Madrid in Madrid

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Madrid's Town Hall (Palacio de Telecomunicaciones) in Cibeles square

Madrid [1] is the capital and largest city of Spain, as well as the capital of the autonomous community of the same name (Comunidad de Madrid). As of July 2005, the population of the city was 3,228,000 and the population of the metro area was 5,843,000. Madrid is best known for its great cultural and artistic heritage, a good example of which is the El Prado museum. Madrid also boasts some of the liveliest nightlife in the world.

Understand

Location

Madrid is located just northeast of the geographical center of the Iberian Peninsula, in the middle of the Spanish central Castillian plateau (Meseta central), at an average altitude of 650m. Nearly all of the most famous tourist areas are located in the center of the city including Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, and Plaza de Colón. The major streets in Madrid include the Gran Via, Alcalá Street, and Paseo de la Castellana.

Climate

The climate of Madrid is continental; mainly dry and quite extreme at times. Madrid sees perpetual sunshine and a characteristically hot and dry summer, and a fairly cold winter with frequent frosts during the night and the occasional snowfall. Spring and autumn are mild with the most rainfall concentrated in these seasons. Spring and autumn are definitely the best times to visit, especially the months of April, May, June, September and October. There is very little rainfall during summer and also less rainfall during winter. During winter snow occurs sporadically, however snowfall usually lasts only for a few days, but there is abundant snowfall in the adjacent mountain ranges nearby.

Culture

Royal Palace

The culture of Madrid was dominated by its Royal history, centre of the Spanish Empire. The Royal Palace, big places and buildings used by the Spanish Monarchy, enormous cathedrals and churches are plentiful in Madrid, as well as medieval architecture, although nowadays Madrid is just as much a cosmopolitan city as Berlin or London, full of new architecture, lifestyle and culture.

As Spanish Capital, Madrid has meant the different "establishment" for most Spaniards. During the 2nd Republic (1931-1936) was a bustling city of new ideas. Being capital of the Franquist dictatorship (1939-1975) made the city still seemed to represent a conservative part of Spain to many Spaniards. However, the city is also the epicentre of the famous Movida, Spain's 80s movement that bred personalities such as the director Pedro Almodóvar. The heritage of this era is indeed still visible in the city centre, where a party can be found at all times and one of the most liberal and colourful environments of Spain can be seen. The city is also known for its great gay tolerance.

The citizens of Madrid, who refer to themselves as Madrileños or the more traditional and currently seldom used term "gatos" (cats), live by a daily routine that is heavily influenced by the climate. Due to the typically midday heat during summer, a "siesta" can be still observed during which some citizens take a break to cool off, though Madrileños can usually only afford this 'luxury' during holidays and weekends. Most stores are open during all the day; just small stores are often closed during this time. Workers and those more afflicted by Western lifestyles choose not to observe this long break and work traditional business hours, which are usually between 9AM and 6-7PM. During summer many offices, however, will have a summer schedule requiring workers to start at 8am and finish at 3pm (most commonly without the standard 1-2 hour break for lunch). Offices usually close during the weekend but businesses are often open Saturday morning (downtown stays open until afternoon). Most grocers are closed on Sundays, but some major chain and department stores linked to "culture" (books, music, etc.) will be open throughout the day and all of them on the first Sunday of the month. Shops and department stores in Puerta del Sol area are open every day.

Madrid possibly has the largest number of bars per capita of any European city and a very active nightlife; Madrileños are known to stay up until as late as 5AM-7AM. It is quite common to see a crowded Gran Vía on weekend nights. It is important to note that, due to this lifestyle, lodging located near the fun areas may end up a nightmare for light sleepers if your window faces the street.

Madrid has a very modernized and elaborate transportation network of buses and Metro. The city contrasts with some large European cities in that it is extremely clean, and city employees in bright yellow vests can almost always be seen cleaning the streets and sidewalks. Like most large cities, however, there is a substantial population of vagrants and beggars lining the streets.

Madrid is one of the biggest and most cosmopolitan cities in Europe. Communities of West Africans, North Africans, other Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis and (especially) Latin Americans are prominent.

Some popular neighborhoods are:

  • Alonso Martínez - Many pubs and small discos. Until about 3AM, a very young crowd, and if you′re around here before midnight, and over the age of 20, prepare to feel positively old. Most places close around 3AM, then people move to nearby areas to continue partying (clubs in Gran Vía or Tribunal).
  • Barrio de las Letras / Huertas - Many of Spain's most famous writers lived there (Cervantes, Quevedo, etc.). It is among Lavapiés, Puerta del Sol and Paseo del Prado. It is an area full of history and interesting buildings and is also well-known because of its concentration of bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels. Plaza de Santa Ana is a beautiful square. It can be considered "too touristic" for some local people.
  • Chueca - Near Malasaña and Gran Vía, it is the gay district (although no one is ever excluded) with a very strong personality. New design, trendy shops, cool cafes. Pop and electronic music. By far, the most cosmopolitan place in town. Has become quite chic and expensive.
  • Tribunal / Malasaña - Alternative area. You can enjoy a café, a dinner, a book or just some drink. Mainly rock and pop music clubs, some of them still open from "La movida madrileña" (beginning of 80's). Calle Manuela Malasaña is a great place to eat, Calle del Pez a great place to have some drinks and Plaza Dos de Mayo is the heart of the district.
  • Conde Duque - Like Malasaña, this district shares a similar audience. Calle Conde Duque is full of cafés and restaurant. Between the main squares in the district, Plaza de Guardias de Corps and Plaza de las Comendadoras, you will also find other options to have drinks, cafés or tapas. The Conde Duque Cultural Centre usually hosts shows, concerts and exhibitions.
  • Gran Vía - The place that never sleeps. Major street that includes many popular nightclubs, usually open from 1AM to 6-7AM.
  • La Latina - Near Lavapiés, it is the place to go for tapas and full of bohemian young people looking for stylish bars. In the old section, many small bars and pubs, a generally older crowd (late 20s, 30s - you know, "adults"). Contains La Cava Baja street. Avoid places in the Plaza Mayor but for sunbathing and beers. Multiple bars serving fantastic tapas in the Cava Baja and Cuchilleros. It's surprisingly very crowded on Sunday mornings, from 11AM to late in the afternoon due to its close location to the flea market El Rastro.
  • Lavapiés - Multicultural quarter of the city, with more than 50% foreign residents, mostly from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Plenty of world music bars and many alternative theaters and art galleries. Lavapiés is maybe the most cosmopolitan and hippy area at the same time in Madrid. Indian restaurants, alternative cafés, African music and South American shops. Walking around for a coffee is well worth it.
  • Moncloa - Due to its proximity to the main University in Madrid (Universidad Complutense), Moncloa is associated with students and a student lifestyle, many cheap bars and discos as it is near the university, although some of the places are best avoided.
  • Salamanca - Plenty of expensive boutiques, unique shops with impossible prices and department stores.
  • Torre Europa. A very posh or "pijo" crowd, full of pubs and clubs. Quite expensive and virtually uniform music, places, and people.
  • Ciudad Universitaria. This area is where most of the students reside as there are several dorms in this area. There are many, many cheap bars with great nightlife starting from Thursdays.

Get in

By plane

Madrid Barajas International Airport , 902 404 704, [2] is located 13km from the Puerta del Sol. It has 4 terminals, including a new low-cost carrier terminal that opened in 2006. Terminal 4 has won architectural awards, and might be worth the trip to have a look even if you are not flying.

The airport is connected to the city by Metro line 8 (pink), to get to Sol (Madrid centro) you will have to take Line 8 to the last stop (Nuevos Ministerios) and then transfer to line 10 going southbound to Tribunal and then Line 1 to Sol. Metro tickets to/from the airport cost €2. A Express Bus Service for 2 euros reaches O'Donell, Cibeles and Atocha [3].

An alternative, and simpler way to get to Sol is to catch the Renfe Cercanías (commuter train) from Platform 8 at Nuevos Ministerios, Sol will be the first stop.

Buses 200 and 204 operate between the airport and Plaza Colón and Avenida de América in Madrid.

Public Night Bus N4 goes from Plaza Cibeles to Barajas district, 400m walk from the terminal through a passageway over the highway. Night Shuttle [4] operates a night bus between the airport and city center for €9.90 per person. Taxis from the airport to the city center cost ~€32.

There are plans for a commuter train link from Atocha and Chamartín to the airport, expected to be operational by 2011 or 2012 (the airport station is under construction by march 2011).

Madrid is a very major airport and is serviced by several airlines. It is the homebase for Iberia and one of the largest airports in Europe.

Two smaller airports, Torrejón and Cuatro Vientos, also serve the city, however, there are no commercial flights coming in or out of these two airports.

By train

Tropical garden in Atocha

Renfe [5] (+34 902-240-202) operates train service to/from Madrid. Frequent trains operate between Madrid and Barcelona (2h 40min), Seville (2h 20 min), Malaga (2h 30 min), Zaragoza, Tarragona, Lerida, Huesca, Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Lisbon, Milan, the French coast, Paris, with continuing journeys to most of Europe.

Northbound trains arrive and depart from Chamartín station, while trains to Barcelona, Valencia and southern Spain depart from Atocha railway station.

By bus

Madrid has eight enormous international and intercity bus stations. Information on where buses to a particular destination depart from can be found at the Tourist Office.

Many of the international buses, and those headed south of Madrid, arrive at and depart from Estación Sur de Autobuses (Calle de Méndez Álvaro, Tel:+34 91-468-4200 [6]) which is accessible by metro.

Buses to and from Barcelona and Bilbao operate from the Avenida de América bus terminal, also accessible by Metro.

By car

There are car rental facilities available at the airport, train stations, and other main travel sites. Always be sure to have a street map handy! The roads within Madrid are difficult to navigate as there are no places to stop and consult a map or check your route.

Also, if you are relying on GPS navigation, be aware that there are several consecutive junctions underground near the centre and your GPS may not get a signal underground. Plan your turns before you enter the tunnels.

Get around

Public Transport

Madrid proudly sports one of the best public transportation networks in the world and the second largest metro network in Europe, second only to London's. Buses and subways form an integrated network [7] and work with the same tickets. A single ticket costs €1.50, a ten trip ticket costs €9. Alternatively, you can buy unlimited travel passes as follows: 1 day (€5.20), 2 days (€10.00), 3 days (€13.00), 5 days (€17.60), or 7 days (€23.60). Children under 11 receive a 50% discount. Tickets can be purchased at Metro stations, news-stands, and estancos (tobacconists').

By metro

The Metro de Madrid [8] (Madrid's Subway/Underground) is one of the best and cheapest metros in Europe. In addition, the underground tunnels of the Metro provide relief from the sun on hot days. Ticket machines are bilingual with instructions in both Spanish and English. Stamping the ticket one time allows you to use the Metro network as long and far as you like - make sure you stay inside the Metro zone, once you leave it, you'll have to stamp your ticket again. When you travel to or from airport stations, there is additional supplement of €1, which can be paid at the entrance or exit. The Passes do not require this supplement-it is included in the price. You can catch some trains as late as 2:00AM, although the official close time for the metro system is at 1:30AM.

Nights before Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays have a night bus (MetroBúho) service on the same routes as the Metro lines, from rougly 01:00AM to 05:30AM. Stops for these lines are sometimes not in obvious places, especially in the pedestrian areas in the city center.

Announcements in the metro are made only in Spanish, though signs are bilingual in Spanish and English.

By bus

Whatever the Metro doesn't cover, the buses do.

Night buses (Búhos, "night owls"), have their main hub at Plaza de Cibeles [9], covering most of the city at roughly 20-minute intervals.

By train

Madrid has a system of local trains (Cercanías) that connect outlying suburbs and villages with the city center. Although most useful for visiting historic or outdoor destinations outside the city core, they are also useful for quickly getting from the north end of the city (Chamartin and Nuevos Ministros) to the south end of the city (Sol and Atocha).

By taxi

Taxis can be hard to find during late hours on weekends, especially if there is some rain. Unlike in other European cities, there are few taxi stands; just stand by the side of a major road or bus stop and wave your hand to signal an available taxi passing by. Available taxis have a green libre sign in the windshield and a green light on top.

Official taxis are white, and have a red stripe and the flag of Madrid on the front door. The tariff is displayed on top of the car (a 1 during daytime, a 2 during the night, which become 2 and 3 on holidays such as Christmas Eve).

There are also special surcharges for entering or leaving the airport/train station. Ask for the written table of tariffs and charges (suplementos) (shown on small stickers on rear windows, compulsory by law) before paying if you think it's too expensive.

Be aware there are some taxi drivers that will do what is called 'la vuelta al ruedo' which basically means they will drive you around or through the crowded avenues to increase the fare.

Most taxi drivers do not speak English, so you should have the names and/or addresses of your destinations written in Spanish to show your taxi driver. Likewise, get your hotel's business card in case you get lost.

By car

Transportation by private automobile in Madrid can be a nightmare. The Spanish capital suffers from the typical problems of most big cities; far too many cars and not enough space to accommodate them. Sometimes there can even be traffic jams in the Paseo de la Castellana at 3:00 AM (early to some Madrileños). The problem is compounded by the narrow streets in the old town, where a lorry delivering beer barrels to a local bar can cause a huge tailback. Finding a parking space can be very time consuming, and difficult if one is not skilled in the art of close proximity parallel parking. Many Spaniards are also lacking in this art, prompting them to simply park in the street, blocking other cars in. If you find yourself blocked in by such a practice, honk your horn until the driver returns. If you parallel park your car in Madrid, be aware that most Madrileños park by sound alone. They will feel no remorse for repeatedly hitting the car in front and behind them while trying to get into or out of a tight spot. If you value your car's paint job, or you have rented a car, it may be best to park underground. Though this is no guarantee for nobody hitting your car, the chances are somewhat diminished.

In short, renting a car is not only unnecessary, but not recommended for getting around downtown Madrid, and a car is likely to be more of a liability than an asset. Visitors should make use of Madrid's excellent public transportation instead. Renting a car only makes sense if you are planning to leave Madrid and drive to the nearby towns.

By bicycle

El Retiro

Although Madrid does not appear as a bike-friendly city at a first sight, things are changing slowly to make bike experience more comfortable. Several streets in historical downtown have been transformed into mixed-traffic spaces where pedestrians and bikes have priority over cars. There are new easy-bike paths all along the river and connecting important parks.

It is also possible to use a lot of narrow easy streets where traffic is slow and calm to travel along the city without dependig on exclusive bike paths. There are some official and unofficial publications with these streets along the web.

To avoid some of Madrid inconveniencies, such as hot weather or slopy streets it is also possible to get bikes on Metro and Railways trains with some schedule restrictions, and on every public transport without restrictions when using folding-bikes.

There is no public rent-a-bike service, but there are some rent shops on historical center area.

Talk

While knowledge of the English language is increasing amongst the younger generations, the majority of Madrid's residents know only a few words - even employees at American businesses such as McDonald's and employees at cash exchange centers rarely speak much English. You can often find someone with a fair grasp of English at larger hotels and tourism sites, but it would nevertheless be helpful to know at least a few common Spanish words and phrases.

See

Golden (art) Museum Triangle

The northern entrance to Prado
  • Museo del Prado (address: Paseo de Prado) (directions: Metro: Atocha or Banco de España, Bus lines 9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37 and 45) +34 90 2107077
    price: Adults: €8; Students & children: €4; Free: Tu-Sa 6PM-8PM and every Su 5PM-8PM
    open: Tu-Su: 9AM-8PM, Closed M and some holidays
    One of the finest art collections in the world and the best collection of classical art in Madrid. It includes many different collections: the Spanish (El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya), the Flemish and Dutch (Rubens, van Dyck, and Brueghel), Italian (Botticelli, Tintoretto, Titian, Caravaggio, and Veronese) and German (Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, and Baldung Grien).

Some highlights not to miss at the Prado: The Bosch masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights, The famous Velázquez piece Las Meninas, The Black Paintings and The Third of May 1808 by Goya, Adoration of the Shepards by El Greco, and David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio. Be sure to walk along Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian walkway full of fountains and trees near the museum. Nice affordable restaurant on the main floor.

  • Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Center (address: Santa Isabel 52) (directions: Metro: atocha) +34 91 7741000
    price: €6, free Saturday from 2:30PM till 9PM, Sunday from 10AM till 2:30PM, and Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday from 7PM-close
    open: M, W-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-2:30PM
    Houses Madrid's best collection of modern art. It includes many of Pablo Picasso's most revered works including the renowned Guernica. The Reina Sofía also houses masterpieces by Miró, Kandinsky, Dalí, Bacon, and more.
  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art (address: Paseo de Prado, 8) +34 913 69 01 51 ‎
    price: Adults: €8; Students: €8; Children under 12: Free
    open: Tu-Su 10AM-7PM. The ticket office closes at 6:30PM. The Museum is closed all day on 1 Jan, 1 May, and 25 Dec
    Contains a large art collection including masterpieces by Monet, Goya, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, Mondrian, Bacon and Lichtenstein.

Other Museums

Dama de Elche: Iberian (pre-Roman) fertility goddess statue
  • National Archeology Museum (address: Calle Serrano 13) (directions: Metro: Serrano) +34 91 5777912
    price: €3, Free entry Saturday after 2:30PM and Sundays
    open: Tu-Sa: 9:30AM-5PM, Sun and Holidays 9:30AM-3PM. Closed: M; Jan 1 and 6; May 1 and 15; Dec 24, 25, and 31. (Holidays: Apr 5 and 6, May 2, Aug 15, Oct 12, Nov 1 and 9, Dec 6 and 8.
    Don't let the sound of it frighten you. This well designed museum houses an incredible collection of archaeological finds from across the peninsula. It leaves the visitor with a sense of the chronology of civilization in Spain (Iberian, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Visagoth, Arab, and into the modern age). The famous Dama de Elche, an Iberian (pre-Roman) fertility goddess statue, is in this museum. There are also a few pieces from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It is currently undergoing renovations and is open with limited exhibits.
  • Naval Museum (address: Paseo del Prado 5.) (directions: Metro: Banco de España or Atocha)
    price: Free on Saturdays and Sundays.
    Beautiful museum with vast interesting collections about Spanish sailing.
  • Museo de Lazaro Galdiano (address: Calle Serrano 122) (directions: Metro: Gregorio Mariñon) +34 91 5616084
    price: €4, free on Sundays.
    open: W-M: 10AM-4:30PM. Closed: Tu; Jan 1; Easter Thursday and Friday; May 2 and 3; Nov 1; Dec 6 and 25.
    This museum houses the stunning collection of Spanish entrepreneur José Lázaro Galdiano (1862-1947) and is considered to be one of the best private collections in Spain. Not only will you find works by Goya, Velázquez, El Greco and others, the museum is also filled with jewelry, furniture, sculpture and ceramics. This is an excellent museum that is usually not crowded and well worth the price of admission.
  • Real Academia de Bella Artes de San Fernando (address: Calle Alcalá 13) (directions: Metro: Sevilla or Banco de España) +34 91 5240864
    price: Adults: €3, students €1.50, free W, free for children and seniors.
    open: Tu-Fr: 9:30AM-7PM, Sa-M: 9:30-4:30PM.
    Highly impressive art collection with paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints. Several Goya masterpieces.
  • Museo de América (address: Avenida Reyes Católicos 6) (directions: Metro: Moncloa) +34 91 5492641 and 91 5439437
    price: Adults: €3, students €1.50, free Su, free for seniors and children
    open: Tu-Sa: 9:30AM-3PM, Su 10:00AM-3PM, Closed Mondays, Jan 1, May 1, Dec 24, 25, 31
    An excellent museum that many tourists miss. Houses thousands of artifacts from the Americas. The exhibit displays objects from many native cultures from before European conquest to colonial times and beyond. Don't miss the Tesoro (Treasure) de los Químbayas, a collection of gold objects that was given as a gift by the Colombian government. Also of interest is the Tudela Codex, an Aztec law book from the 1500's. Beware: most explanations to the objects on display are in Spanish only.
  • Museo de la Ciudad (address: Calle Príncipe de Vergara 140) (directions: Metro: Cruz del Rayo) +34-91-5886599
    price: Entry is free
    open: Mo: Closed Tu-Fr: 10am-2pm and 4-7pm Sa&Su: 10am-2pm.
    With five floors, it tells the city's history, since it was founded by the Arabs. There are models of some urban areas.
  • San Antonio de La Florida Hermitage
    This small church is famous for its murals, painted by Goya. It's also the mausoleum of the painter.
  • Real Madrid Museum (directions: In Santiago Bernabeu Stadium)
    showcases all the trophies of one of the most successful football clubs in the world.
  • Museo Sorolla (address: General Martínez Campos, 37) (directions: Autobuses: 5, 7, 14, 16, 27, 40, 45, 61, 147 y 150 Metro: * Iglesia (Línea 1) * Rubén Darío (Línea 5) phone)
    price: €3
    open: Tu - Sat: 0930 to 2000 - Sun 1000-1500
    This museum is in what was the impressionist painter's house and features fine furniture and porcelain as well as his paintings.
  • Museo del Traje (address: Avenida de Juan de Herrera 2) (directions: Metro: Moncloa(lines 3 and 6) and Ciudad Universitaria (line 6)) +34 91 5504700
    open: Tu-Sa 9:30AM-7PM, Su 10:00AM-3PM. Closed 1, 6 Jan, 1, 15 May, 24, 25, 31 Dec
    Offers a wide selection of historical and more temporary costumes (from the early 1200s to now) which shows the aspects of different cultures and Spain. The museum also organizes many activities and events.

Places of Interest

  • Palacio Real (address: Calle Bailen) (directions: Metro: Opera) +34 91 4548800
    price: Entry: €10; Guided tour: €11; Students and children: €5; free W for EU citizens.
    open: M-Sa: 9AM-5PM, Sundays and holidays: 9AM-3PM, closed occasionally for official ceremonies
    The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is an enormous palace, the biggest one in Europe in its kind, with scorching plains of concrete around it and the Real Armorial (Royal Armory), a two-story collection of medieval weapons and armor. Explanations in the armory are in Spanish only, so do not expect to understand much unless your know the Spanish names for all that medieval weaponry. Though it is the official residence of the King of Spain, the royal family does not actually reside here and it is generally used only for state ceremonies. The Royal Palace is considered to be one of the most emblematic and beautiful buildings in Madrid, not only for its location but also for its architecture and the artistic treasures to be found in its rooms. The façades of the palace measure 130 meters long and 33 meters high with 870 windows and 240 balconies opening on to the facades and courtyard. It has a surface area of 100,000 square meters with 44 stairways and more than 30 principal rooms. Also located within the palace is the Pharmacia, which contains hundreds of bottles of early medicines and a reconstructed laboratory.
Plaza Mayor
  • Plaza Mayor (directions: Metro: Sol or Opera)
    The best known plaza in Madrid, this impressive square is now one of the main stops on any tourist visit. Originally built outside the city walls, this square has played host to bullfights, markets, symphonies, tournaments and executions. The statue of Felipe III sits in the middle across from the beautifully painted Casa de la Panadería, the former headquarters of the bakers guild. One of the access to the square is Arco de Cuchilleros, beautiful stairs down. Near Plaza Mayor, is Mercado San Miguel (Saint Michael Market), built in 1913 and full of a wide range of high quality food.
The famous bear statue at Puerta del Sol
  • Puerta del Sol (directions: Metro: Sol)
    price: ">This plaza is the "heart
  • Plaza Castilla
    (Metro: Plaza Castilla)
  • Atocha RENFE
    (Metro: Atocha RENFE) A large train station across the street from the Reina Sofía Museum of Art. The interesting thing about it is the palm garden inside the old building, complete with a pond full of small turtles. It also hosts the access to the March 11th Memorial. It's free, and very much worth visiting.
  • El Retiro Park (directions: Metro: Retiro, Ibiza or Atocha)
    The main park of Madrid, the perfect place to take a rest during a sunny day, or take part in the drum circles around the statue of Alphonso XII on summer evenings. There is a large boating lake where one can hire a rowing boat - great fun for the children! There is a monument to the victims of the Madrid 3/11 terrorist bombings, the Forest of the Absent, and the Crystal Palace, a large structure entirely made of glass. Sunday afternoons in summer are a treat in the park, where young hippies play bongos and dance.
  • Catedral de la Almudena
    This massive cathedral faces the Palacio Real. Finished in the end of 20th century, it is where the Princes of Asturias Felipe and Letizia were married in 2004.
  • Gran Vía (directions: Metro: Gran Via, Callao, Plaza de España, Banco de España)
    Literally, "Broadway", Gran Vía is one of the busiest avenues in Madrid, what you could call the main street of Madrid, and the location of the cinema district. The Gran Vía is very similar to Times Square in New York City. Gran Vía has a constant buzz of traffic and life. 3-4am early morning traffic jams are not unusual.
  • Plaza de Cibeles (directions: Metro: Banco de España)
    Houses one of Madrid's emblems, the fountain of Cibeles, and one of the world's most beautiful city halls, the former Palacio de las Comunicaciones.
  • Parque del Capricho (directions: Metro: Capricho)
    Along the Retiro Park, one of the most beautiful parks in Madrid. Built in 1797-1839, it has a strong Romanticism influence. Declared as an Historic Garden, its lakes with swans and ducks, labyrinths, palaces, squares and fountains makes this a lovely place.
  • Plaza de España (directions: Metro: Plaza de España)
    Contains a sculpture of Cervantes and his famous Don Quixote and Sancho Panza characters.
  • Templo de Debod (address: Paseo del Pintor Rosales 2) (directions: Metro: Plaza de España) +34 91 765108
    price: Free
    open: Tue-Fri: 10AM - 2PM and 6PM - 8PM, Sat-Sun: 10AM- 2PM, closed Mondays and holidays
    An Egyptian temple, located in one of Madrid′s most beautiful parks. Near the Royal Palace and Plaza de España, it was a present given by Egypt to Spain for its role in saving the temple of Abu Simbel from the floodwaters of Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan Dam in southern Egypt. A great place to watch the sunset.
  • La Casa de Campo (directions: Metro: Lago, Casa de Campo, Batan)
    The park at the rear of the Palacio Real which used to belong to the Royal family. Much of the park has been taken to smaller activity parks such as the Zoo but in general it's peaceful. From Moncloa you can take a teleferico across into the park.
Vertical garden, CaixaForum
  • CaixaForum (address: Paseo del Prado 36)
    Cultural Centre with free exhibitions and functions. Vertical garden by Patrick Blanc.
  • Plaza de la Villa (directions: Metro: Puerta del Sol)
    The main Square during Middle Age, as Calle Mayor (High Street) was the main street as well. It houses the former City Hall, the former Academy of Fine Arts and the Archbishopric. It is well worth it to visit it around.
  • Zoo Aquarium Madrid (directions: Metro: Casa de Campo)
    price: Adults €18.65; Children: €15
    See the Pandas. Pet the Lemurs. Watch the Dolphin show. Enjoy the Bird show.
  • Royal Theatre (address: Plaza de Oriente) (directions: Metro: Opera)
    price: €5 includes guided visit">Royal Theatre: After thirty-two years of planning and construction, a Royal Order on 7 May 1850 declared the immediate termination of the "Orient Theatre

Outer Madrid

  • Royal Palace of El Pardo
    price: ">A little village in the municipality of Madrid (8 km. from the city center, connected by bus) and close of "Palacio de la Zarzuela

Do

There are a number of free, English language periodicals that you will find in bars and restaurants that are a great source of event information. PopGuide Madrid [10] is Madrid's premier English and German lifestyle magazine and features the best Madrid has to offer and the latest in film, fashion, music and art. The monthly InMadrid newspaper [11] has a number of articles and information about events around town. Aimed at the 20-35-year-old crowd, European Vibe [12] has listings for concerts, exhibitions, bars, restaurants, parties and other events happening in Madrid as well as articles about living in the city. Check the websites for current distribution points.

  • Circulo de Bellas Artes (address: Calle Marqués de Casa Riera 2) (directions: Metro: Banco de España) +34 91 5225092
    A non-profit cultural center located a short walk from Sol, the CBA offers up a wide variety of events and shows including film, music, art displays, dance, theater and more. See the website (in Spanish) for a list of activities.

Flamenco Shows

  • Corral de la Moreria
    One of the most famous flamenco tablaos in the world. It′s right in the heart of the city, and you can enjoy a full fledged Spanish meal while you watch performances by renowned international flamenco music and dance artists.
  • Las Tablas (address: Plaza España, 9) (directions: Walk from Plaza España metro) +34 915 420 520 info@lastablasmadrid.com
    A very popular Tablao located near the Plaza España metro station. The package consisting of a Flamenco show (at 9 or 10 pm) with a candle-lit dinner and a glass of Sangria wine is truly a treat.
  • Tablao Flamenco Cardamomo (address: Echegaray 15)
    Authentic Flamenco show in the center of Madrid, one of the gratest tablaos flamencos all over Spain, typical spanish food during the performance.

Concert Venues

  • Sala Heineken (address: Princesa 1) (directions: Metro: Plaza España) +34 91 5476680
    National touring acts for rock and pop music.
  • La Riviera (address: Paseo Bajo de la Virgen) (directions: Metro: Puerta del Angel or Principe Pío) +34 91 3652415
    Another large venue for touring rock and pop bands.
  • Gruta 77 (address: Calle Cuclillo 6) (directions: Metro: Oporto) +34 91 4712370
    Concerts everyday; pop, rock, punk

Classical & opera

  • Spanish National Orchestra
    Performs every Fri, Sat and Sun at the Auditorio Nacional on Calle Principe de Vergara. The Auditorio Nacional is also the main concert venue for the symphonic concerts of the Community of Madrid Orchestra and the Madrid symphony Orchestra and the main venue for touring classical artists and orchestras.
  • Teatro Real (Royal Theatre)
    The main opera theatre in Madrid.
  • Teatro de la Zarzuela
    The Spanish version of the Operetta (Zarzuela) is performed here.
  • Orquesta de Radio Televisión Española
    Performs every Thu and Fri at the Teatro Monumental on Calle Atocha.
  • Auditorio 400 of the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
    The main venue for contemporary music.
  • [www.vaginahole.com Cuartel del Condeduque]
  • Foundation Joan March Auditorium
  • Banda Municipal de Madrid
    Performs in El Retiro Park in the summer.

Sports

Football

Four teams from Madrid play in La Liga (Spain's premier division). The matches between Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid are known as "El Derbi Madrileño" (English: Madrid Derby).

  • Real Madrid
    For football fanatics, a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu, the home of local club Real Madrid is not to be missed. Real Madrid is the most successful football club in Spain and Europe, having been crowned Spanish champions a record 31 times and European champions a record 9 times. Their biggest rivals by far are FC Barcelona, with which it contests matches known popularly as El Clásico at least twice a year. The rivalry between the two sides is by far the biggest in Spain and one of the most intense in the world, and stems from the longstanding traditional rivalry between the Spanish and Catalan speaking parts of Spain. However, tickets for such matches often sell out very quickly.

In case you arrive in Madrid on non-match periods, you can take a self-guided tour of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. It includes tours around the field, the dressing rooms, the Press Room and the Real Madrid Museum where the trophies and other memorabilia are kept. Without a loyalty card, the typical fees for adults is €15. However, a few days before a match, the chances are you will not be able to take the full tour, but only a part of it, with at least the Real Madrid Museum, at a reduced price.

  • Atlético de Madrid
    Plays games in the Vicente Calderón stadium. The club is one of the most successful in Spanish League history, having won both La Liga and the Copa del Rey on nine occasions, including a double in 1996. They also won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1962, were European Cup runners-up in 1974, Intercontinental Cup winners in 1975 and more recently won the UEFA Europa League in 2010.
  • Getafe Club de Fútbol
    Plays games at Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in Getafe, one of the dormitory cities of Madrid.
  • Rayo Vallecano, plays games at Estadio Teresa Rivero. A popular team from the Vallecas area in Madrid, known for its alternative culture and left-wing ultras.

Bullfighting

  • Las Ventas Bullring (directions: Metro: Ventas)
    The birth place of bullfighting. Unless you find this spectacle distasteful, this is a must see if you visit Madrid during the bullfighting season (May, during San Isidro). Tickets may nevertheless be expensive and hard to get for the more important corridas. Anyway, it usually is used as a venue for shows and concerts.

Basketball

There are two major teams, Estudiantes and Real Madrid.

Tennis

  • Madrid Tennis Master 1000 (address: Camino de Perales) (directions: Metro: San Fermin - Orcasur; Bus numbers 23 - 78 - 123)
    Held in mid-May at La Caja Mágica.

Movies and film

There are a number of cinemas offering American and British films in English (along with films in other languages). These original films are denoted in the listings by a designation of "V.O." which stands for versión original. Cinemas in Madrid will sometimes have días del espectador (viewer days) with cheaper ticket prices, usually on Mondays or Wednesdays. Some of the V.O. theaters to check out are:

  • Yelmo Cineplex Ideal (address: Doctor Cortezo 6) (directions: metro: Sol) +34 91 3692518
    Probably the best known V.O. theater in Madrid, it offers the largest selection of movies and is only a short walk from Sol.
  • Cine Doré, la Filmoteca Española (address: Calle Santa Isabel 3) (directions: metro: Anton Martín) +34 91 3691125
    price: From €2.50">This is a wonderful, old Spanish theater dating from the 1920's. It has three screens and shows mainly "art-house
  • Princesa (address: Calle Princesa 3) (directions: metro: Plaza de España) +34 91 5414100
  • Renoir (address: Calle Martín de los Heroes 12) (directions: Metro: Plaza de España) +34 91 5414100
  • Cines Golem Alphaville (address: Calle Martin de los Heros 14) (directions: metro: Plaza de España) +34 91 5593836
  • Renoir Cuatro Caminos (address: Calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde 10) (directions: metro: Cuatro Caminos) +34 91 5414100
  • Renoir Retiro (address: Calle Narvaez 42) (directions: metro: Ibiza) +34 91 5414100
  • Cinesa Proyecciones 3D (address: Calle Fuencarral 136) (directions: metro: Quevedo) +34 902 33 32 31
    price: 7.60€(on working days),7.60€ (on weekends and festives), 6.00€ (reduced priced). Note: an additional 2.50€ will be charged for 3D movies
    This is a great movie theather showing all of the latest movies. It has both 3D movies and normal movies. There is also a shop in the movie theather where they sell all kinds of candy, drinks, and popcorn. Great for children!>
  • Cinesa Dreams Palacio de Hielo (address: C/ Silvano, 77) (directions: metro: Canillas) +34 902 88 82 00
    price: 7.50€
    This cinema is located in a shopping mall know for its ice-skating ring. It is a great place where teenagers can hang out since the mall also has restaurants, bars, and shops.


There are also a few movie theathers in Madrid where they show the orignial version of the movies subtitled in their original language. The list is provided below.

  • Alphaville (address: Calle Martin de los Herros 14) (directions: metro: Plaza de Espana) +34 91 559 3836
    price: 6.50€ (on working days), 7,50€ (on festives, evenings, and weekends)
  • California (address: Calle Andrés Mellado 53) (directions: metro: Moncloa) +34 91 5440058
    price: ></do>

Festivals

  • La Transhumancia
    Annual event during which the center of Madrid is free of cars and is instead filled with shepherds exercising their ancient right to drive sheep and livestock through the city.
    Madrid Gay Pride 2011
  • Madrid Gay Pride
    Annual event held between the last week of June and the first of July, with more than 1.5million people in the street from all across the world. It began as a weekend party, but lately turned into a full week extravaganza.

Learn

Language Schools

  • Academia Eureka (address: Calle del Arenal, 26 - 3º D, 28013 Madrid) +34 915 488 640 eureka@eurekamadrid.com
    Academia Eureka is a Spanish language school located in the heart of Madrid near Puerta del Sol. The school's sole objective is teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Academia Eureka is accredited by the Instituto Cervantes and has been offering Spanish classes since 1988. The school offers optional housing : on-site or with a Spanish family and provides after-school activities and excursions. Classes start on Monday and all 6 levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2) are offered. Class sizes are small with a maximum of 8 students per class.
  • Inhispania
    Inhispania is specialized in teaching Spanish language and culture. It is an Accredited School by the Instituto Cervantes with an excellent location near Puerta del Sol offering intensive and regular programs, in smalls groups, for all levels and during the whole year. The school also organizes after-school actitivies and offers an optional accommodation service.
  • Don Quijote
    great school where you can take 4-6 hours of courses a day. All courses including beginner courses are taught entirely in Spanish.
  • Linguaschools Madrid
    Offers Spanish courses for foreigners all year round. Students with previous knowledge can start any Monday. For absolute beginners there are fixed start dates.
  • PopEnglish
    Offers English, German, Italian, French, Swedish and Spanish courses for individuals and companies in Madrid.
  • Linganet Madrid [13] gives you the opportunity to search and compare the language schools in Madrid and so find the course and school that suit you best.
  • Cambio Idiomas +34 915567804
    Cambio Idiomas is a greatly well communicated language academy in the business center of Madrid, specialized in Spanish courses for expats. We offer a number of courses in different languages, levels and with different objectives.

Buy

Major credit cards and foreign bank cards are accepted in most stores, but be aware that it is common practice to be asked for photo-ID ("D.N.I."). If asked for your DNI present your passport, residency permit or foreign ID card. Basically anything with your photo and name on it will be accepted by most shopkeepers. The signatures on credit cards are usually not checked.

Shopping Districts

In addition to the shopping areas below, there are also a great number of H&M, Zara, Mango, and Blanco stores all over Madrid, with high fashion clothes and accessories at a low price.

  • Sol-Salamanca districts. The most convenient area for tourists is around Calle de Preciados, between Sol and Gran Vía, home to the El Corte Inglés department store, high-street names like Zara, Gran Vía 32, H&M, Sephora, Pimkie. The smartest shopping district is Salamanca northeast of the center, around Calle Serrano. Top designer names like Chanel, Versace, Hermès, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Dolce e Gabbana and Hugo Boss, including the fluid fabrics and elegant cuts of Spanish designer Adolfo Domínguez, are located on Calle Ortega y Gasset. Head for Calle Serrano for Purificación García, Roberto Verino, Ermenegildo Zegna, Loewe, Carolina Herrera, Manolo Blanik, Cartier, and Yves Saint Laurent. Prada is on Goya street, and on Jorge Juan St you can find even more luxury shops.
  • Chueca and Fuencarral Street Area— This part of the city used to be an abandoned and marginal area. However recently, it has quickly turned into the most avant-garde and modern part of Madrid. Thanks to the gay community, old shops were taken over and turned into the coolest places of Madrid. Today it is an example of modernity, a paradise for entertainment where everything is possible. The streets are filled with restaurants, alternative cafés and shops, a good example is the Market of Fuencarral (Mercado de Fuencarral, in Spanish) a novel shopping center concept. Apart from the purely commercial, this area proposes a wide range of gastronomy and party clubs by night in the weekends.

Markets

  • El Rastro (directions: Metro: La Latina)
    open: only open on Sunday mornings
    Madrid's largest flea market, featuring rows upon rows of private vendors selling a variety of homemade bads, and a plethora of live entertainment. It is very important to note that the Rastro is notorious for having an abundance of pickpockets, so watch your handbag closely and do not bring along valuables.
  • Cuesta de Moyano (directions: near Museo del Prado)
    A quaint outdoor book market
  • Fuencarral Market (Mercado de Fuencarral) (address: Fuencarral street 45, between Tribunal and Gran Via) (directions: Metro: Gran Via)
    One of the most daring and dynamic spaces in the city. Besides shops selling clothes, shoes, accessories and decorative items, that will delight the most daring and fashion conscious shoppers, this modern market also offers avant-garde cultural activities on a continuous basis. Frequent disc jockey sessions are put on in the center’s café, and also exhibitions in the art gallery and cinema projections and theater pieces in the old cinema room. The Cinema and activities are open until midnight. Its 3 floors crowded of modern shops are aimed specially for young people.
  • El Corte Inglés (address: Several locations)
    Spain's largest department store, with multiple buildings and several floors. You can find anything in a wide range and stocks. It has almost everything, from fine dining to pneumatics.
  • El Mercado de San Miguel (address: San Miguel Plaza) (directions: Close to the west corner of Plaza Mayor)
    Sets the ambience of a traditional market, with the advantages of the new times. It has an Iron and Glass Structure from the 20th Century.

Shopping Outlets

  • Las Rozas Village Chic Outlet Shopping (address: Calle Juan Ramón Jimenez 3, Las Rozas) (+34) 916 404 900
    open: M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM
    Fantastic outlet in the suburbs of Madrid with villa-like shops. It is part of the Chic Outlet Shopping Villages in Europe which has other villa-like outlets in Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, London, Milan, Brussels, Frankfurt, and Munich. [14]It offers up to 60% off in over 100 luxury brands such as Bally, Burberry, Hugo Boss Man and Woman, Pepe Jeans, Loewe, Desigual, Camper, Tommy Hilfiger and Versace. In Las Rozas Village you can also find some coffee places like Starbucks and a few bars. It takes around 40 minutes to get there by car from the center of Madrid. A fantastic experience for a warm Sunday afternoon.

Eat

  • [http:www.madeinspainshoppingtour.com MiSST · Made in Spain Shopping Tour]
    A great way to shop around Madrid is to think about going on a Shopping Tour. Made in Spain Shopping Tour provides an Image Consultant/Assistant to help you out. They also offer a 15% discount on the Madrid Card allowing you 3 different shopping tour options. Visit their webpage for full details,
  • MiSST · Made in Spain Shopping Tour
    A great way to shop around Madrid is to think about going on a Shopping Tour. Made in Spain Shopping Tour provides an Image Consultant/Assistant to help you out. They also offer a 15% discount on the Madrid Card allowing you 3 different shopping tour options. They also offer Lifestyle Activities to complement your visit to Madrid. Visit there website www.madeinspainshoppingtour.com for full details.

Cuisine

Dishes popular throughout Spain are also widely served in Madrid.

In addition, Madrid has a number of "typical" dishes:

  • Gallinejas and Entresijos - Portions from different parts of lamb fried in its fat. Very traditional and typical from Madrid city.
  • Callos a la Madrileña - A hot pot of spicy beef tripe similar to those found in Turkey and the Balkans.
  • Cocido Madrileño - Chickpea stew with meat and vegetable products. The particularity of this stew is the way it is served. The soup, chickpeas and meats are served and eaten separately.
  • Oreja de Cerdo - Pigs ear, fried in garlic. This popular dish is widely eaten throughout central Spain.
  • Sopa de Ajo - Garlic soup is a rich and oily soup which generally includes paprika, grated Spanish ham, fried bread and a poached egg. A variation of this soup is known as Sopa Castellana.


It is ironic that Madrid, located right in the center of Spain has higher quality seafood than most coastal regions. This quality comes at a price, and most Spaniards will rarely embark on the luxury of a mariscada (Spanish for "seafood fest"). Experiencing Madrid's seafood may be, for the visitor, an experience which will be worth the cost.

Meat and meat products (Jamon Iberico, morcilla, chorizo etc) are of generally a very high quality in Spain and particularly in Madrid.

Restaurants

Many of the restaurants and cervecerías in the Sol and Plaza Mayor area have "generic" poster board advertisements on the sidewalks with pictures advertising various paella dishes. These paellas are usually of bad quality and should be avoided. If you are looking for good, authentic Spanish paella, it is usually best to find a more expensive, "sit-down" type of restaurant that offers a variety of paella dishes.

A much better option is the La Latina neighborhood just south of Plaza Mayor, especially along the Cava Baja street. To enjoy a gastronomic tour of this area you can join the Old Madrid Tapas & Wine Tour [15]. There are also a number of deli-like shops along Calle Arenal that offer food para llevar (for take away).

At bars, one generally orders various sized plates, a ración meaning a full dish, a media ración a half dish or a smaller version which would be a tapa, a pinxto or a pincho.

The Spaniards don't eat lunch until 2 or 3 pm, and dinner doesn't start until 9 or 10 pm. As a rule of thumb, restaurants serve lunch from 1PM (earlier in touristic zones) until 3:30PM, then close and re-open for dinner at 8:00PM, serving until 11:00PM. This schedule is usually for restaurants since bars and "mesones" are usually opened all day long offering a wide variety of "tapas" and "bocadillos"(rolls) for a cheap price. If you're really desperate, the standard bunch of fast food chains do stay open throughout the day.

Budget

  • [http:\\www.gallinejasembajadores.com Freiduría de Gallinejas Embajadores] (address: Calle de Embajadores 84) (directions: near Glorieta Embajadores, Metro lines L3 and L5) 915175933
    open: 11:00-23:00
    Another classic tapas bar in Madrid. Not for conservatives stomachs. Their most requested tapas are two of the most typical and traditional dishes in Madrid since more than 70 years ago: Gallinejas and Entresijos. A treat for adventurous palates and lamb lovers.
  • Museo del Jamon (address: Several locations)
Museo del Jamon
  • Cervecería 100 Montaditos (address: Several locations)
    Home to the famous 100 montaditos or small sandwiches, you'll find a few of these eateries dotted around the city. Great place to go for a cheap drink with a bite to eat. CURRENT OFFER: Buy a montadito (1-2 euro) and a pint of beer is just 1 euro!
  • Home Burger (address: 2 locations: Malasaña District and Plaza de la Luna(Gran Via))
    The place for serious hamburgers. Americans will feel at home!

Mid-range

  • Alhambra (address: Calle de Victoria 9) (directions: Metro: Sevilla) +34 91 5210708
    This is a good place to stop in on a hot afternoon for a cold beer and some Andalusian tapas. Try some of their sausages and cheeses.
  • Al-Jaima (Cocina del Desierto) (address: Calle Barbieri 1) (directions: Metro: Chueca) +34 91 523 1142
    This dark, cave-like Moroccan restaurant has some of the best North African food in the city. The seating is at low Moroccan-style tables and the calm, mellow atmosphere makes you feel like you're far from the bustling center of Chueca.
  • Bacchus (address: Avenida Moratalaz 141) (directions: Metro: Vinateros or Artilleros) +34 913280468
    Right in the middle of Lonja, an area with plenty of places to eat and pubs. It is still close enough from city centre but offers a more relaxed surrounding, making it one specially indicated for families, although there is an ample age range of customers. Bacchus offers a mixture of innovative and old style tapas. Very good and expensive wine list. It can get very busy on weekends. Nice outside sitting area but inside is very small and dirty.
  • Casa de Valencia (address: Paseo Pintor Rosales 58)
  • Chocolatería San Ginés (address: Calle de Pasadizo De San Ginés 5) (directions: metro: Sol) +34 91 3656546
    Specializing in chocolate con churros, this Madrid fixture is open 24 hours a day, and is the perfect place to top off a night on the town. Also offers the usual assortment of coffees and teas.
  • Cocina Mex-Mex (address: Calle Libertad 33) (directions: metro: Chueca) +34 91 521 7640
    This is a small, usually crowded, friendly Mexican restaurant with good food and drinks at reasonable prices. Sample some of their tacos and super cheesy chilaquiles.
  • D'fabula (address: Plaza Conde de Barajas 3) (directions: Metro: Opera)
  • El Inti de Oro (address: Calle de Ventura de la Vega 12) (directions: metro: Sevilla) +34 91 4296703
    For something different, try this great Peruvian restaurant a short walk from Sol. Be sure to order some of their ceviche and try the Pisco Sour cocktail.
  • Estay (address: Calle de Hermosilla 46) (directions: metro: Velázquez) +34 91 5780470
    open: closed on Sundays
    A great place for tapas, they offer a large menu, reasonable prices and excellent quality food. The Solomillo al Foie is excellent and the deserts are recommended as well. Very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • Jaen 3 (address: Calle Poitiers 3) (directions: metro: Coslada Estadio Olimpico) +34 63 0036987
    An excellent bar de tapas and restaurant. A nice place to enjoy good Spanish food and original lifestyle without having to spend too much. The place is just outside central Madrid and so it's not influenced by classic tourist traps and you can enjoy some good food and true raciones and the good old Spanish bar life. The owners are pretty nice people and you might find yourself chatting with them about Madrid and Spain. In summer time it has a superb teraza that is pretty close to the Olympic Stadium.
  • La Bola (address: Calle de la Bola 5) (directions: Metro: Opera)
  • La Casa del Abuelo (address: Calle de Victoria 12) (directions: metro: Sevilla) +34 91 5212319
    A Madrid landmark in operation for over 100 years, this place attracts a standing room only crowd on the weekends. They mainly serve shrimp based tapas dishes so if you're not into shellfish steer clear. Order a plate of their garlic shrimp along with some of the house wine.
  • La Mucca (address: Calle Del Pez) (directions: Metro: Noviciado)
    Nice designer restaurant popular within the 20's-30's crowd. Good music, cool people, better food and cocktails and Free wifi. Kitchen open at afternoon.
  • La Zapateria Tapas Bar (address: Calle de Victoria 8) (directions: Metro: Sevilla) +34 91 5210708
    Great potato dishes here that you can get mixed with chorizo or other items. Also try the pincho moruno (pork skewers) or any of the other items you see displayed on ice in the front window. The Ribeiro on tap (sparkling white wine from Galicia) is not to be missed.
  • Malacatin (address: Calle Ruda 5)
    Serves all the typical Madrid cuisine.
  • Midnight Rose (address: Plaza de Santa Ana, 14)
    open: Daily 1:30pm-4:30pm, 8:30pm-12am
    Restaurant of the ME Madrid Hotel. Mediterranean cuisine with Asian, American and Italian influences, with emphasis on seasonal Produce. Dining for private parties as well.
  • Samm (address: Calle de Carlos Caamaño 3) (directions: Metro: Pio XII)
  • Siam (address: Calle San Bernardino 6) (directions: Metro: Plaza España or San Bernardino) +34 91 559 8315
    price: Most mains between €8 and €12.
    Beautifully decorated with a tranquil atmosphere, the food is quite reasonable and offers a nice departure from Spanish fare.
  • The Penthouse (address: Plaza de Santa Ana 14) +34 91 7016000
    Located on the roof of the ME Madrid hotel, terrace-style restaurant serving tapas and traditional cuisine. At night they serve great mojitos in a young, club-like atmosphere.

Splurge

  • Botín (address: Calle Cuchilleros 17) (directions: Metro: La Latina) +34 913664217
    Opened in 1725, Botín is listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the oldest operating restaurant in the world. Once a favourite of Ernest Hemingway, the menu still delights with specialities including roast suckling pig (cochinillo) and roast lamb (cordero). Insidersmadrid.com offers a tour of this institution.
  • Casa Lucio (address: Calle de Cava Baja 35) (directions: Metro: La Latina) +34 91 3653253
    Pricey but worth it, the Spanish Royal family sometimes entertain guests here and you may run into a few sports figures and movie stars. You should definitely book ahead on the weekends, and reservations are recommended even for the weekdays. Known for their cocido, their roasts and their huevos rotos.
  • La Trainera (address: Calle de Lagasca 60) (directions: metro: Velázquez or Serrano) +34 91 5768035
    A Madrid institution for decades, Trainera is an excellent but somewhat pricey restaurant serving strictly seafood dishes. They have a great wine selection and the waiters can recommend different vintages that will complement the food. Try the carabineros (giant scarlet shrimp) or the rodaballo (turbot). Usually closed in August.
  • Teatriz (address: Calle Hermosilla 15) (directions: metro: Serrano or Colon) +34 91 5775379
    Built inside a former theatre, the restaurant counts with 4 spaces (restaurant, tapas, sushi bar, cocktail bar). Unique decoration and a wide range of dishes. Desserts are specially recommended.
  • Manete (address: Calle Doctor Castelo 2)
    price: From €30
  • Casa Nemesio (address: Paseo de la Castellana 260)
    Seafood.
  • Telegrafo (address: Calle Padre Damian) (directions: 500m from Bernabeu Stadium)
    Arguably, the best seafood in Madrid.

Drink

Tapas Bars

In the tapas bars, you should get free food with your drinks.

  • El Tigre (address: calle de los Infantas 30) (directions: Metro: Gran Vía / Chueca)
  • El Boñar de Leon (address: Calle de la Cruz Verde 16) (directions: Metro: Noviciado / Santo Domingo)
    You win a trip to the canary islands if you are able to finish their "Cocido Madrileño". Seriously.
  • La Esquina de Eusebio (address: Calle Caramuel 16) (directions: Metro: Puerta del Angel)
    Trays of tapas are passed from one person to another in this typical bar of Madrid, absolutely not turisty but really worth it! And it's not so far from the center.

Cafes

  • [http:/www.cafecentralmadrid.com/ Café Central] (address: Plaza del Angel 10) (directions: Metro: Sol)
    Café by day, live jazz music at night.
  • Cafe Circulo de Bellas Artes (address: Calle Alcala 42) (directions: Metro: Banco de Espana)
    A soaring hall on the ground floor of Madrid´s art center combines atmosphere, excellent food and good coffee at reasonable prices. A wonderful place for lunch not far from Madrid´s shopping or museums.
  • Cafe Commercial (address: Cafe Commercial) (directions: Metro: Bilbao)
    opened in the 1880´s, this is the oldest cafe in Madrid. Has been run by the same family since the early 1900's. There´s a modern internet cafe upstairs, but the downstairs remains traditional.
  • Café Gijón (address: Paseo Recoletos 21) (directions: Metro: Banco de España or Colon)
    A historic literary cafe. The outdoor terraza is nice in the summer.
  • Café de Oriente (address: Plaza Oriente 2) (directions: Metro: Opera)
    Overlooks the Plaza Oriente and faces Palacio Real. Outdoor tables in summer, cozy indoor rooms in the cold months. Basement banquet room with a glass floor over ancient remains. Excellent food.
  • Café Pabellon del Espejo (address: Paseo de Recoletos 31) (directions: Metro: Colon)
    Opened in 1978, but looks much older. Good food and very crowded during lunchtime.
  • La Mallorquina (address: Puerta del Sol 8, Mayor, 2) (directions: Metro: Sol)
    Famous for its pastries. Peaceful upstairs room where you can linger undisturbed over your café con leche and napolitana de chocolate (chocolate croissant).
  • La Tabacalera (address: Plaza de Embajadores) (directions: Metro: Embajadores (L3))
    price: Free
    open: until 11PM
    An abandoned tobacco factory turned into a huge Berlin-like alternative art space driven by the diverse locals of Lavapies district. Also Tens of free workshops daily. Nice big cheap outdoors terrace.
  • Nuevo Café Barbieri (address: Calle Ave Maria 45) (directions: Metro: Lavapies)
    Slightly scruffy cafe draws an avante garde crowd at night.

Bars

Nightlife starts later in Madrid, with most people heading to the bars at 10-11PM.

  • El Rincón de Fogg. Calle Juan de Urbieta 12. (Metro Pacífico). www.elrincondefogg.com Open daily from 07:00 to 22:00 and Friday and Saturday till 00:00. You can have 2 litres of sangría in a self service dispenser from just €14, or €13 for 2 litres of beer, and you get a free plate of patatas bravas. They also have a delicious selection of bocatas from €2,45. Big TV to watch the football matches while enjoying eating and drinking. If you say you've read this, they'll invite you to a glass of rosado wine.
  • [htp://www.areiachillout.com/ Areia] (address: Calle Horteleza 96) (directions: Metro: Chueca)
    price: Drinks: €7 before 22:00 and €8 after 22:00
    Very cool chill out bar decorated with deep colours in a Moroccan style. Dark and inviting. The seating includes cushions on the floor, traditional tables and chairs, or if you’re lucky, grab the four poster bed at the back.
  • La Corolla (address: Visitag Manzana 10) (directions: Metro: La Latina)
    price: Tostas + 2 cañas: €10
    Specializes in delicious ‘tostas’ (small pieces of toast with different toppings) and avocado (aguacate), along with cañas (small beers).
  • La Via Lactea (address: Calle de Velarde 18, Malasaña) (directions: Metro: Tribunal) +34 91 446 75 81
    A swingin' bar where you can twist the night away with local hipsters.
  • Miali (address: Plaza Santa Ana) (directions: Metro: Sol)
    Nice terrace outside,great for people-watching. The interior is tastefully decorated.
  • Museo Chicote (address: Gran Via) (directions: Metro: Gran Via)
    open: Daily: 17:00 to 02:00
    Voted the Best European Bar 2004 by MTV-Campari. Extensive cocktail list. Claims to have served drinks to many famous celebrities, including, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Lana Turner, Gary Cooper, Orson Wells, Yul Brynner and Ernest Hemingway, Catherine Zeta Jones, Hugh Grant and Tim Robbins. They only serve drinks.
  • Redbar (address: Joaquín María López 28) (directions: Metro: Islas Filipinas)
    open: Daily: 17:00 to 02:00
    Small, cozy cocktail bar with great music and a very nice and original decoration. Extensive cocktail list.
  • Dubliners, Espoz y Mina, 7 (Metro: Sol), An Irish bar in the centre of Madrid near Puerta del Sol. The bar has televisions and is one of the places where sport can be seen.
  • Stork Bar (address: Mancebos 2, La Latina) (directions: Metro: Latina) +34913656357 info@storkbar.com
    Cocktail Lounge & World food in the heart of La Latina. Great summer terrace and surprising basement brick cave with live music and karaoke.

Clubs

Clubs generally open at about midnight. If you go in any earlier you may find it quite empty. Many clubs don't close until 6AM, and even then everyone is still full of life.

  • Demode (address: Calle Ballesta) (directions: At the back of Gran Via, closest metro may be Tribunal/Gran Via)
    price: Free
    open: From 00:00 to 07:00AM
    Cool electronic sounds for 20's-30's
  • El Sol (address: Calle Jardines, 3) (directions: Metro: Gran Via)
    price: Entry including 1 drink: EUR 9
    open: Tuesday - Saturday: 24:00-05:30
    Popular with the 20-30 age group. Plays a mix of 70s, funk, and bossanova sounds. No dress code, but people do tend to look cool.
  • Joy (address: Calle Arenal 11) (directions: Metro: Sol)
    Well known across Europe. Attracts at multi-national crowd. Popular with tourists as well as locals. It plays a mix of popular dance music. Every Thursday there is a Students Party.
  • Kapital (address: Atocha, 125) (directions: Metro: Anton Martin)
    price: 10€-20€
    Enormous club with 7 floors.
  • Ohm (address: Plaza de Callao, 1 (in Gran Via street)) (directions: Metro: Callao (L3))
    price: 10-20€ with mixed drink
    open: From 00:00 to 07:00AM
    Popular Commercial House club with a mixed young straight/gay crowd.
  • Pacha (address: Calle Barcelo, 11) (directions: Metro: Tribunal or Alonso Martinez)
    price: Expect to be charged according to the glamour of the event you're attending
    open: Thursday, Friday and Saturday: from 23:30 to 06:00
    Different dance music styles from night to night. Glitz and glamour. 21+ only. Strict doormen.
  • Palacio Gaviria (address: Calle Arenal 9) (directions: Metro: Sol)
    Stunning club, decorated as a lavish 16th century palace, complete with sweeping marble staircase. Several rooms, including two dance floors with different music. Spanish pop, dance, R&B and other commercial sounds.
  • The Sherry Corner (address: Pza. de San MIguel. Mercado de San Miguel) (directions: Metro: Sol)
    Sherry-tasting available in 8 languages. Commentary by knowledgeable oenologists explaining the details of the history, elaboration methods and tasting notes for each of the wines, while inviting guests to combine them with tapas served at different market stalls.
  • Stardust (address: Princesa 1) (directions: Metro: Plaza España)
    price: 10-20€ with mixed drink
    open: From 00:00 to 07:00AM
    Powerful Techno/House club popular within the younger crowd.

Sleep

  • Hotels Near Real Madrid FC (address: Caballero Errante, Pinos Alta, 14, Madrid, 28029)
    A reasonably-priced 3 star hotel with modern features, clean rooms and helpful staff. Just over 1.5km walk from the Bernabeu Stadium.

Budget

Hotels near Barajas, Tach Hotel, Timon 35, Madrid, 28000 [16]. A nice, quiet area with free transfer to and from the airport.

  • Mad Hostel (address: C/De la Cabeza, 24, 28012 Madrid, Spain (Anton Martin Metro)) +34 915 06 48 40
    price: 16 Euro +
  • Cat's Hostel (address: Calle Cañizares 6) +34 91 3692807 info@catshostel.com
    price: Dorm bed: €13-20, breakfast included
    Located in a 17th century palace, but has a modern interior and is clean and secure. Breakfast and internet is included in the price and there is also a bar. It attracts a young backpackers clientele. Shared dormitories for 4 to 14 people.
  • Equity Point Madrid aka Hostal Metropol (address: Calle Montera 47) (directions: two steps from Puerta del Sol, 30 seconds walk from Gran Via metro station) +34 91 5212935
    price: Dorm bed: €16-21; Double: €50-70; Triple: €63-75, breakfast included
    Features all-ensuite rooms (singles, doubles, 4-6 bed dorms). Free internet access, lively bar and restaurant.
  • Hostal Brisas (address: Calle Cruz 8 1º) (directions: Metro: Sol, Sevilla, or Anton Martin) +34 91 5314403
    price: Singles: €40; Doubles: €55
    All rooms have ensuite, TV, central heating, air conditioning.
  • Hostal Plaza d'Ort (address: Plaza del Angel 13) +34 91 4299041
    price: Singles: €30-38; Doubles: €48-58
    Cheap hotel with a good location near Plaza de Santa Ana. All rooms feature bathrooms, TV and air conditioning.
  • Hostal Villagarcía (address: Calle Fuencarral 10 3º) (directions: Metro: Gran Via) +34 91 5220585
    price: Single: From €30
    Centrally located, all rooms include bathroom, TV, free wi-fi, air conditioning, central heating, laundry and baggage storage facilities. Rooms with kitchen, washing machine and fridge are also available.
  • Hostal Visa (address: Calle Pérez Galdós 7) +34 91 5310987
    price: Singles from €30
    Simple, clean and secure. Central location close to Gran Via. Friendly staff.
  • Los Amigos Backpackers Hostel (address: Calle Arenal 26 Piso 4) +34 91 559 2472 reservassol@losamigoshostel.com
    price: Dorm bed: €17-19; Double: €45-50
    Very central location. Breakfast is offered. There is a lounge area, a kitchen in which you are able to cook your own food, and a bar. The beds are clean, comfortable, and the staff are friendly.
  • REAJ Youth Hostels
    price: Dorm bed: €7.80 to €16, including breakfast
    Operates 8 youth hostels in Madrid.
  • Way Hostel Residence (address: Calle Relatores 17) +34-914-200-583
    price: Dorm bed: €18-19
    Small hostel, nice ambiance and is catered to young traveleres. Nice kitchen, friendly staff, and free internet.
  • Hostal San Martin (address: Calle Concepción Arenal 4) (directions: Metro: Callao) +34 915 319176
    price: Singles: €30-36; Doubles: €42-48
    Small, clean guest-house on the 4th floor. Ideally located just meters from Gran Via, with great staff and free wi-fi. All rooms have sink & shower, but most share bathrooms.

Mid-range

  • Apartments Gran Via (address: Mesonero Romanos, 15) +34 679616855 info@apartamentosgranvia.com
    price: €100, €120/night + €40/visit cleaning fee
    Offers two apartments on the Gran Via street in Madrid. One has one bedroom, the other has two bedrooms.
  • Hotel Liabeny (address: Calle Salud 3) +34 91 531 90 00
    Great location.
  • Hotel Madrid Preciados (address: C/Preciados nº37) +34 91 454 44 01
    price: €96-150/night
    4-star hotel in excellent location.
  • Hotel ME Madrid (address: Plaza de Santa Ana 14) +34 91 7016000
    Great location.
  • Hotel NH Nacional (directions: Opposite Atocha station, in the heart of the Art Triangle, 1 minute from the new exhibition centre ‘Caixa Forum’ and the botanical gardens.)
  • Hotel San Antonio de la Florida (address: Paseo de la Florida 13) (directions: Metro: Principe Pio)
    price: From €53
    All rooms have Internet access, Air conditioning, Multi-line phone, Wake-up calls, Housekeeping (daily), Complimentary toiletries, Hair dryer, Television, Iron/ironing board (on request).
  • Hotel Senator Gran Via Madrid (address: Gran Via 52) (directions: a few minutes from Puerta del sol) 902 052 394
    4-star hotel. Restaurant, bar, and meeting space.
  • Hotel Centro (address: Calle gran vía 50) (directions: close to Gran vía) +34 911 871 665
  • StopInRoom Apartments (address: Nuñez de Arce, 4) +34 695 452 899 info@stopinroom.com
    price: €75-€150/night
    Offers 26 apartments in various parts of the city. For extra fees can offer ground transport, catering, language tutoring, and tour guiding also. Administrative phone +91 522 85 95.

Splurge

  • Adler Hotel Madrid (address: Calle Velazquez 33, Goya 31) (directions: Metro: Velázquez) +34 914 263220
    5-star hotel housed in a completely refurbished building equipped with the modern facilities but whose 19th-century charm and secluded atmosphere have been carefully maintained. 45 deluxe rooms and suites.
  • Asturias (address: C/ Sevilla 2, 28014 Madrid, Spain) (+34) 914 296 676‎"

email
A 2 star Hotel. The Asturias is only 200 meters from the central Puerta del Sol.

  • Gran Hotel Velazquez (address: C/ Velázquez 62, 28001 Madrid, Spain) +34 91 575 28 00"email
    The Gran Hotel Velázquez is a 4 star hotel in Madrid located in the refined Salamanca district. This hotel has been providing stylish accommodation for over 50 years.
  • Gran Melia Fenix (address: Hermosilla 2) 902 14 44 40
    Distinguished by a grand and glowing white exterior; bathed in neo-classical design; an illustrious interior of flowing banisters, bold colors, and noble décor.
  • Hotel De Las Letras (address: Gran via 11) +34 917 610 906
    Old building with tasteful modern interior. Well sound-proofed against the busy Gran Via outside. Very comfortable beds. Rooms with TV, hi-fi, mini bar, bath/shower. Optional breakfast buffet with wide choice of good quality food and drinks. Pleasant, comfortable bar.
  • Hotel Villa Magna (address: Paseo de la Castellana 22) +34 91 5871234
    A 5-star hotel on one of Madrid's most exclusive streets. 151 rooms and suites. The hotel is surrounded by landscaped gardens.
  • Maria Elena Palace (address: C/ Aduana 19, 28013 Madrid, Spain) +34 913 604 930‎"email
    The Hotel María Elena Palace is located just 200 metres away from the Puerta del Sol. Renowned for its magnificent glass dome in the lobby.
  • Meninas Hotel (address: Calle Campomanes 7) +34 91 541 28 05 reservas@hotelmeninas.com
    4-star hotel in an exquisite historic building of the XIX century in the historic center of Madrid that has been transformed into a state-of-the-art boutique hotel. A classic atmosphere blended with modern decorative touches - a balance of unpretentious formality and well tempered cordiality.
  • Mirasierra Suites Hotel & Spa (address: Calle de Alfredo Marquerie 43, 28034 Madrid, Spain) (+34) 91 727 79 00
    Mirasierra Suites Hotel & Spa is a modern luxury hotel located in Madrid′s prestigious residential district Mirasierra, overlooking the Sierra de Guadarama. The hotel is also home to the Verdil Restaurant [17].
  • Osuna (address: C/ Luis De La Mata 18, 28042 Madrid, Spain) (+34) 91 575 28 00"email
    Set in the middle of the main business districts of Madrid.
  • Quo Godoy Hotel (address: Avenida Quitapesares 35)
    4 star-hotel with an avant-garde design. The hotel features 99 guest-rooms fully equipped, including 2 disabled rooms, 18 duplex rooms and 1 junior suite. Adjacent to the hotel is a convention center that is directly connected and can hold a variety of events from 10 to 800 people. Offering an in-door heated swimming pool, health and beauty spa center, aquatic treatments and fitness area.
  • Quo Puerta del Sol (address: Sevilla 4) +34 91 532 90 49 puertadelsol@hotelesquo.com
    The turn-of-the-century grandeur with modern conveniences and amenities, together with a perfect location in the historical, cultural and commercial heart of Madrid, make of The Quo Puerta del Sol hotel a new place to discover in Spain’s capital. Madrid 's Hotel Quo Puerta del Sol is housed in a emblematic building from the beginning of the 20th century with unique views of the city. It has been totally restored in 2003, designed and equipped to offer you a perfect stay.

Apartments

  • Central Suite Apartments (address: Apodaca, 5) (directions: Madrid) +34 695097612 bookings@madrid-ac.com
    price: From €100/night + €35/visit cleaning fee
    Beautiful apartments with room and concierge service, located in a very lively area of Madrid in Fuencarral, very near to Puerta del Sol, El Retiro and all the museums.
  • Get Me An Apartment + 34 96 350 4340 info@getmeanapartment.com
    price: From €25/Person/Night
    Central Madrid apartments that offer all modern conveniences, to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Book your ideal apartment on line with ease, in the knowledge that you will have our expert customer service on hand at all times.
  • Madrid Apartments for Rent by [HomesForTravellers] (address: Glorieta de Bilbao 4) (directions: Madrid, Spain) +34 914442719 info@homesfortravellers.com
    price: 60-150
    Central Madrid Apartments for Rent for Short and Medium Term Periods. The apartments are fully equipped and have air conditioning and Internet Connection for Free. Small team working in Madrid to select carefully the apartments and happy to help you. The apartments are perfect for Business travellers who and for tourists who want to stay in the heart of Madrid. All the bills are included in the price. Online Bookings and personal attention by email and phone.
  • Plaza Mayor apartment + 34 695 097 612 bookings@madrid-ac.com
    price: From €25/Person/Night
    Nestled right inside Plaza Mayor with balconies in the sunniest corner of this historic Madrid Plaza. The building dates back to 1617, made by Juan Gomez de la Mora, Royal architect of king Felipe III.
  • Private owned holiday apartments +34 637 801 360 support@globalcitybreak.com
    Sleeping in private owned holiday apartments can also be an affordable lodging alternative to hotels, hostels or pensions in Madrid town. These apartments are normally located in the city centre and prices can be as affordable as 75€ per day, depending of course on the apartment size and location.
  • Puerta del Sol Lofts (address: Atocha 14) (directions: Madrid) +34695097612
    price: 125
    Modern and fully self-service apartments with large beds and spacious living areas and lots of natural light, located in the most exciting area of Madrid.
  • We Love Madrid Apartments (address: Costanilla de los Angeles, 16) +34-91-7584318 info@welovemadrid.com
    price: €85-€200/night
    We love Madrid offers luxury apartments in the centre of Madrid for short and mid-term rentals. The apartments are fully furnished and have been designed with different themes that reflect the culture of city. (Painters of the court, La Movida de Madrid)

Contact

Madrid has a considerable number of unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots in the trendier neighborhoods, such as Chueca.

In almost any part of the city you will find Locutorios, which are places where you can call local and long distance at reasonable prices, or rent a computer to go online, send/receive faxes, etc.

Cope

  • Australia (address: Torre Espacio, Paseo de la Castellana, 259D, Planta 24) +34 91 353 6600
  • [www.mfa.gr/madrid Greece] (address: Avda Dr. Arce 24, 28002 Madrid) +34 91 5644 653, Emergencies: +34 6854 02800 gremb.mad@mfa.gr
  • Japan (address: Calle Serrano, 109) +34 91 590 7600
  • Taiwan (address: Calle Rosario Pino 14-16) +34 91 571 8426

Stay safe

Madrid is a very safe city. The police are visible, and the city is equipped with cameras. There are always a lot of people in the streets, even at night time, so you can walk across the city without fear. Travelers who remain aware of their surroundings, and keeps an eye on their belongings will have little to worry about.

Madrid has a fair amount of nonviolent pickpocket crime so always watch any bags you have with you especially in the underground and busier public spaces.

Be careful when carrying luggage, especially if anyone approaches you with an outspread map in hand asking for directions. This may very possibly be a trap to distract you while an accomplice steals your luggage.

When using ATM machines, be aware of your surroundings, just as you would anywhere. Bring a friend if you need to withdraw cash after dark. If someone approaches you while using an ATM, simply hit CANCELAR, retrieve your card and move on.

Have fun when going out, but do avoid drinking too much, and keep an eye on your drink. Beware of thieves preying on people leaving night clubs who have had a lot to drink. Try not to bring valuables on a night out with you.

Beware of a women who approaches you and asks you to write down your signature: it is normally for a "sick hospital" unit, and she will point out the "stamp" on the paper. She will then ask for a generous donation of €20 or more.

Avoid people offering masaje (massages). Be firm and say "No me toque" (Don't touch me) or "No tengo dinero" (I don't have any money) and keep walking. This is often a scam to extort money.

Get out

  • Alcalá de Henares - A UNESCO World Heritage site. Alcalá de Henares was the world's first planned university city. It was the original model for the Civitas Dei (City of God), the ideal urban community. This city has a lot of interesting places to visit like its university founded in 1499 which became famous as a centre of learning during the Renaissance. One of the most important features of Alcalá de Henares is that it is the city where the famous writer of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, was born where you can visit his natal house.
  • Aranjuez - A UNESCO World Heritage site. Aranjuez is an excellent day trip away from Madrid. Highlights include the Palacio Real, the summer home for the Bourbons and the lavishly designed Casa del Labrador near the Tagus River. There are some excellent restaurants serving the local specialty, artichokes. To get there, catch a local train (Cercanía C-3, direction Aranjuez) from either the Atocha or Chamartin stations. It takes around 45 minutes from Atocha station, or around 55 minutes from Chamartin station.
  • Avila - - A UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Chinchon - A typical Spanish town that retains its character from the 1700s.
  • El Escorial - A UNESCO World Heritage site. A mountainous retreat home to Spain's largest monastery, the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. To get there, catch a local train from either the Atocha or Chamartin stations. It is just over one hour from Atocha station or around 55 minutes from Chamartin station.
  • Segovia - A UNESCO World Heritage site. Medieval city home to a famous Roman aqueduct and the Spanish Mint (It doesn't belong to Madrid region, but it's quite close and worth a visit). It is about a 2 hour train ride from Atocha station or 1 hour and 45 minutes from Chamartin station on the regional trains, or as fast as 30 minutes on the high speed trains.
  • Toledo - A UNESCO World Heritage site. Medieval walled city and former capital of Spain. It's about a 30 minute train ride from Madrid Atocha station, with plenty of art (del Greco) and architecture (one of the best cathedrals in Europe) so very worthy of a day trip but more worthy of a night. But it is on the late spring and the early summer nights that it reaches its beauty peak, simply breathtaking, do not miss it.
  • Valle de los Caidos - (Valley of the fallen) The world's largest free-standing Christian cross. Franco′s tomb and memorial to Catholics (both in Franco's side and opposite) killed in the Civil War. Construction was ordered by Franco and erected on rocks through the labor of many Republican prisoners of war.
  • El Pardo - A little village near Madrid (8 km. from the city center, connected by bus) and close of "Palacio de la Zarzuela" (residence of the King of Spain, no visits allowed), surrounded by mountains and the location of the "Palacio de El Pardo" (El Pardo Palace), Franco′s residence between 1940 until his death (1975). It was a former residence of the Kings of Spain.
  • Sierra de Guadarrama - a mountainous area north-east of Madrid probably reached most easily by Renfe Cercanias to Cercedilla on the line to Segovia. There is a special Renfe Cercanias line, narrow gauge and often single track, from Cercedilla through glorious scenery to Los Cotos. This is only yards from an entrance to the Peñalara Nature Park.


WikiPedia:Madrid



Source wikitravel.org/en/Madrid