Rich culture and artistic heritage characterize the city of Madrid. Astonishing art galleries, never-ending nightlife, brilliant live music scene, a feast of fine restaurants and tapas bars are the major features of Madrid. Madrid is not just a cultural destination, it is also a lively city with many pubs, cafes, discotheques and nightclubs open late into the night
The largest city of Spain, Madrid is the capital of Spain. The city of Madrid has been built on the site of a Moorish fortress captured in the 10th century. Madrid is a cosmopolitan city housing the Government, Spanish Parliament and is also the home to the Spanish Royal Family. It is identified as a business hub and plays a major role in both the banking and industrial sectors.
Museums in Madrid
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía: A cultural center displaying a collection of Spanish contemporary art, the place houses a wide variety of temporary exhibitions on painting, sculpture, video, photography, films, etc.
Museo Del Prado: Located in an 18th century building designed by Juan de Villanueva, the Prado is considered among the most important art galleries in the world. It houses masterpieces by Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, Titian, Raphael, Rubens, Bosch, Van der Weyden, etc.
Palacio Real: The royal palace is no longer used as a residence. Nothing has been altered since it last functioned as home to the king. It serves as a primary tourist attraction. The entire palace is not open to the public, but most important rooms can be visited. The architecture and gardens of the palace is interesting in its own right. This palace is the biggest RoyalPalace in Western Europe with over 3000 different chambers.
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza: This museum is home to a splendid collection of primitive Flemish to contemporary works. More than 800 paintings and sculptures, carvings, tapestries and other items are displayed.
Parks in Madrid
Parque Del Retiro: Retiro is the largest and most beautiful parks in Madrid. It has 130 hectares of woodland with over 15,000 trees. This tree-clad island is situated in the middle of the asphalt sea.
Jardín Botánico: These gardens contain about 30,000 different species of trees and plants from all over the world. The different sections are divided by magnificent avenues and each tree and plant is labeled with its Latin name and species.
El Retiro Park: El Retiro Park is located in the center of Madrid and occupies 12 hectares; it was declared a Garden of Historic-Artistic importance in the year 1935. This park has an artificial lake located besides the monument of Alfonso XII.
Casa de Campo: This Park is located on the right bank of the Manzanares River, west of Madrid; the Casa de Campo is a large park with an area of about 4,000 acres. Rowboats can be rented for a ride around the artificial lake.
Rosales and the Parque Del Oeste: Rosales and the Parque Del Oeste are two large parks located on the Western fringes of Madrid and sloping down towards the River Manzanares. There is a large rose garden at the bottom of the hill, where a rose show is held each spring.
The Parque Zoológico or Zoo and Parque de Atracciones, a large amusement park, are found in the southern part.
Sabatini gardens: The Sabatini Gardens are located in the north wing of the Royal Palace; designed by Francesco Sabatini. He was an Italian architect of the 18th century who designed most parts of the Royal Palace. These gardens were built where the royal stables existed.
The Basilica of San Francisco el Grande: Near the Royal Palace, the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande is located. It is dedicated to Our Lady of Angels. The exterior of the church is in the neo-classic style and the frontage of this church is simple and modest. The church is undergoing slow restoration for the last 30 years. Some of the murals near the ceiling have been damaged by water seepage. This church is perhaps one of the most beautiful churches in Spain.
Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida (Goya's Pantheon): A small church not very popular among tourists, Goya's Pantheon is of great interest to those who enjoy art because the church has its ceiling frescoes done by Goya. The paintings show the miracle of Saint Antonio de Padua.
Kio Towers: These are two towers that lean towards each other similar to the Tower of Pisa. They were built by the Kuwaiti Investment Office in the 1980's and are located on either side of Plaza Castilla.
Madrid plazas: Madrid plazas are places where people gather together to watch bullfights. The most popular one is the Plaza las ventas Madrid. This plaza houses the most famous bullring in Spain. The bullring was constructed in 1931 and is called the Plaza de toros de las ventas. The second most popular plaza in Madrid is the Plaza Mayor de Madrid. Other popular plazas include Plaza Puerta Del Sol, Plaza Mayor and Plaza Castilla.
Guided tours to Madrid allow you to catch many of the popular Madrid tourist destinations. Vacation packages help you to plan your vacation sparing you the trouble of planning every detail. City tours are very popular and so are tours to neighboring villages overflowing with culture and tradition. Numerous vacation packages are available and tourists can make their pick. A typical and popular vacation package would for example include:
Tour to Avila & Segovia: Covers two historic towns located in Castilla y León. Segovia is well known for its fully preserved aqueduct, and Avila for its fort wall surrounding the original section of the city.
Tour to Toledo is another popular tour; Toledo is popular for its medieval architecture. Tour within the city would include places of interest, bull fights, night clubs etc. depending on the choice of the traveler.
Madrid has the best of golf courses spread on the country sides. The Real Club de Puerta de Hierro, a 36-hole course located 4 kilometers from the capital, is a wonderful golf course.
Madrid is home to few wonderful tennis courts. The Jarama car track is very famous throughout the world, clocked trials for world championship are held on this track. Club de Campo is an ideal place for pigeon shooting, international competitions are held here.
Madrid is home to numerous football clubs, well known and the biggest among them is the real Madrid club. Atletico Madrid is another famous club.
Madrid enjoys a continental climate and is mostly dry. The temperatures can soar up to the extremes too. Summers are hot with an everlasting sunshine and hot temperatures. Winters are fairly cold, spring and autumn are quite temperate and enjoy rainfalls. Madrid enjoys frequent rain in winter too.
Spring is the best time to visit Madrid, particularly the months of April, May and June. Snowfall happens in the mountains adjacent to the city.
Travel to Madrid
Madrid has a major international airport that is serviced by many renowned carriers. Two other smaller airports located at Torrejon and Cuatro Vientos, also serve the city. Madrid is well connected to many cities in Europe by rail and road.
Eating in Madrid
Cocido Madrileño: Chickpea stew with meat and vegetable products. The soup, chickpeas and meat are served and eaten separately. This is the uniqueness of this dish.
Callos a la Madrileña: A hot pot of spicy beef tripe, this is dish is similar to dishes served in Turkey
Sopa de Ajo: A rich and oily garlic soup served along with a poached egg, fried bread paprika, and grated Spanish ham.
Oreja de Cerdo: This is a popular dish in central Spain; pigs ear, fried in garlic.
Vacation rentals in Madrid
Vacation rentals in Madrid are available aplenty. Based on the budget and requirements, visitors can choose rentals that will match their requirements. Vacation rentals facilities in apartments include full kitchen, maid service, patio etc. Prices range from 80 to 1000 Euros per night.