Madrid is an enchanting place with an energy that carries one simple message: this city really knows how to live.
The Madrid community is both a destination in itself, and a variety of individual places, all unique in their own way. It has been a meeting place for centuries and offers a multitude of attractions: cultural, leisure and entertainment; to satisfy the many people who visit the region every year.
The capital Madrid, with its cosmopolitan air and deep cultural roots, retains its famous ‘open all hours’ feeling. The famous nightlife has lost none of its vitality and modernity contrasts perfectly with the old town and its cultural traditions.
Tradition sits next to the avant-garde. The door is open to a society that is both modern and dynamic. The Community of Madrid has become the destination to get to know the culture of Spain.
An artistic city
Few cities have an artistic family tree as pure as Madrid’s: many art lovers return here over and over again. For centuries, the Spanish royal family has praised and lavishly highlighted the best artists of its time, from the talents of its own soil such as Goya and Velázquez to Flemish and Italian greats. Masterpieces by these and other Spanish painters such as Picasso, Dalí and Miró now adorn the walls of the city’s world-class galleries. Three in particular are giants – the Museo del Prado, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza – but in Madrid these are only good places to start.
A culinary capital
Madrid has become one of the richest culinary capitals of Europe, above the humble claims of local cuisine. The city has embraced all the creativity and innovation of the Spanish gastronomic revolution. But this acceptance of the new is married with a passion for the lasting traditions of Spanish cuisine, for the conviviality of the food and for showing the infinite variety of dishes from each Spanish region. From tapas in tight temples to everything new to sitting under ancient vaulted ceilings, eating in Madrid is a true pleasure.
Madrid may lack the cachet of Paris, the monumental history of Rome, or the reputation of Barcelona for Modernista masterpieces. And no, there is no equivalent of the Eiffel Tower, the Colosseum or La Sagrada Família that you can point out and say ‘this is Madrid’. But Madrid has nothing to envy. Spain’s wide range of architectural history offers a glorious backdrop to city life, from medieval mansions and royal palaces to the unprecedented corners of Spanish contemporary architecture, from the austere masonry and slate spires of Madrid’s Baroque to the extravagant pastries of the belle époque. Simply put, this is one beautiful city.
Madrid has an extensive transport network, which makes it possible to travel to all corners of the community at low prices.
The Madrid region has a continental climate, with temperatures ranging from 0°C and even less in winter to temperatures of 40ºC in summer.
The climate in the city of Madrid contrasts sharply with the cold winters and mild summers in the mountainous north of the Community.
Rainfall is very varied, although in general and especially in the city’s continental climate zone, rainfall is scarce.
Plaza Mayor, Opera and La Latina
Dip warm churros in decadent hot chocolate.
Dip Churro-Frittiers into a cup of hot chocolate in a traditional, artistic form.
The café is one of the most established customs in Madrid. Although it is most typical to indulge in this high calorie combo for breakfast, it is particularly popular in the early morning hours after a night on the tiles and is also an effective pick-me-up in the late afternoon.
Tickle your taste buds at a gourmet market.
The Mercado de San Miguel has triggered the trend towards gourmet markets in Madrid, where visitors can try all kinds of local products. The dainty ironworks structure, dating back more than a century, is packed with stalls specialising in cold meats, cheese, seafood and much more. You can devour your choice at the stalls, walk around with your glass or find a stool at one of the bar tables in the middle of the market.
Go (Tapas) Bar-Hopping
A culinary tour on the first evening is fun to learn how to order tapas and learn about the most popular dishes. Along the way, you’ll sample local drinks and get a history lesson as you stroll from one bar to the next through the streets of the city’s most traditional neighborhoods.
Paseo del Prado and Retiro Park
Row, row, row, row your boat.
Drifting around the Retiro Park lake with a rowing boat is a soothing experience after a tour of the sights. Originally the gardens of a royal palace, the Retiro is now Madrid’s main park, with cafes and exhibition venues, as well as the large lake in its centre. Already in the 17th century it was used for extravagant theatre performances.
Marvel at masterpieces
The Prado is one of the largest museums in the world, with magnificent works by Spanish masters such as Velázquez, El Greco and Goya, as well as wonderful Italian and Flemish collections with paintings by Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto, Bosch and Rubens. As a rule, there are also at least two temporary exhibitions.
See one of Picasso’s most famous works.
Seeing the great masterpiece Guernica by Pablo Picasso himself in the huge Madrid Museum of Modern Art Reina Sofía is an unforgettable experience, but there is much more to see. See the fascinating works of Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Antoni Tàpies. The museum is housed in a former 18th century hospital with a new department designed by Jean Nouvel.
Paseo de la Castellana and Salamanca area
get football fever
On a guided tour of the Real Madrid Bernabéu Stadium, you’ll see the changing rooms and press room, walk through the players’ tunnel and onto the pitch, visit the President’s box and take a close look at all these trophies. Madridistas big and small will be in heaven here.
Killing the Night
Madrid nights are legendary and the perfect complement to the quieter charms of the fine arts and good cuisine. The city can have more bars than any other city in the world – a collection of historic cocktail bars and nightclubs that combine a touch of glamour with non-stop marcha action. But that only partly explains the appeal of Madrid after dark. Step into the nightly streets of many barrios and you will be accompanied by a flood of people, accompanied by a cheerful crowd that wants to dance until dawn.
The city that knows how to live: the Spanish capital is very lively and indeed has a very friendly urban feel. The day offers much to do and see, including a remarkable museum collection along with large, inspiring gardens and green parks. Spain’s largest city offers a fantastic, furious nightlife scene with late night parties, an extraordinary music scene, great tapas and restaurants.