If you are traveling to Madrid, Spain, be sure to pass by Puerto del Sol – on your first day if possible – and head to that particular sidewalk in the plaza where the ground plaque or marker they call the Kilometro Cero is found. According to popular Spanish tales, anyone who steps on it is assured of a return to the city in the future.
And so that is exactly what I did as soon as arrived in the city (or rather, what my friends had me done on my first day). I flew into the Barajas airport in the afternoon, and after some much-needed rest, went straight to Puerto del Sol come nighttime by taking the Metro Linea 9 from Colombia station.
It was already 8:30 in the evening and dinnertime in the city, I thought the plaza would be less crowded. On the contrary, everywhere in Sol, including the area around the KM Cero were thick throngs of people.
I proceeded to the kilometro cero. A lot of tourists were abuzz and milling around the plaque, taking turns to have their pictures taken while they stepped on it. Across its surface was the line that read, “Origen de las Carretelas Radiales.” As I stepped on the plaque, I found myself making a wish. I swore immediately afterwards I had this reassuring feeling that it wouldn’t be my last visit to Madrid.
Where exactly is Kilometro Cero? In spite of being a ground-embedded marker, you won’t have any problem finding it. The plaza is found in the sidewalk right in front of the Casa de Correos, the gargantuan government edifice the width of which must be about the same as that of the plaza itself.
No doubt about it, Kilometro Cero of Plaza del Sol, that plaque that’s made out of granite, is one of the most popular and visited landmarks in Madrid.
What’s the Kilometro Cero? It is the spot from which the distance from Madrid to anywhere in Spain is measured, hence the name. So, if for instance, the distance from the Spanish capital to Toledo is a 200 km, such number is obtained using the KM Cero as the starting point. It is safe to say that if you standing on this point, you may brag that you have “conquered” the centremost point of the city.
Real Casa de Correos is the massive Madrid government building in Puerto del Sol that towers over the Kilometro Cero (and perhaps everything else in the plaza, literally and figuratively). It is a popular landmark, especially on December 31 of every year when all roads lead to Plaza del Sol, and the building and clock tower becomes the center of attraction as the countdown to the new year is celebrated.