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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.


Guide to Exploring around Puerta de Alcala


Lodging Near Puerta de Alcala

See all 4,030 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 Plaza de Espana - Princesa, Plaza de España and Gran Via Street. Teatro Coliseum and Lope de Vega Theatre are ...

    Hotel Riu Plaza EspañaAU$176

    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 and Paseo de la Castellana. Paseo del Prado and El Retiro Park are also within 15 minutes. ...

      Hotel Fenix Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the WorldAU$323

      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 family-friendly Madrid hotel is steps away from Plaza de Santa Ana and Teatro Espanol. Congress of Deputies and Thyssen-Bornemisza ...

        ME Madrid by MeliaAU$274

        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 within a 10-minute walk of Gran Via Street, Puerta del Sol, and Paseo del Prado. Teatro Lara and Plaza de Cibeles are ...

          Iberostar Las Letras Gran ViaAU$211

          NH Collection Madrid Gran Vía

          NH Collection Madrid Gran Vía

          Gran Via 21, Madrid, Madrid
            4.0 out of 5.0
             
             

            Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Gran Via Street, Puerta del Sol and Paseo del Prado. Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum and Teatro ...

            NH Collection Madrid Gran VíaAU$203

            One Shot Recoletos 04

            One Shot Recoletos 04

            Calle Salustiano Olózaga, 4, Madrid, Madrid
              4.0 out of 5.0
               
               

              Located in Salamanca, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Puerta de Alcala, Paseo del Prado and El Retiro Park. Plaza de Cibeles and Paseo de la Castellana ...

              One Shot Recoletos 04AU$149

              Novotel Madrid Center

              Novotel Madrid Center

              O'donnell 53, Madrid, Madrid
                4.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Located in Salamanca, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of WiZink Center and Nuevo Teatro Alcala. El Retiro Park and Las Ventas are also within 1 mile (2 ...

                Novotel Madrid CenterAU$165

                Hotel Regina

                Hotel Regina

                Alcala 19, Madrid, Madrid
                  3.0 out of 5.0
                   
                   
                  4.5 out of 5 (2 reviews)

                  Located in Centro, this hotel is steps away from La Equitativa Building, Casino de Madrid and Church of las Calatravas. San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts ...

                  Hotel ReginaAU$144

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