[This post originally appeared on the CIEE Teach In Spain blog.]
Whenever I travel to a new place I like to get high. That is, I like to find high ground or a tall building from which I can view the surrounding area. It always helps me orient myself in a new place and, of course, it’s a great opportunity for photos. Oftentimes, sites with great views can be hard to get to, crowded, or expensive. So to help, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite views in Madrid that are cheap (or free) and easy to get to. Whether you’re looking for the perfect photo op or just a lovely place to watch the sunset, these sites are ideal.
1. El Parque del Oeste
Wander through the rose garden in El Parque del Oeste and then take a gondola ride up to catch a view of the palace and Madrid disappearing beneath you. The ride totals 5€ for transport to the top and back and it was worth it for how unique these views are.
2. El Corte Inglés (Plaza de Callao, 2)
At the top floor of El Corte Inglés right off of Gran Vía, there is high-end food court style dining with stunning views. Enjoy your lunch while looking out over the Madrid city center. Many rooftop bars offer views of Gran Vía but some require an entry fee and are only open in the evenings. El Corte Inglés offers the same great views, but in a more relaxed environment with a delicious variety of food and drink.
3. Cerro del Tío Pío
El Parque del Cerro del Tío Pío (also known as “Parque de Las Siete Tetas” by locals) is known for its seven rolling hills and beautiful view of the sunset over the city and mountains. Located in Puente de Vallecas, a fifteen minute ride from the city center via metro line 1, this park is popular but never overly crowded. You’ll never be fighting for space to see the view which makes it a favorite spot for a sunset picnic with friends or a date night.
4. El Templo de Debod
Though the Egyptian ruins of El Templo de Debod are a beautiful sight during the day, the sun setting over the hill behind them is even more stunning. You may have to deal with crowds at this time of the evening, but if you arrive early, you can enjoy a gorgeous sunset. Groups of people enjoying drinks and music on the grass only add to the lively atmosphere. What’s really amazing about this site is the uniqueness of the view. Don’t forget your camera and a picnic blanket!