- PRICES LIST
- HOTELS (BEST RATED)
- HOTELS (BEST VALUE)
- COFFEE & DRINK
- SIGHTS & LANDMARKS
- MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
- THINGS TO DO
- FESTIVALS & EVENTS
- THINGS TO KNOW
- STAY SAFE
Madrid is a south-western European city, the capital of Spain, and the largest municipality of the Community of Madrid. The population of the city is almost 3.2 million with a metropolitan area population of around 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third-largest in the European Union after London and Paris .
The Madrid urban agglomeration has the third-largest GDP in the European Union and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, environment, media, fashion, science, culture, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities.
Due to its economic output, high standard of living, and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial centre of Southern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula. It hosts the head offices of the vast majority of major Spanish companies, such as Telefónica, Iberia and Repsol. Madrid is the 17th most livable city in the world according to Monocle magazine, in its 2014 index.
While Madrid possesses modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets. Its landmarks include the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Royal Theatre with its restored 1850 Opera House, the Buen Retiro Park (founded in 1631), the 19th-century National Library building (founded in 1712) containing some of Spain's historical archives, a large number of national museums and the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three art museums: Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía Museum, a museum of modern art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which completes the shortcomings of the other two museums. Cibeles Palace and Fountain have become the monument symbol of the city.
Madrid is home to two world-famous football clubs, Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid.
|POPULATION :||City: 3,141,992 / Metro: 6,489,162|
|FOUNDED :||9th century|
|TIME ZONE :||CET (UTC+1) Summer: CEST (UTC+2)|
|LANGUAGE :||Castilian Spanish (official)|
|RELIGION :||Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%|
|AREA :||604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||667 m (2,188 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||40°23′N 3°43′W|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49,41% |
• Female: 50,59%
|ETHNIC :||Spanish 83.8%, Others ( Romania, China, Equador, Morocco, Bolivia) 16.2%|
|AREA CODE :||+34 (ES) + 91 (M)|
|POSTAL CODE :||28001–28080|
|DIALING CODE :||+34 91|
The city has an impressive cultural and architectural heritage, which includes not only grand avenues, plazas, buildings and monuments, but also world-class art galleries and museums. On top of that, Madrid is renown for gastronomic delights and a busy, lively nightlife lasting up until dawn.
In the year 2006 Madrid was the fourth most visited city in Europe and the first of Spain, with almost seven million tourists. It is also the seat of the World Tourism Organization and the International Tourism Fair – FITUR. Most of the tourist attractions of Madrid are in the old town and the Ensanche, corresponding with the districts of Centro, Salamanca, Chamberí, Retiro and Arganzuela. The nerve centre of the city is the Puerta del Sol, starting point for the numbering of all city streets and all the country's highways.
The nightlife in Madrid is one of the city's main attractions. Tapas bars, cocktail bars, clubs, jazz lounges, live music venues, flamenco theatres, and establishments of all kinds cater to all. Every night, venues pertaining to the Live Music Venues Association La Noche en Vivo host a wide range of live music shows. Everything from acclaimed to up-and-coming artists, singer-songwriters to rock bands, jazz concerts or electronic music sessions to showcase music at its best.
Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations concerning art museums. Best known is the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three museums. The most famous one is the Prado Museum, known for such highlights as Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas and Francisco de Goya's La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. The other two museums are the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, established from a mixed private collection, and the Reina Sofía Museum, where Pablo Picasso's Guernica hangs, returned to Spain from New York after more than two decades.
The Prado Museum (Museo del Prado) is a museum and art gallery that features one of the world's finest collections of European art, from the 12th century to the early 19th century, based on the former Spanish Royal Collection. El Prado is one of the most visited museums in the world, and it is considered to be among the greatest museums of art. It has the best collection of artworks by Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Rubens, Titian, Hieronymus Bosch, José de Ribera and Patinir; and works by Rogier van der Weyden, Raphael Sanzio, Tintoretto, Veronese, Caravaggio, Van Dyck, Albrecht Dürer, Claude Lorrain, Murillo and Zurbarán, among others.
The first documented reference of the city originates in Andalusan times.
According to legend, Madrid was founded by Ocno Bianor (son of King Tyrrhenius of Tuscany and Mantua) and was named "Metragirta" or "Mantua Carpetana". Others contend that the original name of the city was "Ursaria" ("land of bears" in Latin), because of the many bears that were to be found in the nearby forests, which, together with the strawberry tree (Spanish madroño), have been the emblem of the city from the Middle Ages.
Although the site of modern-day Madrid has been occupied since prehistoric times, and there are archeological remains of Carpetani settlement, Roman villas, a Visigoth basilica near the church of Santa María de la Almudena and three Visigoth necropoleis near Casa de Campo, Tetúan and Vicálvaro, the first historical document about the existence of an established settlement in Madrid dates from the Muslim age. At the second half of the 9th century, Emir Muhammad I of Córdoba built a fortress on a headland near the river Manzanares, as one of the many fortresses he ordered to be built on the border between Al-Andalus and the kingdoms of León and Castile, with the objective of protecting Toledo from the Christian invasions and also as a starting point for Muslim offensives.
With the surrender of Toledo to Alfonso VI of León and Castile, the city was conquered by Christians in 1085, and it was integrated into the kingdom of Castile as a property of the Crown. Christians replaced Muslims in the occupation of the center of the city, while Muslims and Jews settled in the suburbs.
The Peninsular War against Napoleon, despite the last absolutist claims during the reign of Ferdinand VII, gave birth to a new country with a liberal and bourgeois character, open to influences coming from the rest of Europe. Madrid, the capital of Spain, experienced like no other city the changes caused by this opening and filled with theaters, cafes and newspapers.
The Spanish Constitution of 1931 was the first legislated on the state capital, setting it explicitly in Madrid.
Madrid was one of the most heavily affected cities of Spain in the Civil War (1936–1939). The city was a stronghold of the Republicans from July 1936. Its western suburbs were the scene of an all-out battle in November 1936 and it was during the Civil War that Madrid became the first European city to be bombed by aeroplanes.
During the economic boom in Spain from 1959 to 1973, the city experienced unprecedented, extraordinary development in terms of population and wealth, becoming the largest GDP city in Spain, and ranking third in Western Europe. The municipality was extended, annexing neighbouring council districts, to achieve the present extension of 607 km2 (234.36 sq mi). The south of Madrid became very industrialized, and there were massive migrations from rural areas of Spain into the city.
After the death of Franco and the start of the democratic regime, the 1978 constitution confirmed Madrid as the capital of Spain. In 1979, the first municipal elections brought Madrid's first democratically elected mayor since the Second Republic.
The Madrid region experiences a Mediterranean climate with continental characteristics, with mild to cold winters due to its altitude of 667 m (2,188 ft) above sea level and distance to the sea, including sporadic snowfalls and minimum temperatures sometimes below freezing.
Summers are warm to hot, in the warmest month - July -average temperatures during the day ranging from 32 to 33 °C (90 to 91 °F) depending on location. Summer temperatures occasionally climb over 35 °C (95 °F) during the city's heatwaves. Due to Madrid's altitude and dry climate, diurnal ranges are often significant during the summer.
Precipitation is concentrated in the autumn and spring, and is among the lowest of the cities of Europe. It is particularly sparse during the summer, taking the form of about two showers and/or thunderstorms a month.
Climate data for Madrid
|Average high °C (°F)||9.8|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||6.3|
|Average low °C (°F)||2.7|
|Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología|
Madrid is located just northeast of 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 center of the city including Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, and Plaza de Colón. The major streets in Madrid include the Gran Via, Alcalá Street, and Paseo de la Castellana.
As the national capital, Madrid concentrates activities directly connected with power (central and regional government, headquarters of Spanish companies, regional HQ of multinationals, financial institutions) and with knowledge and technological innovation (research centres and universities). It is one of Europe's largest financial centres and the largest in Spain. The city has 17 universities and over 30 research centres.
The economy of Madrid has become based increasingly on the service sector. In 2011 services accounted for 85.9% of value added, while industry contributed 7.9% and construction 6.1%.
Madrid is administratively divided into 21 districts, which are further subdivided into 128 wards (barrios)
Centro: Palacio, Embajadores, Cortes, Justicia, Universidad, Sol.
Arganzuela: Imperial, Acacias, La Chopera, Legazpi, Delicias, Palos de Moguer, Atocha.
Retiro: Pacífico, Adelfas, Estrella, Ibiza, Jerónimos, Niño Jesús.
Salamanca: Recoletos, Goya, Parque de las Avenidas, Fuente del Berro, Guindalera, Lista, Castellana.
Chamartín: El Viso, Prosperidad, Ciudad Jardín, Hispanoamérica, Nueva España, Castilla.
Tetuán: Bellas Vistas, Cuatro Caminos, Castillejos, Almenara, Valdeacederas, Berruguete.
Chamberí: Gaztambide, Arapiles, Trafalgar, Almagro, Vallehermoso, Ríos Rosas.
Fuencarral-El Pardo: El Pardo, Fuentelarreina, Peñagrande, Barrio del Pilar, La Paz, Valverde, Mirasierra, El Goloso.
Moncloa-Aravaca: Casa de Campo, Argüelles, Ciudad Universitaria, Valdezarza, Valdemarín, El Plantío, Aravaca.
Latina: Los Cármenes, Puerta del Ángel, Lucero, Aluche, Las Águilas, Campamento, Cuatro Vientos.
Carabanchel: Comillas, Opañel, San Isidro, Vista Alegre, Puerta Bonita, Buenavista, Abrantes.
Usera: Orcasitas, Orcasur, San Fermín, Almendrales, Moscardó, Zofío, Pradolongo.
Puente de Vallecas: Entrevías, San Diego, Palomeras Bajas, Palomeras Sureste, Portazgo, Numancia.
Moratalaz: Pavones, Horcajo, Marroquina, Media Legua, Fontarrón, Vinateros.
Ciudad Lineal: Ventas, Pueblo Nuevo, Quintana, La Concepción, San Pascual, San Juan Bautista, Colina, Atalaya, Costillares.
Hortaleza: Palomas, Valdefuentes, Canillas, Pinar del Rey, Apóstol Santiago, Piovera.
Villaverde: San Andrés, San Cristóbal, Butarque, Los Rosales, Los Ángeles.
Villa de Vallecas: Casco Histórico de Vallecas, Santa Eugenia.
Vicálvaro: Casco Histórico de Vicálvaro, Ambroz.
San Blas: Simancas, Hellín, Amposta, Arcos, Rosas, Rejas, Canillejas, Salvador.
Barajas: Alameda de Osuna, Aeropuerto, Casco Histórico de Barajas, Timón, Corralejos.
Some popular neighborhoods are:
- Alonso Martínez - Many pubs and 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 Vía or Tribunal).
- Barrio de las Letras / Huertas - Many of Spain's most famous writers lived there (Cervantes, Quevedo, etc.). It is among Lavapiés, 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. Plaza de Santa Ana is a beautiful square. It can be considered "too touristic" for some local people.
- Chueca - Near Malasaña and Gran Vía, it is the gay district (although no one is ever excluded) with a very strong personality. New design, trendy shops, cool cafes. Pop and electronic music. By far, the most cosmopolitan place in town. Has become quite chic and expensive.
- Tribunal / Malasaña - Alternative area. You can enjoy a café, a dinner, a book or just some drink. Mainly rock and pop music clubs, some of them still open from "La movida madrileña" (beginning of 80's). Calle Manuela Malasaña is a great place to eat, Calle del Pez a great place to have some drinks and Plaza Dos de Mayo is the heart of the district.
- Conde Duque - Like Malasaña, this district shares a similar audience. Calle Conde Duque is full of cafés and restaurant. Between the main squares in the district, Plaza de Guardias de Corps and Plaza de las Comendadoras, you will also find other options to have drinks, cafés or tapas. The Conde Duque Cultural Centre usually hosts shows, concerts and exhibitions.
- Gran Vía - The place that never sleeps. Major street that includes many popular nightclubs, usually open from 1AM to 6-7AM.
- La Latina - Near Lavapiés, it is the place to go for tapas and full of bohemian young people looking for stylish bars. In the old section, many small bars and pubs, a generally older crowd (late 20s, 30s). Contains La Cava Baja street. Avoid places in the Plaza Mayor but for sunbathing and beers. 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.
- Lavapiés - Multicultural quarter of the city, with more than 50% foreign residents, mostly from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Plenty of world music bars and many alternative theaters and art galleries. Lavapiés is maybe the most cosmopolitan and hippy area at the same time in Madrid. Indian restaurants, alternative cafés, African music and South American shops. Walking around for a coffee is well worth it.
- Moncloa - Due to its proximity to the main University in Madrid (Universidad Complutense), Moncloa is associated with students and a student lifestyle, many cheap bars and discos as it is near the university, although some of the places are best avoided.
- Salamanca - Plenty of expensive boutiques, unique shops with impossible prices and department stores.
- Torre Europa. There used to be several posh pubs and clubs under the tower across from the stadium. There are 4 or 5 bars and discos in the avenida de Brazil area catering to a young and student crowd.
- Ciudad Universitaria. This area is where most of the students reside as there are several dorms in this area. There are a few cheap bars with great nightlife starting from Thursdays.
"Locutorios" (Call Shops) are widely spread in Madrid near touristy locations. In Madrid do it's very easy to find one. Making calls from "Locutorios" tend to be much cheaper, especially international calls (usually made through VoIP). They are usually a good pick for calling home.
When travelling in Spain is not easy getting connected, Internet pre-paid cards can be purchased but with few formalities. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias in Madrid are available after ordering, and most Hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.
Prepaid portable WiFi Hot spot service is now available in Spain (provided by trip NETer) which allows the connection to any WiFi device: Smart-phones, Tablets, PCs…
Prices in Madrid
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€0.80|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||€5.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||€28.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||€40.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||€50.00|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||€7.00|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||€3.00|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||€3.00|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||€10.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||€12.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||€0.11|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||€5.00|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||€1.25|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||€80.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||€34.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||€79.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||€1.50|
39 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
173 € per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Madrid Barajas International Airport (IATA: MAD) is the most important airport of Madrid. There are direct flights there from most major airports in Europe and the Americas as well as a few African and Asian airports. The extensive, practical and affordable metro network extends to the airport, and with one or two transfers you can get pretty much everywhere in the city. Alternatively you can take a taxi or bus.
Be aware that since Terminal 4 opened Madrid Airport has two widely separated terminal complexes (T1, 2, 3 on the one hand and T4 on the other). Be sure to check which you need to depart from, as getting from one complex to another is time consuming and expensive, as the €3 airport surcharge on public transport need to be paid on short trips between the terminals as well.
Be careful of buying SIM cards in the Madrid Airport; there is a vendor selling UK-based SIM cards with exorbitant rates that work out to 100 euros for about 125 megabytes of data, with spotty service in Spain. Instead, get a SIM card from a standard vendor in Spain (Vodaphone, Moviestar, Orange, Lebara etc), which will be much more reasonable with better reception.
If you plan to visit Barcelona before or after Madrid, you can take advantage of multiple daily flights between the cities, which are sometimes cheaper than taking the high-speed train. The flight time is c.a. 1h15min and prices start at below €50 one way. Do note, however, that you need to add time to get to and from the airports to reach the city centres, while the train stations are in the cities already. Security checks and the time you have to be at the gate prior to departure are also longer than for a train so that if you are pressed for time and money is of no concern to you the train is almost always the better option. Also make sure to figure in all fees and surcharges when comparing prices as certain airlines are notorious for charging (sometimes exorbitant) fees for everything from luggage to printing a boarding pass.
Two smaller airports, Torrejón and Cuatro Vientos, also serve the city, however, there are no commercial flights coming in or out of these two airports.
The state-owned rail company Renfe (+34 902-240-202, ) operates train service to/from Madrid. Frequent long-distance trains operate between Madrid and Alicante (3hr 15min), Barcelona (2hr 40min),Córdoba (2hr), Malaga (2hr 30min), Salamanca (2hr 45min), Seville (2hr 20min), Valencia (2hrs) and Zaragoza (2hr 15min).
There are also 2 direct international trains, run by Renfe under Trenhoteldesignation, in service every night to and from Lisbon (Lusitania, 9 hours) and Paris Gare Austerlitz (Francisco de Goya, 14hrs). These have a variety of sleeping accommodations (in 4-, 2- and single-person berths) as well as reclining and 'super-reclining' seats. A trip to Santiago de Compostela, clocking at 5 hours during the day, can also be made overnight (in which case it takes closer to 9 hours).
Madrid has two train stations: Chamartín and Atocha, both of which have excellent Metro and Cercanias commuter train connections. If you need to get between the two stations, Metro line 1 (€1.50, 30–40 minutes) or Cercanias lines C3 and C4 (€1.35, 15 minutes) offer the most direct connection.
Estación de Madrid-Chamartín is on the north side of the city and is served by the Metro stop of the same name on Metro lines 1 and 10. Most northbound and both international trains arrive and depart from Chamartín station. Facilities at this station include a tourist information office, post office, hotel, car hire, shops and luggage storage.
Trains to Barcelona, Valencia and southern Spain depart from Atocha. Estación de Atocha is on the southern side of the city center and is divided into two main sections, an area for Cercanías trains and one for long-distance trains. The long-distance side is set inside the towering old station, where you will find a tropical garden with a pond full of small turtles as well as a number of shops. A memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack of 11 March 2004 is in the Cercanías portion of the station near the metro stop.
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 (C/ de Méndez Álvaro, 3, tel. +34 914 684 200) which is accessible by metro.
Buses to and from Barcelona and Bilbao operate from the Estación de Avenida de América (Avda de América, 9), also accessible by metro.
There are car rental facilities available at 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 may not get a signal underground. Plan your turns before you enter the tunnels.
Transportation - Get Around
By Public Transport
Madrid proudly sports one of the best public transportation networks in the world and the second largest metro network in Europe, second only to that in London. Buses and subways work with the same tickets, and operate within the integrated transit network of CRTM (Plaza del Descubridor Diego de Ordás 3, M-F 08:00-20:00).
A single ticket for Zone A costs €1.50 (max. 5 stations) and can be purchased from metro ticket vending machines or directly from the bus driver on entry. A ten-trip ticket (10 viajes) costs €12.20 for Zone A (no transfers), or €18.30 (including all transfers within 60 min); these tickets can be shared with other travelers. Children under the age of 4 may travel without a ticket, and children under 11 receive a 50% discount. Tickets can be purchased at metro stations, newsstands, and estancos (tobacconists).
If you plan to use public transport a lot you can purchase a Tourist Card, which allows unlimited travel as well as discounted admission for some tourist attractions. The card can be purchased an any metro station, as well as at the CRTM headquarters. For travel within Zone A the following rates apply: 1 day (€8.40), 2 days (€14.20), 3 days (€18.40), 5 days (€26.80), or 7 days (€35.40). These tickets are personalized and cannot be shared.
If you're planning on staying for a long time, you might consider investing into the Tarjeta Transporte Público. You can load travel plans onto them according to your social status – regular (adult), joven (youth) ormayor (senior). Application must be made in advance at any metro station with a completed application and a copy of your passport. The travel plans can be loaded from any metro vending machine.
The Metro de Madrid (Madrid's subway/underground) is one of the best and least expensive metros in Europe. Additionally the Metro's underground tunnels can provide relief from the sun on hot days.
Ticket machines are bilingual with instructions in both Spanish and English. Stamping the ticket one time allows you to use the metro network as long and far as you like – but make sure you stay inside the Metro zone, as once you leave it you'll have to stamp your ticket again. When you travel to/from airport stations, there is additional supplement of €3, which can be paid at the entrance or exit. The airport passes do not require this supplement as it is included in the price.
Generally the Metro operates daily from 06:00-01:30, although you can catch some trains as late as 02:00. On Friday and Saturday evenings as well as the eves of public holidays BúhoMetro runs a night bus service on the same routes as the Metro lines, from roughly 01:30-05:30. Stops for these lines are sometimes not in obvious places, especially in the pedestrian areas in the city center.
Bicycles are permitted on the Metro during most periods except during rush hour, generally M-F 07:30-09:30, 14:00-16:00, and 18:00-20:00.Pets in carriers and guide/personal assistance dogs are also permitted.
In general pickpockets are rife on the metro, and travellers should take appropriate precautions. Announcements in metro stations are made in Spanish only, though signs are bilingual in Spanish and English.
Whatever the Metro doesn't cover, EMT buses do. Generally buses run 06:00-24:00. Búho (owl) night buses have their main hub at Plaza de Cibeles, covering most of the city at roughly 20-minute intervals.
All buses are equipped with free wi-fi facility (EMTmadrid), easy to use with any type of laptop or mobile device. For travellers with smartphones, there is a helpful official EMT app (iPhone and Android) with a route planner and schedules.
Madrid has a system of local trains (cercanías) that connect outlying suburbs and villages with the city center. Although most useful for visiting historic or outdoor destinations outside the city core, they are also useful for quickly getting from one end of the city to another, as well as to Terminal T4 Barajas airport.
Taxis can be hard to find during late hours on weekends, especially if there is some rain. Unlike in other European cities, there are few taxi stands; just stand by the side of a major road or bus stop and wave your hand to signal an available taxi passing by. Available taxis have a greenlibre 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 and a 2 at night, which become 2 and 3 on public holidays such as Christmas Eve.
There are also special surcharges for entering or leaving the airport/train station. 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.
Be aware there are some taxi drivers that will do what is called la vuelta al ruedo which basically means they will drive you around or through the crowded avenues to increase the fare.
Most taxi drivers do not speak English, so you should have the names and/or addresses of your destinations written in Spanish to show your taxi driver. Likewise, get your hotel's business card in case you get lost.
Transportation by private automobile in Madrid can be a nightmare. 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 03:00 (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. Finding a parking space 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 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.
For free parking but within walking distance of 20 minutes to city centre (Sol), try the street at Principe Pio metro stop. The place to park is the street near to the shopping mall called 'Calle de Mozart'. It is packed with cars on weekday mornings because of people getting to the Metro station. During the evenings and weekends it's easy to get a parking spot.
In short, renting a car is not only unnecessary, but not recommended for getting around downtown Madrid, and a car is likely to be more of a liability than an asset. Visitors should make use of Madrid's excellent public transportation instead. Renting a car only makes sense if you are planning to leave Madrid and drive to the nearby towns.
Although Madrid does not appear as a bike-friendly city at a first sight, things are changing slowly to make bike experience more comfortable. Several streets in historical downtown have been transformed into mixed-traffic spaces where pedestrians and bikes have priority over cars. There are new easy-bike paths all along the river and connecting important parks.
It is also possible to use a lot of narrow easy streets where traffic is slow and calm to travel along the city without depending on exclusive bike paths. There are some official and unofficial publications with these streets along the web.
To avoid some of Madrid inconveniencies, such as hot weather or slopy streets it is also possible to get bikes on Metro and Railways trains with some schedule restrictions, and on every public transport without restrictions when using folding-bikes.
Madrid now has its own public bike rental service, called BiciMAD. It boasts 1560 electric bikes spread over 123 stations. Unfortunately, the site is not (yet) available in English. However, the information at the bike stations is available in multiple languages. A casual user pays no initial fee, but €2 for every first hour or fraction, and €4 for the second. A contactless card is issued instantaneously upon signing up at any bike station. The process is relatively quick and requires some basic information such as name, ID, email and credit card number. Swipe the card through the somewhat larger opening on the left of any bike to retrieve it. Use the buttons to the left of the handlebar to toggle electric assistance (three levels). Here you'll also find a button to switch on the lights. So watch out, you'll need to do this yourself when it gets dark! Be equally careful when using electric assistance for the first time, as it might require some getting used to.
There are also some rent shops in the historical center area such as the company Baja Bikes Madrid or Urban Biking . This company offers several rental points in Madrid (Retiro, Atocha, Madrid-Río, etc.). They offer guided and self-guided bicycle tours, using electric or conventional bicycles.
- Trixi bike tours, c/Jardines 12, (+34) 915 231 547. Bicycle tours and rental from €4/hr. Daily 11am start city bike tours in English for 3hrs, €22
- BEST RATED -
- BEST VALUE -
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.
In addition to the shopping areas below, 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.
- 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 & 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.
- 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.
El Corte Inglés
El Corte Inglés is a Spanish institution, the only remaining department store chain in the country. El Corte Inglés stores are ubiquitous and dominate the retail market, setting the tone and reflecting the preferences of the Spanish customers. While hardly as exciting as visiting the over-the-top luxury department stores in New York or London, they provide a nice shopping environment, and many feature nice (and reasonably priced) gastronomic options. So, if the weather is bad, one of their stores may be your last resort.
Some of the more prominent El Corte Inglés locations in Madrid:
- El Corte Inglés Preciados, Preciados 1-9. Occupying the full first few blocks of the pedestrian boulevard Calle Preciados, El Corte Inglés serves as a gateway to the shopping paradise from Puerta de Sol
- El Corte Inglés Plaza de Callao, Plaza de Callao, 2. A much smaller store is to be found at the other end of Calle Preciados. Not quite a looker from the outside, it holds a top-floor restaurant with brilliant views over the Gran Via
- El Corte Inglés Nuevos Ministerios, Raimundo Fernández Villaverde, 65. If for some reason you will end up in the concrete jungle of Nuevos Ministerios with time to kill, there is an 8-storey sprawling El Corte Inglés for your delight just over the station
You will also find stores along Calle de Serrano, Calle de Goya and Calle de Princesa, as well as in most shopping centres on the outskirts of Madrid.
Loewe is one of the world's oldest luxury brands, founded back in the middle of the 19th century in Madrid. You will find a grouping of their flagship stores around the intersection of Calle Serrano and Calle de Goya, one in Gran Via and, if you forgot something, two at T1 and T4 of the Barajas Airport.
- El Rastro (Metro: La Latina). only open on Sunday mornings.Madrid's largest flea market, featuring rows upon rows of private vendors selling a variety of homemade bads, 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.
- Cuesta de Moyano (near Museo del Prado). A quaint outdoor book market
- Fuencarral Market (Mercado de Fuencarral), Fuencarral street 45, between Tribunal and Gran Via (Metro: Gran Via). 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. Its 3 floors crowded of modern shops are aimed specially for young people.
- El Mercado de San Miguel, San Miguel Plaza (Close to the west corner of Plaza Mayor). Sets the ambience of a traditional market, with the advantages of the new times. It has an Iron and Glass Structure from the 20th Century.
- Mercado de la Cebada, Plaza de la Cebada. Large market hall next to La Latina metro with 3 large floors of dozens of vendors, each specializing in, for example, fruit, meat, cheese, or bread. There's even a bar inside.
- Las Rozas Village Chic Outlet Shopping, Calle Juan Ramón Jimenez 3, Las Rozas, . M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM. Fantastic outlet in the suburbs of Madrid with villa-like shops. It is part of the Chic Outlet Shopping Villages in Europe which has other villa-like outlets in Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, London, Milan, Brussels, Frankfurt, and Munich. [www] It offers up to 60% off in over 100 luxury brands such as Bally, Burberry, Hugo Boss Man and Woman, Pepe Jeans, Loewe, Desigual, Camper, Tommy Hilfiger and Versace. In Las Rozas Village you can also find some coffee places like Starbucks and a few bars. It takes around 40 minutes to get there by car from the center of Madrid. A fantastic experience for a warm Sunday afternoon.
Dishes popular throughout Spain are also widely served in Madrid.
In addition, Madrid has a number of "typical" dishes:
- Gallinejas and Entresijos - Lamb chitterlings fried in its fat. Very traditional and typical from Madrid city.
- 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 vegetables. The particularity of this stew is the way it is served. The soup, chickpeas and meat are served and eaten separately.
- Oreja de Cerdo - Pigs ears, fried in garlic. This popular dish is widely eaten throughout central Spain.
- Sopa de Ajo - 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.
It is ironic that Madrid, located right in the centre of Spain has higher quality seafood than most coastal regions. This quality comes at a price, and most Spaniards only occasionally shell out for a mariscada (Spanish for "seafood feast"). Experiencing Madrid's seafood may be, for the visitor, an experience which will be worth the cost.
Meat and meat products (Jamon Iberico, morcilla, chorizo etc.) are of generally a very high quality in Spain and particularly 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. These paellas are usually of bad quality and should 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.
A much better option is the La Latina neighborhood just south of Plaza Mayor, especially along the Cava Baja street. To enjoy a gastronomic tourof this area you can join the Old Madrid Tapas & Wine Tour. There are also a number of deli-like shops along Calle Arenal that offer food para llevar (for take away).
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, apinxto or a pincho.
The Spaniards don't eat lunch until 2 or 3PM, and dinner doesn't start until 9 or 10PM. 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 8PM, serving until 11PM. This schedule is usually for restaurants since bars and "mesones" are usually opened all day long offering a wide variety of "tapas" and "bocadillos"(rolls) for a cheap price. If you're really desperate, the standard bunch of fast food chains do stay open throughout the day.
- Freiduría de Gallinejas Embajadores, Calle de Embajadores 84 (near Glorieta Embajadores, Metro lines L3 and L5), . 11:00-23:00. Another classic tapas bar in Madrid. Not for conservative stomachs. Their most popular tapas are two of the most typical and traditional dishes in Madrid: Gallinejas and Entresijos. A treat for adventurous palates and lamb-lovers.
- Museo del Jamon, Several locations. Offers deli takeout service as well as tapas and raciónes at reasonable prices. They offer €1 ham sandwiches and a "picnic" lunch consisting of a said ham sandwich, fresh fruit and a drink for €2.
- Cervecería 100 Montaditos, Several locations.Home to the famous 100 "montaditos" (small sandwiches), you'll find several branches dotted around the city. Great place to go for a cheap drink with a bite to eat. CURRENT OFFER: Buy a montadito (1-2 euro) and a pint of beer is just 1 euro!
- Home Burger, 2 locations: Malasaña District and Plaza de la Luna(Gran Via). THE place for serious hamburgers. Americans will feel at home!
- Antigua Huevería, Malasaña District, Calle San vicente Ferrer, 32, . 14:00-17:00 and 20:00-00:00 weekend until 2:00. The very best huevos rotos ("broken eggs") and croquetas. Cheap, beautiful and delicious!! The chicken-adorned tiled front dates from the 19th century. 15€.
- Tapería de Malasaña, Calle Corredera Alta de San Pablo 8, . 8AM-2AM. Taperia with lunch room out the back. Reviews mixed about the tapas but great place for lunch; they do a great Cocido Madrileño and the house wine is more than acceptable (although served somewhat cold). Menu del dia €11.
- Alhambra, Calle de Victoria 9 (Metro: Sevilla), .This is a good place to drop by on a hot afternoon to enjoy a cold beer and some Andalusian tapas. Sample the sausages and cheeses.
- Al-Jaima (Cocina del Desierto), Calle Barbieri 1 (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.
- Bacchus, Avenida Moratalaz 141 (Metro: Vinateros or Artilleros), . Right in the middle of Lonja, an area filled with places to dine and drink. It is still close enough to city centre but offers a more relaxed ambience, making it one especially suitable for families, though all types of customers can be encountered. Bacchus offers a mixture of innovative and traditional-style tapas. Very good though expensive wine list. It can get very busy on weekends. Nice outside seating area makes up for the fact that inside it is rather small and, in traditional Tapas-bar style, somewhat littered.
- Casa de Valencia, Paseo Pintor Rosales 58.
- Chocolatería San Ginés, Calle de Pasadizo De San Ginés 5 (metro: Sol), . Specializing in chocolate con churros, this Madrid fixture is open 24 hours a day. The perfect place to top off a night on the town. Also offers the usual assortment of coffees and teas.
- Cocina Mex-Mex, Calle Libertad 33 (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.
- D'fabula, Plaza Conde de Barajas 3 (Metro: Opera).
- El Inti de Oro, Calle de Ventura de la Vega 12 (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.
- Estay, Calle de Hermosilla 46 (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 come highly-recommended as well. Very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Jaen 3, Calle Poitiers 3 (metro: Coslada Estadio Olimpico), . An excellent bar de tapas and restaurant. A nice place to enjoy Spanish food and lifestyle without spending too much. Being located just outside central Madrid, it's far from being a tourist trap and you can enjoy good food and true "raciones" (portions). The pleasant owners are very willing to share stories about Madrid and Spain more generally. In summer time it has a superb terrace, within a stones throw of the Olympic Stadium.
- La Bola, Calle de la Bola 5 (Metro: Opera).
- La Casa del Abuelo, Calle de Victoria 12 (metro: Sevilla), . A Madrid landmark in operation for over 100 years, this bar attracts a standing room only crowd on the weekends. They mainly serve shrimp-based tapas dishes so if you're not into shellfish it may be advisable to steer clear. Order a plate of their garlic shrimp and accompany with their house wine.
- La Mucca, Calle Del Pez (Metro: Noviciado). Nice designer restaurant popular within the 20s-30s crowd. Good music, cool people, even better food and cocktails. The kitchen opens in the afternoon.
- La Zapateria Tapas Bar, Calle de Victoria 8 (Metro: Sevilla), . Great potato dishes that come mixed with chorizo or other ingredients. Also try the pincho moruno (pork skewers) or something else displayed on ice in the front window. The Ribeiro on tap (sparkling white wine from Galicia) is not to be missed.
- Malacatin, Calle Ruda 5. Serves typical Madrid cuisine.
- Midnight Rose, Plaza de Santa Ana, 14. Daily 1:30PM-4:30PM, 8:30PM-12AM. The ME Madrid Hotel´s restaurant. Mediterranean cuisine with Asian, American and Italian influences, with an emphasis on seasonal Produce. Dining for private parties is also provided.
- Samm, Calle de Carlos Caamaño 3 (Metro: Pio XII). Best paella in Madrid, but only if you bring more than two people by order of the proprietor. Frequented mainly by locals, prepare to be stared at by the wait staff if you are from out of town.
- Siam, Calle San Bernardino 6 (Metro: Plaza España or San Bernardino), . Beautifully-decorated with a tranquil atmosphere, the food is reasonable and offers a pleasant departure from Spanish fare, if so desired. Most mains between €8 and €12.
- The Penthouse, Plaza de Santa Ana 14, . Located on the roof of the ME Madrid hotel, this terrace-style restaurant serves tapas and traditional cuisine. At night they serve great mojitos in a youthful, club-like atmosphere.
- La Barraca, C/. Reina , 29 ; 28004, . Recommended for paella if more authentic experience is sought. A meal for 2 with a drink each costs in the region of €50 Euros. 40 Euros +.
- Botín, Calle Cuchilleros 17 (Metro: La Latina), .Opened in 1725, Botín is listed in the Guinness 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). Insidersmadrid.com offers a tour of this institution.
- Casa Lucio, Calle de Cava Baja 35 (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, their roasts and their huevos rotos.
- La Trainera, Calle de Lagasca 60 (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 rodaballo (turbot). Usually closed in August.
- Teatriz, Calle Hermosilla 15 (metro: Serrano or Colon), . Built inside a former theatre, the restaurant counts with 4 spaces (restaurant, tapas, sushi bar, cocktail bar). Unique decoration and a wide range of dishes. Desserts are specially recommended.
- Manete, Calle Doctor Castelo 2. From €30.
- Casa Nemesio, Paseo de la Castellana 260. Seafood.
- Telegrafo, Calle Padre Damian (500m from Bernabeu Stadium).Arguably, the best seafood in Madrid.
Coffe & Drink
- Café Central, Plaza del Angel 10 (Metro: Sol). Café by day, live jazz music at night.
- Cafe Circulo de Bellas Artes, Calle Alcala 42 (Metro: Banco de Espana). A soaring hall on the ground floor of Madrid´s art center combines atmosphere, excellent food and good coffee at reasonable prices. A wonderful place for lunch not far from Madrid´s shopping or museums.
- Cafe Commercial, Cafe Commercial (Metro: Bilbao). opened in the 1880´s, this is the oldest cafe in Madrid. Has been run by the same family since the early 1900s. There´s a modern internet cafe upstairs, but the downstairs remains traditional.
- Café Gijón, Paseo Recoletos 21 (Metro: Banco de España or Colon). A historic literary cafe. The outdoor terraza is nice in the summer.
- Café de Oriente, Plaza Oriente 2 (Metro: Opera). Overlooks the Plaza Oriente and faces Palacio Real. Outdoor tables in summer, cozy indoor rooms in the cold months. Basement banquet room with a glass floor over ancient remains. Excellent food.
- Café Pabellon del Espejo, Paseo de Recoletos 31 (Metro: Colon).Opened in 1978, but looks much older. Good food and very crowded during lunchtime.
- La Mallorquina, Puerta del Sol 8, Mayor, 2 (Metro: Sol). Famous for its pastries. Peaceful upstairs room where you can linger undisturbed over your café con leche and napolitana de chocolate (chocolate croissant).
- La Tabacalera, Plaza de Embajadores (Metro: Embajadores (L3)). until 11PM. An abandoned tobacco factory turned into a huge Berlin-like alternative art space driven by the diverse locals of Lavapies district. Also Tens of free workshops daily. Nice big cheap outdoors terrace. Free.
- Nuevo Café Barbieri, Calle Ave Maria 45 (Metro: Lavapies). Slightly scruffy cafe draws an avante garde crowd at night.
Sights & Landmarks
Landmarks and architecture
- Plaza Mayor (Metro: Sol (lines 1, 2 and 3) or Opera (lines 2, 5 and R)). Perhaps 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 enclosed square has played host to bullfights, markets, symphonies, tournaments and executions. Today it is ringed with tourist shops, cafes and restaurants. The statue of Philip III sits in the middle across from the Casa de la Panadería, a beautifully painted building with two towers on the north side of the square (not to be confused with the other building with two towers on the opposite side) which once served as the headquarters of the bakers' guild and now houses a tourist information office. Access to the square is via one of the many arcades which connect to the surrounding pedestrian streets.
- Puerta del Sol (Metro: Sol (lines 1, 2 and 3)). This plaza is the heart of Madrid and one of the busiest places in the city - a hub for the local transit system, a favorite meeting spot for locals, a visible area for festivals or political demonstrations, and a opportune location for tour guides, street performers, pickpockets and anyone else looking to take advantage of all the tourists on hand. In the center of the plaza sits the Statue of King Charles III on horseback, facing the Royal Post Office (Real Casa de Correos), the red-and-white building adorned with a clock tower on the plaza's south side. Originally the building served as Madrid's first post office, then the police headquarters under Franco before being transformed into it's current use as the office of the President of Madrid, the head of the regional government. The clock tower is noteworthy for being the center focus of New Year's celebrations every year, which are broadcast across Spain and mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes (one for each ring of the bell) and the beginning of a new year. In front of the building isKilometer Zero (Kilómetro Cero), a plaque showing the point where the measuring of national highway system begins. On the east side of the plaza is the famous Bear and the Madroño Tree Statue, a bear climbing a madroño tree, which is the symbol of Madrid, and on the west side of the plaza is the Mariblanca statue, a white marble goddess of at least the XVII century. Nearby the giant neon Tío Pepe sign sits above the plaza and is a famous fixture of this area.
- Palacio Real (Royal Palace), Calle Bailen (Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R)), , e-mail:[email protected].Oct-Mar daily 10:00-18:00, Apr-Sep daily 10:00-20:00; last admission 1 hr before closing; closed occasionally for official ceremonies. The Palacio Real is an enormous palace, one of the biggest in Europe, with scorching plains of concrete around it. Though it is the official residence of the King of Spain, the royal family does not actually reside here and it is generally used only for state ceremonies. The Royal Palace is considered to be one of the most emblematic and beautiful buildings in Madrid, not only for its location on a bluff overlooking the river valley but also for its architecture and the artistic treasures to be found in its rooms. A simple one-way tour of the palace (both self-guided and guided are available) takes you up the grand stairway and through the lavishly decorated state rooms with their elegant tapestries, frescoes, porcelain, carvings and added decor like china, silverware, medals, etc. From the courtyard you can access the Farmacia (Pharmacy), which contains hundreds of bottles of early medicines and a reconstructed laboratory, and the Real Armorial (Royal Armory), a two-story collection of medieval weapons and armor. Explanations in the armory are in Spanish only, so do not expect to understand much unless your know the Spanish names for all that medieval weaponry.
- The lines to get in are very long, especially on weekday evenings when the place is free – try to go early. Photography inside the palace is not allowed, but is permitted in the foyer and courtyard. Free storage lockers are available behind the ticket office. Entry €11; guided tour additional €4; students and children €6; free (disabled/teachers/children under 5); free M-Th 16:00-18:00 (Oct-Mar) and 18:00-20:00 (Apr-Sep) for EU citizens, legal residents, and citizens of Latin American countries (valid ID/passport required).
- Catedral de la Almudena(Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R)).Daily 09:00-20:30. This massive cathedral faces the Palacio Real. Finished near the end of 20th century in the Neo-Gothic style, it is where the Princes of Asturias Felipe and Letizia were married in 2004. Especially noteworthy are the 5,000-pipe organ, a large painted 15th century Gothic altarpiece, and the empty 12th-century coffin of Madrid's patron saint, Isidro. €1 (requested donation).
- Plaza de España (Metro: Plaza de España (lines 3 and 10) or Noviciado (line 2)). A prominent square on the northwest side of central district, adjacent to two of the tallest buildings in Madrid: the Torre de Madrid (the taller, white one) and the Edificio España (the red and white one). The square contains a large fountain and a sculpture of Cervantes and his famous Don Quixote and Sancho Panza characters.
- Gran Vía (Metro: Banco de España (line 2), Gran Via (lines 1 and 5), Callao (lines 3 and 5), Santo Domingo (line 2), or Plaza de España (lines 3 and 10)). Literally "Great Way" (better translated as "Broadway"), Gran Vía is one of the busiest avenues in Madrid. Running from Plaza de España to Plaza de Cibeles, it is the location of the cinema district and a number of shopping malls and is lined with large billboards and lights. There's a constant buzz of traffic and life - 3-4AM early morning traffic jams are not unusual.
- Plaza de Cibeles (Metro: Banco de España (line 2)). A massive roundabout at the intersection of Calle de Alcala and Paseo del Prado, this plaza houses one of Madrid's emblems, the Fountain of Cibeles, which portrays the Roman goddess of fertility sitting upon a chariot pulled by two lions. On the southeast corner dominating the Plaza is one of the world's most beautiful city halls, the Palacio de Cibeles (formerly the Palacio de las Comunicaciones), an impressive structure with a jaw-droppingly spectacular façade. Inside, the building holds a cultural center with changing art exhibits and info on Madrid, and you can climb to the upper floors for some excellent views out the window. On the southwest corner of the square sits the imposing Bank of Spain (Banco de España) building, while the northeast corner is home to the Palacio de Linares, which holds the Casa de América, a cultural center with an art gallery of Latin American works.
- Plaza de Castilla (Metro: Plaza de Castilla (lines 1, 9 and 10); Bus line 27). On the north side of the city and bisected by Paseo de la Castellana, this plaza is in the center of Madrid's skyscraper district. A tall obelisk sits in the center of the plaza while the Gate of Europe (Puerta de Europa) towers, two slanted towers which frame the boulevard, are situated on the north side of the plaza. Taking the #27 bus, which runs along Paseo del Prado and Paseo de la Castellana and ends at Plaza de Castilla, will take you pass several Madrid highrises. North of the Plaza is the Four Towers (Cuatro Torres), four sleek new skyscrapers which are the tallest in Spain.
- Mercado de La Cebada(Metro: La Latina (lines 5)). Once a glass and iron market of the late XIX century, it is now a vaulted concrete building which still serves as a neighborhood market. Where it used to stand an annexed public swimming pool and sports facilities, it lies now an empty field, used and managed by a neighbor association.
- Mercado de San Miguel (Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R)). Near Plaza Mayor is this indoor market, identifiable by its ornate iron posts. Built in 1913, it's full of a wide range of high quality food. Even if you're not buying anything, it's worth entering for the sights and smells of dried ham, fine wine, freshly baked goods and other treats from the vendors inside.
- Plaza de la Villa (Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R)). The main square during Middle Age, as Calle Mayor (High Street) was the main street as well. It houses the former City Hall, the former Academy of Fine Arts and the Archbishopric.
- El Retiro Park (Metro: Retiro (line 2), Ibiza (line 9) or Atocha (line 1)). The main 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 theCrystal 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.
- Royal Botanical Garden (Real Jardin Botanico) (Metro: Atocha (line 1)).
- Parque del Capricho (Metro: El Capricho (line 5)). Open on weekends only, as of Sept., 2013. One of the most beautiful parks in Madrid. Built in 1797-1839, it has a strong Romanticism influence. Declared as an Historic Garden, its lakes with swans and ducks, labyrinths, palaces, squares and fountains makes this a lovely place.
- Templo de Debod, Paseo del Pintor Rosales 2 (Metro: Plaza de España (lines 3 and 10)), . Tue-Fri: 10AM - 2PM and 6PM - 8PM, Sat-Sun: 10AM- 2PM, closed Mondays and holidays. 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 by Egypt 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. A great place to watch the sunset.Free.
- Rosaleda del Parque del Oeste, Calle Rosaleda 2 (Metro: Principe Pio (lines 6 and 10)). 10AM - 7PM. The rose garden of Madrid, located in the same park as the Templo de Debod. If you like roses and are in Madrid when they have flowered, definitely worth a visit. The garden holds an international competition yearly. Entry is free.
- La Casa de Campo (Metro: Lago, Batan (line 10) or Casa de Campo (lines 5 and 10)). The park at the rear of the 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 (5.90 € return) across into the park.
- Zoo Aquarium Madrid (Metro: Casa de Campo (lines 5 and 10); Bus line 33). See the Pandas. Pet the Lemurs. Watch the Dolphin show. Enjoy the Bird show. Adults €18.65; Children: €15.
- Faunia, Avenida de las Comunidades 28 (The nearest metro: Valdebernando). Zoological park. Different sections of the park include animals from different locations (Africa, Antarctica etc..) Adult 25,75e.
Museums & Galleries
This is Madrid's museum district, named for the three major art museums clustered along Paseo del Prado east of the old city: the Museo del Prado, one of the finest art museums in the world, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, a baron's collection of classical art, and the Reina Sofia, Madrid's modern art museum. However, a couple of smaller museums also occupy the neighborhood which are well worth seeing as well.
- Museo del Prado, Paseo de Prado (Metro: Atocha (line 1) or Banco de España (line 2); Bus lines 9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37 and 45), . (information), (ticket sales)M-Sa 10:00-20:00, Su 10:00-19:00; closed/shortened hrs on some holidays; extended hrs for special exhibits; last admission 30 min before closing.One of the finest art collections in the world and the best collection of classical art in Madrid. It includes many different collections: the Spanish (El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya), the Flemish and Dutch (Rubens, van Dyck, and Brueghel), Italian (Botticelli, Tintoretto, Titian, Caravaggio, and Veronese) and German (Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, and Baldung Grien).
Some highlights not to miss at the Prado include the Bosch masterpieceThe Garden of Earthly Delights, Velázquez's masterpiece Las Meninas, the Black Paintings and The Third of May 1808 by Goya, Adoration of the Shepards by El Greco, and David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio. Be sure to walk along Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian walkway full of fountains and trees near the museum.
- Visitors can bypass the often extremely long queues by purchasing tickets beforehand by phone or online, for an additional €.90 fee per ticket. Tickets purchased online can be printed or downloaded onto a smart phone; all pre-purchased tickets can be picked up (with a reference number) or presented at the main (Jerónimos) entrance in the northeast corner of the building. If you are planning to spend a full day at the museum, it is possible to leave (e.g. for lunch) and reenter by getting your ticket stamped at the 'Educación' counter just inside the main entrance.
- An affordable café and cafeteria-style restaurant are on the ground floor, along with a gift shop. No food, drinks, backpacks or umbrellas are permitted (a bag check is just inside the main entrance). Photography not permitted. €14/16 (adults/special exhibits), €7 (seniors 65+), free (children/students under 25); free admission M-Sa 18:00-20:00, Su/holidays 17:00-19:00; additional obligatory fee for special exhibits.
- Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Museo Reina Sofía / Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Center), C/ Santa Isabel, 52(Metro: Atocha (line 1)), , fax: . M W-Sa 10:00-21:00, Su 10:00-19:00. Housed in a former public hospital with an adjacent modern wing, this museum contains Spain's largest collection of 20th century art. It includes many of Pablo Picasso's most revered works including his renowned Guernica. The Reina Sofía also houses masterpieces by other Spanish masters including Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Juan Gris, and others, as well as works by a number of international artists, including Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Francis Bacon, and more.
- Purchasing tickets in advance online will give you a discounted entry (€6 for adults, €3 for special exhibits), as well as a way to beat the queues. During free admission periods, it is still required to pick up a ticket at the ticket office; these times are especially busy and it best to arrive a bit before the free period actually begins. Photography is permitted, except in the room with Picasso's Guernica and the other rooms adjacent to it. Backpacks are not permitted, but there are free lockers after both entrances (in the older and modern wings). €8 (adults), €4 (children/seniors/students), €4 special exhibits; free admission M W-Sa 19:00-21:00, Su 13:30-19:00.
- Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art, Paseo de Prado, 8 (Metro: Banco de España (line 2)), . Tu-Su 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. Adults: €8; Students: €8; Children under 12: Free.
- Caixa Forum, Paseo de Prado, 36 (Metro: Atocha (line 1)).A private centre particularly well-known for the "vertical garden" by Patrick Blanc installed on a wall in front of the museum, as well as the quite special architecture of the building itself. The vertical garden can be seen from the street outside, just a block south of the Thyssen-Bornemisza and across from the Prado. The museum only displays temporary exhibitions, usually of a very high quality, in fields ranging from archaeology to contemporary art and architecture. Previously free, it now charges €4, waived if you have a La Caixa account.
- Paseo del Prado 5. (Metro: Banco de España (line 2)). Beautiful museum with vast interesting collections about Spanish sailing. Free on Saturdays and Sundays, otherwise 3€. Note that also on weekends 3€ is suggested.,
- Museo de América, Avenida Reyes Católicos 6 (Metro: Moncloa (lines 3 and 6). Easy walk to/from Museo del Traje.), . , Tu-Sa: 9:30AM-3PM, Th: 9:30-7PM, Su 10AM-3PM, Closed Mondays, Jan 1, May 1, Dec 24, 25, 31. An excellent museum that many tourists miss. 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 1500s. Beware: most explanations to the objects on display are in Spanish only. Adults: €3, students €1.50, free Su, free for seniors and children.
- Museo de San Isidro, los Origenes de Madrid (Museum of San Isidro, the Origins of Madrid), Plaza San Andres 2 (Metro: Latina (line 5)), . Mo: Closed Tu-Su: 9:30AM-8PM. This is a museum of two parts. One part is dedicated to Saint Isidore the Laborer, while the other part is dedicated to the paleontology and archaeology of the region of Madrid from prehistory to 1561 (when Philip II made Madrid the seat of the court). Most of the exhibits are explained in both Spanish and English. Entry is free.
- Museo de Historia de Madrid (Museum of History of Madrid), Calle Fuencarral 78 (Metro: Tribunal (lines 1 and 10)), . Mo: Closed, Tu-Su: 9:30AM-8PM. This museum is dedicated to the history of Madrid from 1561 to present. Much of the history is explained by referencing exhibited paintings depicting people or events from the time, so it is also an art museum. Several maps and models (including two large ones in the basement) show how Madrid grew since the 16th century. All exhibits are explained in both English and Spanish. Entry is free.
- Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Calle Serrano 122 (Metro: Gregorio Mariñon (lines 7 and 10)), . W-M: 10AM-4:30PM. Closed: Tu; Jan 1; Easter Thursday and Friday; May 2 and 3; Nov 1; Dec 6 and 25.. 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. It is located in Lázaro Galdiano's rather lavish former residence. This is an excellent museum that is usually not crowded and well worth the price of admission. €4, free on Sundays.
- Museo Sorolla, General Martínez Campos, 37 (Metro: Iglesia (line 1) or Rubén Darío (line 5); Bus lines 5, 7, 14, 16, 27, 40, 45, 61, 147 and 150), . Tu - Sat: 0930 to 2000 - Sun 1000-1500. This museum is in what was the impressionist painter's house and features fine furniture and porcelain as well as his paintings. €3.
- Museo del Traje (The Costume Museum), Avenida de Juan de Herrera 2 (Metro: Moncloa (lines 3 and 6) or Ciudad Universitaria (line 6). Easy walk to/from Museo de América.), . Tu-Sa 9:30AM-7PM, Su 10AM-3PM. Closed 1, 6 Jan, 1, 15 May, 24, 25, 31 Dec.Offers a wide selection of historical and more temporary costumes (from the early 1200s to now) which shows the aspects of different cultures and Spain. The museum also organizes many activities and events. The building itself won some architectural awards in the 1970s. The restaurant underneath the museum is fairly good. The museum is surrounded by sprawling gardens, replete with well maintained lawns and fountains, are a pleasant place to relax.
- National Archeology Museum, Calle Serrano 13(Metro: Serrano (line 4)), . Tu-Sa: 9:30AM-5PM, Sun and Holidays 9:30AM-3PM. 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.. Don't let the sound of it frighten you. This large, well-designed museum opened again in April 2014 after several years of renovation works. It 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, Visigoth, Arab, and into the modern age). The famous Dama de Elche, an Iberian (pre-Roman) goddess statue, is in this museum. There are also a few pieces from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. €3, Free entry Saturday after 2:30PM and Sundays.
- Real Academia de Bella Artes de San Fernando, Calle Alcalá 13(Metro: Sevilla or Banco de España (line 2)), . Tu-Fr: 9:30AM-7PM, Sa-M: 9:30-4:30PM.. Highly impressive art collection with paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints. Several Goya masterpieces.Adults: €3, students €1.50, free W, free for children and seniors.
- 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.
- Planetario de Madrid (Planetarium of Madrid), Avenida del Planetario 16 (Metro: Mendez Alvaro (line 6) or Arganzuela-Planetario (line 6)), . Mo: Closed, Tu-Fr: 9:30AM-1:45PM and 5PM-7:45PM, Sa-Su: 11AM-1:45PM and 5PM-8:45PM. Features several exhibits related to space exploration, two screens playing documentaries, an interactive area and, of course, the planetarium. Projections last 45 minutes each. Different ones play on different days so check their website. Note that all the exhibits are explained in Spanish only and the projections in the planetarium are also in Spanish. Entry is free but the sessions in the planetarium each have a cost of €3.60 for a regular ticket and €1.65 for a reduced ticket (children and seniors).
- Museo de Ferrocarril de Madrid (Railway Museum of Madrid), Paseo de las Delicias 61 (Metro: Delicias (line 3); Renfe Cercanias: Delicias), . Mo: Closed, Tu-Th: 10AM-3PM, Fr-Sa: 10AM-8PM, Su: 10AM-3PM. Museum with four railway tracks, exhibiting a large number of steam, diesel and electric locomotives used in Spain in the 19th and 20th century. Also on display are several model railways. Exhibits are described in Spanish only.Regular ticket price €5.09, reduced ticket price €3.56 (children, students and seniors), on Sundays €2.04.
- Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (National Museum of Science and Technology), Pintor Velazquez s/n, Alcobendas (Metro: Marques de la Valdavia (line 10)), . This is a museum dedicated to the history of science and technology, exhibiting scientific instruments and consumer products from the last few centuries. It also contains a large educational hall, explaining natural phenomena with practical hands-on exhibits (fun for children). Many exhibits are described in English and Spanish, although some sections have only a summary in English. Entry is free.
- Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (National Museum of Natural Sciences), José Gutiérrez Abascal 2 (Metro: Gregorio Marañón, Nuevos Ministerios; Renfe Cercanias: Nuevos Ministerios), . Contains a large collection of fossils and minerals, plus educational exhibits (some are described in English but many are in Spanish only). Has two parts open to visitors with separate entrances. The ticket is purchased at the main entrance and to visit the other part you need to exit from the main entrance, turn left and follow the building until you reach the second entrance. Your ticket will be checked again there so don't lose it. Regular price €6, reduced price €3.
- Museo Geominero (Geo-mining Museum), c/ Rios Rosas 23 (Metro: Rios Rosas), . Part of the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mining, this museum is dedicated to Geology (with a focus on Mineralogy) and Paleontology, containing an impressive collection of fossils and minerals discovered on the territory of Spain and abroad. Also contains educational exhibits, although all are described in Spanish only. The interior of the building is just as impressive and may be worth a quick tour even if you are not particularly interested in Paleontology and Mineralogy. Free.
- Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Museum of Anthropology), Alfonso XII, 68 (Metro: Atocha Renfe; Renfe Cercanias: Atocha), . , Mo: closed, Tu-Sa: 9:30AM-8PM, Su: 10AM-3PM. Small but interesting museum with artefacts and models from the indigenous people of Asia (mainly the Philippines, former colony of Spain), Africa and America. The exhibits are described in Spanish, however on each floor there is a leaflet in English explaining all sections. Regular price €3, reduced price €1.50, free on Sat after 2PM and on Sun.
- Fundación Juan March, Castelló 77 (Metro: Núñez de Balboa (lines 5 and 9)). Mo-Fr 11AM–8PM, Sa 11AM-2PM. Closed Su; Holidays.A few blocks off high-end shopping street Calle Serrano, this private foundation houses free temporary exhibitions of (mostly 20th-century) art which are often worth checking out. 10-15min walk from either Museo Lázaro Galdiano or National Archaeology Museum. Free.
Things to do
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 monthly InMadrid newspaper [www] has a number of articles and information about events around town. Aimed at the 20-35-year-old crowd,European Vibe has listings for concerts, exhibitions, bars, restaurants, parties and other events happening in Madrid as well as articles about living in the city. Check the websites for current distribution points.
- Circulo de Bellas Artes, Calle Marqués de Casa Riera 2 (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. See the website (in Spanish) for a list of activities.
- 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.
- Las Tablas, Plaza España, 9 (Walk from Plaza España metro), , e-mail: [email protected]. A very popular Tablao located near the Plaza España metro station. The package consisting of a Flamenco show (at 9 or 10PM) with a candle-lit dinner and a glass of Sangria wine is truly a treat.
- Tablao Flamenco Cardamomo (Cardamomo Flamenco Show), Echegaray 15. Authentic Flamenco show in the center of Madrid, one of the gratest tablaos flamencos all over Spain, typical Spanish food during the performance.
- Cafe De Chinitas, C/ Torija, 7-28013 (Walk from Santo Domingo metro), , e-mail: [email protected]. A great show lasting about 90 minutes. Unbelievable amount of energy and passion put in by the performers. There is an option to have dinner as well but that is a separate package and costs more. 25 Euros without dinner / drinks.
- Sala Marco Aldany, Princesa 1 (Metro: Plaza España), . National touring acts for rock and pop music.
- La Riviera, Paseo Bajo de la Virgen (Metro: Puerta del Angel or Principe Pío), . Another large venue for touring rock and pop bands.
- Gruta 77, Calle Cuclillo 6 (Metro: Oporto), .Concerts everyday; pop, rock, punk
Classical & opera
- 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.
- Teatro Real (Royal Theatre), Plaza de Oriente(Metro: Opera). The main opera theatre in Madrid.
- Teatro de la Zarzuela. The Spanish version of the Operetta (Zarzuela) is performed here.
- Orquesta de Radio Televisión Española. Performs every Thu and Fri at the Teatro Monumental on Calle Atocha.
- Auditorio 400 of the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. The main venue for contemporary music.
- Cuartel del Condeduque.
- Foundation Joan March Auditorium.
- Banda Municipal de Madrid. Performs in El Retiro Park in the summer.
Four teams from Madrid play in La Liga (Spain's premier division). The matches between Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid are known as "El Derbi Madrileño" (English: Madrid Derby).
- Real Madrid. For football fanatics, a trip to the Santiago Bernabeu, the home of local club Real Madrid is not to be missed. Real Madrid is the most successful football club in Spain and Europe, having been crowned Spanish champions a record 32 times and European champions a record 11 times. Their biggest rivals by far are FC Barcelona, with which it contests matches known popularly as El Clásicoat least twice a year. The rivalry between the two sides is by far the biggest in Spain and one of the most intense in the world, and stems from the longstanding traditional rivalry between the Spanish and Catalan speaking parts of Spain. As such, tickets for such matches often sell out very quickly. In case you arrive in Madrid on non-match periods, you can take a self-guided tour of the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. It includes tours around the field, the dressing rooms, the Press Room and the Real Madrid Museum where the trophies and other memorabilia are kept. Without a loyalty card, the typical fees for adults is €16. However, a few days before a match, the chances are you will not be able to take the full tour, but only a part of it, with at least the Real Madrid Museum, at a reduced price.
- Atlético de Madrid. Plays games in the Vicente Calderón stadium. The club is one of the most successful in Spanish League history, having won both La Liga and the Copa del Rey on ten occasions, including a double in 1996. They also won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1962, were European Cup runners-up in 1974 and 2014, Intercontinental Cup winners in 1975 and more recently won the UEFA Europa League both in 2010 and 2012.
- Getafe Club de Fútbol. Plays games at Coliseum Alfonso Pérez in Getafe, one of the dormitory cities of Madrid.
- Rayo Vallecano. Plays games at Estadio Teresa Rivero. A popular team from the Vallecas area in Madrid, known for its alternative culture and left-wing ultras.
- Las Ventas Bullring(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 (May, during San Isidro). Tickets may nevertheless be expensive and hard to get for the more important corridas. Anyway, it usually is used as a venue for shows and concerts.
There are three major teams: Estudiantes, Real Madrid, and Fuenlabrada. The first two play at the Palacio de los Deportes (commercially known as Barclaycard Center) every other weekend during the season. Fuenlabrada, based in the Madrid suburb of the same name, play at Polideportivo Fernando Martín.
- Madrid Tennis Master 1000, Camino de Perales (Metro: San Fermin - Orcasur; Bus numbers 23 - 78 - 123). Held in mid-May at La Caja Mágica.
Movies and film
There are a number of cinemas offering American and British films in English (along with films in other languages). These original films are denoted in the listings by a designation of "V.O." which stands forversión original. Cinemas in Madrid will sometimes have días del espectador (viewer days) with cheaper ticket prices, usually on Mondays or Wednesdays. Some of the V.O. theaters to check out are:
- Yelmo Cineplex Ideal, Doctor Cortezo 6 (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 (metro: Anton Martín), . This is a wonderful, old Spanish theater dating from the 1920s. It has three screens and shows mainly "art-house" and critically acclaimed films in V.O. In the summertime, they screen movies on the roof. From €2.50.
- Princesa, Calle Princesa 3 (metro: Plaza de España), .
- Renoir, Calle Martín de los Heros 12 (Metro: Plaza de España), .
- Cines Golem Alphaville, Calle Martin de los Heros 14 (metro: Plaza de España), .
- Renoir Cuatro Caminos, Calle Raimundo Fernández Villaverde 10(metro: Cuatro Caminos), .
- Renoir Retiro, Calle Narvaez 42 (metro: Ibiza), .
- Cinesa Proyecciones 3D, Calle Fuencarral 136(metro: Quevedo), . This is a great movie theatre showing all of the latest movies. It has both 3D movies and normal movies. There is also a shop in the movie theatre where they sell all kinds of candy, drinks, and popcorn. Great for children!7.60€(on working days),7.60€ (on weekends and festives), 6.00€ (reduced priced). Note: an additional 2.50€ will be charged for 3D movies.
- Cinesa Dreams Palacio de Hielo, C/ Silvano, 77 (metro: Canillas), . This cinema is located in a shopping mall know for its ice-skating ring. It is a great place where teenagers can hang out since the mall also has restaurants, bars, and shops. 7.50€.
- Kinepolis, C/ Edgar Neville s/n, Ciudad de la Imagen, Pozuelo de Alarcon (metro ligero: Ciudad del Cine (ML3)). Outside the city, in the suburb of Pozuelo de Alarcon. The largest megaplex in the world by number of seats. Has 25 screens. The offer of movies shown in their original version is increasing.
There are also a few movie theatres in Madrid where they show the original version of the movies subtitled in their original language. The list is provided below.
- Alphaville, Calle Martin de los Herros 14 (metro: Plaza de Espana), . 6.50€ (on working days), 7,50€ (on festives, evenings, and weekends).
- California, Calle Andrés Mellado 53 (metro: Moncloa), .
Festivals and events
- La Transhumancia. Annual event during which the center of Madrid is free of cars and is instead filled with shepherds exercising their ancient right to drive sheep and livestock through the city.
- Madrid Gay Pride. Annual event held between the last week of June and the first of July, with more than 1.5million people in the street from all across the world. It began as a weekend party, but lately turned into a full week extravaganza.
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 Vía 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 faces the street.
In the tapas bars, you should get free food with your drinks.
- El Tigre, calle de los Infantas 30 (Metro: Gran Vía / Chueca).Probably the most well-known tapas bar in Madrid, a must do. Don't get frightened by how crowded the bar is and go in anyway. This is one of the most lively places in the city! Get beers, big glasses of wine or "un mini de mojito" and get free big plates of tapas every time you order. Very affordable.
- La Esquina de Eusebio, Calle Caramuel 16 (Metro: Puerta del Angel). Trays of tapas are passed from one person to another in this typical bar of Madrid, absolutely not touristy but really worth it! And it's not so far from the center.
- The Sherry Corner, Pza. de San Miguel. Mercado de San Miguel(Metro: Sol). Sherry-tasting available in 8 languages. Commentary by knowledgeable oenologists explaining the details of the history, elaboration methods and tasting notes for each of the wines, while inviting guests to combine them with tapas served at different market stalls.
Nightlife starts later in Madrid, with most people heading to the bars at 10-11PM.
- El Rincón de Fogg. Calle Juan de Urbieta 12. (Metro: Pacífico). Open daily from 07:00 to 22:00 and Friday and Saturday till 00:00. You can have 2 litres of sangría in a self service dispenser from just €14, or €13 for 2 litres of beer, and you get a free plate of patatas bravas. They also have a delicious selection of bocatas from €2,45. Big TV to watch the football matches while enjoying eating and drinking. If you say you've read this, they'll invite you to a glass of rosado wine.
- Areia, Calle Horteleza 96 (Metro: Chueca). Very cool chill out bar decorated with deep colours in a Moroccan style. Dark and inviting. The seating includes cushions on the floor, traditional tables and chairs, or if you’re lucky, grab the four poster bed at the back. Drinks: €7 before 22:00 and €8 after 22:00.
- La Corolla, Visitag Manzana 10 (Metro: La Latina). Specializes in delicious ‘tostas’ (small pieces of toast with different toppings) and avocado (aguacate), along with cañas (small beers). Tostas + 2 cañas: €10.
- La Via Lactea, Calle de Velarde 18, Malasaña (Metro: Tribunal), . A swingin' bar where you can twist the night away with local hipsters.
- Miali, Plaza Santa Ana (Metro: Sol). Nice terrace outside,great for people-watching. The interior is tastefully decorated.
- Museo Chicote, Gran Via(Metro: Gran Via). Daily: 17:00 to 02:00. Voted the Best European Bar 2004 by MTV-Campari. Extensive cocktail list. Claims to have served drinks to many famous celebrities, including, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Lana Turner, Gary Cooper, Orson Wells, Yul Brynner and Ernest Hemingway, Catherine Zeta Jones, Hugh Grant and Tim Robbins. They only serve drinks.
- Redbar, Joaquín María López 28 (Metro: Islas Filipinas). Daily: 17:00 to 02:00. Small, cozy cocktail bar with great music and a very nice and original decoration. Extensive cocktail list.
- Dubliners, Espoz y Mina, 7 (Metro: Sol'). An Irish bar in the centre of Madrid near Puerta del Sol. The bar has televisions and is one of the places where sport can be seen.
- Stork Bar, Mancebos 2, La Latina (Metro: Latina), , e-mail: [email protected]. Cocktail Lounge & World food in the heart of La Latina. Great summer terrace and surprising basement brick cave with live music and karaoke.
- Xaloc Bar de Copas, Huertas, 41, Las Letras (Metro: Antón Martín, Sevilla), , e-mail: [email protected].19:00 to 03:30. Discopub in the core of Barrio de las Letras. Great place with excellent prices but a good quality. The bar includes nice music, a DJ, and a moderately large dance floor.
One of the best options to enjoy the Madrid's nightlife is the popular quarterBarrio de las Letras, especially its main street, Calle Huertas and others in the area.
Clubs generally open at about midnight. If you go in any earlier you may find it quite empty. Many clubs don't close until 6AM, and even then everyone is still full of life.
- Demode, Calle Ballesta (At the back of Gran Via, closest metro may be Tribunal/Gran Via). From 00:00 to 04:00AM. Cool electronic sounds for 20s-30s. Free.
- El Sol, Calle Jardines, 3 (Metro: Gran Via). Tuesday - Saturday: 24:00-05:30. Popular with the 20-30 age group. Plays a mix of 70s, funk, and bossanova sounds. No dress code, but people do tend to look cool. Entry including 1 drink: €9.
- Joy, Calle Arenal 11 (Metro: Sol). Well known across Europe. Attracts at multi-national crowd. Popular with tourists as well as locals. It plays a mix of popular dance music. Every Thursday there is a Students Party.
- Kapital, Atocha, 125 (Metro: Atocha). Enormous club with 7 floors. However, despite it's popularity this club is usually not worth visiting. The owner has a policy to try and limit the number of foreigners in the club so if you are from anywhere except Spain, you will likely get bad treatment.€10-20.
- Ohm, Plaza de Callao, 1 (in Gran Via street) (Metro: Callao (L3)). From 00:00 to 07:00AM. Popular Commercial House club with a mixed young straight/gay crowd. €10-20 with mixed drink.
- Pacha, Calle Barcelo, 11 (Metro: Tribunal or Alonso Martinez).Thursday, Friday and Saturday: from 23:30 to 06:00. Different dance music styles from night to night. Glitz and glamour. Strict doormen.Expect to be charged according to the glamour of the event you're attending.
- Stardust, Princesa 1 (Metro: Plaza España). From 00:00 to 07:00AM.Powerful Techno/House club popular within the younger crowd. €10-20 with mixed drink.
- El Junco Jazz Club, Pza. Santa Bárbara 10 (Metro: Alonso Martínez). From 23:00 to 05:30AM weekdays, to 06:00AM weekends.Smallish venue, starts the night with live jazz, later on morphs into relaxed night club. Not cheap (once inside, beer still €5.50, mixed drink €8.50), so attracts older crowd than others nearby. €6 with beer, €9 with mixed drink.
Things to know
Madrid is located just northeast of 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 center of the city including Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, and Plaza de Colón. The major streets in Madrid include the Gran Via, Alcalá Street, and Paseo de la Castellana.
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 midday heat during summer, a "siesta" can be still 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 and all of them on the first Sunday of the month. Shops and department stores in Puerta del Sol area are open every day.
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.
Safety in Madrid
Madrid is a relatively safe city. The police are visible, and the city is equipped with cameras. There are always a lot of people in the streets, even at night time, so you can walk across the city generally without fear. Travelers who remain aware of their surroundings, and keep an eye on their belongings should have little to worry about.
Madrid has a significant amount of nonviolent pickpocket crime so always watch any bags you have with you especially on the Metro and in busier public spaces. It is important for your safety to avoid falling asleep in the metro, which can leave you particularly vulnerable to thefts. It is not unknown for thieves to cut jean trouser pockets in order to steal belongings.
Be careful when carrying luggage, especially if anyone approaches you with an outspread map in hand asking for directions. This may very possibly be a trap to distract you while an accomplice steals your luggage.
When using ATM machines, be aware of your surroundings, just as you would anywhere. Bring a friend if you need to withdraw cash after dark. If someone approaches you while using an ATM, simply hit CANCELAR, retrieve your card and move on.
Have fun when going out, but do avoid drinking too much, and keep an eye on your drink. Beware of thieves preying on people leaving night clubs who have had a lot to drink. Do NOT carry valuables on a night out.
Beware of anyone who approaches you and asks you to write down your signature: it is normally for a "sick hospital" unit, and she will point out the "stamp" on the paper. She will then ask for a generous donation of €20 or more. This distraction can often be used to block vision while a pickpocketing or theft attempt is made.
Be aware of young men and boys who are indicating they are deaf/homeless trying to get you to sign a piece of paper. This also can be a ruse to distract you in order to steal your belongings. These thieves sometimes enter cafes/bars so make sure you do not leave wallets/phones on the table as possessions on show make for easy targets. The area around Calle de las Infantes near Gran Via is particularly renowned for this.
Avoid people offering masaje (massages). Be firm and say "No me toque" (Don't touch me) or "No tengo dinero" (I don't have any money) and keep walking. This is often a scam to extort money.