Plaza de Colon

Statue of Columbus in the Plaza de Colon
If you arrive at Madrid by plane then there is a bus from the airport straight to the Plaza de Colon. The shuttle service from the airport to the square and back is a viable alternative to the Madrid metro.

The Plaza is centrally located in Madrid at Calle de Puerto Serrano Madrid 28045, in the upmarket Salamanca area alongside some of the best of Madrids shops.

History of the Plaza

The Plaza has its own gardens, which are known as the Gardens of Discovery; the Plaza itself is named after the explorer Christopher Columbus, because in Spanish the name Columbus is Colon.

The Plaza was originally known as the Plaza de Santiago or St, James’ Square. It was renamed the Plaza de Colon in 1893 in honor of the four hundred year celebration of the voyage of Columbus to the Americas which took place in 1492.

There is a statue of Columbus which was built on top of the Torre Colon in the Plaza in 1885. The sculpture of Columbus was by the Spanish sculptor Jeronimo Suñon and the base of the column is enriched with allegories and other intricatly sculpted details.

The base of the monument to Columbus holds a fountain with a huge cascade of water, there are stairs at the end of the fountain which lead under the cascading water – these stairs will lead you underneath the Plaza to the cultural center located there. This is basically an arts center, but it is also used for putting on plays, ballet, folk concerts and theatre projects for children and is rated as one of the premiere Art centers in Madrid.


To commerorate the marriage of King Alphonso the twelfth a subscription began for erecting a monument to the discoverer of the new world. The monument originally stood on an island in the middle of the square but was later moved to the gardens. The Gardens of Discovery are a great place to relax and although the flowers have long since dissapeared it is still a refuge from Madrids traffic!

The Plaza de Colon holds a second monument designed to honor the voyages of Columbus. Both of these monuments were commissioned by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

Around the Plaza

Overlooking the Plaza there are actually two almost identical towers, while they look very similar the towers were not actually built together and make use of two independent concrete cores. The green copper crown at the top of the building was actually added much later (this is sometimes referred to as the plug) and the architect was Antonio Lamela Martinez.

On the other side of the road from the Plaza there is the Wax museum and this is well worth a visit if you are spending time in Madrid. If you visit the city during October then the 12th is when Spain celebrates its National day with impressive military processions through the square.

At Christmas time the Plaza is lit up and there are dancers and recreation areas and games for the children. Whatever time of year you visit Madrid it is well worth taking the time to see this Plaza which is frequented by both tourists and Madrileños alike!

After visiting the Plaza de Colon try the Museo del Prado just down the road!

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