The Gran Vía: One of the Most Iconic Streets in Madrid


Gran Vía is a centennial and emblematic avenue of the city of Madrid and one of its main arteries. It was created between 1910 and 1931 to modernize the city since the first skyscrapers in Spain would be built there, which came from the architectural currents coming from the United States at that time.

The Gran Vía was designed to decongest the city center, which was chaotic because it was made up of a network of small streets. Thus, the large avenue would allow better circulation, but it was necessary to get rid of several of those streets to achieve this.

It could be said that the Gran Vía is a strange fusion between modernity and antiquity because, during its construction, three religious buildings had to be respected (The Church of San José, the Royal Oratory of the Knight of Graces, and the Church of San Francisco de Borja). Thus, this iconic avenue ended up being quite irregular, resulting in a beautiful set of buildings that are as symbolic and old as they are modern.

On Gran Vía, we can find some of the most characteristic buildings in Madrid, such as the Metropolis, the Casino, the Callao Cinema, the Telefónica building, and the Capitol Building. But not only that, but there are also significant new stores of all kinds, shopping centers, and many other businesses that make the area very busy. Gran Vía is one of the places in the city where you can find everything, from cafes and restaurants to Spanish schools for foreigners, such as Expanish, one of the best places to learn spanish in madrid.

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A little bit of history

Gran Vía is the most important and well-known street in Madrid, which has received many names throughout history, such as Avenida del Quince y Medio or Avenida de Rusia. One of the most important names was Avenida de José Antonio, which paid homage to José Antonio Primo de Rivera for his victory in the Civil War.

Although the Gran Vía began to be built in 1910, its first sketches were drawn in 1862, the year in which part of the historic center of Madrid was reformed. However, the final design of the Gran Vía was not carried out until 1899, through a project presented by the architects Francisco Octavio Palacios and José López Salaberry. Thus, this famous avenue began construction, which lasted for decades.

The construction of the Gran Vía was one of the essential works in the country, since it affected around 50 streets and more than 300 houses had to be demolished. But the effort paid off, as communication between the center of Madrid and the northwest of the city was improved.

The last reform that the iconic avenue underwent took place in 2018 when the sidewalks were widened, and new crosswalks were inaugurated to prioritize pedestrians. A new bicycle lane was built between Plaza de Callao and Plaza de España. In addition, new trees were planted to improve environmental and landscape quality, and new traffic lights, lights, and benches were added.

Today, the Gran Vía area is one of the most coveted and most essential areas. A beautiful place where the atmosphere is cheerful at all times and where everything is within reach. The best businesses are located there and the best schools to take spanish lessons madrid, such as Expanish.

What to see on the Gran Vía

There is a lot to see and explore along the 1,300-meter-long Gran Vía. You can find fashion shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, theaters, and many more, but let’s see what this impressive avenue has to offer.

Currently, there are three types of establishments on Gran Vía: Restaurants and bars, fashion stores and cinemas, or theaters. In fact, Gran Vía had been nicknamed “Broadway Madrileño” in its heyday, as this avenue, for many years, concentrated approximately 80% of the cinemas in Madrid.

It could be said that Gran Vía is divided into three sections: one that goes from Calle Alcalá to Red de San Luis, another that continues from that point to Plaza de Callao, and, finally, the one that ends in Plaza de España.

When you walk through this wonderful avenue, you should go with your eyes wide open and your gaze upwards to be able to admire the incredible buildings that follow one another along with it, such as The Metropolis building, the Music Palace, the Coliseum, or the Lope de Vega building.

The commercial activity of Gran Vía is immense, starting with the main house of Gran Vía 8, where you can find brands like Loewe, which has been located there since 1939, offering luxury products in an impressive window, and where there is also a museum on the ground floor.

Then, in the second segment, you can find fashion and accessories chains from famous Spanish brands, such as Zara, Cortefiel, Stradivarius, Sfera, and Bershka, which are located on the ground floors of historic buildings.

The H&M brand also has two stores located on the same street, one of them mounted on the old Avenida Cinema, which was recycled into an incredible and majestic fashion store. You can also find Primark, considered the largest store in Spain and the most popular today.

We continue the route with the most important historical and technological reference, the Espacio Fundación Telefónica. This is one of the must-see sites; Exhibitions and various activities are held there, and a mobile phone and new technology store are also displayed.

Another building that cannot be missed is La Casa del Libro, which has four floors and is a reference in the Ibero-American publishing environment. There is also the Real Madrid Store, where you can find all the merchandise about the club.

Hoss Intropia. One of the main streets that cut off the Gran Vía is Calle de Fuencarral, where more than 200 brands come together. Throughout its almost 12 blocks, you can find gastronomic establishments and international clothing brands such as Mango, Blanco, Pepe Jeans, Diesel, Adolfo Dominguez, GI Joe, Kipling, Camper, etc.

In short, the Gran Vía is an impressive avenue with extravagant and splendid Art Deco and Art Nouveau facades, offices, cinemas, theaters, apartments, clothing stores, first-class gastronomic spaces, and much more!


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