Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain, as well as the capital of the autonomous community of the same name (Comunidad de Madrid). The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million with a metro area population of almost 6.5 million. 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.
Madrid is located just northeast of the geographical center of the [wiki=342dacf2856e664754846ce4c015e73b]Iberian Peninsula[/wiki], 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.
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.
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 [wiki=ee1611b61f5688e70c12b40684dbb395]Berlin[/wiki] or [wiki=59ead8d1e124ccfb79f3ace06f43e703]London[/wiki], 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 - Hip area. You can enjoy a café, a dinner, a book or just some drinks. Mainly rock and pop music clubs, some of them still open from "La movida madrileña" (a vibrant cultural period from the early 80's). Calle Manuela Malasaña is a great place to eat. So is Calle del Pez although it has mostly bars. Plaza Dos de Mayo is the heart of the district nd a great place to have a drink in the open.
* 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. The area centered on Calle Calatrava (what the locals call 'Chuecatina') is has developed into a gay (but very hetero-friendly) zone. 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. An increasing amount of westerners are choosing Lavapies as their residence in Madrid, mainly because of the hip vibe it has attained in recent years. 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. Several community gardens, food co-ops and eco shops are scattered around the district. Not a lot of tourists here since the quarter holds no monumental sights but has a rather a unique atmosphere. Walking around for a beer or 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. There used to be several posh pubs and clubs under the tower across from the stadium. There are 4 or 5 bars and discos in the avenida de Brazil area catering to a young and student crowd.
* 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.
Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport , +34 902 404 704, [url=http://www.aena.es/csee/Satellite?pagename=subHome&Language=EN_GB&c=Page&SiteName=MAD&cid=1049727006353]]is located 13km from the city center. It is one of the largest airports in Europe and is serviced by many airlines, as well as being the homebase for Iberia Airlines. The airport has 4 terminals. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are close together and serviced by the same metro station, while Terminal 4 is far from those and has its own metro and commuter train stations.
By far the most convenient way of reaching downtown is a 24-hours express bus service[http://www.emtmadrid.es/lineaAeropuerto/index.html[/url] that passes all terminals and then goes direct to O'Donell, Cibeles (20 minutes walk or quick metro ride to Puerta del Sol) and Atocha (main train station, not serviced between 11:30 PM and 6 AM). 5 euros, paid in cash to the bus driver. Departures every 12 minutes (daytime) to 35 minutes (late at night). Travel time Terminal 4 (end of line) - Cibeles 30-40 minutes.
Terminal 4 of the airport is connected to the city by Cercanias commuter train (line C-1, from 05:30 to 23:30, €2.15) which goes directly to Atocha and Chamartin mainline train stations, and provides easy connection to Sol. Take the train (look for Renfe Cercanias) to "Nuevos Ministerios" and then transfer to line C-3 or C-4 southbound on platform 8; Sol will be the first stop.
Alternatively, you can take the Metro (line 8 pink, from 06:30 to 01:30, to/from the airport €5.00) to Nuevos Ministerios station from all terminals. In order to reach the city centre (Sol, Ópera or Gran Vía), you must change metro line twice - first in Nuevos Ministerios (which is a huge station and involves a lot of walking) and then again at another station, which is obviously quite inconvenient.
Public bus 200 operates between the airport and Avenida de América bus station in Madrid. It is only 1.50€ and you can use your weekly ticket or 10-trips ticket. Bus 114 does NOT go to the airport terminals and is a
40-minute walk to Terminal 1.
Public night bus N4 goes from Plaza Cibeles to Barajas district, 400m walk from the terminal through a passageway over the highway. Best to get off at the second-last stop, Avenida Central, and then make a right turn immediately after the bus stop. Go straight on, keep going straight crossing the parking lot, and then you make a left to cross another huge parking lot. After that you see the road and the pedestrian highway overpass. Only 1.50 Euros or the 10-trip ticket is valid as well.
* MAD SHUTTLE operates 24 / 7 / 365 between the airport and city centre with all type of vehicles.
* Europe Shuttle offers the airport taxi transfer from or to Madrid Barajas Airport to any destination.
* Taxi transfer from or to Madrid Barajas Airport to any destination. Booking and price Online.
* Premium Airport transfers to any destination. Online booking, immediate confirmation.
* Private Taxi with Driver Waiting for you at Airport Exit.
Renfe, +34 902-240-202, [url=http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html]]operates train service to/from Madrid. Frequent trains operate between Madrid and [[Barcelona[/url]] (2h 40min), [wiki=dd6ee5049d042bf91a10eb69a39778f4]Seville[/wiki] (2h 20 min), [wiki=c555476e638103c16dca6675fc73d814]Malaga[/wiki] (2h 30 min), [wiki=aa61ed8d764064c544fa1275c289ddb1]Zaragoza[/wiki], [wiki=7b50b54126b9a60c35c2f451bd532373]Tarragona[/wiki], [wiki=cb671271e7bb22f923206cd6ea8db9c8]Lerida[/wiki], [wiki=dae71454cadf0c234d361fbe12a2f712]Huesca[/wiki], [wiki=847b9a6e742d77770d3296d2cb7b837f]Ciudad Real[/wiki], [wiki=f962187baabfb753d7c16fd8ae1b35e3]Puertollano[/wiki], [wiki=260b4e591e03de9750f965a30087ed5f]Lisbon[/wiki], [wiki=437d461430ecc08e2d51abbcf5ce9b3c]Milan[/wiki], the French coast, [wiki=e20d37a5d7fcc4c35be6fc18a8e71bfa]Paris[/wiki], with continuing journeys to most of [wiki=912d59cdf1d3f551fae21f6f0062258f]Europe[/wiki].
Madrid has two train stations: Chamartín and Atocha, both of which have excellent Metro and Cercanias commuter train connections. Most northbound and international trains arrive and depart from Chamartín station, while trains to [wiki=550d05ab240ec337038af814ff0de287]Barcelona[/wiki], [wiki=cb9e789f2b0f0fcd342905e224b7da81]Valencia[/wiki] and southern [wiki=907eba32d950bfab68227fd7ea22999b]Spain[/wiki] depart from Atocha. If you need to get between the two stations, Metro line 1 (€1.50, 30-40 minutes) or Cercanias lines C3 and C4 (€1.35, 15 minutes) offer the most direct connection.
Chamartín station is on the north side of the city and is served by the Metro stop of the same name on Metro lines 1 and 10. Atocha is on the southern side of the city center and is divided into two main sections, an area for Cercanias trains and one for long-distance trains. The long-distance side is set inside the towering old station, where you will find a tropical garden with a pond full of small turtles as well as a number of shops. A memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack of March 11, 2004 is in the Cercanias portion of the station near the Metro stop.
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 [url=http://www.estacionautobusesmadrid.com])]which is accessible by metro.
Buses to and from [[Barcelona[/url]] and [wiki=9be25805ebcf935fbc1129717940de03]Bilbao[/wiki] operate from the Avenida de América bus terminal, also accessible by Metro.
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.
Madrid city is well covered by the main global car rental companies, such as Avis, Budget,Hertz, Thrifty & Europcar, some of these also provide Rent to Buy Facilities. All car rental companies offer competitive pricing for economy class vehicles and unlimited mileage options. Some local car rental companies may also offer competitive pricing.
Parking within the city follows the pay-and-display system, daily from 9am to 9pm (limited on Saturdays, and all August, to 9am to 15pm, and being free on Sundays).
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 [http://ctm-madrid.es/] and work with the same tickets.
A single ticket costs €1.50 (5 stations) - €2.00, a ten trip ticket costs €12.20 / €18.30.
Alternatively, you can buy unlimited travel passes as follows: 1 day (€8), 2 days (€13.40), 3 days (€17.40), 5 days (€25.50), or 7 days (€33.40).
Children under the age of 4 may travel without a ticket. Children under 11 receive a 50% discount. Tickets can be purchased at Metro stations, news-stands, and estancos (tobacconists').
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.
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.
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 depending on exclusive bike paths. There are some official and unofficial publications with these streets along the web. [http://www.infobicimadrid.es/gis_bicis.htm]
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 a public rent-a-bike service,[url=http://www.bicimad.com/]BiciMAD[/url]. There are also some rent shops on historical center area such as the company [url=http://www.bajabikes.eu/en/bike-tours-madrid]Baja Bikes[/url] and Urban Biking [http://www.urbanbiking.es/]. These companies offers several rental points in Madrid (Retiro, Atocha, Madrid-Río, etc.). They offer Guided and self-guided bicycle tours, using electric or conventional bicycles.
The Madrid City Tour Hop on/ Hop off Buses cost EUR 21 for 1 day and EUR 25 for two days (adults). For families with 2 adults and 2 kids, it costs EUR 53 for 1 day.
Stops on Route 1 include Museo Del Prado, Puerta De Alcala, Barrio De Salamanca, Plaza De Colon, Plaza De Cibeles, Gran Via 14, Gran Via 30, Gran Via 54, Plaza De Espana, Templo De Debod, Teatro Real, Palacio Real, Puerta De Toledo, San Francisco El Grande, Cathedral De La Almudena, Plaza Mayor, Puerta Del Sol, Circulo De Bellas Artes, Museo Thyssen, Museo Reina Sofia, Jardin Botanico, Museo Del Prado.
Stops on Route 2 include Plaza De Neptuno, Plaza De Cibeles, Plaza De Colon, Museo De Esculturas, Museo De Ciencias Naturales, Nuevos Ministerios, Santiago Bernabeu, Consejo Superior Investigaciones Cientificas, Museo Lazaro Galdiano, Serrano 61, Serrano 66, Museo Arqueologico, Puerta De Alcala, Alcala 19, Puerta Del Sol, Plaza De Las Cortes, Plaza De Neptuno.
This plaza is the heart of Madrid and one of the busiest places in the city - a hub for the local transit system, a favorite meeting spot for locals, a visible area for festivals or political demonstrations, and a opportune location for tour guides, street performers, pickpockets and anyone else looking to take advantage of all the tourists on hand. In the center of the plaza sits the Statue of King Charles III on horseback, facing the Royal Post Office (Real Casa de Correos), the red-and-white building adorned with a clock tower on the plaza's south side. Originally the building served as Madrid's first post office, then the police headquarters under Franco before being transformed into its current use as the office of the President of Madrid, the head of the regional government. The clock tower is noteworthy for being the center focus of New Year's celebrations every year, which are broadcast across Spain and mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes (one for each ring of the bell) and the beginning of a new year. In front of the building is Kilometer Zero (Kilómetro Cero), a plaque showing the point where the measuring of national highway system begins. On the east side of the plaza is the famous Bear and the Madroño Tree Statue, a bear climbing a madroño tree, which is the symbol of Madrid. Nearby the giant neon Tío Pepe sign sits above the plaza and is a famous fixture of this area.
* Perhaps 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 enclosed square has played host to bullfights, markets, symphonies, tournaments and executions. Today it is ringed with tourist shops, cafes and restaurants. The statue of Philip III sits in the middle across from the Casa de la Panadería, a beautifully painted building with two towers on the north side of the square (not to be confused with the other building with two towers on the opposite side) which once served as the headquarters of the bakers' guild and now houses a tourist information office. Access to the square is via one of the many arcades which connect to the surrounding pedestrian streets.
* Near Plaza Mayor is this indoor market, identifiable by its ornate iron posts. Built in 1913, it's full of a wide range of high quality food. Even if you're not buying anything, it's worth entering for the sights and smells of dried ham, fine wine, freshly baked goods and other treats from the vendors inside.
* 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.
* The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is an enormous palace, one of the biggest in Europe, with scorching plains of concrete around it. 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 on a bluff overlooking the river valley but also for its architecture and the artistic treasures to be found in its rooms. A simple one-way tour of the palace (both self-guided and guided are available) takes you up the grand stairway and through the lavishly decorated state rooms with their elegant tapestries, frescoes, porcelain, carvings and added decor like china, silverware, medals, etc. From the courtyard you can access the Farmacia (Pharmacy), which contains hundreds of bottles of early medicines and a reconstructed laboratory, 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. The lines to get in are very long, especially on Wednesday when the place is free - try to go early. Photography inside the palace is not allowed. If you pay an additional €1 to see the El Escorial exhibit, that same ticket can be used to visit El Escorial (day trip from Madrid) saving you €11.
* Located between the Palacio Real and the Teatro Real. Baroque-style gardens surround a large monument to Philip IV. Dozens of statues of other kings line the gardens. In good weather there are often a number of street performers here.
* This massive cathedral faces the Palacio Real. Finished near the end of 20th century, it is where the Princes of Asturias Felipe and Letizia were married in 2004.
* A prominent square on the northwest side of central district, adjacent to two of the tallest buildings in Madrid: the Torre de Madrid (the taller, white one) and the Edificio España (the red and white one). The square contains a large fountain and a sculpture of Cervantes and his famous Don Quixote and Sancho Panza characters.
* Literally "Great Way" (better translated as "Broadway"), Gran Vía is one of the busiest avenues in Madrid. Running from Plaza de España to Plaza de Cibeles, it is the location of the cinema district and a number of shopping malls and is lined with large billboards and lights. There's a constant buzz of traffic and life - 3-4am early morning traffic jams are not unusual.
* A massive roundabout at the intersection of Calle de Alcala and Paseo del Prado, this plaza houses one of Madrid's emblems, the Fountain of Cibeles, which portrays the Roman goddess of fertility sitting upon a chariot pulled by two lions. On the southeast corner dominating the Plaza is one of the world's most beautiful city halls, the Palacio de Cibeles (formerly the Palacio de las Comunicaciones), an impressive structure with a jaw-droppingly spectacular facade. Inside, the building holds a cultural center with changing art exhibits and info on Madrid, and you can climb to the upper floors for some excellent views out the window. On the southwest corner of the square sits the imposing Bank of Spain (Banco de España) building, while the northeast corner is home to the Palacio de Linares, which holds the Casa de América [http://www.casamerica.es/], a cultural center with an art gallery of Latin American works.
* On the north side of the city and bisected by Paseo de la Castellana, this plaza is in the center of Madrid's skyscraper district. A tall obelisk sits in the center of the plaza while the Gate of Europe (Puerta de Europa) towers, two slanted towers which frame the boulevard, are situated on the north side of the plaza. Taking the #27 bus, which runs along Paseo del Prado and Paseo de la Castellana and ends at Plaza de Castilla, will take you pass several Madrid highrises. North of the Plaza is the Four Towers (Cuatro Torres), four sleek new skyscrapers which are the tallest in Spain.
This is Madrid's museum district, named for the three major art museums clustered along Paseo del Prado east of the old city: the Museo del Prado, one of the finest art museums in the world, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, a baron's collection of classical art, and the Reina Sofia, Madrid's modern art museum. However, a couple of smaller museums also occupy the neighborhood which are well worth seeing as well. Its important to note that many of the museums offer free entry during certain times most days. It varies by museum and day, but to if you are looking to take advantage of these beautiful muesums with a lesser budget, it is still possible
* 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). The Prado Museum currently offers free entry Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 8pm, and Sundays and holidays from 5pm to 7pm. The museum can be extremely busy during free entry hours.
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.
* 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. The Reina Sofia National Museum and Art Center offers free entry into the museums on Sundays 3:00 to 7:00 (times change frequently).
* Contains a large art collection including masterpieces by Monet, Goya, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, Mondrian, Bacon and Lichtenstein. The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art offers free entry on Monday afternoons, from 12:00 to 4:00.
* A private museum of contemporary art and culture that is particularly well-known for the "vertical garden" by Patrick Blanc installed on a wall in front of the museum, as well as the quite special architecture of the building itself. The vertical garden can be seen from the street outside, just a block south of the Thyssen-Bornemisza and across from the Prado. Inside the museum has free exhibitions and functions.
* Beautiful museum with vast interesting collections about Spanish sailing. The Juan De La Cosa map, the oldest known map showing America, is held here. You will be asked for a €3 donation on the free days.
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.
* This is a museum of two parts. One part is dedicated to Saint Isidore the Laborer, while the other part is dedicated to the paleontology and archaeology of the region of Madrid from prehistory to 1561 (when Philip II made Madrid the seat of the court). Most of the exhibits are explained in both Spanish and English.
* This museum is dedicated to the history of Madrid from 1561 to present. Much of the history is explained by referencing exhibited paintings depicting people or events from the time, so it is also an art museum. Several maps and models (including two large ones in the basement) show how Madrid grew since the 16th century. All exhibits are explained in both English and Spanish.
* 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.
* This museum is in what was the impressionist painter's house and features fine furniture and porcelain as well as his paintings.
* 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.
* Don't let the sound of it frighten you. This large, well designed museum opened again in April 2014 after several years of renovation works. It 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.
* Highly impressive art collection with paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints. Several Goya masterpieces.
* This small church is famous for its murals, painted by Goya. It's also the mausoleum of the painter.
* Features several exhibits related to space exploration, two screens playing documentaries, an interactive area and, of course, the planetarium. Projections last 45 minutes each. Different ones play on different days so check their website. Note that all the exhibits are explained in Spanish only and the projections in the planetarium are also in Spanish.
* Museum with four railway tracks, exhibiting a large number of steam, diesel and electric locomotives used in Spain in the 19th and 20th century. Also on display are several model railways. Exhibits are described in Spanish only.
* Attached to the Railway Museum of Madrid, this is a museum dedicated to the history of science and technology, exhibiting scientific instruments and consumer products from the last few centuries. Exhibits are described in Spanish only.
* Contains a large collection of fossils and minerals, plus educational exhibits (some are described in English but many are in Spanish only). Has two parts open to visitors with separate entrances. The ticket is purchased at the main entrance and to visit the other part you need to exit from the main entrance, turn left and follow the building until you reach the second entrance. Your ticket will be checked again there so don't lose it.
* Part of the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mining, this museum is dedicated to Geology (with a focus on Mineralogy) and Paleontology, containing an impressive collection of fossils and minerals discovered on the territory of Spain and abroad. Also contains educational exhibits, although all are described in Spanish only. The interior of the building is just as impressive and may be worth a quick tour even if you are not particularly interested in Paleontology and Mineralogy.
* Small but interesting museum with artefacts and models from the indigenous people of Asia (mainly the Philippines, former colony of Spain), Africa and America. The exhibits are described in Spanish, however on each floor there is a leaflet in English explaining all sections.
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.
* 8-hectare garden located next to the Prado Museum and Retiro Park. Opens at 10am, closing time varies by season. €3 admission.
* 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.
* 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 [wiki=e31959fe2842dacea4d16d36e9813620]Egypt[/wiki] to [wiki=907eba32d950bfab68227fd7ea22999b]Spain[/wiki] for its role in saving the temple of [wiki=952b43b1c7a1e0babfe8955777d10d5d]Abu Simbel[/wiki] from the floodwaters of Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan Dam in southern Egypt. A great place to watch the sunset.
* The rose garden of Madrid, located in the same park as the Templo de Debod. If you like roses and are in Madrid when they have flowered, definitely worth a visit. The garden holds an international competition yearly.
* 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.
* See the Pandas. Pet the Lemurs. Watch the Dolphin show. Enjoy the Bird show.
* A different type of zoo, aiming to recreate the native habitats of the animals (e.g. the building of the nocturnal animals is dark on the inside, emulating night time and allowing visitors to see the animals during their active hours). Several shows, incluidng marine mammals and birds of prey.
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.
* 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.
* Authentic Flamenco show in the center of Madrid, one of the gratest tablaos flamencos all over Spain, typical spanish food during the performance.
* A great show lasting about 90 minutes. Unbelivable amount of energy and passion put in by the performers. There is an option to have dinner as well but that is a separate package and costs more.
* An excellent venue as all tables and seats have a good view of the stage. Optional dinner is before the show and guarantees a good seat near the stage. Attention is paid to flamenco as a cultural art form, not just as a floor show.
National touring acts for rock and pop music.
* Another large venue for touring rock and pop bands.
* Concerts everyday; pop, rock, punk
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:
* Probably the best known V.O. theater in Madrid, it offers the largest selection of movies and is only a short walk from Sol.
*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!>
* 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.
* Outside the city, in the suburb of Pozuelo de Alarcon. The largest megaplex in the world by number of seats. Has 25 screens. The offer of movies shown in their original version is increasing.
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.
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.
* 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.
* Madrid's most castizo (traditional Madrid) festival on the days leading up to August 15th. A huge street party in the La Latina neighborhood with bars setting up counters outside their locales and booming music. Food stalls along the Carrera de San Francisco. The zone around Calle Calatrava is mainly gay.
TILDE Madrid is an Instituto Cervantes - accredited Spanish Language School. The centre is specialized in teaching Spanish language for adults, professionals and experienced travellers from all nationalities. Maximum class size 4 persons. New courses start every Monday.
* 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.
* AIL Madrid is an Instituto Cervantes - accredited Spanish Language School that offers a wide range of Spanish classes for adult students of all ages. 16 different Spanish courses and free 10 hours a week/ 2 hours a day of cultural activities. Average class size 6 persons.
* Inhispania is specialized in teaching Spanish language and culture. It is an Accredited School by the Instituto Cervantes with an excellent location near to Gran Vía 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.
* great school where you can take 4-6 hours of courses a day. All courses including beginner courses are taught entirely in Spanish.
* They offer a wide range of different Spanish courses with qualified and experienced native teachers. The school is accredited by Instituto Cervantes and is located in the very heart of the city. New courses start every Monday.
* Offers Spanish courses for foreigners all year round. Students with previous knowledge can start any Monday. For absolute beginners there are fixed start dates.
* Offers English, German, Italian, French, Swedish and Spanish courses for individuals and companies in Madrid.
* Spanish school.
* 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.
* Learn Spanish while having fun in Madrid. La Aventura Española is an Instituto Cervantes accredited school that offers a wide range of Spanish courses for all needs and all levels.
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.
* Calle Toledo, south of Plaza Mayor- A number of traditional shops selling Spanish rope soled shoes (espadrilles or alpargatas), jute products, and leather can be found here.
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.
* A quaint outdoor book market
* 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.
* 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. There is post office in the basement.
* Sets the ambiance of a traditional market, with the advantages of the new times. It has an Iron and Glass Structure from the 20th Century. Quite upscale with beautiful displays of food with high prices to match.
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. [http://www.chicoutletshopping.com/]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.
Dishes popular throughout [wiki=907eba32d950bfab68227fd7ea22999b#Spanish dishes]Spain[/wiki] 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 [wiki=221cdfb73049678e244380b45872cbb2]Turkey[/wiki] and the Balkans.
* Cocido Madrileño - Chickpea stew with meat and vegetables. The particularity of this stew is the way it is served. The soup, chickpeas and meat are served and eaten separately.
* Oreja de Cerdo - Pigs ears, 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 centre of Spain has higher quality seafood than most coastal regions. This quality comes at a price, and most Spaniards only occasionally shell out for a mariscada (Spanish for "seafood feast"). 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 [wiki=907eba32d950bfab68227fd7ea22999b#Specialties to buy]Spain[/wiki] and particularly in Madrid.
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 [http://www.walksofspain.com/]. 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.
Where to Eat in Madrid
*Tasca la Farmacia is a classic Basque restaurants of the capital. The perfect spot to enjoy some of the best "pintxos" (Basque tapas) with friends accompanied by cold beer or taste the house specialty, cod. A fish which the chef prepares in various different ways: croquettes, stewed, scrambled, deep fried... all of them with excellent quality and presentation. Located in the mythical district of Tetuan, Tasca la Farmacia is a must for those wanting to experience authentic Basque cuisine inside the city of Madrid.
*e Cabrera is definitely a must for cocktails and exceptional cuisine lovers. The owner, Diego Cabrera, an Argentinean mixologist and responsible for the extensive cocktail menu. Together with Sergi Arola, one of Spain’s top chefs, they ensure that your experience in Le Cabrera is memorable. Luis Galliusi, one of Argentina’s top interior designers is the responsible for the amusing décor of Le Cabrera. A mixture of classic and modern with a vast collection of vintage books and cocktail paraphernalia. It's definitely worth spending the money for this quality experience.
*This Taberna is the product of the sons of founding members of Casa Lucio, just opposite and down the street, and no doubt La Latina's most renowned, traditional restaurant. The Taberna, however, has a much more explorative, modern menu that serves up traditional ingredients in contemporary ways with excellent results. You can't book but the entrance bar can start you off with drinks and anything off the menu while you wait for seating upstairs or below (upstairs is worth the wait). Don't miss their signature dish of scrambled eggs with sausage, veggies or jamon but also try the artchokes with foie or the shredded quail salad.
*This restaurant and catering establishment is a historic and iconic Madrid gourmet institute. Right beside Puerta del Sol people dash by without realising that some of Madrid finest traditional Spanish cuisine is being served in the lavishly decorated restaurant upstairs. Since 1839 L’Hardy has been serving excellent quality food to the delight of critics.
*Situated near the Hesperia hotel lies Santceloni. A two starred Michellin restaurant that has one of the best teams of the industry: with chef Óscar Velasco, winner of Caldereta de Don Calixto 2012 award; and Abel Valverde, winner of the best head-waiter of the Metrópoli magazine’s IX PREMIOS GASTRONOMICOS. Santceloni is a restaurant with a cozy atmosphere which specializes in classic Mediterranean cuisine, preparing all their dishes with the freshest and the best products of the season, topped by an extent wine list. Don’t miss the suckling pig rack, the specialty of the house.
* Japanese cuisine.
*Opened in 1973 on the street of Alvarez de Baena, Zalacaín is a classic for fine Spanish cuisine and winner of a Michelin Star. A restaurant specializing in dishes prepared with the best products of the season, combining them with the best wines from its extensive menu. It has a team of professionals with over 32 years of experience, always attentive to any questions, who give suggestions to the most undecided. Do not miss their classic dishes such as the mushroom and foie lasagna and the apple strudel. A suit and tie is a must for men.
*David Muñoz, chef and owner of DiverXO, advocates a modern and unique fusion cuisine combining only the best of both Mediterranean and Asian products. With over 10 years of experience, each course that David prepares is a world of flavors and textures, one surprise after another that is well worth its 2 Michelin stars. DiverXO also has an original personality, creating service guidelines away form the classic, exploiting the most positive features of its team. If you want a unique fusion dining experience do not miss the opportunity to visit DiverXO. 30 days in advance booking is necessary.
*La Terraza del Casino is one of Madrid’s most innovative restaurants. A classic and luxurious venue located in the city center with 2 Michelin stars behind it and the guidance of a world renowned chef, Ferran Adria. Paco Roncero, chef Adria’s disciple and the residing Terraza del Casino chef, turns any evening at this restaurant a unique and unforgettable experience with proposals like their tasting menu (20 minimalist-style dishes with unique presentation and flavor) much like Adria’s style. The professionalism of the restaurant’s team should also be mentioned; attentive, extensively knowledgeable and always willing to advise. Bookings and suits are essential.
*Named after the chef and owner, Ramon Freixa, and winner of 2 Michelin stars, this restaurant is one of the most elegant eating spot of the city. He also owns one of Catalunya’s finest restaurants, Racó de Freixa, another winner of the prestigious Michelin award. Ramon Freixa offers a modern minimalist space (35 seats and a private room for 10) with spacious tables and a menu that does justice to its fame. Among his specialties are the Big Duck (duck burger, green mustard ice cream, idiazabal cheese and bread), Bacalao al estilo Freixa (Freixa-style cod) and the famous Bogavante en micro menú (Lobster in the micro menu). All of which definitely earn the 2 Michelin stars awarded.
Another classic tapas bar in Madrid. Not for conservative stomachs. Their most popular tapas are two of the most typical and traditional dishes in Madrid: Gallinejas and Entresijos. A treat for adventurous palates and lamb-lovers.
* Offers deli takeout service as well as tapas and raciónes at reasonable prices. They offer €1 ham sandwiches and a "picnic" lunch consisting of a said ham sandwich, fresh fruit and a drink for €2.
* Home to the famous 100 "montaditos" (small sandwiches), you'll find several branches 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
* THE place for serious hamburgers. Americans will feel at home!
* The very best huevos rotos ("broken eggs") and croquetas. Cheap, beautiful and delicious!! The chicken-adorned tiled front dates from the 19th century
This is a good place to drop by on a hot afternoon to enjoy a cold beer and some Andalusian tapas. Sample the sausages and cheeses.
* 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.
* Right in the middle of Lonja, an area filled with places to dine and drink. It is still close enough to city centre but offers a more relaxed ambience, making it one especially suitable for families, though all types of customers can be encountered. Bacchus offers a mixture of innovative and traditional-style tapas. Very good though expensive wine list. It can get very busy on weekends. Nice outside seating area makes up for the fact that inside it is rather small and, in traditional Tapas-bar style, somewhat littered.
* Specializing in chocolate con churros, this Madrid fixture is open 24 hours a day. The perfect place to top off a night on the town. Also offers the usual assortment of coffees and teas.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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 come highly-recommended as well. Very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights.
* An excellent bar de tapas and restaurant. A nice place to enjoy Spanish food and lifestyle without spending too much. Being located just outside central Madrid, it's far from being a tourist trap and you can enjoy good food and true "raciones" (portions). The pleasant owners are very willing to share stories about Madrid and Spain more generally. In summer time it has a superb terrace, within a stones throw of the Olympic Stadium.
* A Madrid landmark in operation for over 100 years, this bar attracts a standing room only crowd on the weekends. They mainly serve shrimp-based tapas dishes so if you're not into shellfish it may be advisable to steer clear. Order a plate of their garlic shrimp and accompany with their house wine.
* Nice designer restaurant popular within the 20s-30s crowd. Good music, cool people, even better food and cocktails. The kitchen opens in the afternoon.
* Pleasant, spacious, yet homely eatery offering outstanding brunch sets and fresh, quality food at a reasonable price. The clean, bright premises, ambient music, airy furniture and attentive, but unintrusive crew complement the meal, providing a welcome respite from the dusty heat of the inner city.
* Great potato dishes that come mixed with chorizo or other ingredients. Also try the pincho moruno (pork skewers) or something else displayed on ice in the front window. The Ribeiro on tap (sparkling white wine from Galicia) is not to be missed.
* Serves typical Madrid cuisine.
* The ME Madrid Hotel´s restaurant. Mediterranean cuisine with Asian, American and Italian influences, with an emphasis on seasonal Produce. Dining for private parties is also provided.
* Best paella in Madrid, but only if you bring more than two people by order of the proprietor. Frequented mainly by locals, prepare to be stared at by the wait staff if you are from out of town.
* Beautifully-decorated with a tranquil atmosphere, the food is reasonable and offers a pleasant departure from Spanish fare, if so desired.
* Located on the roof of the ME Madrid hotel, this terrace-style restaurant serves tapas and traditional cuisine. At night they serve great mojitos in a youthful, club-like atmosphere.
*Recommended for paella if more authentic experience is sought. A meal for 2 with a drink each costs in the region of €50 Euros.
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.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* Arguably, the best seafood in Madrid.
In the tapas bars, you should get free food with your drinks.
* Probably the most well-known tapas bar in Madrid, a must do. Don't get frightened by how crowded the bar is and go in anyway. This is one of the most lively places in the city! Get beers, big glasses of wine or "un mini de mojito" and get free big plates of tapas every time you order.
* You win a trip to the Canary Islands if you are able to finish their "Cocido Madrileño". Seriously.
* Trays of tapas are passed from one person to another in this typical bar of Madrid, absolutely not touristy but really worth it! And it's not so far from the center.
* 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.
Café by day, live jazz music at night.
* 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.
* 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.
* A historic literary cafe. The outdoor terraza is nice in the summer.
* 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.
* Opened in 1978, but looks much older. Good food and very crowded during lunchtime.
* Famous for its pastries. Peaceful upstairs room where you can linger undisturbed over your café con leche and napolitana de chocolate (chocolate croissant).
* 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.
* Slightly scruffy cafe draws an avante garde crowd at night.
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). [http://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.
* Very cool chill out bar decorated with deep colours in a Moroccan style. Dark and inviting. The floor is covered in sand giving a beach-like vibe. The seating includes cushions on the floor, traditional tables and chairs, or if you’re lucky, grab the four poster bed at the back.
* Specializes in delicious ‘tostas’ (small pieces of toast with different toppings) and avocado (aguacate), along with cañas (small beers).
* A swingin' bar where you can twist the night away with local hipsters.
* Nice terrace outside,great for people-watching. The interior is tastefully decorated.
* 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.
* 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.
* Cocktail Lounge & World food in the heart of La Latina. Great summer terrace and surprising basement brick cave with live music and karaoke.
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.
* Cool electronic sounds for 20s-30s.
* 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.
* 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.
* Enormous club with 7 floors. However, despite it's popularity this club is usually not worth visiting. The owner has a policy to try and limit the number of foreigners in the club so if you are from anywhere except Spain, you will likely get bad treatment.
* Popular Commercial House club with a mixed young straight/gay crowd.
* Different dance music styles from night to night. Glitz and glamour. Strict doormen.
* 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.
* Powerful Techno/House club popular within the younger crowd.
(It has been shut down)
* Rock and Indie
Selection of more than 300 budget and luxury hotels in Madrid.
* Rooms from 4 to 14 people, plus breakfast and internet (WIFI).
*Nice, clean, quiet weekend hostel. 5 minutes from metro, tapas & services. 10 minute walk to Puerto del Sol, museums & Gran Via. Close to southern "ethnic" areas = good food. Big common room with 4 computer stations, unreliable WIFI & good free breakfast. Secure locker with every bed.
* 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.
* Features all-ensuite rooms (singles, doubles, 4-6 bed dorms). Free internet access, lively bar and restaurant.
* All rooms have ensuite, TV, central heating, air conditioning.
* Cheap hotel with a good location near Plaza de Santa Ana. All rooms feature bathrooms, TV and air conditioning.
* 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.
* Simple, clean and secure. Central location close to Gran Via. Friendly staff.
* 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.
* Operates 8 youth hostels in Madrid.
* Small hostel, nice ambiance and is catered to young traveleres. Nice kitchen, friendly staff, and free internet.
* 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.
Conveniently located in the center of Madrid, a quiet bed and breakfast with a unique style and decoration.
* A 2 star hotel. The Asturias is only 200 meters from the central Puerta del Sol.
* 4-star hotel in excellent location.
*3 star hotel with modern features, clean rooms and helpful staff. Just over 1.5km walk from the Bernabeu Stadium.
* One of the best known hotels in Madrid, is located on Alcala street, next to the Puerta del Sol. All rooms have Internet access.
* 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).
* 4-star hotel. Restaurant, bar, and meeting space.
* [url=http://www.onlyyouhotels.com/en.php]Only You Hotel & Lounge[/url], Calle Barquillo 21, 28004, Madrid, Spain. In the Chueca neighborhood, just north of Calle de Alcala and West of Paseo de Recoletos. +34 91 005 222. From €110. Brand new boutique design hotel in 2013. Lounge & bar with DJ entertainment.
* Located in Plaza de Santa Ana
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.
* The Gran Hotel Velázquez is a 4 star hotel located in the Salamanca district. This hotel has been providing stylish accommodation for over 50 years.
* Distinguished by a grand and glowing white exterior; bathed in neo-classical design; an illustrious interior of flowing banisters, bold colors, and noble décor.
* Located on Madrid’s Gran Vía, next to Callao Metro Station and just 500 metres from the Puerta del Sol. Rooms and Terrace with with panoramic views of the city. Free internet access in all the rooms.
* 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.
* A 5-star hotel on one of Madrid's most exclusive streets. 151 rooms and suites. The hotel is surrounded by landscaped gardens.
* 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.
* 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.
* A modern luxury hotel located in prestigious residential district Mirasierra, overlooking the Sierra de Guadarama. The hotel is also home to the Verdil Restaurant [http://www.jubanhoteles.com/verdil-en.html].
* Set in the middle of the main business districts.
* 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.
* The turn-of-the-century grandeur with modern conveniences and amenities. 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.
* Located in the Las Letras district, the NH Palacio de Tepa hotel in Madrid is surrounded by history and romance. Just a five-minute walk away guests can visit the famous Plaza Mayor and next to Plaza Santa Ana enchant tourists and locals alike.
* Elegant 4-star hotel in the Retiro district, a very central and lively Mardid location.
Fully-Serviced, central Madrid apartments in a dedicated heritage building with on-site reception and close access to Malasaña, Chueca, Puerta del Sol, Retiro Park, the shopping on Calle Fuencarral and Gran Via.
* Large, family-style Madrid apartments in a dedicated heritage building just 80m from the Bilbao metro and right in the trendy Chamberí neighbourhood, bordering with Malasaña and Chueca, and just 15 minutes walk from the historic city centre and Puerta del Sol
* Offers two apartments on the Gran Via street in Madrid. One has one bedroom, the other has two bedrooms.
* 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.
* Central located apartments.
* Short-term apartment rentals.
* 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. All the bills are included in the price.
* Luxury short-term apartment rental.
* 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.
* Modern and fully self-service apartments with large beds and spacious living areas and lots of natural light.
* Apartments in the centre 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)
*Designer Loft for holiday renting. At Madrids city heart (Antón Martín) 1-4 persons. 95-120 per night. End cleaning 30.
Washing Machine, Dishwasher,.Mircowave, Oven, Fridge, Cooler, Air conditioner, Beddings. Option to get Breakfast and Catering.
Close to any attraction: Prado, Sol, Reina Sofia, Tirso de Molina, Shops, Restaurants, Theaters, Flamenco Bars, Gallerys, Cafes.