rótulos luminosos indultados madrid-rolex

The Madrid of the neon lights

Did you know that neon advertising signs were banned in Madrid since 2010 due to a municipal ordinance? However, if this is true, how is it possible that, after 10 years, Madrid is still full of neons?

The answer to this question is simple. The citizens of Madrid strongly defended the presence of the neons of the most emblematic buildings and, therefore, the city council had no choice but to EXEMPT THEM! Join me to find these luminous signs in Madrid and discover its history!

Let’s start with the most emblematic, the two neon signs that received their permanent exemption:

Schweppes in Callao, Gran Vía 41

luces de neon madrid-schweppes

It is obvious that this sign can not fail to enchant this area of ​​the city since it is a symbolic element of it. The City Council considered the sign as a “historical” element and, therefore, prevails over the other ordinances and laws. The Schweppes sign has been at the top of the Capitol building since 1969 and La Gran Vía and Plaza del Callao have seen this light since then. Not only tourists and citizens know this sign, but also movie lovers since it was the undisputed protagonist of the movie “The Day of the Beast” by Alex de la Iglesia.


Tío Pepe in Puerta del Sol

rótulos luminosos indultados madrid--tio pepe

In 1935, it was agreed to be located in building 11 of LaPuerta del Sol and, as can be assumed, was the first to be recognized as an aesthetic heritage and exempt from being an “illegal light.” Among its most important feats, this building resisted the bombing of the Civil War. Years later, a new problem arose when the American company Apple bought the building to establish its new offices in the city. Apple’s policy prohibits additional advertising in its stores and, therefore, eliminated this famous neon. This fact caused the anger of the population and, after three years of disputes, another company finally bought the building. Since then, La Puerta del Sol never seemed to lack charm. The fascinating neon returned to its historic place and today people can enjoy the view of this bullfighter bottle with a small jacket and a hat in the popular square: Plaza del Sol.


The following neon signs described below also obtained the exemption, but their license must be renewed every three years. Keep reading to discover them!

BBVA, Paseo de la Castellana 81

rótulos luminosos indultados madrid- bbva

The building was built to be the headquarters of the BBVA bank. With an extension of 107 meters high, the building was crowned with a sober neon light that stands out at night for its intense blue on the black facade of the building. Although the building is no longer owned by BBVA since 2007, today the neon sign is still there since the City Council exempted it due to its historical value.


Hotel Palace, Plaza de las Cortes 7

rótulos luminosos indultados madrid--palace

This is a luxury hotel whose history dates back to 1912 when King Alfonso XIII ordered its construction. Its strategic location in front of the Neptune fountain makes the hotel easily recognized. Recent times have given him the surname of Westing Palace, but its classic neon “Palace Hotel” can still be seen at the top of this magnificent building.


Rolex, Gran Vía 1

rótulos luminosos indultados madrid-rolex

This yellow crown with its green letters has been in the Grassy building since the beginning of the 21st century. Along with its history and location, it is located in one of the most emblematic and photographed points of the city of Madrid, as it is just behind the wonderful Metropolis building. Before the Rolex sign, other brands also leverage this valuable place like Jaeger-LeCoultre, AudemarsPiguet, Piaget and Baume et Mercie.


Cine Capitol, Gran Vía 41.

luces de neon madrid-capitol

Located in the same building of the Schweppes but at medium height, the intense and striking blue neon illuminates the Gran Vía and represents one of the most emblematic cinemas in the city of Madrid.


These are some of the historical and best-known neons that persist in the streets of Madrid, valuable heritage for citizens and now considered signs of city identity.

If you found this publication interesting and want to know more about this charming city, I invite you to meet at Puerta del Sol in our Free Walking Tour Madrid from Monday to Saturday to discover more about the endless history of Madrid.

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