Position yourself on the sidewalk in front of the Ministry of Interior, the massive edifice with the clock tower, and you could hardly spot the statue from where it stands. Its height of 14 feet is not enough to be conspicuous from such a distance.
Still, you know that it’s there, its location being one of the most crowded in the whole area, an indication of its immense popularity.
Come closer, and behold, a bear nuzzles up a strawberry tree. The latter seems to be receptive of its amiable gesture. Such is an attractive sight, and an easy tourist draw of the plaza.
The Bear and the Strawberry Tree Statue, known among locals as “El Oso y El Madrono,” is a highly revered symbol of Spain’s capital, and one of the must-see attractions of Madrid.
The popular figure is found in Madrid’s historical plaza, the Puerta del Sol. If you want to see it sans the large crowd, try to visit the plaza at around 1 or 2PM.
Go through Calle Alcala or Calle San Jeronimo (coming from Cibeles, Plaza de Independencia, and Sevilla), or exit the Vodafone Sol Metro station via the Alcala access gate, and you’ll immediately encounter the monument. As you go near it, certainly you can feel its imposing presence.
The Bear and Strawberry tree statue provides cool shade on a sunny day, which is why people love to gather around and even sit beside it to rest, with their backs pressed against its stone base.
A handsome bronze-and-stone creation of prominent Spanish sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafe, it was inaugurated in 1967. Quickly enough, Madridenos embrace it as a prime representation of their beloved city.
Indeed, the monument is a top reason why everyone wants to visit Puerta del Sol. It has become a meeting place of sorts, with tourists making it a starting point of their tour of the plaza.
Take an electric bike ride from any point in the city and park at Sol’s own bicycle station, located a few meters away from the statue.
A visit of Sol, of course, is not complete without a photo of the monument. However, it looks like all want to have their picture taken with the famous bear and tree, so one must be ready to wait for his turn.
The statue glistens on a rainy night
Some want to immediately scour the plaza for its surrounding commercial establishments, which are a slew and all more than willing to cater to various whims.
Still, many others rare to see the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, and would rather visit it first. Effortlessly, it attracts people to its fold, especially those who want to experience its historical importance.
How to reach: Visit to the monument is easy, as a number of EMT buses start and end, or pass within or near the plaza itself such as 51, 5, and 150. If you are coming from Glorietta de Embajadores, Tirso de Molina, and Plaza de Cascorro, the EMT minibus M1 will take you to the plaza. A stone’s throw away is Metro Station, Vodafone Sol. Reach it after just a few minutes of leisure walking from Tribunal, Callao, and Gran Via.