The 6.5 million Madrileno (that’s what the people here call themselves) Spanish capital Madrid hits a lot of tourism bull’s-eyes: architecture, nightlife, food, sport and culture. Madrid has so much personality it’s like a mini-country with its own distinct identity. The Spanish Royal family greatly influenced Madrid’s growth and looks, as did Franco’s rule.
Madrid is often called Spain’s party town and this is because there are events and festivals held all year round – and this isn’t just to draw in tourists. The locals really do love their celebrations.
It’s divided into neighbourhoods, some of which are tourist traps and others are tourist heaven, for example, Lavapies, Gran Via, Masalena, Moncloa, Salamanca, La Latina and Chueca. Within these neighborhoods, you’ll discover very particular kinds of pleasures (Chueca is Mardrid’s LGBT central).
April, May, June, September and October, which are the months of spring and autumn, are the best times to visit according to travel guides. Madrid weather touches extremes in the summer (hot and dry), and winter (frosty). Winter sees some days of snowfall, spring and autumn see rain.
Madrid sightseeing is dominated by fine art museums, stunning parks, lovely road, tapas bars and flamenco dinner shows. Definitely check out the Teleferico (the Madrid Cable Car), and the Royal Botanical Gardens. The most popular Madrid tourist attractions, in descending order, are:
WHERE TO STAY
WHERE TO EAT
Madrid must haves:
Rather than point out specific restaurants, your gastronomic experience in Madrid will be much better served by hitting up the districts famed for food, such as La Latina and Mercado San Miguel (Though the Madrid day food tours around the city are excellent too). Avoid advertised paella – find a regular looking place instead. Still the best places to eat are mentioned below:
Trip Plans for Madrid