Sundown in Madrid is always special. You will be left speechless as you watch the setting sun paint the sky with rich orange tones as it gently descends beyond the horizon. There is a famous phrase among Madrileños (as the inhabitants of Madrid are known) that says: “De Madrid al cielo” (From Madrid to the heavens). Locals are always ready to share with visitors the splendor of sundown during the spring and summer months. The challenge, however, is finding the best places to watch sundown in Madrid, which can be considered an art form in itself.
The exact origins of the phrase, “de Madrid al cielo,” are unknown. Some say that it dates back to the late 18th century when Carlos III set about transforming Madrid into a capital worthy of a vast and powerful empire. Others maintain that the saying relates to the story that every night the souls of deceased Madrileños rise up to heaven from the highest point in the park behind the Royal Palace. But perhaps the most convincing theory is that it comes from a verse by the Spanish Golden Age playwright, Luis Quiñones de Benavente, which reads: “Pues el invierno y el verano, en Madrid solo son Buenos, desde la cuna a Madrid, y desde Madrid al Cielo.” (This roughly translates to: “The winter and the summer, are only good in Madrid, from the cradle to Madrid, and from Madrid to the heavens.”) Whatever the origin of the phrase, make sure not to miss sundown in Madrid on your next stay in this magnificent city.
Here’s a good challenge for you: three days, one sky, three sundowns. Are you up for it? First, do as the locals do by heading to the nearest terrace to welcome the warm summer nights that make this city so special. But not just any bar will do. The terrace-solarium at the Sabatini Gardens offers spectacular views of the Royal Palace and the ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod along with one of the best sundowns in the city. Every Tuesday to Sunday from 8 p.m. from June through September, you can head up to the rooftop, order a cocktail, and watch as one of the greatest natural shows on Earth begins. However, remember that capacity is limited and you will need to book in advance if you want to dine here.
Your challenge for the second night is located just a short walk from the Sabatini Gardens. On the ninth floor of El Corte Inglés (a famous department store), is Gourmet Experience, a food court with superb views of Gran Vía and the Carrión building and its iconic neon sign. Here you can either grab something simple and light, such as a latte or a glass of sparkling wine, or let your gourmet side go wild and try one of the 30 different types of hamburger at Hamburguesa Nostra, traditional Spanish cooking at La Máquina, or duck and mushroom dim sum at Mister Lee. Also, be sure to have a look around the gourmet store, as you are bound to find an excellent food-related souvenir to take home. Now all you need to do is sit back and enjoy sundown in Madrid high above the city.
Who said that you need to go to Egypt to enjoy the deep orange hues of the setting sun among ancient ruins? For your third and final night, take a seat on the stone walls next to the pond at Temple of Debod and contemplate the reflection of the sky in the temple waters. The word “magic” is an understatement.
Mission accomplished! You have successfully completed the challenge to see three sundowns in three days. But these, after all, are just a few suggestions from the many spectacular places to watch sundown in Madrid. So, the next time you’re in Madrid, all you have to do is pick up where you left off?