Madrid at a Glance
Madrid is the capitol and largest city in Spain, with an approximate population of three million. Located in the heart of Spain's peninsula, it is a place rich with history and noted for its bullfights. There is also a thriving nightlife replete with some of Europe's best clubs.
As the capital, parts of Madrid are bustling with industry, particularly in Southern Madrid where textile and metal working factories are found.
There are many options for transportation throughout Madrid. Buses, trains, subways and taxis are all easily made available and are relatively inexpensive, depending on the length of your travels.
Madrid is a fairly dry city, at an elevation of over 2,100 feet, with temperatures that can range from below zero in winter evenings (December to March) and over 100 degrees in the summer (June through August). In June, Madrid's temperature is pleasant and it's nightlife is at its peak due to the long days of summer. In August, when temperatures reach an all time high, the town seems to slow down and traffic decreases as many tourists and locals head for the coast to avoid the heat.
Whether you want to explore the arts and crafts of this old-town artisan city or hit the clubs and dance until morning, Madrid offers a little bit of everything for everyone.
Similarly, there are carnivals and festivals that occur in the town year-round. For Ash Wednesday, a carnival with costume parties and parades emerges throughout town, marking the beginning of Lent. During the Fiestas del 2 de Mayo, you can catch concerts, dancing and bullfights. May 15th, also, marks the beginning of a month-long celebration for the patron saint of Madrid and tradition reigns supreme as participants make a pilgrimage to the saint's meadow to drink from the fountain of the hermitage and traditional garb, food and drink are worn and sold. Madrid's famous bullfight can also be found during this time. The month of August is similarly lively, with open-air dancing and concerts throughout the streets for a variety of festivals. Be warned: in August many small businesses are closed, as proprietors take leave from the city to spend time in less hot climes.
As you can see, Madrid is truly the place to go if you're looking to surround yourself with lively and friendly people, while immersing yourself in a culture steeped in tradition and history.
Know Before You Go
Like many countries in Europe, pickpockets abound in many of the crowded touristic areas of Madrid. Places like La Puerta del Sol, El Rastro and La Plaza Mayor are working areas for thieves, so be aware of how you carry your belongings. Pickpockets have lots of easy targets, but it is much easier to avoid them if you know how to keep your goods safe!
Going out at night is a delayed process for most people going to Spain for the first time. One need not arrive for dinner before 10 PM, and entering a night club before 1 AM might make one think the city was dead. There is never a rush to get anywhere in Madrid, or any part of Spain, so if you're in a hurry remember that places won't be closed for a while. The exception to this rule is during a few hours of the afternoon when smaller businesses close for "siesta". This can be an inconvenience, as many drug and general stores close their doors for a few hours, usually sometime between 2 and 5 pm.
Museo del Prado
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
Parque del Buen Retiro
Temple of Debod
El Meson de la Guitarra El Sobrino de Botin?
Personal Experience The Museo Del Prado