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Copyright © 2013 Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock. No use without permission.
Madrid
Madrid

Discover Madrid, an authentic city where life is good!

Madrid in short

The capital of Spain, ideally located in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula, Madrid is an attractive city full of surprises. With its elegant boulevards and vast urban parks like the Retiro, it’s brimming with life from early morning to midnight. At any hour of the day, its streets are bustling. There are countless tapas bars: rumour has it the city is home to the most in the world! You only have to stroll from the bustling Puerta del Sol square to the famous Gran Vía and its many shops or to the four highest towers in Spain to see this.

Aerial view of Madrid's famous Gran Via at dusk ©MatejKastelic/Shutterstock.com
Copyright © 2013 Matej Kastelic/Shutterstock. No use without permission.

Each of the city's neighbourhoods has its own identity and offers a different experience: the Las Letras neighbourhood is a perfect blend of the art of living and the art of reading, the Fuencarral neighbourhood is popular for its vintage fashion boutiques, and, in the evening, there are the trendy neighbourhoods of Chueca and La Latina, which are the nerve centres of the capital's festive life. The warmth of Madrid's welcome is unquestionable. Visiting Madrid is often the beginning of a long relationship!

View of Madrid's old square and its pleasant terraces where you can enjoy a cup of coffee before discovering the city's treasures ©CatarinaBelova/Shutterstock.com

- Copyright © 2017 Catarina Belova/Shutterstock. No use without permission.

If you want to immerse yourself in Madrid's culture alongside the locals, take a morning to explore the city's markets, such as San Miguel, renowned for its gastronomic offerings, El Rastro, an open-air flea market held every Sunday, or the Motores design market. And for those who love the Iberian cultural emblem of bullfighting, visit the legendary Las Ventas bullring.

The Mercado de San Miguel is the entrance to Madrid's most famous and busiest market © b-hide the scene/shutterstock.com

- Copyright © 2017 b-hide the scene/Shutterstock. No use without permission.

Madrid also stands out as a city of Art and History. Its cultural prestige and pedigree is renowned not just in Europe, but around the globe. Its historical and religious landmarks, mainly found in the old town, attract thousands of visitors every year. Its pedestrianised centre invites visitors to wander and contemplate its architectural treasures, such as the Almuneda cathedral, convents, monasteries, the famous baroque Royal Palace, the sumptuous Plaza Mayor, the Opera House, the Plaza Santa Ana, or the superb Atocha station and its surprising tropical glass roof!

The capital of Spain has an unrivalled sense of authenticity; it is cosmopolitan and undoubtedly one of the most interesting cities in Europe. You can visit it on your own, with your family or with your friends. Its cultural offerings will delight young and old alike, and its liveliness will satisfy the younger tourists hoping for a party-packed visit. And finally, let's not forget the city's main tourist attraction: the stadium of the emblematic Real Madrid football team, which is sure to win over sports enthusiasts!

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Practical information

Madrid: where to go out?
The capital of Spain, Madrid is also the highest capital in Europe, with a peak of seven hundred metres above sea level. With a temperate climate, the nights can be chilly and the winters harsh, while in summer the thermostat soars. Despite this, Madrid remains one of the most accessible destinations in the world at any time of year. The cultural offer and its ideal location in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula make it possible to enjoy your stay whatever the weather.

This is also true of Madrid's nightlife. On the terrace, from spring to early autumn, the nightlife unfolds indoors in the cold season. For a taste of the festive atmosphere at dusk in Madrid, we recommend the La Latina district, which is very lively on Sunday evenings, and the trendy Chueca district, where on Friday and Saturday evenings Madrilenians and tourists gather in a relaxed and jovial atmosphere. In these areas you will also find numerous restaurants, themed taverns and discos.

Madrid: what to eat?
Spanish gastronomy is not lacking in charm and Mediterranean flavours.
Indulge in the classic platter of Iberian ham and local cheeses with a draught beer. Note that when you order a "cerveza" in a tapas bar, it is served with a small slice of anchovy, some cheese or ham included in the price. It's up to you to decide whether you want a light snack or an aperitif!

In Madrid, as in the rest of Spain, tapas as an aperitif is a great gastronomic tradition. Enjoy the usual tapas in the trendy Chueca district or, for the hungry, typical Spanish dishes in the Latina district. The capital brings together the culinary specialities of all regions.

If you want to try a typical Madrid dish, try "cocido madrileno", a stew made with chickpeas, black pudding with rice, cabbage and beef, poultry and pork. A real delicacy! Before eating the cocido madrileno, Madrilenians usually start with the "entremets", a vermicelli broth in which the stew is cooked. At the Los Galayos restaurant, near the Plaza de Cascorro, the cocido is served in the purest Madrid tradition.

Finally, the tripe (Los callos) is also very popular with the locals, as is the inevitable garlic soup and the emblematic potato tortilla. You will find delicious tapas bars in the Calle de Huertas, located in the Las Letras district, but also in La Latina, in the Calle Cava Baja and Alta. We highly recommend "La Chata" in Cava Baja: a typical tapas bar with a tiled décor, all with a bullfighting theme.

Madrid: what to bring back
There is no shortage of symbols of the Spanish capital and its culture. If you still want to be inspired, here are some ideas for souvenirs to bring back from your stay in Madrid. You can choose between a Real Madrid shirt or scarf or a miniature of the footballer Zinedine Zidane in the official Real Madrid shop on Calle del Carmen. But also tasty Iberian ham. Among the many Madrid addresses, don't hesitate to push open the door of a "muséo del Jamón", which offers a wide selection of Iberian hams, sausages and cheeses. And for wine, go to Mariano Madrueño!

You can also choose products that are more emblematic of the country's history, such as fabrics to be bargained for, hats, espadrilles and religious objects. You will find what you are looking for in the area around the Plaza Mayor. In the same spirit, Madrid is the bastion of Spanish haute couture. Many famous designers have their shops in the streets of Almirante and Conde de Xiquena. If you are a fashion lover, you will enjoy the shop windows on these two streets and those in the Salamanca district, where you will find shops selling shoes and luxury leather goods.

lightbulb_outline Editor's tip

Here is a solution to relieve you of your luggage during your stay in Madrid: the LockerInTheCity lockers, placed at strategic points in the city. Imagine your flight home in the evening, leaving your hotel room in the morning, or arriving in Madrid in the morning to visit the city centre before returning to your off-centre hotel in the evening: you have a secure and easy way to store your belongings and stroll around with a free mind!

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