RECENT visitors to Madrid could be forgiven for thinking they had stepped back in time.

granvia madridFor nine days, all cars were banished from the city centre in a trial run to pedestrianise the capital.

The ban covered the city’s old town, including the usually car-laden Gran Via, to give residents a taste of what a pedestrianised Madrid would be like.

Buses and taxis were still permitted access during the trial, which has now drawn to a close.

A spokesman for the city council labelled the campaign as ‘one of the boldest anti-car plans seen in Europe’.

“The otherwise blanket ban in the throbbing, vehicle-packed heart of a major metropolis is one of the boldest anti-car plans seen in Europe so far,” he said.

“It’s not just that the holiday shopping season is in full swing in Spain’s busiest commercial district, making the place a whole lot more manageable for shoppers on foot.

“The temporary ban is likely to make the whole area… well, just nicer.”