Travel News Travel Guide: Welcome to Madrid

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Travel Guide: Welcome to Madrid

In the mood for tapas and flamenco? This comprehensive guide has everything you need to know to plan your trip to Madrid, including what to do, what to eat, when to go, and how to get there.

 
  

  

  

  

  
  
  
  
  
  
  

  

  

  

  

  
  
  
  

  
  

  
  
  
  

  

  

  

  
  
  

  

  
  
  

  
  
  

  

  
  
  

  
  
  

  

  

  
  

 

## **An Intro to Madrid**

Madrid, the capital and largest city of Spain, is a major financial and cultural center. This artistic city with beautiful architecture is known for its world-class museums and art galleries, wide streets, sprawling parks, delicious cuisine, and glamorous nightlife. Madrid is home to the United Nations World Tourism Organization and several other popular landmarks, like the Royal Palace, the Royal Theater, the Cybele Palace Plaza, the 17th-century Buen Retiro Park, and the Golden Triangle of Art.

Spanish is the official and most widely spoken language in Spain, but most people here can understand and speak English. People in some parts of the city also speak the Basque, Catalán, and Galician languages. The official currency of Spain is the Euro.

## **Top Three Things to See and Do in Madrid**

Madrid is a popular European destination. The people here have a cosmopolitan outlook, while the imposing streets and buildings still retain their historic charm. There are a number of museums, parks, and historic monuments of interest to tourists.

El Retiro Park, with an area of 350 acres, is the largest park in Madrid. It served as the recreational center for the Spanish monarchs and was opened to public in the late 19th century. The Retiro Park features a beautiful landscape, a lake, and several monuments, museums, and fountains. Entry into this park is free.

With as many as 2,000 rooms, Palacio Real de Madrid, or the Royal Palace of Madrid, is one of the largest palaces in Europe. It’s the official residence of the Spanish monarch and his family but is mostly used for state ceremonies. The palace features magnificent rooms full of artwork and huge collections of armory, paintings, watches, and silverware, among others. Entry for European Union citizens is free, while foreigners are charged $13.

The Golden Triangle of Art comprises three museums located in central Madrid. Museo Nacional Del Prado, or the Prado Museum, is the most famous one with its large collection of European art from the 12th through the 19th century. The entry fee begins at $18. The other two museums of the Golden Triangle are Thyssen Bornemisza Museum and Reina Sofía Museum.

[![Cheap flights to Madrid](https://content.skyscnr.com/191d97bc54d8fa44c64d116660e38aee/GettyImages-522753129.jpg “Cheap flights to Madrid”)](https://www.skyscanner.com/flights-to/mad/cheap-flights-to-madrid.html)

## **Other Things to Do in Madrid**

Near the Royal Palace of Madrid are two famous plazas, Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Both of these are paved public squares surrounded by shops and business buildings.

Madrid has over 60 museums and art galleries, covering almost every aspect of human knowledge. These include the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, the Museum of the Americas, the National Museum of Natural Sciences, the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, the Museum of Lázaro Galdiano, the National Museum of Decorative Arts, the National Museum of Romanticism, the Museum Cerralbo, and the Sorolla Museum.

The city is also known for its well-maintained and beautiful parks like Casa de Campo, El Capricho Park, and Juan Carlos I Park.

San Nicolás de los Servitas, the oldest church in Madrid, dates back to the 12th century. There are a number of other churches that make for more than just a religious visit. The prominent ones include San Pedro el Real, St. Jerome Church, The Bishop Chapel, St. Isidore Church, the Royal Convent of La Encarnación, San Antonio de los Alemanes, the Royal Chapel of St. Anthony of La Florida, San Francisco el Grande Basilica, and the Almudena Cathedral.

An overview of Madrid is incomplete without a mention of bullfighting. Las Ventas, the largest bullring in Madrid, can seat 25,000 people. The bullfighting season begins from March and lasts through mid-October.

[![Cheap flights to Madrid](https://content.skyscnr.com/5e0de297ea08ca9b9e6dbbe25e1d41f2/GettyImages-184263106.jpg “Cheap flights to Madrid”)](https://www.skyscanner.com/flights-to/mad/cheap-flights-to-madrid.html)

## **Eating and Drinking**

Madrid has many food markets, restaurants serving all types of cuisines, Michelin-starred restaurants, traditional eating places, vegetarian restaurants, and cake and pastry shops. The Market of San Miguel and the Mallorca Market are just a couple of popular places for foodies to explore.

El Tigre, La Musa Latina, and La Dolores are some of the cheapest restaurants in Madrid, where you can have lunch for less than $12. Casa Lucio, La Bola Taberna, and El Sobrino de Botín are good for traditional cuisine. If you’d like to experience the pleasures of terrace dining, visit the Hat Madrid in La Latina, Café del Río at Av. de Portugal, or El Cielo del Urban at Carrera de S. Jerónimo.

The areas of Malasaña, Cava Baja, and Cava Alta have a number of bars, if you’re in a mood to grab a beer. Several bars in Madrid offer free tapas (appetizers in Spanish cuisine) when you order a drink.

https://content.skyscnr.com/46f40936a8092f05b31b97a3492eecc4/GettyImages-97894339.jpg
[![Cheap flights to Madrid](https://content.skyscnr.com/2f4132148e392a4c8792d6ccb772f5de/GettyImages-482278961.jpg “Cheap flights to Madrid”)](https://www.skyscanner.com/flights-to/mad/cheap-flights-to-madrid.html)

## **Nightlife and Entertainment**

Madrid is popular for botellón parties, wherein youngsters meet up in parks and on the streets and drink together. However, with the prohibition on consuming alcohol in the streets, this practice is on the decline.

A number of tapas and cocktail bars, pubs, clubs, flamenco halls, and jazz lounges contribute to Madrid’s nightlife scene. Typical nighttime parties in Madrid last until 6 or 7 a.m.

Some of the popular destinations for nighttime fun and entertainment include the neighborhoods of Puerta del Sol, Bilbao, Atocha, Moncloa, and Huertas. The district of Chueca, and the Malasaña area to its west, have bars and clubs catering to the gay community.

[![Cheap flights to Madrid](https://content.skyscnr.com/53eb3c597851776be7640145b2139465/GettyImages-467057132.jpg “Cheap flights to Madrid”)](https://www.skyscanner.com/flights-to/mad/cheap-flights-to-madrid.html)

## **Transportation**

Madrid has an extensive metropolitan road network that includes several radial autovías or freeways, autopistas or orbital roads, and toll highways. The public buses run 24/7. The red- and blue-colored buses run inside the city, while the green buses connect the city center with the outskirt neighborhoods. The yellow buses will take you to the airport.

Madrid Metro is another convenient mode of public transport for shorter distances, while Cercanías Local Railways, with fewer stops, is a faster option to travel long distances within the city. For a more convenient and private mode of transport, you can [rent a car](https://www.skyscanner.com/car-rental-in/madr/car-rental-in-madrid.html) at Madrid Airport.

https://content.skyscnr.com/46f40936a8092f05b31b97a3492eecc4/GettyImages-97894339.jpg
[![Cheap flights to Madrid](https://content.skyscnr.com/46f40936a8092f05b31b97a3492eecc4/GettyImages-97894339.jpg “Cheap flights to Madrid”)](https://www.skyscanner.com/flights-to/mad/cheap-flights-to-madrid.html)

## **Climate**

Madrid has a Mediterranean, semi-arid climate. Summers are hot, averaging around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, while winters are cold with sporadic snowfalls. Spring and autumn are rainy.

##When to Go

Madrid is a year-round destination. However, most tourists prefer to visit it during the periods of April-July and September-October. Avoid visiting in August, since it’s too hot then and the market remains closed most of the time. If you wish to experience the San Isidro Festival, plan your trip during early- to mid-May. Be sure to [check hotel availability](https://www.skyscanner.com/hotels/spain/madrid-hotels/ci-27544850) before you book your tickets.

[![Cheap flights to Madrid](https://content.skyscnr.com/86e09f9e4aae9649b1ad1d018f79a3b5/GettyImages-186107790.jpg “Cheap flights to Madrid”)](https://www.skyscanner.com/flights-to/mad/cheap-flights-to-madrid.html)

## **Flying to Madrid**

Madrid-Barajas Airport serves the city of Madrid and is located at a distance of 8 miles from downtown Madrid. There are [cheap flights to Madrid Airport](https://www.skyscanner.com/flights-to/mad/cheap-flights-to-madrid.html) from domestic airports like Barcelona as well as major international destinations like Dubai, Peru, Seoul, and New York.

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