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Puerta de Alcalá

Madrid's iconic city gate is a work of art in its own right.

The Puerta de Alcalá once stood on the eastern edge of Madrid on the road to Alcalá de Henares, Cervantes’ place of birth and home to an important university. Spain’s capital has since grown outwards in all directions and the old city gate stands as a picturesque monument to the past right in the centre of hustling, bustling, modern-day Madrid.

Midway through the 18th century, King Carlos III commissioned a new gate to take the place of the less impressive original which had stood there since 1559. The new gate was built in conjunction with the architect Francisco Sabatini, with most of the decorative work (the friezes, reliefs and statues) drawn up by Robert de Michel and Francisco Gutiérrez.

A proud example of neoclassical architecture, lions' heads adorn the gate’s three principal arches while there are horns of plenty depicted on the reliefs above the two smaller rectangular gateways. Columns prop up the gate’s eastern face, while at its crown is an inscription in honour of the King who commissioned it, reading “Rege Carolo III Anno MDCCLXXVIII”. Look out also for the allegorical statues that stand sentry at the very top.

If you’re able to get a close enough look, you might notice that some of the stonework has been damaged. This is the work of a canon shell in the early 1800s. It’s not always easy to get too close to the Puerta de Alcalá because it stands at a busy intersection and there's often a lot of traffic. You might be better off enjoying the view from one of the nearby restaurants and hotels, or from an adjacent street corner. The gate is lit up after dark, making nocturnal visits especially striking. There's also a small but well-kept garden around the base.

You can reach Puerta de Alcalá by heading east from Plaza del Sol along Calle de Alcalá. It's right next to El Retiro, so Retiro station is a good place to get off if you're travelling here by metro.


Lodging Near Puerta de Alcala

See all 4,868 properties near Puerta de Alcala
Hotel Riu Plaza España

Hotel Riu Plaza España

C/ Gran Via, 84, Madrid
    4.0 out of 5.0
     
     

    Located in Centro, this hotel is steps away from Calle de la Princesa, Gran Via Street and Teatro Coliseum. Royal Palace of Madrid and Lope de Vega Theatre are ...

    Hotel Riu Plaza EspañaAU$156

    Hotel Fenix Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World

    Hotel Fenix Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World

    Hermosilla 2, Madrid, Madrid
      5.0 out of 5.0
       
       

      Located in Salamanca, this luxury hotel is steps away from Golden Mile, Paseo de la Castellana and Plaza de Colon. Madrid Wax Museum and National Library are ...

      Hotel Fenix Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the WorldAU$263

      Iberostar Las Letras Gran Via

      Iberostar Las Letras Gran Via

      Gran Via 11, Madrid, Madrid
        4.0 out of 5.0
         
         
        5.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

        Located in Centro, this boutique hotel is steps away from Casino Gran Via and Gran Via Street. Puerta del Sol and Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum are also ...

        Iberostar Las Letras Gran ViaAU$150

        ME Madrid by Melia

        ME Madrid by Melia

        Plaza de Santa Ana, 14, Madrid, Madrid
          4.5 out of 5.0
           
           

          Located in Literary Quarter, this luxury hotel is steps away from Plaza de Santa Ana and Teatro Espanol. Congress of Deputies and Plaza Mayor are also within ...

          ME Madrid by MeliaAU$233

          Hotel Madrid Gran Vía 25, managed by Melia

          Hotel Madrid Gran Vía 25, managed by Melia

          Gran Via 25, Madrid, Madrid
            3.0 out of 5.0
             
             

            Located in Centro, this hotel is steps away from Casino Gran Via and Gran Via Street. Puerta del Sol and Teatro Rialto are also within 10 minutes. Gran Via Station ...

            Hotel Madrid Gran Vía 25, managed by MeliaAU$132

            Catalonia Goya

            Catalonia Goya

            Goya 49, Madrid, Madrid
              4.0 out of 5.0
               
               

              Located in Salamanca, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Golden Mile, El Retiro Park and Paseo de la Castellana. Nuevo Teatro Alcala and Plaza de Colon ...

              Catalonia GoyaAU$132

              Hotel Hospes Puerta de Alcalá

              Hotel Hospes Puerta de Alcalá

              Plaza de la Independencia 3, Madrid, Madrid
                5.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Located in Salamanca, this luxury hotel is steps away from Puerta de Alcala and El Retiro Park. Gran Via Street and Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum are also ...

                Hotel Hospes Puerta de AlcaláAU$289

                Catalonia Gran Vía

                Catalonia Gran Vía

                C/ Gran Vía 9, Madrid, Madrid
                  4.0 out of 5.0
                   
                   

                  Located in Centro, this hotel is steps away from Casino Gran Via and Gran Via Street. Puerta del Sol and Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum are also within 10 ...

                  Catalonia Gran VíaAU$140

                  *Price based on the lowest price found within past 24 hours and based upon one night stay for two adults over the next thirty days. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
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