A fantastic destination for a captivating city break, Madrid is jam-packed with things to do. Art lovers flock here to gaze at work by the great Spanish masters, Goya, Velázquez and Picasso, housed in the city’s world-renowned galleries, and when it comes to hotels in Madrid, we’ve got you covered.
For the ultimate in chic shopping expeditions, you can head to Salamanca, where Spain’s top designers showcase their finest creations, alongside some of the biggest international names in fashion.
For a different kind of art form, discover why Madrid is one of the culinary capitals of Europe. The food here is drawn from every corner of the country, all coming together to form an incredibly rich and diverse dining experience. Indulge yourself in some of the amazing restaurants or pack yourself a picnic and join the locals in the Casa de Campo, the city’s largest park and former royal hunting estate. Eating well is an essential part of the Madrid lifestyle.
Another essential element to living here can be found at the Bernabeu stadium, home to Real Madrid’s all-conquering Los Blancos. One of the most spectacular and prestigious stadiums in world football, this is where legends like Ronaldo and Gareth Bale whip the home crowd into a frenzy.
Madrid is located almost in the exact centre of the Iberian Peninsula and is served by Barajas airport, one of the largest international airports in the world. Getting in to the city is a breeze from Barajas, with the modern and efficient METRO whisking you there in just a few minutes for around 5 euros or there’s also a 24-hour airport express bus service. Taxis are plentiful from the airport too, and once you’re in the heart of the city, the extensive public transport system is great value, with trips costing just a couple of euros each.
Madrid’s events calendar is chock-full all year round, so whenever you decide to visit, you’re likely to find something new and exciting to experience. The Festival de Otoño, or Autumn Festival, takes place every October and features five weeks of cultural events in venues all across the city. It’s one of Spain’s most prestigious celebrations, with theatre, dance and music companies from every corner of the globe in attendance.
Dos de Mayo
One of the most important dates in Spanish history is celebrated with one of Madrid’s wildest parties. The Dos de Mayo festival marks the day in 1808 when Spain rose up against Napoleon’s forces, leading to the War of Independence that would eventually see the French ousted from the country. The historic event is celebrated with a four-day public holiday, honouring the strength and pride of the Madrileños. There’s live music and entertainment in every part of the city, but to be right in the midst of the action, head to the Malasaña district. Named after the heroic 15-year old girl who lost her life in defence of her city, the area is teeming with art shows, DJs, dancing, choirs and poetry readings.
Prado National Museum
The first port of call for most visitors to the city and one of the world’s great art galleries, the Museo del Prado houses a dazzling display of some of the finest works ever created. Its treasured collection of canvases number in the thousands, with priceless pieces from the likes of Francisco de Goya, Diego Velázquez and Rembrandt. With masterpieces of painting and sculpture dating back to the 12th century, the Prado Museum is a must-see on your trip to Madrid.
Learn a lesson in the subtle art of haggling and maybe even grab yourself a bargain at Madrid’s oldest and most iconic street market. An institution in the city, it takes place every Sunday and bank holiday, and sells just about anything you can imagine. From furniture to fashion, antique to souvenir, you’ll find it among the 3,500 stalls that line the maze of streets around the Plaza de Cascorro. Heaving with tourists and locals alike, it’s an experience you won’t want to miss.
Parque del Retiro
Madrid is home to several beautiful parks, but ‘The Park of the Pleasant Retreat’ is a big favourite with local Madrileños looking for a place to kick back and escape the hubbub of city life. Known affectionately as the ‘lungs of the city’, its vast area stretches across 350 acres and contains exquisitely manicured lawns, elegant buildings, dozens of statues and a peaceful boating lake. Located on the edge of the city, El Retiro gives you a chance to get your breath back.
Experience the legendary nightlife
Madrid never sleeps! One of Europe’s most vibrant cities, there’s something to suit everyone’s taste here. For a pulsating entertainment experience, with countless bars, pubs and clubs open into the wee hours, head to the Huertas district. If you’re in the mood for something a little more bohemian, Malasaña is home to small, intimate live music venues, and if you’re after something quintessentially Spanish, the world-famous Cardamomo on the Calle Echegaray is the undisputed home of Flamenco, where you can watch the finest dancers perform while enjoying some of the city’s best dining.