Moncloa-Aravaca is a district in western Madrid. It includes several university campuses, the Argüelles neighbourhood and the huge Casa de Campo park.
Moncloa is named after the Palacio de la Moncloa, a 17th-century ducal palace, that now serves as the seat of the Spanish prime ministers. This is why "Moncloa" is often used in the Spanish press as a metonym for the central government.
The Ciudad Universitaria ("University City") encompasses most faculties of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) as well as central facilities of the National University of Distance Education (UNED).
Argüelles, named after 19th-century liberal politician Agustín de Argüelles Álvarez, is a residential neighbourhood. Thanks to its location close to the University City, it is populated by many students and displays a respective lifestyle.
Casa de Campo is a more than 1,750-hectare large park (five times the size of New York's Central Park) west of central Madrid. Its name literally means "country house", as it was once a royal hunting estate. Most parts of the park are not neatly trimmed, but just natural Iberian shrubland (Maquia). Within Casa de Campo are the Parque de Atracciones amusement park and the Madrid Zoo and Aquarium. During the three-year Siege of Madrid (1936–39) of the Spanish Civil War, the frontline between Republicans who held the capital and Nationalists who tried to conquer it, ran through this park.
Aravaca used to be an independent town until 1951 when it was incorporated to become a suburban district in the far-west of Madrid.
The 1 Príncipe Pío station near the southeastern corner of the district is served by cercanías (suburban rail) lines C1, C7, C10 as well as some regional trains.
Moreover the district is traversed by metro lines 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10.
A somewhat unusual means of transportation is the cable car, 2 Teleférico Madrid that links Argüelles with the Casa de Campo (zoo and theme park) while offering a great view of the city.
Landmarks and architecture
- 1 Plaza de España ( or ). A prominent square on the northwest side of central district, adjacent to two of the tallest buildings in Madrid, erected under Franco's rule in the 1950s: the neo-Baroque Edificio España (the red and white one) and the more modern-styled Torre de Madrid (the taller, white one), both designed by the Otamendi brothers and standing 117 and 142 metres tall, respectively. The square contains a large fountain and a sculpture of Cervantes and his famous Don Quixote and Sancho Panza characters.
- 2 Casa Gallardo, Calle de Ferraz, 2. Imposing and highly ornamental Art nouveau (or modernismo) building at the western corner of Plaza de España, designed by Federico Arias Rey and completed in 1914.
- 3 Arco de la Victoria (Puerta de la Moncloa). Francoist triumph arch erected 1950–56 to commemorate the Nationalist victory in the Battle of Ciudad Universitaria of the Civil War.
- 4 Palace of Moncloa. A rather nondescript building on the outskirts of Madrid, it has housed all Spanish prime minister since 1977 when Aldofo Suarez moved his offices there during a period of political turmoil (free elections had only been held for the first time since the civil war that year and attacks on the government both from old Franquists and the political left or separatists seemed likely). It has come to be synonymic with the central government, both in speeches by local autonomists "let's get rid of the control by La Moncloa" and campaigns by national leaders "Let's move candidate x to La Moncloa, let's throw occupant y out of there". While it used to be totally of limits to visits by the public, there are now some limited public tours, but you need to be a Spanish citizen or resident to get one and they're by prior appointment only. The first 1000 visits were pre-reserved within a few days of being offered. This website spells out what you have to do if and when the next tours become available to get one.
- 5 Faro de Moncloa (Torre de Iluminación y Comunicaciones del Ayuntamiento de Madrid). A 92 m (302 ft) high tower with an observation deck that you can access by elevator. In theory your visit is limited to 30 minutes, but you're likely to want to go down before the time is up. 4€.
- 6 Museo de América, Avenida Reyes Católicos 6 ( . Easy walk to/from Museo del Traje.), ☏ , . Tu-Sa 09:30-15:00, Th 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 10:30-18:00; closed Jan 1, May 1, Dec 24, 25, 31. An excellent museum that many tourists miss. Houses thousands of artifacts from the Americas. The exhibit displays objects from many native cultures from before European conquest to colonial times and beyond. Don't miss the Tesoro (Treasure) de los Químbayas, a collection of gold objects that was given as a gift by the Colombian government. Also of interest is the Tudela Codex, an Aztec law book from the 1500s. Beware: most explanations to the objects on display are in Spanish only. €3 (adults), €1.50 (concessions), free (seniors/children under 18); free on Su.
- 7 Museo del Traje (The Costume Museum), Avda de Juan de Herrera, 2 ( or . Easy walk to/from Museo de América.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 09:30-19:00, Su and holidays 10:00-15:00; closed 1 and 6 Jan, 1 and 15 May, 24-25 and 31 Dec. Offers a wide selection of historical and more temporary costumes (from the early 1200s to now) which shows the aspects of different cultures and Spain. The museum also organizes many activities and events. The building itself won some architectural awards in the 1970s. The restaurant underneath the museum is fairly good. The museum is surrounded by sprawling gardens, replete with well maintained lawns and fountains, are a pleasant place to relax. €3 (adults), €1.50 (concessions), free (students/children/seniors); free on Sa after 14:30, all day Su, and national holidays.
- 8 Real Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida (Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida), C/ Glorieta San Antonio de la Florida, 5, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su and holidays 09:30-20:00; last admission 20 min before closing. This small church is famous for its murals, painted by Goya. It's also the mausoleum of the painter. Free.
- 9 Templo de Debod, Paseo del Pintor Rosales 2 ( ), ☏ . Oct-Mar: Tu-F 10:00-14:00 16:00-18:00, Sa Su and holidays 09:30-20:00; Apr-Sep: Tu-F 10:00-14:00 18:00-20:00, Sa Su and holidays 09:30-20:00; last admission 15 min before closing. An Egyptian temple in one of Madrid′s most beautiful parks. Near the Royal Palace and Plaza de España, it was a present given by Egypt to Spain for its role in saving the temple of Abu Simbel from the floodwaters of Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan Dam in southern Egypt. A great place to watch the sunset. Usually a queue. Only 30 people allowed in the area at a time Free.
- 10 Rosaleda del Parque del Oeste (Jardín de Ramón Ortiz / Rosaleda Gardens), C/ Rosaleda, 2 ( ). Daily 10:00-21:00. The rose garden of Madrid, located in the same park as the Templo de Debod. If you like roses and are in Madrid when they have flowered, definitely worth a visit. The garden holds an international competition yearly. Free.
- 11 Casa de Campo (Lago, or ). The park at the rear of the Palacio Real which used to belong to the Royal family. Much of the park has been taken to smaller activity parks such as the Zoo but in general it's peaceful. From Moncloa you can take a teleferico (€5.90 return) across into the park.
- 12 Zoo Aquarium de Madrid (Madrid Zoo Aquarium) ( ; Bus line 33). Open daily, hrs vary by season. See the pandas, pet the lemurs, watch the dolphin show, and enjoy the bird show. €22.95 (adults), €18.60 (seniors/disabled/children 3-7), free (children under 3); ticket prices are significantly cheaper if purchase online.
- 1 Las Tablas, Plaza España, 9 (walk from Plaza España metro), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A very popular flamenco tablao located near the Plaza España metro station. The package consisting of a Flamenco show (at 21:00 or 22:00) with a candle-lit dinner and a glass of Sangria wine is truly a treat.
- 2 Sala Arena (Sala Heineken), C/ de la Princesa, 1 (Metro: Plaza España), ☏ . National touring acts for rock and pop music.
- 3 Renoir Cines Princesa, C/ de la Princesa, 3 (metro: Plaza de España), ☏ .
- 4 Renoir Plaza de España, C/ Martín de los Heros, 12 (Metro: Plaza de España), ☏ .
- 5 Cines Golem Alphaville, C/ Martín de los Heros, 14 (metro: Plaza de España), ☏ .
- 6 Kinépolis, C/ Edgar Neville s/n (Centro Comercial Ciudad de la Imagen, Pozuelo de Alarcon; metro ligero: Ciudad del Cine (ML3)). Outside the city, in the suburb of Pozuelo de Alarcon. The largest megaplex in the world by number of seats. Has 25 screens. The offer of movies shown in their original version is increasing.
- 1 Restaurante Casa de Valencia, Paseo del Pintor Rosales, 58, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 13:00-16:00 20:30-23:45, Su 13:00-16:00; closed the month of August.
- 1 La Esquina de Eusebio, C/ Caramuel 16 (Metro: Puerta del Angel), ☏ . Trays of tapas are passed from one person to another in this typical bar of Madrid, absolutely not touristy but really worth it! And it's not so far from the centre.
- 1 Casa España, Plaza Emilio Jimenez Millas 2/E (Right next to Plaza de España), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Cheap Breakfast: 2 Euro The nearest metro station is Plaza de España. Popular budget hostel in the city center. Free WiFi, linens included Dorm: from 7,99 Euro. Double rooms: from 10,99 Euro.