Madrid is an ideal destination for a city break: it is located a short flight away from most European capitals and is a popular stopover for flights coming from Asia and Latin America. There are plenty of museums for those who enjoy art; parks and gardens for those who are looking for active holidays; and many bars and restaurants offering a variety of traditional dishes and an active nightlife.
The Prado Museum
The Prado is one of the most famous museums in the country. Known for its collection of paintings by Goya and Velazquez, its galleries filled with ancient sculptures and its gardens, this museum is worth visiting during a trip to Madrid. Nearby you will find several other museums worth visiting, most notably the contemporary collections of the Reina Sofia Museum and the private collections that can be found at the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum.
The Retiro Park
The Retiro is one of the city’s many parks, together with the Casa de Campo and the Madrid Río parks. Try to spend an afternoon walking around this park, which is decorated with sculptures and fountains. There is a pond in the center of the park where you can row a boat and feed the ducks, and exhibitions are organized inside the Crystal Palace, one of the city’s most famous structures.
The Royal Palace
The city’s Royal Palace is another place worth visiting. Guided tours are organized around the palace’s rooms: visitors can walk around forty of the palace’s more than two thousand rooms. After touring the Royal Palace take a walk around the Sabatini Gardens, the Royal Gardens decorated with statues. Do not miss the nearby Almudena Cathedral, one of the most visited places in the city.
Puerta del Sol
This square is the city’s geographical and cultural center. If you want to explore Madrid on foot, try to find a hotel in the city center, a bustling place close to the main museums, traditional restaurants and clubs. Here you will find the Bear with the Madroño Tree, a statue that has become Madrid’s symbol and a popular meeting spot for locals and tourists. There are plenty of terrace bars ideal for people watching, restaurants offering traditional dishes and shops in this area. The famous Gran Vía street, lined with shops, is located only a short walk away, and the ancient Plaza Mayor square, another popular meeting place, can be found nearby.
Madrid is a destination for foodies and those looking for some partying. There are plenty of tapas bars and restaurants where you will be able to taste authentic local food accompanied by a beer. Try to order some patatas bravas spicy potatoes and a platter of jamón ham together with a tinto de verano fruity wine before heading to one of the many clubs and discos located in the area. Do not miss the authentic tortilla de patatas potato omelet or the cocido madrileño, a hearty meat strew with chickpeas and vegetables.