Madrid has plenty of rooftops and observation decks. But, if you’re a photography enthusiast looking to capture the Spanish capital’s skyline in all its glory, you may wonder which are the best viewpoints in central Madrid.
In this post, we’ll cover the must-visit viewpoints in central Madrid. We’ll also discuss what you can see from each spot and its location. So, even if you’re only planning your first trip to Madrid, you’ll know exactly where to go to get excellent panoramic shots after reading this post.
The Best Viewpoints in Central Madrid
1. Hotel Riu Plaza España – The Best Viewpoint in Madrid’s City Center
The Hotel Riu Plaza España has a rooftop bar on its 27th floor with stunning views of Madrid. This viewpoint stands out because of its 360º observation deck, with some parts with a glass floor that may be challenging for anyone who gets vertigo or is afraid of heights. However, the view is worth it since you can see the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Gran Vía street and many other iconic landmarks from here.
As its name suggests, this 4-star hotel is near Plaza de España, on Gran Vía 84. There are a few options for accessing the rooftop. You can either book a seat in its restaurant, which costs 30 euros per person and includes a drink and a tapa or pay a 5 euro fee from Monday to Friday. On the weekends, the entry fee is 10 euros.
This viewpoint is also the most popular in Madrid. Hence, you may have to wait in line to get a photo with the city in the background or at your feet. Therefore, visiting the rooftop around lunchtime on a weekday would be better. You could also book a room at Hotel Riu Plaza de España to access the viewpoint anytime for no additional costs.
2. Templo de Debod – Free Viewpoint in Central Madrid
The Templo de Debod is on a hill west of Plaza de España. This small Egyptian temple is a token of gratitude from Egypt to Spain for contributing to the rescue of the temples of Abu Simbel.
From Templo de Debod, you can see the Royal Palace of Madrid and the Almudena Cathedral. These views are stunning at sunset.
Templo de Debod is a free viewpoint in Madrid’s City Center, and it is popular among tourists and locals. Since it is an open-air park, you can enjoy it without getting overwhelmed. Likewise, you could also have a picnic in this part of the city.
Templo de Debod is a must-visit attraction, even if you only have one day in Madrid.
3. Círculo de Bellas Artes (CBA) – Culture with a View
The Círculo de Bellas Artes (CBA) building is on Alcalá Street, near Gran Vía. It stands out because of its gorgeous Art Deco facade, which features a sculpture of the Greek goddess Athena on top. The building’s architect was Antonio Palacios, who was also responsible for the Banco de España and the Cibeles Palace, among other landmarks.
The CBA building regularly hosts art and cultural exhibits, film screenings, and events. That said, most people visit the CBA to enjoy the views of Madrid from its rooftop terrace and restaurant. This rooftop is called Azotea del Círculo de Bellas Artes, which offers excellent views of Gran Vía, El Retiro Park, and the city skyline.
This viewpoint stands out from the rest of this list because of its relaxed atmosphere and comfortable lounge chairs and couches. For 5 euros, you can get tickets for the CBA rooftop online or at the ticket office. These tickets also allow you to visit the exhibitions in the building. Furthermore, the rooftop restaurant’s food is delicious so you can have dinner with a view at this location.
4. CentroCentro – To Capture the Cibeles Fountain
CentroCentro is a cultural center in the impressive Cíbeles Palace, east of Plaza España. It is on Paseo del Prado, one of Madrid’s main arteries and part of Madrid’s UNESCO area. This district is also one of the best areas to stay in Madrid.
CentroCentro welcomes temporary exhibitions, cultural events, and activities inside one of the city’s most recognizable buildings. To top things off, there’s also a viewpoint on one of the palace’s towers.
From CentroCentro’s viewpoint, you’ll see the Cibeles Fountain, where Real Madrid fans celebrate each time their soccer team wins. This viewpoint also offers fantastic 360º panoramics of El Retiro Park, the Gran Vía, and some of its most iconic landmarks, like the Telefónica building.
To access the CentroCentro’s viewpoint, you must pay a 3 euro fee at the ticket office. After getting your ticket, you’ll take an elevator to floor 6E and walk up 88 stairs.
5. Faro de Moncloa – A Retrofuturistic Icon
The Faro de Moncloa may be the least visited viewpoint in this list because, even though it dates back to 1992, it remained closed from 2005 to 2015. Likewise, this 92-metre (302 ft) high illumination tower with an observation dock closes when the wind is too strong, which doesn’t help its popularity grow either.
Located on Plaza de Moncloa, this tower has a retro-futuristic design that may make you feel like you’re in space. From its 180º observation deck, you can see the neighboring Parque del Oeste, the Royal Palace, the Telefónica building in Gran Vía, and The Cuatro Torres Business Area. On a good day, you can even catch the Sierra de Guadarrama (Guadarrama Mountains) wrapping the city in the distance.
There’s a 4 euro fee to visit the Faro de Moncloa’s observation deck, which you can pay online or at the tower’s ticket office. After paying, you’ll take a panoramic elevator to the top of one of the best viewpoints in central Madrid.
6. Hotels Rooftop – For a More Exclusive Observation Experience
Several hotels in the center of Madrid with rooftop restaurants or bars offer spectacular city views. To access most of these rooftops, you must either make a reservation or wait for a table. Thus, these hotels may offer a more relaxed experience than the previously mentioned viewpoints. Here are some of our favorite hotels with views in the center of Madrid:
- Hyatt Centric Gran Via Madrid. On top of this 5-star hotel, you’ll find a “secret” rooftop that feels like an oasis. This bar’s name is El Jardín de Diana, after the Roman goddess of the hunt, of which you can see a giant statue right next to the bar. Located on Gran Vía, you can witness the hustle and bustle of one of Madrid’s busiest streets from this viewpoint. To access this rooftop, you’ll need to make a reservation.
- Only You Hotel Atocha. The Only You Hotel Atocha offers a rooftop called Sép7ima across from the Atocha train station. This rooftop is near the city’s leading museums, including El Prado and the Reina Sofía, both must-see attractions in Madrid. So, from this rooftop, you’ll get a different perspective from the rest of the list without leaving central Madrid. You don’t need a reservation to access the rooftop. However, you may not be able to stay for long without a table. The Only You Hotel Atocha is among the best boutique hotels in Madrid.
- Hotel Room Mate Óscar. This gay-friendly hotel is in Chueca, the city’s LGBT neighborhood par excellence and one of the best areas to stay in Madrid for nightlife. This hotel’s rooftop, appropriately called Terraza de Óscar, features a pool perfect for the summer, a bar, and beautiful views of Madrid. To access the rooftop, you must either make a reservation or wait in line downstairs, which can take a while during peak spring and summer hours.
7. Bonus: Corte Inglés Callao’s Rooftop
The Corte Inglés Callao is among the biggest department stores in Madrid. Essentially, this shop could be classified as a mall on Plaza de Callao, near the Gran Via.
As such, the rooftop of Corte Inglés Callao is also among the best viewpoints in Central Madrid. You can see most of Madrid’s skyline from the rooftop, including some of Madrid’s most photogenic icons like the Schweppes sign. However, you must know that most of the rooftop has a glass wall, but since you can access it for free, it’s still worth the visit.