Back in December, when we in Berlin on our way to Vienna, we met someone at the airport who was also traveling around Europe over Christmas and teaching English in Spain. Fast forward about three months, and she was in our part of the country for a long weekend and a bit of sightseeing, and while it didn't work out to see each other, she did mention some of the things she was going to do, and I took note. The Faro de Moncloa was one of those things, and ever since she told me about it, Danny and I had been looking for a sunny day to go. We finally picked a Saturday in mid-March - we took a free walking tour of Madrid in the morning and in the afternoon we went out to the Faro de Moncloa (it's kind of on the outskirts of central Madrid).
If the Faro doesn't look very tall, it's not just the photo. That's because it really isn't that tall. It's 92 meters, or about 300 feet from top to bottom, which is almost exactly half the height of the Space Needle in Seattle, or a fourth of the height of the Fernsehturm in Berlin. However, Madrid doesn't have much of a skyline - it has four skyscrapers, so any kind of observation tower doesn't really need to be that high in order to have a good view over the city.
Some of the best views from the Faro are of the Ciudad Universitaria, or University City and of the Moncloa area of the city although it is possible to see quite a distance - up to 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) on a clear day. There are panels all around the observation deck that point out different places around the city, many of which we recognized and had visited. Some were easier to spot than others, like the Palacio Real, the Catedral de la Almudena, the Cuatro Torres business area, and the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains in the distance.
I'm so glad we finally made it to the Faro de Moncloa. It's a cheap view of Madrid (only 3€), and we found it quite empty too (there were never more than ten other people at the top while we were there, which was so nice). I'd definitely recommend a visit if you're living in Madrid or if you're in the city for an extended period of time - I don't think it belongs on a Top 10 Madrid list or anything, but for the price, it's worth an hour on a sunny day, especially if you're going to be in the neighborhood to see the Museo de America (it's right next door, but was closed when we visited).