Madrid is the capital and third largest city of Spain and lies on the Manzanares River. The total population of the Madrid province is over 6 million with 3 million people alone living in the actual city of Madrid. Located in the heart of the Spanish continent, Madrid is where all the action takes place, day and night, as it is the centre of almost everything in Spain. It is literally a paradise for history, culture, art, dance and music lovers but is also politically important as it is home to Spain’s Royal Family and government where all important decisions are made. It is in Madrid that you can experience the majority of things that those outside of Spanish borders will relate as belonging to Spain be it historical monuments, famous landmarks, events and cultural trends. In fact, Madrid is ample in some of the most leading attractions in all of Europe and the world.
A great capital of the western world, Madrid is a highly cosmopolitan city and a European leader in innovation and technology. To add to its greatness, Madrid is home to some extraordinary modern and old infrastructures as well as must-see attractions beginning with the superb trio that comprise the Golden Triangle of Art – Museo Nacional Del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Within these 3 museums which exemplify Madrid’s importance in the world of art is where you can find unique paintings from genius artists such as Picasso, Velázquez, El Greco, Goya, Monet, Degas, Rembrandt, van Gogh, Cézanne and many more artistic masters. In total there are around 60 museums to choose from in Madrid. The Royal Palace of Madrid, the previous residence of the king of Spain, King Juan Carlos, is a beautiful attraction and an example of Madrid’s wealth and stature in Spain. Madrid’s buoyant and busy plazas such as Puerta del Sol or Plaza Mayor are also must-see attractions and host many important events, monuments and great little restaurants, bars and shops which make for perfect days out during your trip.
Surprisingly green, Madrid has thousands of hectares of gardens and parks which almost make you feel like you have escaped urban city life completely. The Royal Botanical Garden of Madrid, bang in the centre of the very urban Prado district, is a refined garden filled with enchanting colourful plants, flowers and trees. The Parque del Buen Retiro is also another striking example of 'green Madrid' offering brilliant walking grounds and a peaceful central lake. Other gardens and parks include Fuente de Berro Park and Parque del Oeste.
Another great thing about Madrid is that there is always something to do leisure-wise during the day and even more so at night. There are all sorts of fantastic pass times from concerts, theatre shows, new film releases, ballets, exhibitions, exciting bars, big-name stores and delicious Spanish delicacies to try out in its many fancy restaurants. There are also numerous fun fiestas like carnival time and public events to attend which range from dance, music, cinema and performing arts; among other internationally known events like Madrid’s International Fashion Week and the Festimad Sur rock festival. If that should not be enough to entertain you, head on over to Madrid’s theme parks – Parque Warner and the Madrid’s Amusement Park which will grant a long day of fun for the whole entire family. Not forgetting the old but always fun Madrid Zoo Aquarium in Casa de Campo with its large number of animal species.
To complete your getaway in Madrid it is vital to experience what are probably the two most iconic traditions of Spanish culture. The first being bullfighting and the second the flamenco. Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas is Madrid’s greatest bullring and is where the best of Spanish matadors take on raging bulls and put on the best performances for all to see. Flamenco, less dangerous but just as intense as bullfighting is not originally from Madrid but can be highly appreciated in Spain’s capital. There are numerous venues and bars all over the city of Madrid that offer passionate flamenco performances which are certain to leave you hot under the collar.
Getting around Madrid is extremely easy. Unlike other countries, Madrid’s main airport, Barajas, is in very close proximity to its urban centre which is great news for holiday-makers as it assures reduced travel time and most importantly, low travel costs. Madrid is also well-known for its railway and metro station with 12 lines making it the third longest in the world after New York and Moscow. If you are looking to head out of Madrid then you should be interested to know that the capital is connected to Spain’s main cities by a high speed rail system (AVE) allowing passengers to travel at speeds of an astonishing 300km/h.
Madrid is the ideal destination for any type of holiday-maker from the simple curious tourist to the luxury traveller and there is accommodation in Madrid to fit all types of budgets. You will literally be spoilt for choice!