes of the city's landmark buildings. 

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