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Madrid

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For other places with the same name, see Madrid (disambiguation).
Madrid's Town Hall (Palacio de Telecomunicaciones) in Cibeles square

Madrid [1] is the capital of Spain, as well as the capital of the autonomous community of the same name (Comunidad de Madrid). It is Spain's largest city, with a population (city) of 3.228 million (July 2005) and 5.843 million (metropolitan area). 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.

Understand

Location

Madrid is located a little north east from the geographical center of the Iberian Peninsula, 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 historical center of Madrid, middle south of the city: Puerta del Sol in the middle, Plaza Mayor a bit to the south, Palacio Real to the west, and Plaza de Colón to the north-east. Some of those hot spots spread up past the Gran Via, which is one of the main streets in Madrid (the largest one being Alcalá Street, followed by the Paseo de la Castellana).

Climate

The climate of Madrid is continental; mainly dry and quite extreme at times, with frequent rain in winter. Madrid sees perpetual sunshine and a characteristically hot temperature in the summer, but with a fairly cold temperature in the winter. Spring and autumn are fairly temperate with most rainfall concentrated in these seasons, together with winter. Spring is definitely the best time to visit, especially the months of April and May. Rainfall occurs sporadically, and snowfall is not something that happens every year in the city, but there is abundant snowfall in the adjacent mountain ranges nearby.

Culture

Royal Palace

The culture of Madrid was dominated by its religious and Royal history. Enormous, monolithic cathedrals and churches are plentiful in Madrid, as well as medieval architecture, although nowadays Madrid is just as much a cosmopolitan city as Berlin or London, full of new architecture, life style and culture.

Madrid was also the capital of the Fraquist dictatorship (1939-1975) and the city still seems to represent a conservative part of Spain to many Spaniards. However, the city is also the epicentre of the famous Movida, Spain's 80s punk movement that breeded personalities such as the directore Pedro Almodóvar. Th heritage of this era is in deed still visible in the city centre, where party can be found at all times and one of the most liberal and colourful environments of Spain can be seen. The city centre is also known for it's 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 extreme midday heat, a "siesta" is 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 as it is allowed by law.

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 Via 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 matches 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 districts are:

Malasaña— Alternative area, full of all kind of people hanging out at pubs, bars, cafes, squares and small shops. Mainly rock and punk music, some of them still open from "La movida madrileña" (beginning of 80's).

Chueca— By Malasaña and Gran Via, it is the gay district (although noone is ever excluded) with a very strong personality. New design, trendy shops, cool cafes. Pop and electronic music.

Lavapies— Lavapies is maybe the most cosmopolitan and hippy area at the same time in Madrid. Indian restaurants, alternative coffees, African music and South American shops. Walking around for a coffee is well worth it.

La Latina— By Lavapies, it is the place to go for tapas and full of bohemian young people looking for stylish bars. It hosts the most popular flea market in Madrid, every Sunday morning.

Salamanca— Plenty of expensive boutiques, uniques shops with impossible prices and department stores.

Moncloa— Due to proximity to the main University in Madrid (Universidad Complutense), Moncloa is associated with students and a student lifestyle.

Barrio de las Letras / Huertas— Many of Spains most famous writers lived there (Cervantes, Quevedo, etc.). It is among Lavapies, 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. As it is centred on tourism, it is not visited as often as other areas in Madrid by the locals.

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is Barajas International Airport (IATA: MAD), 902 404 704, [2]. About 15-20 minutes from Madrid. It is connected to the city by the Metro line eight. Taxis from the airport to the city center cost about €25. In February 2006, a huge new terminal building, designed by Britain's Richard Rogers and Spain's Antonio Lamela, was inaugurated at Barajas. All One World alliance flights depart from the new Terminal 4 (T4) as well as the low cost carrier Vueling and other unaffiliated carriers. The Metro connection between the airport (and the new T4 terminal) and the rest of the system has been finished. There is a supplement of €1 on the regular metro ticket for the airport line. Bus services run from the remaining terminals to T4 and there are additional bus services running from the center of Madrid (Plaza Colón and Avenida de América). There are plans for a commuter train link from Atocha and Chamartín to the airport. Two smaller airports, Torrejón and Cuatro Vientos, also serve the city.

By train

Tropical garden in Atocha

Not only is Madrid the capital of Spain, but it is also the hub of the country's rail network. Major routes include frequent trains to Barcelona on the east coast (2 h 40 min journey), where it is possible to continue on to the French coast, and to Paris to the north with access to most of the rest of Europe.

Main connections between Madrid and other European cities include:

  • Portugal— Direct train from Madrid to Lisbon , but also a train from Irún to Lisbon via Madrid.
  • Switzerland— Train to Zurich via Barcelona.
  • Italy— Train to Milan via Barcelona.

Spain's high-speed train (AVE - Alta Velocidad de España) makes the Madrid-Seville run in two and a half hours. The AVE line to Barcelona is ready now and the journey takes 2 h 40 min.

Northbound trains arrive and depart from Chamartín station, while trains to Barcelona, Valencia and southern Spain depart from Atocha railway station.

There is more information available at Spanish Railway System Renfe [3] (+34 902-240-202).

By bus

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 Mendez Alvaro, Tel:+34 91-468-4200 [4]) which is connected to the rest of the city by metro. Buses to and from Barcelona and Bilbao are based from the Avenida de America bus terminal (Ave. de America), also connected to the Metro.

By car

There are car rental facilities available on 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 won't have a signal to direct you. Plan your turnings before you enter the tunnels.

Get around

Public Transport

Buses and subways form an integrated network [5] and work with the same tickets. A single ticket is one euro, a ten trip ticket is 7,40 euros, and there are tourist passes: 1 (€5.20), 2 (€8.80), 3 (€11.60), 5 (€17.60), or 7 (€23.60) days. Children under 11 have a 50% discount. Tickets at Metro stations, news-stands, and estancos (tobacconists').

By metro

The Metro de Madrid [6] (Madrid's Subway/Underground) is one of the best and cheapest working metros in Europe. Also, the underground tunnels of the Metro provide relief from the sun on particularly hot days. Stamping the ticket one time allows you to use the Metro network as long and far as you like - make sure you stay inside the Metro zone, once you leave it, you'll have to stamp your ticket again. When you travel to or from airport stations, there is additional fee of €1, which can be paid at the entrance (exit) - except Metro passes (Metrobús or tourist pass).

Nights before Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays have a night bus (MetroBúho) service on the same routes as the Metro lines, from rougly 01:00 AM to 05:30 AM. Stops for these lines are sometimes not in obvious places, especially in the pedestrian areas in the city center.

By bus

Whatever the Metro doesn't cover, the buses do.

Night buses (Búhos, "night owls"), have their main hub at Plaza de Cibeles [7], covering most of the city at roughly 20 minutes intervals.

By taxi

Taxis can be short on party nights, especially if there is some rain. Unlike in other European cities, there are few taxi ranks; just stand by the side of a major road or bus stop and wave your hand for a free 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 if you go to the airport, like a surcharge for the bags and for entering or leaving the airport. 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. A normal ride to/from the airport with luggage should be about 25€.

By car

Transportation by private automobile in Madrid can be very difficult. 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 three o'clock in the morning (then again, three in the morning is 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. Looking for a place to park your car 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 very 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.

On the other hand, travel by car can be advantageous; going home by car on weekends is, of course depending where you live, usually faster than by public transport.

By bicycle

El Retiro

Riding a bicycle in Madrid is quite dangerous because there is no reserved section of the road for bikers, and drivers are not used to seeing bicycles in the city. This is due to Madrid not being a flat city so Madrileños do not see travel by bike as being practical. The Metro limits the times when a bicycle can be carried on it. However, Madrid is not totally devoid of bicyclists- Madrid bikers can often be seen riding in El Retiro, Madrid's second largest park. Enjoy the nature or do some sport, but note that the parks are considered dangerous after the sun sets. At tourist offices you can get a map with the bicycle paths. The paths have been built the past few years to try and promote bicycling.

Speak

While knowledge of the English language is increasing amongst the younger generations, the majority of Madrid's residents know only a few words - even employees at U.S. franchised businesses such as McDonald's and employees at cash exchange centers rarely speak much English. You can often find someone with a fair grasp of English at larger hotels and tourism sites, but it would nevertheless be helpful to know at least a few common Spanish words and phrases.

See

Golden (art) Museum Triangle

The northern entrance to Prado
  • Museo del Prado, Paseo de Prado s/n, +34 90 2107077, Metro:Atocha or Banco de España, Bus lines 9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37 and 45 [8]. Tu-Su: 9AM-8PM, Closed M and some holidays. Tickets €8, students, children, etc. €4, free: Tu-Sa 6PM-8PM and every Su 5PM-8PM. One of the finest art collections in the world and the best collection of classical art in Madrid. Includes many different collections: the Spanish (El Greco, Velazquez, and Goya), the Flemish and Dutch (Rubens, van Dyck, and Brueghel), Italian (Botticelli, Tintoretto Caravaggio, and Veronese) and German (Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, and Baldung Grien). Some highlights not to miss at the Prado:
    • The Bosch masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights.
    • The famous Velazquez piece Las Meninas.
    • The Black Paintings of Goya.
    • The Third of May 1808 also by Goya.
    • Adoration of the Shepards by El Greco.
    • David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio.
  • Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Center, Santa Isabel 52, 28012 Madrid, metro Atocha.), +34 91 7741000 (fax: +34 91 7741056), [9]. Mo-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-2:30PM. 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. €6, free Saturday from 2:30PM till 9PM, Sunday from 10AM till 2:30PM.
  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art, [10]. Opens from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10AM-7PM. The ticket office closes at 6:30PM. The Museum is closed all day on 1 Jan, 1 May, and 25 Dec. Contains a large art collection including masterpieces by Monet, Goya, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, Mondrian, Bacon and Lichtenstein. Tickets are about €6.

Major Museums

Dama de Elche: Iberian (preRoman) fertility goddess statue
  • National Archeology Museum, C/ Serrano 13, Metro: Serrano, +34 91 5777912 [11]. Hours Tu-Sa: 9:30AM-5PM, Sun and Holidays 9:30AM-3PM, Price: About €3, Free entry Saturday afternoons (after 2:30PM) and Sundays. Don't let the sound of it frighten you. This well designed museum 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. It is currently undergoing renovations and is open with limited exhibits. Closed: M; Jan 1 and 6; May 1 and 15; Dec 24, 25, and 31. (Holidays: Apr 5 and 6, May 2, Aug 15, Oct 12, Nov 1 and 9, Dec 6 and 8.)
  • Museo de Lazaro Galdiano, C/ Serrano 122, Metro: Gregorio Mariñon, +34 91 5616084 [12]. Hours W-M: 10AM-4:30PM. Entry €4, free on Sundays. 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. Closed: Tu; Jan 1; Easter Thursday and Friday; May 2 and 3; Nov 1; Dec 6 and 25.
  • Real Academia de Bella Artes de San Fernando, C/ Alcalá 13, +34 91 5240864, Fax +34 91 5231599, Metro: Sevilla or Banco de España [13]. Hours Tu-Fr: 9:30AM-7PM, Sa-M: 9:30-4:30PM. Entry €3, students €1.50, free W, free for children and seniors. Highly impressive art collection with paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints. Several Goya masterpieces.
  • Museo de América, Avda Reyes Católicos 6, Metro: Moncloa, +34 91 5492641 and 91 5439437 [14]. Hours Tu-Sa: 9:30AM-3PM, Su 10:00AM-3PM, Closed Mondays, Jan 1, May 1, Dec 24, 25, 31. Entry €3, students €1.50, free Su, free for seniors and children. An excellent museum that many tourists miss, this museo 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 explications to the objects on display are in Spanish only.

Places of Interest

  • Palacio Real, C/ Bailen s/n, +34 91 4548800, Metro: Opera [15]. M-Sa: 9AM-5PM, Sundays and holidays: 9AM-3PM, closed occasionally for official ceremonies. Entry €8, guided tour €11, students and children €3.5, free W for EU citizens. The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is an enormous palace, with scorching plains of concrete around it and the Real Armorial (Royal Armory), a two-story collection of medieval weapons and armor. Explications in the armory are in spanish only, so do not expect to understand much unless your know spanish names for all that medieval stuff. In spite of its name, the palace not the residence of the current royal family. The Royal Palace is considered to be one of the most emblematic and beautiful buildings in Madrid, not only for its location but also for its architecture and the artistic treasures to be found in its rooms. The façades of the palace measure 130 meters long and 33 meters high with 870 windows and 240 balconies opening on to the facades and courtyard. It has a surface area of 100,000 square meters with 44 stairways and more than 30 principal rooms. Also located within the palace is the Pharmacia, which contains hundreds of bottles of early medicines and a reconstructed laboratory.
  • Plaza Mayor, Metro:Sol or Opera. 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 square has played host to bullfights, markets, symphonies, tournaments and executions. The statue of Felipe II sits in the middle across from the beautifully painted Casa de la Panadería, the former headquarters of the bakers guild.
The famous bear statue at Puerta del Sol
  • Puerta del Sol, Metro: Sol. This plaza is the "heart" of Madrid and one of the busiest places in the city. On the north side of the plaza there is a famous statue of an oso (bear) climbing the madroño tree, which is the symbol of Madrid. Also in Sol, just in front of the Capital building of the community of Madrid, is Kilometer Zero, a plaque showing the point where the measuring of national highways begins. Both the bear statue, and Km. Zero are common meeting spots for friends. The giant neon Tío Pepe sign above the plaza is also a famous fixture of this area. New Year’s celebrations are broadcast from Sol every year with the ringing of the clock bringing in the new year.
  • Atocha RENFE. (Metro: Atocha RENFE) A large train station across the street from the Reina Sofia Museum of Art. The interesting thing about it is the palm garden inside the old building, complete with a pond full of small turtles. It's free, and very much worth visiting.
  • El Retiro, (Metro: Retiro, Ibiza or Atocha). Considered to be the "Central 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.
  • Catedral de la Almudena. This massive cathedral can be found facing the Palacio Real. Finished in the end of 20th century, it is where the Princes of Asturias Felipe and Letizia were married in 2004.
  • Gran Vía, (Metro:Gran Via, Callao, Plaza de España, Banco de España). Literally, "Broadway", Gran Via is one of the busiest avenues in Madrid, what you could call the main street of Madrid, and the location of the cinema district. The Gran Via is very similar to Times Square in New York City. Gran Via has a constant buzz of traffic and life. 3-4am early morning traffic jams are not unusual.
  • Plaza de Cibeles, (metro: Banco de España). Houses one of Madrid's emblems, the fountain of Cibeles, and one of the world's most beautiful post offices, Palacio de las Comunicaciones.
  • Plaza de España, (Metro: Plaza de España). Contains a sculpture of Cervantes and his famous Don Quixote and Sancho Panza characters.
  • Templo de Debod, Paseo del Pintor Rosales 2, +34 91 765108, Metro: Plaza de España [16]. Tue-Fri: 10AM - 2PM and 6PM - 8PM, Sat-Sun: 10PM- 2PM, closed Mondays and holidays. Free. 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 to Spain for its role in saving the temple of Abu Simbel from the floodwaters of Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan Dam in southern Egypt.
  • La Casa de Campo, (Metro: Lago, Casa de Campo, Batan). The park at the rear of the Palace (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.

Other museums

  • Museo de la Ciudad (Museum of the City), Calle Príncipe de Vergara 140 (Metro: Cruz del Rayo), +34-91-5886599, [17]. Mo: Closed Tu-Fr: 10am-2pm and 4-7pm Sa&Su: 10am-2pm.. With five floors it tells the city's history, since it was founded by the Arabs. There are models of some urban areas. Entry is free. (40.444657,-3.678288)
  • San Antonio de La Florida Hermitage. This small church is famous for its murals, painted by Goya. It's also the mausoleum of the painter.
  • Real Madrid Museum. Located in the famous Santiago Bernabeu stadium, it showcases all the trophies of one of the most successful football clubs in the world. - Real Madrid.

Do

General

  • Circulo de Bellas Artes Calle Marqués de Casa Riera 2, +34 91 5225092, metro Banco de España [18]. A non-profit cultural center located a short walk from Sol, the CBA offers up a wide variety of events and shows including film, music, art displays, dance, theater and more. Check out their website (in Spanish) for a listing of activities.
  • There are a number of free, English language periodicals that you will find in bars and restaurants that are a great source of event information. PopGuide Madrid is Madrid's premier English and German lifestyle magazine and features the best Madrid has to offer and the latest in film, fashion, music and art. [19] The InMadrid newspaper [20] comes out once a month and has a number of articles and information about events around town. The Broad Sheet [21] is a free, glossy lifestyle magazine covering a range of topics and events. Aimed mostly at the college crowd, European Vibe [22] has listings for bars, restaurants and parties happening in Madrid. Check the websites for current distribution points.
  • Check out some Flamenco— Visit the Corral de la Moreria [23]. 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.
  • Stroll on El Retiro— Madrid's biggest park near the Prado Museum and by Puerta Alcalá Monument, Madrid of the Hagsburgs (center of Madrid, where you can go out for tapas) and Paseo del Prado (a pedestrian walkway full of fountains and trees near the famous museum).
  • Go to the world class zoo. See the Pandas. Pet the Lemers.
  • Have your portrait drawn in the Plaza Mayor. Generally very good quality and the prices are very reasonable.
  • La Transhumancia— A yearly festival (of sorts), in which the center of Madrid is traffic free and instead the streets are filled with shepherds exercising their ancient right to drive sheep and livestock through the city.

10 things you must do before you leave

  • Get lost in the Museo del Prado.
  • Go shopping in Calle Fuencarral (trendy) or Salamanca district (posh)... it's up to you!
  • Eat a bocadillo de calamares (squid sandwich) near Plaza Mayor.
  • Struggle among the crowds in El Rastro on a sunny Sunday morning.
  • Go to a theater on Gran Via and enjoy a musical show.
  • Go for some tapas in La Latina (don't forget patatas bravas).
  • Spend an afternoon in El Retiro.
  • Get back to 16th century in Plaza de la Paja and surroundings.
  • See a sunset at the Templo de Debod.
  • Have a drink and dance in Malasaña district until dawn, then have a chocolate con churros breakfast.

(Now you are a madrileño!)

Music & concerts

If you are coming to Madrid and you want to see some live music, here are some of the major venues:

  • Sala Heineken, Princesa 1, +34 91 5476680, metro Plaza España [24]. National touring acts for rock and pop music.
  • La Riviera, Paseo Bajo de la Virgen, s/n, +34 91 3652415, metro Puerta del Angel (Line 6) or Principe Pío (Line 10) [25]. Another large venue for touring rock and pop bands.
  • Gruta 77, Calle Cuclillo, 6, +34 91 4712370, metro Oporto (Line 5 and 6) [26]. Concerts everyday; pop, rock, punk...

Classical & opera

If you are into classical and opera you will not be disappointed in Madrid:

  • The Spanish National Orchestra performs every Fri, Sat and Sun at the Auditorio Nacional on Calle Principe de Vergara. The Auditorio Nacional is also the main concert venue for the symphonic concerts of the Community of Madrid Orchestra and the Madrid symphony Orchestra and the main venue for touring classical artists and orchestras.
  • The main opera theatre is the Teatro Real (Royal Theatre).
  • The Spanish version of the Operetta (Zarzuela) is performed at the Teatro de la Zarzuela.
  • The Orquesta de Radio Televisión Española (the orchestra of the national broadcasting company) performs every Thu and Fri at the Teatro Monumental on Calle Atocha.
  • The main venue for contemporary music is the Auditorio 400 of the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.
  • Other venues include the Cuartel del Condeduque and the Foundation Joan March Auditorium.
  • During Summer the Banda Municipal de Madrid performs in El Retiro park.

Flamenco

No trip to Madrid would be complete without seeing a flamenco show, Spain's most passionatre art form:

Sports

  • Futbol / Football / Soccer— Three teams from Madrid play in La Liga (Spain's premier division):
  • Real Madrid [27] at Santiago Bernabeu stadium, metro Santiago Bernabeu.
  • Atletico de Madrid [28] at Vicente Calderón stadium.
  • Getafe Club de Futbol [29] at Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Also see Getafe.
  • Bullfighting at Las Ventas Bullring [30] (Metro Ventas). The birth place of bullfighting. Unless you find this spectacle distasteful, this is a must see if you visit Madrid during the bullfighting season (March to December). Tickets may nevertheless be expensive and hard to get for the more important corridas.
  • Basketball— There are two major teams, Estudiantes and Real Madrid.
  • Tennis. An important event held in mid-May (previously October) is the Madrid Tennis Master 1000 [31], where the best ATP and WTA tennis players participate. The event is held at La Caja Mágica, at the Camino de Perales s/n street (metro line 3, "San Fermin - Orcasur" station; bus numbers 23 - 78 - 123).

Movies and film

If you want to see films in English while visiting Madrid, there are a number of cinemas offering American and British films in the original language (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. These are usually on Mondays or Wednesdays, check with the theater to find out if they offer them. Some of the V.O. theaters to check out are:

  • Yelmo Cineplex Ideal, Doctor Cortezo 6, +34 91 3692518, metro Sol [32]. Probably the best known V.O. theater in Madrid, it offers the largest selection of movies and is only a short walk from Sol.
  • Cine Doré, la Filmoteca Española, Calle Santa Isabel 3, +34 91 3691125, metro Anton Martín. This is a wonderful, old Spanish theater dating from the 1920's. It has three screens and shows mainly "art-house" and critically acclaimed films in V.O. for only €2.50. You can usually find their current schedule online here. In the summertime, they screen movies on the roof.
  • Princesa, Calle Princesa 3, +34 91 5414100, metro Plaza de España.
  • Renoir, Calle Martín de los Heroes 12, +34 91 5414100, metro Plaza de España.
  • Cines Golem Calle Martin de los Heroes 14, +34 91 5593836, metro Plaza de España.
  • Renoir Cuatro Caminos, Calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde 10, +34 91 5414100, metro Cuatro Caminos.
  • Renoir Retiro, Calle Narvaez 42, +34 91 5414100, metro Ibiza.

Learn

  • PopEnglish [33] offers English, German, Italian, French, Swedish and Spanish courses for individuals and companies in Madrid.
  • Lingua [34] (central Madrid) offer various Spanish courses.
  • Learn Spanish [35] Spanish school near Puerta del Sol
  • Don Quijote [36] Spanish school in Madrid is a great school where you can take 4-6 hours of courses a day. All courses including beginner courses are taught entirely in Spanish.

Work

Buy

Major credit cards and foreign bank cards are accepted in most stores, but be aware that it is common practice to be asked for photo-ID ("D.N.I."). If asked for your DNI present your passport, residency permit or foreign ID card. Basically anything with your photo and name on it will be accepted by most shopkeepers. The signatures on credit cards are usually not checked.

  • 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.
  • El Rastro. Madrid's largest flea market, only open on Sunday mornings, featuring rows upon rows of private vendors selling a variety of homemade goods, 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. The closest Metro station is La Latina.
  • Cuesta de Moyano, A quaint outdoor book market, near Museo del Prado.
  • 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.
  • Fuencarral Market (Mercado de Fuencarral)— The market is 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. It is located in the Fuencarral street, number 45, between Tribunal and Gran Via. Its 3 floors crowded of modern shops are aimed specially for young people.
  • El Corte Inglés [37].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. Several locations in Madrid.

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.

Eat

Madrid, as is the case for any European capìtal of similar size, has a wide variety of restaurants serving both Spanish and practically all types of international cuisine. Both quality and prices vary tremendously, particularly since Madrid has become a major focus for international tourism. Over the past years, central Madrid, particularly the area around Plaza Santa Ana and Plaza Mayor, has become a major tourist trap where prices have sky-rocketed and quality has generally dropped. Plaza Mayor and the surrounding streets are particularly notorious for high prices and low quality.

A much better option is the La Latina neighborhood just south of Plaza Mayor, especially along the Cava Baja street. If you want to find a restaurant on your own, you should try wandering through the area bounded by the Alonso Martinez, San Bernardo, Noviciado and Chueca metro stops. There are a number of tasty, reasonably priced restaurants in this area along with a lively nightlife. One can also eat well and relatively inexpensively at a number of Madrid's local bars, especially in the city center. 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.

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative or you want food for a picnic you can try the Corte Ingles on Calle de Preciados near Sol. The basement of this store has a fully stocked supermercado that includes a deli, bakery and fresh produce. There are also a number of deli-like shops along Calle Arenal that offer food para llevar (for take away). Also, if you are looking for cheaper food try any of the Museo del Jamon scattered throughout the city.
Museo del Jamon
They offer deli take out service as well as tapas and raciónes at fairly reasonable prices.

Don't forget that the Spaniards don't eat lunch until 2 or 3 pm, and dinner doesn't start until 10 pm; many restaurants don't open until these times. 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 8:30PM, serving until 11:00PM. You will have a wider selection if you wait until later in the evening. If you're really desperate, the standard bunch of fast food chains do stay open throughout the day.

Cuisine

Madrid is located in the central region of Spain known as Castille, which has a particular culinary tradition within Spain, largely meat based. Within this region, Madrid has a number of "typical" dishes, some of the most well known are the following:

  • Callos a la Madrileña— A hot pot of spicy beef tripe similar to those found in Turkey and the Balkans.
  • Cocido Madrileño— Chickpea stew with meat and vegetable products. The particularity of this stew is the way it is served. The soup, chickpeas and meats are served and eaten separately.
  • Oreja de Cerdo— Pigs ear, fried in garlic. This popular dish is widely eaten throughout central Spain.
  • Sopa de Ajo— The 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.
  • Chocolate con Churros or Porras— Simple fried crispy, non-sweet dough with a very thick chocolate drink, that you have mostly as a breakfast or winter "five o´clock".

These dishes are generally rather heavy particularly if visiting during the hot summer months. Some foreign visitors may also find Madrid's oily and strongly garlic flavored local dishes difficult to stomach.

Spanish dishes popular throughout the country are also widely served in Madrid--see Spain#Spanish dishes.

Seafood

It is ironic that Madrid, located right in the center of Spain is known in the country as the "Best port in Spain" having higher quality seafood than most coastal regions. This can be explained by Spaniard's obsession with seafood and the historical need to supply the capital's wealthy with a constant stream of fresh produce. You will be hard pressed to find better quality seafood in any city in Europe than in Madrid. This quality comes at a price, and most Spaniards will rarely embark on the luxury of a mariscada (Spanish for "seafood fest"). Experiencing Madrid's seafood may be, for the visitor, an experience which will be worth the cost.

A side note about paella 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 (you will recognize them when you see them). These paellas are usually not the best quality to be found and should generally 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 and try your first paella dish there. Look for restaurants that specialize in the cuisine of Valencia. It's not a complete guarantee that the paella will be good but the odds are that it will be better than what you find in some of these "pre-packaged" paellas that many of the smaller restaurants sell.

Specialties to buy

Meat and meat products (Jamon Iberico, morcilla, chorizo etc) are of generally a very high quality in Spain and particularly in Madrid. See Spain#Specialties to buy.

Restaurants

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Sol and Opera

  • Alhambra— Calle de Victoria 9, +34 91 5210708, metro Sevilla. This is a good place to stop in on a hot afternoon for a cold beer and some Andalusian tapas. Try some of their sausages and cheeses.
  • La Casa del Abuelo— Calle de Victoria 12, +34 91 5212319, metro Sevilla. A Madrid landmark in operation for over 100 years, this place attracts a standing room only crowd on the weekends. They mainly serve shrimp based tapas dishes so if you're not into shellfish steer clear. Order a plate of their garlic shrimp along with some of the house wine.
  • La Zapateria— Calle de Victoria 8, +34 91 5210708, metro Sevilla. Great potato dishes here that you can get mixed with chorizo or other items. Also try the "pincho moruno" (pork skewers) or any of the other items you see displayed on ice in the front window.
  • El Inti de Oro— Calle de Ventura de la Vega 12,, +34 91 4296703, metro Sevilla. 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.
  • Chocolatería San Ginés — Calle de Pasadizo De San Ginés 5, +34 91 3656546, metro Sol. Specializing in "chocolate con churros", this Madrid fixture is open 24 hours a day, and is the perfect place to top off a night on the town.
  • The Penthouse, [38] Plaza de Santa Ana, 14, +34 91 7016000, Located on the roof of a hotel, terrace-style restaurant serving tapas and traditional cuisine.

Gran Via and Plaza España

  • Siam—Calle San Bernardino 6, +34 91 559 8315, metro Plaza España/San Bernardino. Beautifully decorated with a tranquil atmosphere, the food is quite reasonable and offers a nice departure from Spanish fare. Most mains between €8 and €12.

La Latina and Lavapiés

  • Casa Lucio - Calle de Cava Baja 35, +34 91 3653253, metro La Latina [39]. 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 and their roasts.
  • Botín - Calle Cuchilleros, 17, +34 913664217, metro La Latina [40]. 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). Botin tours of this Madrid institution are also available.

Chueca & Malasaña

  • Cocina Mex-Mex - Calle Libertad 33, +34 91 521 7640, metro Chueca. 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.
  • Al-Jaima (Cocina del Desierto) - Calle Barbieri, 1 +34 91 523 1142, metro Chueca. 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.

Salamanca

  • Estay - Calle de Hermosilla 46, +34 91 5780470, metro Velázquez, closed on Sundays. 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 are recommended as well. Very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights.
  • La Trainera, Calle de Lagasca 60, +34 91 5768035, metro Velázquez or Serrano[41]. 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.
  • Midnight Rose, [42] Mediterranean cuisine with Asian, American and Italian influences, with emphasis on seasonal Produce. Dining for private parties as well.

Moratalaz

  • Bacchus, Avenida Moratalaz 141, +34 913280468, http://www.bacchvstapasyvinos.com/ metro Vinateros or Artilleros. Right in the middle of Lonja, an area with plenty of places to eat and pubs. It is still close enough from city centre but offers a more relaxed sorrounding, making it one specially indicated for families, although there is an ample age range of customers. Bacchus offers a mixture of innovative and old style tapas. Plenty of food is given for free with each drink. Very good and unexpensive wine list. It can get very busy on weekends. Nice outside sitting area.

Coslada (just outside Madrid)

  • Jaen 3 - Calle Poitiers 3, Coslada, Madrid, metro Coslada Estadio Olimpico, +34 63 0036987. An excellent bar de tapas and restaurant. A nice place to enjoy good Spanish food and original lifestyle without having to spend too much. The place is just outside central Madrid and so it's not influenced by classic tourist traps and you can enjoy some good food and true 'raciones' and the good old Spanish bar life. The owners are pretty nice people and you might find yourself chatting with them about Madrid and Spain. In summer time it has a superb teraza that is pretty close to the Olympic Stadium.

Drink

Plaza Mayor
  • Plaza de Santa Ana, Huertas. The most common place for tourists to go out, it has a lot of Irish pubs, and many other interesting bars, but some of the locales here serve alcohol of questionable quality.
  • La Latina. In the old section, many small bars and pubs, a generally older crowd (late 20s, 30s). Contains the area of Plaza Mayor and Cava Baja. Avoid places in the Plaza Mayor. Multiple bars serving fantastic tapas in the Cava Baja and Cuchilleros. 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.
  • Tribunal. Plenty of bars related to Madrid′s famous "movida", the plaza 2 de Mayo is in this area, you′ll find a higher concentration of bars playing rock, punk, etc. in this area. Calle Manuela Malasaña is a great place to start. Definitely check out La Via Lactea, a swingin' bar where you can twist the night away with local hipsters.
  • Gran Vía. Due to its location between the aforementioned areas, there are plenty of clubs around this main street, which usually open from 1AM to 6-7AM, and there is a constant opening of new ones due to the success (and long queues to get in).
  • Chueca. The gay neighborhood; and, by far, the most cosmopolitan place in town. Has become quite chic and expensive.
  • Alonso Martínez. Many pubs and later on 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 Via or Tribunal).
  • Torre Europa. A very posh or "pijo" crowd, full of pubs and clubs. Quite expensive and virtually uniform music, places, and people.
  • Moncloa. Many cheap bars and discos as it is near the university although some of the places are best avoided.

Sleep

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  • hotel gran via madrid, gran via (52), 902 052 394, [43]. Hotel on the Madrid famous gran via, a few minutes from Puerta del sol

Budget

The national youth hostel association can be found online at Reaj.com [44]. Prices range from €7.80 to €16 per person and night, including breakfast.

  • Cat's Hostel, Calle Cañizares, 6 (28012), +34 91 3692807 fax: +34 91 4299479 info@catshostel.com [45]. 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. Prices under €20.
  • Equity Point Madrid, Montera Street, 47 (28013), +34 91 5212935 [46][47]. Very central location, two steps from Puerta del Sol. It's a former classic Spanish "hostel", refurbished with all-ensuite rooms (singles, doubles, 6 bed dorms). Free internet access, free breakfast. It also has a lively bar.
  • Los Amigos Backpackers Hostel [48]. Very central location, beds available for less than €20. 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.


Mid-range

  • Hotel San Antonio de la Florida, Paseo de la Florida, 13, Metro: Line 8 from Airport Terminal T2 to Nuevos Ministerios and then take Metro line 10 to Principe Pio Metro Station which is only 5 minutes walk from the Hotel San Antonio de la Florida, +34 915418040 [49]. Inside the historic center of Madrid but near the beautiful area of the river Manzanares , between nature with the Park of Casa de Campo and the city with only ten minutes walking to the centric Puerta del Sol.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). Room rates starting from €53.
  • Abba Atocha Hotel, Pº Santa María de la Cabeza 73 [50]. Ideally located in the center of Madrid, close to the historical and artistic heart of the city (El Prado, Reina Sofía, and Thyssen Bornemisza Museums), and the Atocha railway station (where all Spanish railway connections and high-speed trains can be found).
  • Hostal Brisas, Calle Cruz 8 1º, Metro: Sol, +34 91 5314403 [51]. All rooms have ensuite, TV, central heating, air conditioning. Located in the heart of historic Madrid, this hotel is within 1 minute walking distance of the famous Puerta del Sol. Three subway stations are very close by: Sol, Sevilla, and Anton Martin. Singles 40€, doubles 55€.
  • Hostal Plaza d'Ort, Plaza del Angel 13, +34 91 4299041 [52]. Cheap hotel with a good location near Plaza de Santa Ana. All rooms feature bathrooms, TV and air conditioning. Singles 30€-38€, doubles 48€-58€.
  • Hostal San Martin, C/ Concepción Arenal 4, Metro: Callao, +34 915 319176 [53]. 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. Singles 30€-36€, doubles 42€-48€.
  • Hostal Villagarcía, Calle Fuencarral 10 3º, Metro: Gran Via, +34 91 5220585 [54]. 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. €30-€65 (single - room for four).
  • Hotel Liabeny, Calle Salud 3, +34 91 531 90 00[55]. Nice hotel located between Plaza de Callao and Puerta del Sol.
  • Pension Paquita, Calle Lacoma 5, +34 91 739 3831[56]. This is a nice establishment and family deal, it`s located near Madrid center in Lacoma Town.
  • Hotel NH Nacional [57]. Hotel is opposite Atocha station, in the heart of the Art Triangle, 1 minute from the new exhibition centre ‘Caixa Forum’ and the botanical gardens. There are 36 NH hotels in Madrid.
  • There are 16 Accor hotels in Madrid [58]. The hotels encompass the Sofitel, Novotel, Ibis, & Etap hotel in Madrid.
  • Hotel ME Madrid, Plaza de Santa Ana, 14, (34) 91 7016000 [59]. Experience-based personality hotel conveniently located in the heart of the historic city center steps away from the famous Museum del Prado and la Puerta del Sol.
  • Hostal Visa, Calle Pérez Galdós, 7 (28004), +34 91 5310987. Simple, clean and secure. Central location close to Gran Via. Friendly staff. Singles from €30.

Splurge

  • Hotel Madrid Preciados, c/ Preciados37 Madrid, 28013, +34 91 454 44 01 [61]. Hotel madrid, hotel in madrid. The Hotel Preciados is a new concept 4-star hotel. Its excellent location means that its customers can enjoy the best cultural and commercial attractions in Madrid, such as the Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace, El Prado Museum, Corte Ingles, FNAC...


  • Adler Hotel, Campomanes 7, 28013, Adler Hotel - Calle Velazquez 33, Goya 31, Toll Free +1 866 376 7831 . The Adler Hotel is housed in a completely refurbished building equipped with the modern facilities but whose nineteenth-century charm and secluded atmosphere have been carefully maintained. 45 deluxe rooms and suites. You will be a stone′s throw from the Golden Triangle of Art (The Prado Museum, The Reina Sofía Center and The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection).


  • Hotel De Las Letras, Gran via 11, Madrid, 28013, +34 91 5237980 [62]. Lovely hotel in central location. 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.
  • Hotel Villa Magna, Paseo de la Castellana 22, +34 91 5871234 [63], [64]. A 5-star hotel on one of Madrid's most exclusive streets. 151 rooms and suites. The hotel is surrounded by landscaped gardens.
  • Meninas Hotel, Campomanes 7, toll-free +1 866 376 7831. Hotel Meninas is 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.
  • Quo Godoy Hotel, Avda. Quitapesares nº 35, Villaviciosa de Odón. Toll Free +1 866 376 7831. The hotel is a brand new property, 4 star, 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.
  • Quo Puerta del Sol, Calle de Sevilla 4, Toll Free +1 866 376 7831. The turn-of-the-century grandeur with modern conveniences and amenities, together with a perfect location in the historical, cultural and commercial heart of Madrid, make of The Quo Puerta del Sol hotel a new place to discover in Spain’s capital. Madrid 's 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, designed and equipped to offer you a perfect stay.
  • Gran Hotel Velazquez, C/ Velázquez 62, 28001 Madrid, Spain, [65]. The Gran Hotel Velázquez is a 4 star hotel in Madrid located in the refined Salamanca district. This hotel has been providing stylish accommodation for over 50 years.
  • Maria Elena Palace, C/ Aduana 19, 28013 Madrid, Spain, [66]. 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.
  • Osuna, C/ Luis De La Mata 18, 28042 Madrid, Spain, [67]. Set in the middle of the main business districts of Madrid.
  • Asturias, C/ Sevilla 2, 28014 Madrid, Spain, (+34) 914 296 676‎ (), [68]. A 2 star Hotel. The Asturias is only 200 meters from the central Puerta del Sol.
  • Gran Melia Fenix, Hermosilla, 2, toll-free +1 866.43.MELIA. [69] Luxury hotel set in the heart of the Madrid's financial district, Barrio de Salamanca quarter. The Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen—all within neighboring proximity to Gran Melia Fenix. Guests will discover the authenticity and old-world charm of Madrid, Spain from this intimate location.
  • Mirasierra Suites Hotel & Spa, Calle de Alfredo Marquerie 43, 28034 Madrid, Spain, (+34) 91 727 79 00, [70]. Mirasierra Suites Hotel & Spa is a modern luxury hotel located in Madrid′s prestigious residential district Mirasierra, overlooking the Sierra de Guadarama. The hotel is also home to the Verdil Restaurant [71].

Apartments

Self-catering apartments have become a solution to make up for the lack of accommodation on several periods, when conventions or any other specific event overflow city′s capacity. They can also offer more space, more privacy, and the option of cheaper self-cooked meals.

  • Self catering apartments by Madrid.com, **, ** (), [73]. Madrid.com offers you a wide range of holiday apartments in Madrid
  • Plaza Mayor Apartments, Plaza Mayor 30 Madrid, +34 695 097 612, [74]. checkin: 12.00; checkout: 23.00. Luxury short-term apartment rental in Madrid at affordable rates. €120-€180/night apartments for up to 5 people.
  • 10 Rent, Nicaragua 1 3° 31 28016 Madrid, +34 91 350 81 91 (), [75]. Short-term apartment rental in Madrid. €110-€130/night.
  • Tourism Rent Apartments in Madrid (TourismRent.com), Calle de los Estudios, 3 (Madrid), +34911291880 (), [76]. Rental of luxury apartments, lofts and flats in downtown Madrid for short term and mid-term stays. Rental per days and weeks. Ask for availability.
  • Apartments FlatsInMadrid, Hortaleza, 46, + 34 91 524 96 71 (), [77]. Vacation apartments for short stays, all located in the city centre and main touristic areas. From 1 to 8 guests. Affordable prices. €74-€120/night.
  • Apartments Gran Via, Mesonero Romanos, 15, +34 626948979 (), [78]. Offers two apartments on the Gran Via street in Madrid. One has one bedroom, the other has two bedrooms. €100, €120/night + €40/visit cleaning fee.
  • Apartments in Madrid HomesForTravellers.com, Luchana 4, 2nd floor D 4, +34 914 442 719, +34 629196883, [79]. Apartments from 1 to 4 bedrooms in a variety of neighborhoods of Madrid. €90- €200/night.
  • StopInRoom Apartments, Nuñez de Arce, 4, +34 695 452 899 (), [80]. 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. €75-€150/night.
  • WeLoveMadrid (We love Madrid), Costanilla de los Angeles, 16, +34-91-7584318 (), [81]. We love Madrid offers luxury apartments in the centre of Madrid 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) €85-€200/night. (40,419354,-3,708085)


  • Hotel Madrid Preciados, C/Preciados nº37, +34 91 454 44 01, [82]. hotel madrid, hoteles madrid, hotel en madrid, 4 stars hotel €96-150/night.
  • CityRentals.es (www.CityRentals.es), Calle Nicasio Gallego, 19 Bajo Derecha, +34-91-5931230 (, fax: +34-91-5941605), [83]. CityRentals.es offers modern centrally located studios, 1 and 2 bedroom holiday apartments for short-term rentals. All apartments are safe, modern and fully equipped. Most have air conditioning, WiFi and an elevator. Some have a garage, a swimming pool access, a terrace, cable-TV and sport facilities. Business travellers welcome. €76-€130/night.

Contact

Due to the proliferation of wi-fi routers distributed by the DSL providers, Madrid has a considerable number of unsecured hotspots in the trendier neighborhoods, such as Chueca.

Stay safe

Madrid has a fair amount of non-violent pickpocket crime so always watch any bags (purses, luggage, shopping bags, etc) you may have with you especially in the underground and in the Puerta del Sol/Gran Via areas. Be extra careful with your luggage and if you are carrying numerous bags, be aware of anyone approaching you with an outspread map in hand asking for directions (this is very possibly a bid to distract you while an accomplice steals your luggage). Busy tourist areas are obvious prime targets, but pubs and clubs are not uncommon target zones. However, pickpocket crime in Madrid is very rarely confrontational and the city is equipped with cameras and there are always a lot of people in the streets, even at night time, so you can walk across the city without fear. Madrid is as safe as or safer than most mainstream tourist cities but a little precaution and common sense can save you some nasty surprises.

Getting robbed while withdrawing money from cashpoints is not uncommon at all. This happens in the centre by gangs of gypsy children (as young as 10 years old) whose parents take advantage of Spain's soft laws for under-18s (even if caught, these kids will be out in the streets the next day or even on the same day). These kids normally surround the unsuspecting victim while they are taking their money out. Normally, one will try to distract the victim with some sort of newspaper while another either takes the money that's coming out, or types in €500 to be taken out (to obviously take it).

Get out

Madrid is both a city and a region in Spain and as such has a number of sights within easy reach. Popular destinations include:

  • Alcalá de Henares— A UNESCO World Heritage site. This city has a lot of interesting places to visit. But the most important of Alcalá de Henares is that it is the city where the famous writer of Quixote, Cervantes, was born.
  • Aranjuez— A UNESCO World Heritage site, Aranjuez is an excellent day trip away from Madrid. Highlights include the Palacio Real, the summer home for the Bourbons and the lavishly designed Casa del Labrador near the Tagus River. There are some excellent restaurants serving the local specialty, artichokes. To get there, catch a local train from either the Atocha or Chamartin stations. It takes around 45 minutes from Atocha station, or around 55 minutes from Chamartin station to get to Aranjuez.
  • Chinchon— Typical Spanish town which retains its character from the 1700s.
  • El Escorial— A UNESCO World Heritage site. A mountainous retreat home to Spain's largest monastery, the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. To get there, catch a local train from either the Atocha or Chamartin stations. It is just over one hour from Atocha station or around 55 minutes from Chamartin station.
  • Segovia— A UNESCO World Heritage site. Medieval city home to a famous Roman aqueduct and the Spanish Mint (It doesn't belong to Madrid region, but it's quite close and worth a visit). It is about a 2 hour train ride from Atocha station or 1 hour and 45 minutes from Chamartin station on the regional trains, or as fast as 30 minutes on the high speed trains.
  • Toledo— A UNESCO World Heritage site. Medieval walled city previously home to the kings of Spain. It's about a 30 minute train ride from Atocha station with plenty of art and architecture so very worthy of a day trip.
  • Valle de los Caidos— (Valley of the fallen) The world's largest free-standing Christian cross. Franco′s tomb and memorial to Catholics (both in Franco's side and opposite) killed in the Civil War. Construction was ordered by Franco and erected on rocks through the labor of many Republican prisoners of war.
  • El Pardo— A little village near Madrid (8 km. from the city center, connected by bus) and close of "Palacio de la Zarzuela" (residence of the King of Spain, no visits allowed), surrounded by mountains and the location of the "Palacio de El Pardo" (El Pardo Palace), Franco′s residence between 1940 until his death (1975). It was a former residence of the Kings of Spain.

To check the train timetables and fares, visit the Renfe website [84].



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