Madrid City Guide
The stately city, Madrid is located in the center of the Iberian Peninsula and is the highest capital in Europe. The city has been the capital of Spain since 1562 and is renowned as a prominent center for the arts and culture. It is home to numerous galleries and the world famous Museo del Prado, which is world-renowned for its awe-inspiring collection of artworks.
Aside from art and culture, the city is also famous for being the host city of the immensely popular soccer teams, Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid. In fact hordes of soccer fans from around the world book vacations to Madrid every year to watch these teams play in home games that are often held at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, the famed stadium owned by the Real Madrid football. A vacation in Madrid thus has much to offer for all types of tourists and it is no wonder then the city is a favored European vacation destination.
Where to stay in Madrid
Madrid City Center Hotels
Madrid is known for its boisterous nightlife scene and if you don’t mind being based amongst the city’s many bars and clubs you may want to choose a hotel that is located in the city center of Madrid. The area around the Atocha Railway Station and the Gran Via, Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor offers a wide range of hotels to suit every travel budget.
Paseo de la Castellana Hotels
The Paseo de la Castellana located near the central financial district of Madrid or the AZCA(Asociación Mixta de Compensación de la Manzana A de la Zona Comercial de la Avenida del Generalísimo) hosts many business-oriented hotels which are especially popular with business-travelers who find it easy to commute from here by metro to Madrid’s Barajas airport.
Chamberi and Salmanca Hotels
The Madrid neighborhoods of Chamberi and Salamanca, which are located close to its landmark attraction of Retiro Park and are within walking distance of the city center host some of the most upscale hotels in the city. If you have a passion for luxe accommodations, you should perhaps base yourself at a hotel located in one of these two districts.
The Madrid neighborhood of Chamartin, which is located in the northern section of the city and is home to the city’s second railway station and the Plaza Castilla, also hosts a wide array of leisure and business-oriented hotels. These hotels are popular with tourists who don’t mid commuting by metro to the city center for sight-seeing, shopping and dining.
No matter where you choose to stay in Madrid, we at Fare Buzz can secure the ideal hotel room for your vacation in Madrid at the right price but naturally.
Places to see in Madrid
The 19th century Prado museum is regarded to be one of the world’s greatest galleries. The museum offers more than 7000 works of art that include masterpieces of the greats like Goya, Titian, Rembrandt, Velasquez, Botticelli and Fra Angelico. If you are an art lover then the Prado should feature as a must-do on your sight-seeing list for your vacation in Madrid.
The Museo Thyssen Bornemisza is yet another art-filled treasure of Madrid. This collection is the private collection of the Thyssen family and is housed in the restored Palacio de Villahermosa, located near the Prado. The Thyssen collection features 800 paintings, sculptures, and carvings that hail from various countries and periods. This museum is yet another recommended attraction on any vacation in Madrid.
Reina Sofia National Art Centre Museum
The Reina Sofia museum was inaugurated by Spain’s Queen Sofia in 1986 and is housed in the former Hospital de San Carlos. This museum offers displays of contemporary works by greats such as Salvador Dali, Joan Miro and Pablo Picasso. The museum’s star attraction is Picasso’s famous work ‘La Guernica’ which relates to events of World War II.
Parque del Buen Retiro
Madrid’s verdant central park is a prominent green lung of the city, which in fact has many such spaces. The Parque del Buen Retiro extends over 350 acres and features formal gardens, lakes, fountains, children’s playgrounds, statues, and cafes.
Madrid’s Royal Palace is located on the Plaza de Oriente and was commissioned as 3000 room private residence by Philip V in 1734. Spain’s present king Juan Carlos does not reside at the palace. Today this palace is a landmark attraction in Madrid open to public tours. On a tour of the Royal Palace, you can expect to see the reception room, the armory and the royal family’s private chambers filled with antiques and art treasures.
Puerta del Sol
The Puerta del Sol is the most famous plaza in Spain. This plaza is the historical and geographical epicenter of Spain and is named after the city’s eastern gate. This gateway is on the eastern side and is always bathed in sunlight. This got it the moniker which translates as gateway of the sune. Located here are some of the most prominent landmarks of the city including the symbol of Madrid- , the El Oso y El Madroño, a statute of a bear eating fruits from a Madrono tree, the clock tower whose bell heralds in the New Year every year and a large equestrian statue of King Carlos III.
Royal Botanic Garden
The Royal Botanic Garden is located near the Prado museum and is one of the oldest botanic gardens in Europe. This garden was commissioned by King Ferdinand VI in 1755 and offers 30,000 plants and flowers and over 1500 trees. Today, this garden is an important research center as well and is equipped with a herbarium and a library.
Best time to visit Madrid
Since Madrid is located on a plateau in Europe it experiences extreme climatic conditions characterized by scorching hot summers and freezing cold winters. Visitors who frequently travel to Madrid aver that the best time to visit Madrid is during spring when the temperatures in the city are a pleasant 63F-70F (17C to 21C) and are conducive to walking around and taking in the sights.
Getting around in Madrid
Madrid is served by its huge Barajas airport located 15 km (9 miles) of the city center. The Barajas airport welcomes a whole host of carriers from all over the world. This makes getting to Madrid from any part of the world extremely easy. In fact we at Fare Buzz periodically announce tempting flight deals to Madrid and if you are planning a trip to Madrid sometime soon you would do well as to connect with Fare Buzz on the social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter so that you get advance information about these cheap air flights to Madrid.
Madrid is quite a compact city and easy to get around. The city is equipped with an extensive public transport system that is made up of buses, a modern metro system and surface trains. Madrid is also served by a fleet of abundant taxis, which are quite cheap as well, though it is advisable to keep an eye on the meter when hailing a cab in Madrid as visitors often fall prey to unscrupulous taxi drivers in Madrid.
Visitors generally use the public transport system in Madrid and don’t really choose to drive around, however if you wish to rent a car for the duration of your stay in Madrid, you should perhaps contact Fare Buzz with your needs. We offer a wide array of reasonable car rentals for Madrid, which can be booked at the same time that you make your other travel bookings for your vacation in Madrid.
Where to shop in Madrid
Need some retail therapy? Madrid, the Spanish capital offers a wealth of shopping options guaranteed to satisfy all tastes and preferences. The city’s main shopping haunt is the city central area of Gran Via and Puerta del Sol. Located here are the stalwarts of the Spanish retail scene, outposts of chains like Zara, Mango, Camper, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, Mango and many more. Also located here are several, quaint, traditional stores offering exquisite products like leather gloves, hand crafted soaps and toiletries, lace products, fine porcelain and various other novelty items that make for great gifts. Keep a look out for the original branch of the Spanish El Corte Inglés department store chain which is still operational in the area.
The network of streets within the city’s Salamanca district like Serrano, Goya, Ortega y Gasset and Jorge Juan play host to all the big names in fashion like Channel, Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and many more. Madrid’s trendy Chuecca district, is the place to head to if you need to shop for shoes, while spots like Calle Fuencarral, the nearby areas of Malasaña and Triball and streets like Almirante, Piamonte and Argensola offer much opportunity to shop for fashion forward as well as vintage wares.
If shopping at big malls and shopping centers is more in tune with your tastes then Madrid’s Principe Pío (a shopping mall built over a rail and train hub) and the three storey ABC Serrano promise to more than adequately meet your needs.
Most larger stores and boutiques in Madrid stay open all day, from 9.30am-8.30pm, smaller shops tend to close during the siesta hours from 2pm-5pm. Shops around the Puerta del Sol and Gran Via are open every Sunday, while in other areas they usually open for business on the first Sunday of every month.
Visitors from outside the EU are eligible to avail of tax free shopping in Spain wherein they can get back the 18% VAT paid on bills exceeding €90 in a single spend. However, the goods have to be transported outside the EU and the tax rebate forms have to be stamped by Spanish customs after inspection on departure from Spain.
Where to eat in Madrid
The Spanish capital is home to several award-winning eateries though the city’s dining landscape is ever-changing as new, innovative eateries periodically open for business. Well-ranked and must-try eateries in Madrid currently include dining hotspots like La Terraza (Classic Spanish), Biblioteca (Modern Spanish fare), La Terraza del Casino (experimental Spanish fare), Sergi Arola Gastro (Catalonian), Indice Restaurant (Mediterranean), Pan de Lujo (Modern Spanish) and Zalacain (modern Spanish). For more down to earth choices try eateries like Prada a Tope (tapas), Europa Deco (international eats), Estado Puro (traditional fare) and Zerain (Basque cuisine).
Nightlife in Madrid
Madrid is a vibrant city with a phenomenal brand of nightlife that attracts tourists from all over Europe and abroad especially during the summer months. Bars, pubs, clubs abound in the city’s main nightlife districts like Chueca, Barrio de Salamanca, Lavapiés and Malasaña. Au courant nightspots in Madrid currently include trendy boites like Fabrik, Space of Sound, 4 Bajo Cero and Ramses.