Madrid is the Spanish capital. The entire metropolitan area of Madrid has more than 6 million inhabitants. The heart of the city is the Plaza Mayor. On this main square in the city centre you will find many elegant buildings like the Royal Bakery. La Gran Vía is Madrid’s famous boulevard. It was built in the late nineteenth century and complete streets were destroyed to make place for the boulevard. It has become one of the main shopping areas in the city and along the boulevard you will find many theatres. Madrid is famous for its fashion scene. In Madrid you can find any fashion style. Posh boutiques are scattered around the Salamanca district. While in the Fuencarral Street you will find anything that is hip and alternative. It is impossible to pin point Madrid’s fashion scene down to just one image.
Madrid is also famous for its nightlife and good bars and clubs. A favourite pastime in Madrid is to go bar hopping. Some famous bars are Sala el Sol, Museo Chicote, Café Central, and the Teatro Joy Eslava. Madrid is also a Flamenca capital. Nightlife in Madrid never stops. Here you can find something for everyone, including Goth bars and underground indie rock venues. For those who love jazz there are many roof terraces transformed into jazz bars where you can enjoy a cocktail or simple listen to the music.
Things to do and see in Madrid
Visit the Parque del Buen Retiro
When you stroll along the streets of Madrid also pay a visit to the Parque del Buen Retiro. This park is one of the most beautiful city parks that you will find in a European city. It was built in the 17th century for the royal family. In the park you will find many marble monuments. Madrileños come here on Sunday afternoons to enjoy their free day in the calm and beauty of the park. Walking through the park you will come along art exhibitions, tarot readers, masseurs, and street artists.
Discover Secret Gardens!
Hidden behind the city’s walls you will also be able to find the Secret Gardens. The gardens are remnants of Madrid’s romantic past. Here, in the middle of the city, you can escape the busy city life and go back into the historic times of Madrid. A charming hidden garden in the Literary Quarter is the garden of the San Sebastián Cemetery. What once used to be a cemetery is now a garden filled with flowers, giving it a romantic charm.
Explore local neighbourhoods
There are many interesting neighbourhoods in Madrid. La Latina is a famous neighbourhood to eat tapas. The Barrios de las Letras is a famous neighbourhood where many Spanish writers lived during the 16th and 17th centuries. One of those writers was Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra the author of Don Quixote. Another famous writer who lived here was playwright Lope de Vega.
Don't miss the Garden of the Prince of Anglona Palace
Another romantic garden with its own history is the Garden of the Prince of Anglona Palace. This 18th century garden is located near to the Plaza de la Paja in the historic area of Madrid de las Austrias. When you go to Madrid make sure you also visit the Palacio Real and the Temple of Debod. The Royal Palace was built in the 18th century. It is a truly majestic palace surrounded by beautiful gardens. The palace opened its doors to the public, but it is still used for certain ceremonies. You can go on a guided tour and learn everyithng about the dynamic history of the Spanish monarchy.
Embrace local heritage
The Temple of Debod is guarded in the Cuartel de la Montaña Park. This more than two thousand year old temple actually came from Egypt and was given to Madrid to preserve it. The sanctuary was threatened by the building of Aswan High Dam on the Nile. And the UNESCO elected Spain as its new location.
For those of you who love art and culture Madrid has a lot to offer. There are many museums to choose from. The most famous would probably be the Prado Museum. Here you can admire the famous works of artists like Picasso. The Prado museum has one of the world best selections of European masters from the 12th till the 19th century.
Discover regional areas of Madrid!
The region around Madrid is also worth visiting. The following locations within two hour distance of Madrid were all declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: Alcalá de Henares, Toledo, Cuenca, Segovia, Ávila, Salamanca, Córdoba, the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and the Aranjuez Cultural Landscape. Take a day trip to the city of Toledo and visit the Jewish, Christian and Islamic buildings of the city.
Many entertaiments parks for the whole family to enjoy!
- The Retiro Park will keep your kids entertained with the lively atmosphere of street artists and vendors. There are also tours organised for children, ask for more information about these tours at the Madrid Tourist Information Centre on Plaza Mayor or in Colón.
- Madrid’s main entertainment park is the Parque de Atracciones. You will find this park in the Casa de Campo easily accessible by metro.
- Madrid's zoo is also located in the Casa de Campo. This is one of Europe’s best zoos.
- In the centre of the city you will find Madrid’s Aquarium, here you can see piranhas, sharks, snakes and other reptiles.Around the city you can also find several water parks.
- Another nice option for the kids is the Urban Beach. On the shores of Madrid’s river Manzanares a huge park has been built with beaches, parks and play grounds.
Best time to visit
Tourists visit Madrid from May to October
Getting there and around
To get around the city you can go by foot or make use of the elaborate metro system. To get to Madrid the easiest way is to go by plane. Many airlines fly on Madrid from European and Spanish cities, but also from cities outside of Europe. Madrid can also be reached by car, train or bus.