Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Free View from the Top: Palace of Cibeles

5/30/12 - Plaza de Cibeles, 1

The Palace of Cibeles (1919) must be one of the most conspicuous buildings in Madrid.  A striking, white confection, it looms over the Fountain of Cibeles (1794) and dominates the Plaza. Since the 1970s, the city's biggest celebrations have taken place in front of the Palace, including the victories of the Real Madrid football team. 

Observation deck is located on the central tower (8th floor).
Enter building through main (arched) doorway.
During the twentieth century, the building was called the Palace of Communications, and served as the main office of the postal, telegraph and telephone services. Impressive mail chutes for all Spain's provinces still line the side of the building that faces Paseo del Prado.

Today, the Palace of Cibeles is both the seat of Madrid's government and a newly-minted cultural space.  In the past decade it underwent extensive restoration.

Photo exhibit on the restoration process, 2008-2011

As I discovered this morning, the main (second) floor is now completely open to the public--walk right in and place your bag in the x-ray machine. Take a look around, visit the cafe, use the restrooms, or fire up your laptop in the wifi zone.  There is also a restaurant and a terrace bar on the 6th floor.

Taking a breather in the public lounge/ wifi zone, Palace of Cibeles

Terrace bar, viewed from the observation deck.

The observation deck or "mirador" has been open since 2011: hours 10:30-1:00 & 4:30-7:30 (closed Mondays and holidays).  Visitors must ask for a ticket at the coat-check counter on the second floor and then ascend to the 6th floor at the appointed time.  I arrived at 11:20 and received a ticket for 11:30.

Most people opt to ascend the final 88 steps on foot--there are more views along the way--but an elevator is provided for those who need one.

Splendid 360-degree view from the 8th floor deck
On the way back down, you can explore the interior . . .

Original tiled marble staircase

Glass block floors

View of main floor 

. . . before continuing on your way. The Naval Musuem is right next door, and the Prado Museum just a few blocks further.  Outside, dozens of chirping school children, dressed in summer hues, strolled down the shady avenue.

Paseo del Prado, in the merry merry month of May


  1. Great blog including fine photos. I read a Trip Advisor post on this AFTER we returned from trip in Feb. I remember asking the poster if the brass mail chutes were still there since I was always so impressed by their size. He said, "Yes" and you provided visual proof. Thank you!

    Will have to visit this fine mirador with its confection appearance and fantastic views on our next trip.

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