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Getting around

In spite of the fact that Madrid is a large city, finding your way around ends up not being so difficult as long as you keep a series of coordinates in mind:

For the visitor, the main point of reference is the Puerta del Sol (the Gateway of the Sun). It marks the center of the city and the starting point to see the majority of its sites. The Puerta del Sol is surrounded by the old city (casco antiguo), in which you will find several must-see spots such as the Plaza Mayor (Main Square), the monastery known as "Monasterio de las Descalzas", the Plaza de la Villa or the Palacio Real (the Royal Palace).

Near the Puerta del Sol you will find the Gran Vía, one of the city's principal roads. The Gran Vía runs from the Plaza de España to Alcalá street, which itself takes you to the Parque del Retiro.

Another fundamental point of reference of the city would be axis of the street Paseo de la Castellana which in turn becomes the Paseo de Recoletos and the Paseo del Prado. The origin of this road could be considered the Plaza de Atocha, where you will find the train station, and the end then would be found in the Plaza de la Castilla, which is clearly recognizable for the Puerta de Europa, which is marked by the visually impressive Kio Towers. On this axis we will find the great museums of the city (Prado, Thyssen-Bornemizsa, Reina Sofía, Natural Sciences, etc.) as well as some of its most important plazas (Cibeles, Neptuno, Colón, etc.).

We could define the borders of the main part to visit by the area formed by linking the points of Moncloa, Atocha and Retiro. Within this large area, the majority of monuments and points of interest can be located.

Some other sites must also be mentioned, such as the Park of Juan Carlos I, which is today one of the biggest areas of development. Within the enclosure are the fair grounds, which welcomes around 200 fairs a year and, therefore, holds massive attendance. These grounds are located only a few kilometers from the city, reached by taking the road to Zaragoza or easily accessed by the Metro (Madrid's underground train network). Yet another point of reference would be the area known as Mendez Álvaro, situated south of Madrid. It is not a touristic area, nor is it of special beauty, but it is one of the principal points of access to the city because here the bus station, Estación Sur de Autobuses, can be found. Just next to the bus station we find Tierno Galván Park as well as the Planetarium of Madrid. Next to that is the IMAX Cinema, which plays films in 3D and on a giant circular screen.

Finally, one must keep in mind that the city is surrounded by Highway M-30, which circumscribes the city and therefore eliminates the need to go through the city to arrive from one extreme to another.

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