Madrid Travel Guide

A lively, sexy city that beguiles visitors as much with its vibrant soul as its many cultural treasures, Madrid is unquestionably one of Europe's great urban destinations. The glorious art scene and nightlife are the two main reasons to choose a holiday in Spain's energetic capital city. Madrid's many art galleries contain such a wealth of great artworks that anyone would be hard put to see them all. Art lovers will naturally be enchanted by Madrid's Golden Triangle of world-class art museums: The Reina Sofia, The Prado, and Thyssen-Bornemisza. However, the city has something to offer anyone who enjoys exploring the world's great capitals, as it has many lovely parks, sprawling markets, fascinating museums, grand palaces, historical monuments, a renowned restaurant scene, and legendary bars and nightclubs that rock till the small hours.

Best time to visit Madrid

The sky above Madrid is usually blue, brushed with puffy white clouds, and the city enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate. Hordes of tourists descend on Spain for the hot summer months of June, July and August and Madrid is no exception. However, the city is perhaps at its best in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn, in May or October, when it's less crowded and not as scorchingly hot.

What to see in Madrid

-Learn about Spain's rich history at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.

-See the Plaza Mayor, Madrid's arcaded central square, which dates back to 1619.

-Marvel at Goya's famous fresco and tomb in the Glorieta de San Antonio de la Florida.

-Visit the Sorolla Museum, which is the former home of another beloved Spanish master artist, Joaquin Sorolla.

What to do in Madrid

-Stroll and picnic in the beautiful and lush Parque del Buen Retiro.

-Tour the massive, oppulently decorated Royal Palace.

-Treat the kids to a whirlwind of fun at the Parque de Atracciones amusement park.

-Explore the Royal Botanical Garden, which is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe.

Beyond Madrid

Madrid is located smack in the centre of Spain, making it a convenient travel hub as well as a glorious destination in its own right. Many worthwhile excursions from the city are possible and the most popular daytrips for travellers include visits to four spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the magnificent hilltop city of Toledo, the charming village of Cuenca, the ancient Roman town of Segovia, and the royal complex of the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Getting there

The Madrid Barajas Airport is the busiest airport in the country and the entry point for many international visitors to Spain. The airport is huge and modern, and is situated just eight miles (13km) from central Madrid.

Did you know?

-Madrid has been the capital of Spain since the 17th century and is the largest city in the country.

-Flamenco originated in Madrid and still provides wonderful entertainment for visitors and locals.

-Madrid is said to enjoy more blue skies than any other European city.