Tradition and culture blend seamlessly in Spain’s capital city of Madrid. The country itself shares its borders with Morocco, Gibraltar, Andorra, France, and Portugal.
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Madrid lies at Spain’s heart. Its passionate people have produced such renowned artists as Goya and Velázquez, whose paintings, along with those of other Spanish masters, can be viewed at the famous Prado Museum. Madrid’s baroque Royal Palace and Armory showcase the country’s weaponry, while the portico-lined Plaza Mayor in old Hapsburg displays a bronze statue of King Philip III. Nearby Puerto del Sol, one of the city’s most popular squares, is adorned with a sun on one of its gates. The Iglesia Parroquial de San Ginés de Arlés, one of Madrid’s oldest churches, lies just around the corner. The warm-blooded citizens of Madrid showcase their proud Spanish heritage in such national past times as bullfighting and football (soccer). Their country has given the world tapas, flamenco, and Picasso, plus outstanding architecture and culture.
What To Do
Visit some of the world’s most exquisite artworks at the Prado Museum. Relax amid the lush grounds of Retiro Park, one of the city’s most expansive green spaces. Mingle with the locals at Puerta del Sol and Plaza de España, two of Madrid’s most vibrant public squares. Explore the impressive Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. Stroll amid the Plaza Mayor (English Main Square), created during Philip III's reign from 1598–1621, just a few blocks from Puerta del Sol.
What To See
Get grand panoramic views of the city aboard one of its unique cable cars on the Teleférico de Madrid. See rose gardens, the Royal Palace, Almudena Cathedral and the Chapel of San Antonio de la Florida and more from above.
Shop for jewelry, clothing, local handicrafts and more in Salamanca on the banks of the Tormes, in Centro and Moncloa, or just north of the Old City in Chueca.
Discover your passion for dance in the country where Flamenco was born. Dance through the night or just watch the pros in Madrid’s renowned Flamenco halls. Listen to live music in large concert venues or romantic cafés. There’s always a reason to party in the vibrant city of Madrid.
Madrid with Kids
With its warm climate, colorful museums, expansive outdoor spaces and delicious, inexpensive food, Madrid is an ideal city to visit with kids.
Watch the puppet show at the immense 350-acre Buen Retiro Park.
Visit Faunia, a kid-size zoo and botanical garden with interactive exhibits and a wide range of animals, from peacocks to sea lions.
Off the Beaten Path
Watch a soccer match of Spain’s second-tier team, Rayo Vallecano, on their home turf in Vallecas. Ride a bicycle, enjoy some tapas or attend an outdoor concert at Madrid Rio, twenty verdant miles of green space along Madrid’s peaceful Manzanares River.
Food and Drink
Start or end the day with chocolate con churros, a decadent cup of hot chocolate served with long sticks of fried, sugary dough, perfect for dipping. Sample fresh produce and tasty tapas in the remodeled iron-and-glass Mercado de San Miguel, just off Plaza Mayor. Cool off with a cup of delicious gazpacho, made form a savory mélange of tomatoes, red pepper, cucumber, onion, garlic, bread, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and salt. Warm body and soul with Madrid’s traditional chickpea-based stew called cocido madrileño. Most people are probably familiar with tapas bars. In Madrid, there are even calamari bars that serve this delicious fried seafood in a sandwich, called bocadillo de calamares.