The Prado, one of the world’s most famous museums, is in the center of Madrid on the Paseo del Prado, and has an imcomparable collection of Goya, Velazquez, and El Greco, also masterpieces by Rubens, Titian and Bosch. The Royal Palace (Palazzo Real) has Flemish tapestiries, porcelain furniture and 15th – to 18th – century armor.
Part of the Convent of the Descalzas Reales is open to public and paintings by Titian and Rubens hang in rooms still furnished as in the 16th century. Goya painted the frescoes in the small chapel of San Antonio de la Florida where he is buried.
Retiro Park affors lovely wooded and lakeside strolls among small temples, colonnades and statuary. On the summer evenings, open-air ballet and zarzuela are performed. Thirty-one miles from Madrid is El Escorial, the vast monastery-palace built by philip II whose chapels, patios, fountains, gardens, cloisters and apartments are in a black and barren setting.
Other excursions from Madrid are to the medieval walled city of Avila, home of Saint Teresa, and to Segovia with its castle and Roman aqueduct.
Toledo is a short drive from Madrid and stands over a gorge of the river Tagus. Best view of the walled city is from the Alcantara Bridge. See the Gothic cathedral, cloisters and Church of Saint Tome wihch houses paintings by El Greco who lived here. His house is now a museum. Toledo is well known for inlaid gold metalwork.