Without any exaggerations, this place can be called one of the most beautiful spots on the planet. The city is safely surrounded by the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range. Madrid will impress you with its natural landscapes and contemporary architectural solutions of a huge megalopolis.
The capital of Spain attracts all fans of night entertainments and adventures, genuine fans of football and corrida. The connoisseurs of art can enjoy admiring the worldwide known masterpieces in local galleries and museums. Although, it’s no longer in fashion to fight the windmills, a visit to the motherland of the brilliant Miguel de Cervantes and his Don Quijote is always an excellent idea!
Districts of Madrid
The business and financial epicenters of the capital are concentrated in the district called Chamartín. It’s not only a huge accumulation of business offices and glass skyscrapers. This district is also famous for the iconic monument The Gate of Europe towers. Football fans will love Castilla district where the legendary Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is located.
Salamanca is considered to be the most fashionable and elite district with a diversity of expensive boutiques and exquisite restaurants. Here you can find the National Archaeological Museum and Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid that is known as Barclaycard Arena since 2014.
However that may be, every district, sub-district, and even a quarter in Madrid will impress its guests: from parks to the architectural masterpieces of various epochs; from museums, displays, and concerts to gorgeous cafes and restaurants.
Attractions in Madrid
The brightest and the most popular attractions of the Spanish capital include Museo Nacional del Prado, the Puerta del Sol, the Royal Palace, Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. We highly recommend you to compile a plan if you want to see as much as possible. Define the preferable places of interest. It’s hard to get the best of Madrid in one or even three days.
A brief history
In the XI century, Alfonso VI of León and Castile occupied the city. This happened as a result of the massive acquisition of territories inhabited by the Muslims by the Pyrenean Christians (these were mainly the Spaniards and Portuguese). This humble Spanish city had been suffering from various military attacks until the XVI century. These were the results of the Spanish-Arabic relations. It’s believed, that a tradition of bullfighting was formed during this period. They say, that a corrida was invented for the cultivation of courage, strength of mind, and firmness of the Spanish noblemen. It was expected to give them national love and respect.
Later, a peculiar Parliament was formed here (the so-called Cortes). It changed the character of city life. The capital of Spain was moved to Madrid and it became the turning point in its history. King Philip II of Spain announced this in 1561. Naturally, the status itself stimulated the development and population of the city.
The global development of Madrid began when the House of Bourbon had got the crown. King Charles III of Spain invited the most renowned architects here to ennoble the “face” of the city. Madrid became visibly prettier with the new constructions in the Neoclassical style. It impresses with well-equipped comfortable streets and gorgeous houses.
Soon, Napoleon conquers the Spanish capital with its army. This causes lots of rebellions. The savage punishment of their participants is depicted on the most renowned painting by Francisco Goya that is today kept in the Museo del Prado. After all, the liberation war that grew into the Spanish revolution saved the city from Napoleon Bonaparte. Ferdinand VII was proclaimed to be a king. His daughter, Isabella II took the guardianship over the city. She ordered to demolish all the fortifying walls and gates for its further growth. Madrid could take a “full breath”. It received new wide streets, avenues, and boulevards.
A new reorganization of the city began at the beginning of the XIX century. The Modern style “arrived” to the capital. Squares, monuments, and buildings obeyed to the new tendencies and acquired the Art Nouveau “face”. The Civil War of 1936 destroyed many historic monuments. Fortunately, the style of the city was saved. When the Francoist dictatorship came to an end, another representative of the House of Bourbon got the throne. It was King Juan Carlos I. Madrid began to come to life again. They gradually established relationships with industrialized countries and resumed the progress in the economy, culture, and infrastructure of the city. Nowadays, the capital of Spain that survived so many tragic events is considered to be one of the largest megalopolises not only in Europe but in the whole world. It’s a real model of modern agglomeration.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
The best time to visit Madrid
In September, you will find yourself at the opening of another football season. And starting from March and till the middle of October, the capital of Spain is involved in the passionate corrida. This iconic event does not include only bullfighting. These are also vivid carnivals with traditional dancing of flamenco, feasts with jamon, parades, and entertaining shows.
The city will delight you with other events in case you visit Madrid during any other season. It will offer you diverse photographic exhibitions, dance festivals, carnivals, parades, concerts, and fairs.
Madrid Card discount card can become a real godsend for a tourist. It allows you to visit more than four dozen museums for free. Moreover, you can have discounts for attending some nightclubs, restaurants, and amusement parks. The card offers you a route with spots included in the discount program. You can purchase Madrid Card online, in tour buses or the tourist information center at the Plaza Mayor.
If you are planning to go shopping, mind, that a lunch break lasts here from two to three hours. It’s the famous siesta, ladies and gentlemen!
Don’t forget to fetch sunglasses. The sun in Madrid is extremely bright. The local citizens protect their eyes not only in summer but in winter as well. Moreover, they don’t even take off their sunglasses indoors.
Be ready to put up with the fact than nothing in Madrid happens on time. Even the most important business meeting typically starts 15-20 minutes later. You can’t be in a hurry yourself and don’t dare to hurry anyone else: neither waiters nor passes-by. Enjoy a calm lazy stroll.
Mind, that Madrid is also a football capital. All local citizens are active fans of one of the clubs: Real Madrid or Atlético. If there is a football match, all the screens in the city, in every restaurant and cafe shall show the same picture - broadcast the football competition.
What should a tourist do in Madrid
- Embrace the magnificence of the Empire by the Royal Palace and go into raptures at the pomposity of the changing of the guard at the Plaza de Armas. You can see this ceremonial action on the first Wednesday of every month except August, September, and January.
- Admire the grandeur of the Gate of Europe monuments and the courage or its construction. Two enormous towers have an inclination of 15° towards each other.
- “Kilómetro cero” is an iconic plaque marking the point of Km.0 at the Puerta del Sol (the Gate of the Sun). When you step on this bronze plaque, don’t forget to make a wish.
- Start your day in the Madrid way: go jogging to Retiro Park in the morning. You should also take a boat trip along the lake in this beautiful green oasis in the middle of the city. Don’t forget to attend the Palacio de Cristal and observe the gorgeous splashes of fountains.
- Embrace the great and “feed” your eyes with a portion of high art. Visit the magnificent Big Three: the Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Gallery.
- Admire the beauty of the modern skyscrapers of the capital in Cuatro Torres Business Area and AZCA district with the symbol of the city, Torre Picasso.
- Discover more about football during a tour to Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the residence of the Royal Madrid Football Club.
- Drip by a famous writer, to the museum Casa de Cervantes. Embrace the atmosphere of creative work and form a brand-new understanding of the routine and traditions of Don Quixote’s epoch.
- Let your imagination run away with your dreams at the main square Plaza Mayor in the romantic evening illumination, over a cup of delicious coffee with the Spanish churro or with a glass of sangria.
- Relax and have fun in the styles of Salvador Dali and Ernest Hemingway. They were frequent guests at the fancied bar by all modern celebrities. Museo Chicote is located on the main street of the capital called Gran Via.
- Fling yourself into Madrid’s nightlife in one of the numerous clubs. There is a reason why this city is called the king of the midnight parties.