The Plaza de Oriente is one of the most beautiful squares in a city where there are many plazas, and many of them are fantastic. The Plaza de Oriente is next to the imposing Royal Palace of Madrid. Many people pay a visit to La Plaza de Oriente simply on their way to the palace, but it is worth spending a bit of time in this fresh and historical icon of Madrid.

This beautifully laid out square is the largest in the city center and one of the most important landmarks in Madrid.  It is adorned with 44 statues of Visigoth and Spanish kings. The Plaza is located just between the Opera House and the Royal Palace. It is actually the best place from where to enjoy views of the Royal Palace in Madrid. 

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The Plaza de Oriente in Madrid- Visitors´ guide

Tours that include the Plaza de oriente

Things to enjoy in La Plaza de Oriente

King Felipe IV statue

Nearly every single city tourist guide of Madrid includes this sculpture as one of the highlights near the Royal Palace. At the center of La Plaza an equestrian sculpture stands out. It is the statue of King Felipe IV. This statue dates back to the seventeenth century and it is considered one of the most important statues in Madrid.  

This statue is important at least for one technical detail and anecdote: it is the first equestrian statue in which the horse rests only on the hind legs. This was a complex technical achievement at the time and to develop it, even the opinion of Galileo Galilei was searched. The author of the sculpture was inspired by Velazquez´s famous painting located at the Prado art gallery.  This painting is also one of the most important masterpieces at the Prado.

Statues of the Spanish Kings

On the northern and southern sides of the Plaza de Oriente you will find a succession of statues. They are part of a group of statues sculpted in the middle of the 18th century and which portrayed all the Spanish Kings. The initial objective was to locate all those statues on the top of the cornice of the Royal Palace.

The statues were finally not installed there and they were distributed throughout various areas of the city, including of course, the Plaza de Oriente, which holds 20 sculptures that represent the Godos Kings other Kings that played an important role during the Reconquering process. The Godos Kings were the Kings that ruled before the arrival of the Muslim invasion during the XVIIIth century-

Other places where you can find some of these sculptures are in the Sabatini Gardens below the Royal Palace and also in the Retiro park.

Captain Melgar monument

In the southern part of the Plaza you will find a small monument dedicated to Captain Melgar. On the pedestal of the soldier salutes the Captain. Captain Angel Melgar was a Spanish soldier who died in 1909 in the Battle of Barranco del Lobo, possibly the most important attack near Melilla during the confrontation with Morocco and the beginning of the XXth century.

Relax and have a drink on a terrace

Yes, of course! Plaza de Oriente is an ideal place to sit down, relax and enjoy the sunset on one of the many terraces near the Royal Theatre. The most famous terraces re the one of Café de Oriente and La Esquina del Real. These are not the cheapest places to enjoy a drink in Madrid, but they are very stylish and a better experience in our view! This area of Madrid has lots of charm. We recommend you to walk from Plaza de Oriente to the Debod Temple to enjoy great views of the Royal Palace, the Almudena Cathedral, and the Casa de Campo forest.  The are near the Plaza de Oriente and the Royal Palace is also a great place to stay in Madrid. You can find our top hotel picks near the Royal palace in this guide. 

History of La Plaza de Oriente

The origin of the project o build a large square next to the Royal Palace dates back to the 18th century. The architect in charge was Juan Bautista Sachetti. Sachetti, who, as many other artists who developed cities around the world, is not a famous person the average Spaniard would know about. But this Italian architect arrived to Spain to work on the project of the Palace of La Granja in Segovia, and played an important role in projects as important as the Royal Palace itself, the Principe Theatre, the Cathedral of La Almudena, the Bailen viaduct.

However, the first development of la Plaza de Oriente that shaped it to something similar to what we find today dates back to 1808, at the time of the rule of French Jose Bonaparte in Spain. It was around that time when several blocks of houses were demolished, something needed to free the open space needed for the creation of a large square with of garden areas.

Another important milestone in the development of La Plaza de Oriente took place during the time of Queen Isabel II. The construction of the Royal Theatre (the Opera House of Madrid) started in 1836. This building shapes the eastern part of the Plaza de Oriente.

Another big step that shaped the Plaza took place in the late XXth century. In the mid-1990s the tunnel of Calle Bailén was built. This removed all traffic from the Plaza and the construction of large parking underneath the Plaza also contributed to free space for pedestrians. The Plaza we find today has basically been the same as the outcome of the profound renovation of those dates.

Plaza de Oriente  – Video


Things to enjoy near Plaza de oriente

Gastronómico Corral de la Morería - Tablao Flamenco
Restaurants

Restaurants near the Royal palace in Madrid

The Royal Palace in Madrid is one of the top attractions in Spain´s capital. While you prepare your itinerary you may want to consider to enjoy your meal or dinner at a restaurant located near the Palace. Madrid is well-known for ox-tail and cocido and also for tapas and churros…. you will be able to find all sorts of restaurants, with different styles and for different budget levels in this selection prepared by our local team of experts in Madrid

Madrid Rio

Madrid Rio- Madrid

Madrid Rio. The park with the best views in Madrid Madrid Rio´s very long path starts in the Puente de Los Franceses and runs a few miles until you reach the Matadero area. A large number of trails makes it very pleasant to walk, and by the time you’re done walking one trail or another, it could add up to about 10 kilometers. It offers breath-taking views of the Madrid Royal Palace and the Almudena

Palacio Real

Royal palace of Madrid – complete visitors guide

Madrid Royal palace – history, tickets and tours The Royal Palace of Madrid was built after a fire that occurred on the 24th of December 1734 in the Real Alcazar. The first Wednesday of every month (except in summer) at 11 am, you can watch the change of guards. You can visit the interior of the Royal Palace and the different rooms such as the armory and also some of the paintings of the royal

Q Where to eat near Plaza de Oriente

El Mandela
Algarabía
La Esquina del Real
Dos Cielos Madrid by hermanos Torres
Ouh Babbo
GastroVía 61

Q What to do near Plaza de Oriente

Mercado de San Miguel
Catedral de la Almudena
Palacio Real

Q Where to stay near Plaza de Oriente

Palacio de los Duque Gran Meliá
Apartosuites Jardines de Sabatini
Preciados – 4 stars

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