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    © iStockphoto.com / Frederic Prochasson
  • Community of Madrid, Spain
    © iStockphoto.com / Frederic Prochasson
   
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Travel to Madrid, the buzzing capital of Spain

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor
Artistic flair, culinary delights and sizzling nightlife - this Spanish behemoth has more spirit than the rest of Europe's capitals put together.

Travel guide

Madrid is an international city that offers a remarkable quality of living. Its museums are among the richest in the world. A stroll around the historical neighbourhoods of the city, which are well preserved despite their age, is a wonderful experience.

Our Editorial team's advice

Madrid is a bustling, welcoming, pleasant, entertaining, clean and very safe city. It's a cosmopolitan, modern, charming, lively, culturally significant place that deserves all the compliments it gets for being a big city with a soul. However, it also has its fair share of traffic jams, stress, pollution and noise, as with any other capital city. The public transport system in Madrid is wonderful. If you're considering a trip into the centre or a tour of the neighbouring communes, it's best not to take your car. Cycling is quite difficult in Madrid, because of the scarcity of cycling lanes (especially in the centre), and the lack of courtesy from drivers who are not used to sharing the roads with cyclists. They are more accustomed to sharing the roads with motorbikes, although riding a motorbike in this city also seems to be a rather dangerous endeavour. You'll probably be surprised by the opening hours of shops and restaurants in Madrid. The latter generally serve food at any time of the day (in some cases until midnight). Cultural and entertainment possibilities are the city's strong point, with numerous events every year. In fact, every day comes with its share of festivities, and you could have some difficulty making up your mind as to which one to attend. A stay in Madrid would not be complete without a visit to the Community's various surrounding towns, such as Toledo, Segovia, Ávila and Guadalajara. None of these towns are more than one hour's drive away.

pros

  • +A fantastic atmosphere, at all times of day and night.
  • +Excellent transport services and entertainment facilities.
  • +An unending list of services on offer.

cons

  • -The high levels of noise and agitation at certain times of the day.
  • -The heat is rather unbearable during the month of August.
  • -The overcrowded tourist sites in the summer.

Food

Stew, cayos, churros and waffles are some of the many traditional local dishes that you'll find in Madrid. The cuisine of Madrid is rich and varied, and is inspired by the various populations that settled in this city. In Madrid, one of the most entertaining things to do is to go for a drink in one of the numerous bars, restaurants and terraces that are strewn around the city centre. The Latina, the Plaza de Santa Ana and Lavapiés are the best neighbourhoods for a drink or some delicious wine with tapas (tortilla on a skewer, squid, patatas bravas, olives, ham, pescaíto frito, etc.).

Ideal Weather Search

Find weekly weather forecasts for Community of Madrid . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Community of Madrid . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Community of Madrid .

September

  • Madrid flecheStagne 52/100 Average
See the different areas

Souvenirs

Madrid is also a Mecca for shopping enthusiasts. There are huge shopping malls, craft shops, super markets, wonderful markets, trendy boutiques and outlets, small clothes stores, art galleries, etc, selling a wide range of goods (approximately 60,000 shops) in many different areas of the city, these stores not being limited to the city centre alone. One of the better known shopping sites is El Rastro, a massive open-air market where you can find the most unusual items: second hand clothes, antiques, stamp collections, old vinyl records, animals, spare parts, etc - a wealth of curiosities, with some good deals to be found. A visit here is an absolute 'must'! In Madrid, most of the shops and shopping centres stay open from 10:00 am till 8:30 pm or 9:30 pm from Monday to Friday, the first Sunday of every month and every Sunday in December. Smaller shops are open from 10:00 am till 2:00 pm and then from 4:30 pm till 8:30 pm. Madrid's government has decided to end restrictions on the opening hours of shops, which are now allowed to stay open 24/7. The most commonly used modes of payment in shops are cash and credit cards. If you pay with a credit card, you'll be asked to show your passport or identity card. People living outside the European Union are entitled to VAT refunds on purchases in excess of £78.45.

What to see

Prado Museum, Arts and culture, Madrid, Community of Madrid
Prado Museum
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum , Spain
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
Queen Sofia National Art Museum, Arts and culture, Madrid, Community of Madrid
Queen Sofia National Art Museum
Las Ventas Arena , Spain
Las Ventas Arena
The Caixa Forum , Spain
The Caixa Forum
Retiro Park , Spain
Retiro Park
The beech grove of Montejo , Spain
The beech grove of Montejo
The fauna and flora of the sierras , Spain
The fauna and flora of the sierras
Cibeles and the Puerta de Alcalá , Spain
Cibeles and the Puerta de Alcalá
Almudena Cathedral , Spain
Almudena Cathedral
Coracera castle, Monuments, San Martín de Valdeiglesias, Community of Madrid
Coracera castle
El Escorial Monastery , Spain
El Escorial Monastery
The Royal Palace of Aranjuez , Residence of the Kings , Spain
The Royal Palace of Aranjuez
The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Chinchón , The Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción  , Spain
The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in Chinchón
, The Corral de Comedias in Alcala de Hénrares, Monuments, Alcalá de Henares, Community of Madrid
The Corral de Comedias in Alcala de Hénrares
Community of Madrid : Explore