Madrid is the largest city in Spain, as well as the country’s capital, and makes for a fantastic destination for a weekend break or a longer stay.
Whatever it is you’re looking for from a trip to the city, you will be able to find it in plentiful supply here – whether it’s culture, partying, shopping, history or food.
Because there is so much to see and do in Madrid, sometimes it can seem a little overwhelming. To help you plan how to spend your time in this vibrant city, and make sure you get the most out of your stay, here are some of the highlights of Madrid:
Madrid Shopping Highlights
Madrid is a fantastic place to shop if you want to stock up on clothes, perfume and makeup and is especially well known for its shoes, with tons of shoe factories in the Valencia and Alicante areas nearby. If you want to feed a shoe fetish then Augusto Figueroa is the Madrid street to aim for.
The city also has a number of large shopping centres, among them PlazaNorte2 in the north of the city, where you will find big brands and huge stores like Ikea. If you prefer your shopping small and boutique then head for the Salamanca area of the city for leather goods, trendy boutiques and more shoe shops.
Madrid Sightseeing Highlights
When it comes to sightseeing, it would take months to pack in everything that Madrid has to offer. Some must sees in the city include the Teléferico Madrid cable car, which takes you on a scenic route over Casa de Campo; the neoclassical triumph that is the Royal Palace, located in Madrid’s Old Town; the Plaza Mayor – or the Old Town Square – which is a great spot for a tapas and a beer in the heart of the city; and the 17th century Parque del Buen Retiro, where you can take a boat out on the lake.
Madrid Culture Highlights
The Prado Museum (http://www.museodelprado.es/en) is the place to visit if you want to get to grips with Spanish art as it houses the best collection in the world. There are lots of Goyas here, as well as paintings by Italian masters, such as Raphael, Titian and Caravaggio.
Reina Sofia Museum (http://www.museoreinasofia.es) is Spain’s national museum and definitely worth a visit if you are interested in Spanish art and culture through the ages. Culturally, flamenco is without doubt one of Spain’s highlights and you can indulge in a night of Spanish passion at the many flamenco clubs in the city. If you go to Madrid during The Festival de Flamenco Caja Madrid in February then you can join in with the dancers on the Teatro del Canal (http://www.madrid.org).
Madrid Nightlife Highlights
Restaurants, tapas bars, town squares and parks all make for popular central nightlife spots for the residents of Madrid once the sun goes down. If you’re on a budget then you need only buy a bottle of wine and head to one of the many outside drinking parties in the public spaces of the city to join in.
You can also take advantage of the many drinking and dining establishments in the city, which range in price from budget to blow out, and in style from traditional to brand spanking new.
If you want a taste of everything then try a night like this: El Sobrino de Botín (http://www.botin.es) is rumoured to be the oldest restaurant in the world and a great place to start your evening. After dinner, you can follow in the footsteps of Grace Kelly and Ernest Hemmingway with a cocktail at the Museo Chicote (www.museo-chicote.com) and then head to the Chueca area of the city to continue the party well into the early hours.
This was a guest post by Amy on behalf of Easyjet who offer flights to Madrid from London and across Europe. See her recent post on doing Madrid on a budget for more great tips.