Over more than a century ago, the Gran Vía (“Great Way”) of Madrid has become one of the main symbols and the most emblematic streets of the capital. Its project began with the idea of creating a way to connect Plaza España with Alcala street, and it could be mentioned that in the beginning this idea was not welcomed by everyone. Despite everything, in 1910 they started the construction, and now we know the Gran Vía of Madrid as a commercial and entertainment hub of the city.
The glamor of Gran Vía
Everyone who have ever passed through this street, knows that it is full of visitors all the time, due to the attractiveness it is now one of the main touristic points of the city. Apart from the shops and cultural offer, Gran Vía harbors some of the most symbolic buildings in Madrid: Metropolis, Callao cinema, Capitol and the Telefónica building.
The Metropolis building, which is located on the corner of Alcalá and Gran Vía streets, is one of the most “photogenic” and most popular among tourists, the golden ornamented dome and the statue of a “winged victory” are striking. Its construction began along with the initial works of Gran Vía and at the end of it, in 1911, this building became the tallest one in the city.
The Capitol building has become an icon of Madrid, its famous Schweppes ad is one of the most characteristic symbols of the city. The entire stretch from Plaza Callao to Plaza España, for its striking advertising posters, shops and theatrical offer, is popularly known as Madrid Broadway.
And speaking of Broadway, Gran Vía street in Madrid is a benchmark in the entertainment world, popular with locals and visitors, that attracts many theater and especially musical lovers, to see the latest releases and trends of this genre. The most visited theater in recent years is undoubtedly that of Lope de Vega, which continues to attract people from all over the country and all ages to see one of the most watched musicals in the world – “The Lion King”. Another famous theater is the EDP of Gran Vía, also known before as the Compac. Apart from the classical or musical plays, we can find concerts, monologues and even ballet in its daily program. The Coliseum theater is another essential for theater lovers in Madrid, where the great titles of musicals such as “Cats”, “Chicago”, “Beauty and the Beast” were enjoyed previously, “Anastasia” being their latest success. If you are looking for a good place to hang out, you should not miss “La Chocita de Loro”, a worshipped place by many, famous for the shows of its comedians, who bring the best of live comedy every night.
Where to eat in the Gran Vía of Madrid?
Although all of us enjoy a wide cultural offer, we also like to be able to combine it with a good gastronomic offer, and the best thing about Gran Vía is that it has many choices for every taste. We can find several Italian restaurants, Argentinian, Japanese cuisine, fast food … but just a few steps from the main street you can discover more flavors of the world and some of the most traditional taverns in Madrid.
Some recommendations that we can give is to visit “La Sirena Verde”, a place for seafood lovers, or for an informal snack, while having some beer or wine, you could try “El Mercado de la Reina”. Also, quite indispensable is the gourmet space of El Corte Inglés in Callao, where you will find good views of the Capitol building. And if a good panoramic views of the city is what you are looking for, do not forget to try one of the terraces of Gran Vía, have a stop in the “Attic 11”, “Skybar 44” or “Picalagartos Sky Bar” for the unbeatable views of the Gran Vía.
After the dinner, we recommend having a cocktail in a mythical place – “El Museo de Chicote”. Inaugurated in 1931, it became one of the first places to enjoy cocktails in the capital, and since then many famous celebrities from the world have passed its bar, such as Frank Sinatra, Ernest Hemingway, Ava Gardner or Sofia Loren to mention some of them. This way you can finish your tour around Gran Vía in Madrid feeling like a star.