Lined with extravagant old buildings and renowned for the iconic fountain at its center, this is one of Madrid’s most impressive squares.
The Plaza de Cibeles sits at the intersection of some of Madrid’s most important thoroughfares. It’s also where three of the city’s main districts meet and where you’ll find some of its most beautiful buildings.
Look up at the intricate façade and pointed towers of the Palacio de Cibeles, also known as the Palacio de Communicaceones or Ayuntamiento. It’s among Madrid’s most famous buildings. It was constructed in the early 20th century and served as the headquarters of the Spanish postal service until it became the new city hall in 2007.
Shift your gaze to the Palacio de Buenavista on the opposite side of the plaza. The palace was home to the Duchess of Alba after its construction in the 1770s, and later became the War Ministry and headquarters of the Spanish Army.
Head across Calle de Alcalá to admire the Banco de España. You’ll be impressed by the sheer size of the building which, though only three-stories tall, occupies an entire block.
Walk directly across the plaza to explore the Palacio de Linares, completed in 1900 and built as a private mansion. Stand out front and admire the neo-baroque architecture or head inside to visit the Casa de América, an organization promoting cultural ties between Spain and the Americas. There are exhibition halls, a museum, a bookshop and restaurant.
Turn to the center of the plaza to see the Fuente de Cibeles. The fountain features the Roman goddess of fertility, Cybele, riding a chariot pulled by a pair of lions. It was commissioned by King Carlos III in the late 18th century and was designed by architect Ventura Rodriguez. The fountain is 105 feet (32 meters) in diameter and 26 feet (8 meters) tall.
You’ll find the Plaza de Cibeles at the intersection between the Paseo del Prado, Calle de Alcalá and Paseo de la Castellana. The nearest metro station is Banco de España. It’s within easy walking distance of Puerta de Alcalá and the Prado Museum.