Spain's capital is a city of meandering avenues, historic buildings, palaces and churches and parks and plazas. It carries on its shoulders the history of this lovely country and is a fabulous showcase of the grandeur that is Spain.
Madrid is a city of contrasts - it has some of the most flourishing nightclubs in Spain and Western Europe, it has art galleries and museums to rival anything else in other cities and it is Europe's most welcoming capital city. It defines what Spain really is - fun-loving and relaxed, a place where you can visit the El Prado museum during the day, eat at one of the finest restaurants in Europe - there are many of those; and then visit one of the many nightclubs or music places in the city. Or maybe you can just wander around Plaza mayor, and sample the wine and the tapas, a great relaxed way to spend your evening
The Del Prado museum has one of the best collections of art masterpieces in the world. It has paintings by Goya and Velazquez, among the exhibits here, and often you will feel the need to keep coming back here to see the many classical paintings on show here.
Plaza Mayor - at some point all of Madrid goes past this lovely square. Just sit around and watch the world go by. There are great bars and eating areas here - trifle expensive, but the ambience and view are free.
Gran Via - Madrid's answer to Broadway. Be prepared for traffic jams even at 4 am in the morning, but it really is the heart of Madrid. The best theatres are located here and so are some great stores.
The Bernabeu Stadium home of Real Madrid (if you can get hold of tickets), otherwise why not try a stadium tour. The stadium is open throughout the year including Sundays.
When to go:
Madrid has very dry and sometimes extreme weather. Summers in Madrid are hot and sunny and winters are much colder than on the Spanish coast. The best months to visit are April, May, June and October and September. These have pleasant weather and they are easy to walk around the city in.
How to get there:
Madrid airport is connected to most of Europe, with almost all international airlines making this one of their stops. It has four terminals, and one of them is especially for low-cost airlines. The airport has won awards for its architectural design. You can also travel to Madrid by bus. There are eight international and intercity bus terminals, which cater for buses from all over Europe.