- For other places with the same name, see Madrid (disambiguation).
Madrid's Town Hall (Palacio de Telecomunicaciones) in Cibeles square
Madrid  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.
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).
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.
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.
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 usually 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 is 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, Latin Americans, other Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Filipinos and Pakistanis 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 with a very strong personality. New design, trendy shops, cool cafes. Pop and electronic music.
- Lavapies: formely nowadays, 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 cool area for taps. Bohemian young people looking for stylish bars. It hosts the most popular flea market in Madrid, every Sunday morning.
- Salamanca: it is considered a posh area. Plenty of expensive boutiques, uniques shops with impossible prices, embassies and department stores.
- Moncloa: due to proximity to the main University in Madrid (Universidad Complutense), Moncloa is associated to students, though there are many shops, bars and monuments that has nothing to do with it.
- Barrio de las Letras / Huertas: most famous Spanish writers lived there (Cervantes, Quevedo, etc.). It is among Lavapies, Puerta del Sol and Paseo del Prado. Despite it is an area full of history and interesting buildings, it is also well-known because of its concentration of bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels. Very bustling area, take note it is also very touristic area as well. As many places are planned mainly for tourism, it is not visited as often as other areas in Madrid by Spanish people.
The nearest airport is Barajas International Airport (IATA: MAD), 902 404 704, . 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. Work on 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). It is also planned (according to www.elpais.es) that a commuter train line from Atocha and Chamartín will arrive to the airport by 2009.
This is one of the best and cheapest working metros in Europe. Trains are usually regular and on time.
- Aena — Madrid Barajas airport authority.
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  (+34 902-240-202).
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 ) which is connected to the rest of the city by Metro. Buses to and from Barcelona are based from the Avenida de America bus terminal (Ave. de America), also connected to the Metro.
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!
Using the Metro de Madrid  (Madrid's Subway/Underground) is efficient and usually easier than using the buses, especially if one is new to the city. Also, the underground tunnels of the Metro provide relief from the sun on particularly hot days. Single trip tickets with unlimited changes within Madrid city (zone A) cost €1,00. If you plan to make at least seven metro trips, think about buying the Metrobús tickets which offer a better value of 10 rides for €6.70. You can buy these tickets at Metro stations, news-stands, and estancos (tobacconists'). They are valid not just on the Metro but also on EMT city buses (the red ones), including the night bus network (its buses are called Búhos - night owls). 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 travelling by bus, the ticket needs to be stamped each time you enter a bus.
In addition to a bus pass, consider buying an Abono Turístico (tourist pass). This pass comes in five versions: lasting 1 (€3.80), 2 (€6.80), 3 (€9.00), 5 (€14.20), or 7 (€19.80) calendar days. There is also a 50% discount on the ticket for children under the age of 11. They are valid from the date they are first used. The date of expiration will be printed on the back of the ticket.
On Friday and Saturday nights, a night bus service runs on the same routes as the Metro lines once these have closed for the evening. This service, inaugurated in 2006, is known as the 'BuhoMetro'. However, the stops for these lines are sometimes not in obvious places, especially in the pedestrian areas in the city center.
EMT operates the city bus network. A single trip costs €1 (buy ticket on boarding), or buy a Metrobús ticket in advance (see "Metro" above) giving 10 rides for €6.70 and also valid on the Metro. The Consorcio Transportes Madrid  (Transport Consortium) has a good website (in English) that lists the available bus routes with information about the times and fares.
There are special night buses (called Búhos "night owl"). All the Búhos start at Plaza de Cibeles , going to all directions from there. Since 2006, there are also night buses following all of the metro lines and stops, though sometimes they don't stop straight in the metro exits due to the narrow streets surrounding some of them.
Using the Madrid Tourist Bus to move around is sometimes not a good idea, as it has no air conditioning/heating, and the temperatures inside can get to over 50ºC during the summer.
Taxis in Madrid are cheaper than in other European cities but much more expensive than travel by bus or the Metro.
They are widely available at all hours except Friday and Saturday night when they are difficult to catch due to diners and party people fighting for them. If you absolutely must have a taxi late on a Saturday night it's usually best to walk along the major thoroughfares towards your destination and try to catch a taxi as it returns to the city center. Calle Alcalá, Paseo del Prado, and Paseo del Recoletos are all good streets for this. Note that it can be next to impossible to get a taxi when it is raining, so it's usually best to wait it out if you can. 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). Ask for a receipt (in Spanish recibo por favor) if you feel the charge is too high - the driver is obligated to give you one.
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 should be about €20.
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, he will usually just be popping in to a shop, and it will make you feel better. 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.
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 largest park besides "La Casa de Campo" which is bigger with 1800 Ha. Enjoy the nature or do some sport, but note that the parks are considered dangerous after the sun sets.
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.
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 . Tu-Su: 9AM-8PM, Closed M and some holidays. Tickets €6, students, children, etc. €3, 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), . Mo-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-4:30PM. 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, . 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.
Dama de Elche: Iberian (preRoman) fertility goddess statue
- National Archeology Museum, C/ Serrano 13, Metro: Serrano, +34 91 5777912 . 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. 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 . 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 . 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 . 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.
Places of Interest
- Palacio Real, C/ Bailen s/n, +34 91 4548800, Metro: Opera . M-Sa: 9AM-5PM, Sundays and holidays: 9AM-3PM, closed occasionally for official ceremonies. Entry €8, guided tour €9, 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. In spite of its name, it is 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. "From the Habsburgs to Manhattan in 2 minutes". 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 Telecomunicaciones.
- 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 . 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.
- The Museum of the City. With five floors it tells the city's history, since it was founded by the Arabs. There are models of some urban areas.
- 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 stadium, Santiago Bernabeu, it showcases all the trophies of the considered most successful football club in the world. - Real Madrid.
Good starting points for happenings around town are the Madrid Tourism Board website  and esMADRID website . Downloading the esMADRID magazine  is also a good idea.
- Circulo de Bellas Artes Calle Marqués de Casa Riera 2, +34 91 5225092, metro Banco de España . 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.  The InMadrid newspaper  comes out once a month and has a number of articles and information about events around town. The Broad Sheet  is a free, glossy lifestyle magazine covering a range of topics and events. Aimed mostly at the college crowd, European Vibe  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 . 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).
- 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 . 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) . Another large venue for touring rock and pop bands.
- Futbol / Football / Soccer - Three teams from Madrid play in La Liga (Spain's premier division):
- Real Madrid  at Santiago Bernabeu stadium, metro Santiago Bernabeu.
- Atletico de Madrid  at Vicente Calderón stadium.
- Getafe Club de Futbol  at Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Also see Getafe.
- Bullfighting at Las Ventas Bullring . The birth place of bullfighting. Unless you find this spectacle distasteful, this is a must see if you visit Madrid during the bullfighting season. Tickets may nevertheless be expensive and hard to get for the more important corridas. You can find more information about the ring itself in the Wikipedia article here.
- Basketball. There are two major teams, Estudiantes and Real Madrid.
- Tennis. An important event held in October is the Madrid Tennis Masters , where the best ATP tennis players participate. The event is held every fall in the Recinto Ferial de la Casa de Campo which is accessible from either metro station Lago (Line 10) or station Alto de Extremadura (Line 6). Bus lines 31, 33, 36, 39 and 65 will also take you there.
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. You should be aware that sometimes when purchasing a ticket the person in the ticket booth will ask where you want to sit and then give you a ticket for that particular seat. Sit in your assigned seat unless the theater looks particularly empty. Some places will have ushers to show you to your seats. 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 . 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.
- PopEnglish offers English, German, Italian, French, Swedish and Spanish courses for individuals and companies in Madrid.
- Lingua  (central Madrid) offer various Spanish courses.
The office working day starts between 8AM and 9AM and officially finishes around 6PM. In practice, in some companies people start working from 11am. However it is normal for companies to demand more of their employees and as such most people take a long lunch (1 or 2 hours) and work until 8 in the evening. Shops and stores follow a different routine with most small shops shutting during the middle of the day (2PM-5PM) before opening until 9 in the evening. Bars and restaurants open until 2am so the city really is 24hrs depending on the business area.
Working in Madrid is subject to the same restrictions and permissions as working in Spain. The salaries are higher than most other cities with the possible exception of Barcelona. However, Madrid is still the most expensive city to live in Spain.
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 . It's a Harrod's-like 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.
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. If you want to spend a sunny afternoon in Mayor don't purchase any foods there, just drinks, and usually just beer since mixed drinks are watered down or cheaply made.
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. They offer deli take out service as well as tapas and raciónes at fairly reasonable prices.
TIMETABLE: Don't forget that the Spanish don't eat lunch until 1PM or 2PM, and dinner doesn't start until 9PM; 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.
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.
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, examples of which are the following:
- Tortilla de Patata— Also known as the Spanish omelette, this typical food is more like a potato frittata than an omelette. Although a humble offering, it is perhaps one of the most emblematic Spanish dishes.
- Bocadillo de Calamares— Fried battered calamari served in a ciabatta sandwich with lemon juice.
- Patatas Bravas— Fried potatoes which have been previously boiled, served with a spicy sauce.
- Sepia con alioli— Fried cuttlefish with garlic mayonnaise. Very popular among tourists.
- Paella Valenciana— The world renowned rice-dish from Eastern Spain.
- Gazpacho Andaluz— Cold soup from southern Spain. Is also widely served in Madrid, although it is generally nowhere near as good as in Andalusia.
- Empanadas Gallegas— Meat or tuna pies are also very popular in Madrid. Originally from region of Galicia.
- Revuelto de ajetes con setas— Scrambled eggs with fresh garlic sprouts and wild mushrooms. Also commonly contains shrimps.
- Setas al ajillo/Gambas al ajillo— Shrimps or wild mushrooms fried in garlic.
- Boquerones en vinagre— Anchovies marinated in vinegar with garlic and parsley.
- Ensaladilla Rusa (Russian Salad)— This potato salad dish of Russian origin, widely consumed in parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East, is strangely enough, extremely popular in Spain.
Jamón and meat products
Visiting Madrid or Spain in general without trying Jamon Iberico (ham) would be considered a crime by most Spaniards. Spaniards treat their ham very seriously and types and qualities of ham vary in a similar way to wine. Quality ham is generally expensive but has little to do with the many cheaper versions available. The diet of the pig is the most important factor in determining the quality of the ham. The least expensive ham comes from pigs fed on normal grains whereas medium grade pigs are raised on a combination of acorns and grains. The top tier pigs are fed exclusively on acorns and their hams are not considered to be the best grade without an "acorn fed" stamp. These top grade hams have a rich flavor and an oily texture but to non-connoisseurs, glossiness and the presence of white lines of fat crisscrossing a slice of ham is generally a good indicator of its quality.
Other typical Spanish pork products include items such as chorizo (sausages) or morcilla (black sausages generally made with rice or onion). Meat is of generally a very high quality in Spain and particularly in Madrid. Ordering beef steaks is highly recommended, since most comes from free range cows from the mountains north of the city. Pork cuts which are also highly coveted are those known as Presa Iberica and Secreto Iberico, an absolute must if found in the menu of any restaurant.
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.
Quality seafood in Spain comes from Spain's northwestern region of Galicia. So restaurants with the words Gallego (Galician) will generally specialize in seafood. If you are feeling adventurous you might try the Galician regional specialty Pulpo a la Gallega, which is boiled octopus served with paprika, rock salt and olive oil. Another adventurous option is Sepia which is cuttlefish, a relative of squid, or the various forms of Calamares (squid) that you can find in most seafood restaurants. If that isn't your style you can always order Gambas Ajillo (garlic shrimp), Pescado Frito (fried fish), Buñuelos de Bacalao (breaded and deep fried cod) or the ever-present Paella dishes. 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 better 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.
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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*mdash; 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.
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 . 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.
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.
- 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. 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 robadallo (turbot). Usually closed in August.
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.
It's important to know the difference between a pub (which closes at 3-3:30AM) and a club (which opens until 6-8AM but is usually deserted early in the night).
On weekends, the time to go out for copas (drinks) usually starts at about 11PM-1AM which is somewhat later than elsewhere in Europe. Before that, people usually do any number of things, have some tapas (raciones, algo para picar), eat a "real" dinner in a restaurant, stay at home with family, or go to cultural events. If you want to go dancing you will find that most of the clubs in Madrid are relatively empty before midnight (some do not even open until 1AM) and most won't get crowded until 3AM. People usually go to pubs, then go to the clubs until 6-8AM.
For a true Spanish experience, after a night of dancing and drinking it is not unusual to have a breakfast of chocolate con churros with your friends before going home. (CcC is a small cup of thick, melted chocolate served with freshly fried sweet fritters used for dipping in the chocolate, yum)
The law bans drinking in the streets (although in some areas it is still a common practice) and the minimal age to drink is 18, so if you're under this age, you may not be allowed to go into some pubs. Most nightclubs stay open until 6 am, and it is common for club-goers to make a late arrival at 2 or even 3 o'clock in the morning and stay until closing time. [Please note: After a night out, you may find yourself sharing a train or bus with people commuting to work. As a tourist in Madrid, please be considerate; public intoxication and loud drunken behavior will not be tolerated in the early hours of the morning].
- 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.
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The national youth hostel association can be found online at Reaj.com www.reaj.com. 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 [email protected] . 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 . A former classic Spanish "hostel", refurbished with all-ensuite rooms (singles, doubles, 6 bed dorms) and a lively bar.
- Los Amigos Backpackers Hostel . 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 is friendly.
- Abba Atocha Hotel, Pº Santa María de la Cabeza 73 . 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 . 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 . 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 . 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 . 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. Nice hotel located between Plaza de Callao and Puerta del Sol.
- Hotel NH Nacional . 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 . The hotels encompass the Sofitel, Novotel, Ibis, & Etap hotel in Madrid.
- 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 . 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. Restaurant.
- Hotel Villa Magna, Paseo de la Castellana 22, +34 91 5871234 , . 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.
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.
- Tourism Rent Apartments in Madrid (TourismRent.com), Calle de los Estudios, 3 (Madrid), ☎ +34911291880 ([email protected]), . 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 ([email protected]), . 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 ([email protected]), . 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, . 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 ([email protected]), . 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.
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. When using a laptop in an outdoor location always be aware of your surroundings and the location of your belongings. Also be aware that even though it is not yet illegal to use unsecured wi-fi signals there is work being done on the relevant laws and it may become illegal very soon.
Cheap mobile phones (less than 50 euro) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC (plaza Callao) or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange) and can be purchased without many formalities (ID is usually required). Recharging is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores "Frutos Secos," supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks -- recharging via the internet or via an ATM does not work with foreign credit cards.
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 beware 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, don't worry, 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.
Madrid is both a city and a region in Spain and as such has a number of sights within easy reach. Popular destinations include:
- 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.
- Chinchon— Typical Spanish town which retains its character from the 1700´s.
- 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.
- Segovia— A UNESCO World Heritage site. Medieval city home to the famous Roman aqueduct and the Spanish Mint (It doesn't belong to Madrid region, but it's quite close and worth the visit).
- Toledo— A UNESCO World Heritage site. Medieval walled city previously home to the kings of Spain. It's about a 50 minute train ride from Madrid with plenty of art and architecture so it's 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.
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