A relatively new city, by European standards, developed with the express purpose of housing the Spanish
Royal Court, Madrid is not typified by any specific type of architecture. Its streets reflect a diverse mix of
styles ranging from Moorish to Art Deco to Classical and Contemporary, producing an eclectic but strangely
beautiful cityscape. It has grown considerably in recent years and the population of the city has increased from approximately 2.26 million in 1960 to more than 3.3 million in Madrid today and 6.5 million including the entire Metropolitan area, all embracing a wide range of uniquely remarkable cultures that add to the majesty of Madrid.
Located high on a central plateau (2,132 ft above sea level), right in the centre of Spain, Madrid is a city of extremes: baking in summer, with temperatures that can reach 40°C in August, sending Madrileños running for the beach, and freezing in winter with temperatures falling below zero, offering skiing options just 45 mins from the city centre.
With a rich history of authors, poets and cinema directors ranging from Miguel Cervantes, author of the
famous 'Don Quijote', to Pedro Almodóvar, director of "Hable con Ella" (Speak to Her), Madrid has
always lured its fair share of celebrities with its intoxicating atmosphere, some adopting Madrid as
their own, living as a Madrileño, regardless of origins. Ernest Hemingway best captured Madrid's
nightlife in his novel, Death in the Afternoon - "Nobody goes to bed in Madrid until they have killed the
night. Appointments with a friend are habitually made for after midnight at the cafe." Even now, those
words ring true.
Non-Gastronomic Must-See Adventures of Madrid
The Prado: This is the museum to visit when in Madrid. It houses a phenomenally impressive collection of both Spanish artists, such as Velazquez, Goya and El Greco and other international masters, including Rubens and Rafael.
Sun and Bank Holidays: 10am-7pm
Modified Hours: Dec 24th, 31st and Jan 6th 10am-2pm
Closed: Jan 1st, May 1, Dec 25th
Cost: Entry to General Collection and Temporary Collections €14 with €7 concessions and free for under 18 and over 65 with ID
FREE WEEKDAYS 6pm-8pm and SUN and BANK HOLIDAYS 5pm-7pm
Location: Paseo del Prado, near Neptuno
The Reina Sofia: Madrid's amazing modern and contemporary art museum houses work by Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and, of course, Picasso's 'Guernica, reason enough alone to visit this magnificent museum.
Mon,Wed-Sat 10am- 9pm
Closed: Every Tuesday, Jan 1st, 6th, May 1st, 15th, Nov 9th, Dec 24th, 25th, 31st
Cost: Entry to General Collection and Temporary Collections €8.00
Entry to just Temporary Colections €8.00
Discount concessions include free for under 18 and over 65 with ID
FREE Mon, Wed-Fri 7pm-9pm, Sat 2:30pm-9pm, Sun 3pm-7pm, as well as April 18, May 18, Oct 12, and Dec 6
Location: Santa Isabel, 52 in the square opposite Atocha Train Station.
The Thyssen (Museo Thyssen Bornemisza): One of the most important private collections in the world, chronicling art movements from the 14th Century to 20th Century pop art, resides at The Thyssen.
Modified Hours: Dec 24th and 31st 10am-3pm
Closed: Every Monday, Jan 1st, May 1st Dec 25th
Cost: Entry to museum €9
Discount concessions include €6 concessions for Students/OAPs and free for under 12 (Temporary exhibitions are extra)
Location: Paseo del Prado, 8
Please note that if you are intending to visit only the permanent collections in all three museums, you can purchase a joint pass called "Abono Paseo del Arte" for €24.80 which is valid for one year and available at any of the museums.
Visually Stunning Picture Perfect Madrid
Puerta del Sol:
Madrid's central hub and home of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree
Catedrál de la Almudena:
Madrid's modern Cathedral and location
of the Spanish Royal wedding
Templo de Debod:
Madrid's Egyptian Temple and park area providing spectacular views of the city
Parque de El Retiro:
Madrid's former Royal Palace grounds now an enclosed serene, lush public park
The Royal Palace, grand and majestic, just as one would assume
Madrid's Main Square for many a century and the central location for most festival activities
With the largest density of bars and restaurants per square metre in Europe, Madrid is famed for its vibrant nightlife. Even at 4 o'clock in the morning, the streets are teeming with revellers, some only part way through their night out, others going to partake of the traditional 'chocolate y churros' (creamy, pudding-
like, rich hot chocolate and crispy-fried, light and airy doughnut twists) just before bed.
Madrid is not a place to sit back and watch the world go by, but rather somewhere you should throw
yourself into the mêlée.
For a completely different experience, try going on a Segway tour of Madrid with Madsegs,
a fun and light hearted way to see the city on 2 wheels!
For all wine information or to find your local wine resources in Madrid, La Rioja or Ribera del Duero, see WineTourismSpain.