Madrid

Madrid - Spain

Madrid is one of Europe’s largest cities and Spain’s capital. A hub of culture and business, the city may lack some of Barcelona’s charm (don’t tell that to the Madrilenos), but more than makes up for it with a phenomenal array of entertainment to suit all budgets. Sitting geographically in the centre of Spain, Madrid is an essential stop for anyone exploring Iberia.

Home to great restaurants, great shops, great nightlife and (periodically) great football, there is something for everyone in Madrid, particularly if you like hot weather.

The city was, for a long time, defined by its relationship with Spanish royalty. For many years, the city effectively revolved around the Spanish Royal Family and this legacy can still be seen today in the form of the imposing Royal Palace of Madrid, Teatro Real and a number of large monuments around the city.

Madrid is a must-visit destination for lovers of fine art, both classical and modern. The city centre is home to three of the world’s great galleries: the Prado Museum, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, (arguably one of the world’s finest museums of modern art) and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in the renovated Villahermosa Palace.

 

Museums and Galleries

You will not be short of great paintings and sculptures to inspect in Madrid.

The Prado Museum is home to great works such as Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas and Francisco de Goya's La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. It is little wonder that the Prado is seen as one of Europe’s greatest museums. Be sure to arrive early as long queues can build up around public holidays, particularly in the early afternoon.

The Museo Reina Sofía is home to an impressive collection of modern art. The most notable work hosted in the museum is Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, in all its grim glory.



Nightlife

Madrid’s nightlife presents a major question for visitors: “how do they do it?”

Madrilenos are famed for eating late, drinking later and dancing even later, all of which leaves very little time for sleep.

A typical Madrid evening may start at a cafeteria, where tapas or raciones (slightly larger but similar) are the order of the day. Dinner is rarely before 9pm and frequently later, after which a visit to a bar is in order. Madrid’s bars typically close at around 3am, after which the nightclubs come to life. They don’t stop until the sun is up.

For the hardcore, there are afterhours clubs that open at 6am and keep going until midday, although the thought of staying up until midday and then stumbling out into the heat of the Spanish summer may not appeal to everyone! A more reasonable choice would be to return to a cafe for churros y chocolate.

 

Los Torros

Madrid's bullfighting season begins in March and ends in October. The city and particularly the Las Ventas plaza de torros are seen as the epicentre of world bullfighting. Bullfights are held every day from the middle of March to the middle of June and every Sunday (and public holiday), for the rest of the season.

 

 
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Climate

Locals sum up the climate in Madrid as follows:

Nueve meses de invierno, tres meses de infierno.

Or, in English:

Nine months of winter, three months of hell!
Summers in Madrid are hot, hot, hot!

Daytime temperatures regularly reach 40 °C and rarely fall below 30 °C during summer months. There is little rainfall throughout the year.

Conversely, winters in Madrid actually get pretty chilly and ground frost is not uncommon in January and February.


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Useful Links

Madrid Weather (BBC)

Madrid Barajas Airport