Get an overview of the centuries of history, culture and tradition that have shaped the Spanish capital of Madrid, covering its Arab and medieval periods up to the present. During this tour you'll have the chance to visit some of the city's most important historical sites along with its Royal Palace and its newest city park at Rio Madrid.
Start your day at 9am in central Madrid, heading out to begin your exploration of the many hundreds of years of architectural history that have shaped the boundaries and buildings of this dynamic urban area. Discover the Moorish history of Madrid in the Barrio de la Moreria, an old Moorish section of the city. Proceed from there to view some of the various structures of Madrid's Habsburg period, including Calle Mayor, Plaza de la Villa, the Prado Museum and Plaza Mayor, an era characterized by its renaissance and baroque architectural styles.
Continue your visit with an examination of the architecture of the period surrounding the reign of Charles III in the 18th century. During this era, Madrid gained in importance as a critical knowledge center for culture and science, as artists and intellectuals flocked to its neighborhoods. Check out the Monumento de la Encarnación, Puerta del Sol and Puerta de la Opera, which provide excellent examples of the flurry of construction that took place during this time.
Head next into the contemporary era of Madrid's history, first by exploring the boulevards of Gran Vía and Paseo de la Castellana. Then head next to the beautiful structures of the Barrio Salamanca and Parque del Oeste neighborhood, along with a chance to view some of Madrid's most important commercial and financial areas. You'll also stop at modern architectural sites like Ventas Bullring or Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, before taking time for a stroll at the city's newest public space Madrid Rio.
Stop for a break at the Hard Rock Cafe for a free drink before heading to the Royal Palace (Palacio Real). This former home of the Spanish royal family was constructed in Italian baroque style in the 18th century near the city's historic alcazar (Arab-fortress). Take a tour inside this beautiful palace, among the best-preserved in Europe, as you listen to your guide place it into context with other surrounding structures like the Plaza de Oriente and Campo del Moro.
Then go inside the palace to admire the extensive collection of antique clocks, armor, art, porcelain and tapestries that line its halls. Make sure to check out the works by Spanish masters Goya and Velazquez and stop by the throne room, banquet halls and private royal apartments. You'll also have time to see the royal armory, pharmacy and grand hall of columns.
End your Madrid tour around noon outside the Royal Palace.