Spain (Madrid)

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Plaza Mayor - Elezar. (CC BY 2.0).

Madrid [1] is the capital and largest city of Spain, as well as the capital of the autonomous community of the same name (Comunidad de Madrid). The population of the city is roughly million with a metro area population of almost 6.5 million. Madrid is best known for its great cultural and artistic heritage, a good example of which is the El Prado museum. Madrid also boasts some of the

liveliest nightlife in the world. Understand Location Madrid is located just northeast of the geographical center of the Iberian Peninsula, in the middle of the Spanish central Castillian plateau (Meseta central), at an average altitude of 650m. Nearly all of the most famous tourist areas are located in the center of the city including Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, and Plaza de Colón. The major streets in Madrid include the Gran Via, Alcalá Street, and Paseo de la Castellana. Climate The climate of Madrid is continental; mainly dry and quite extreme at times. Madrid sees perpetual sunshine and a

characteristically hot and dry summer, and a fairly cold winter with frequent frosts during the night and the occasional snowfall. Spring and autumn are mild with the most rainfall concentrated in these seasons. Spring and autumn are definitely the best times to visit, especially the months of April, May, June, September and October. There is very little rainfall during summer and also less rainfall during winter. During winter snow occurs sporadically; however, snowfall usually lasts only for a few days, but there is abundant snowfall in the adjacent mountain ranges nearby. Culture The culture of Madrid was dominated by its Royal history, centre of the Spanish Empire. The Royal Palace, big places and buildings used by the Spanish

Monarchy, enormous cathedrals and churches are plentiful in Madrid, as well as medieval architecture, although nowadays Madrid is just as much a cosmopolitan city as Berlin or London, full of new architecture, lifestyle and culture. As Spanish Capital, Madrid has meant the different "establishment" for most Spaniards. During the 2nd Republic (1931-1936) was a bustling city of new ideas. Being capital of the Franquist dictatorship (1939-1975) made the city still seemed to represent a conservative part of Spain to many Spaniards. However, the city is also the epicentre of the famous Movida, Spain's 80s movement that bred personalities such as the director Pedro Almodóvar. The heritage of this era is indeed still visible

in the city centre, where a party can be found at all times and one of the most liberal and colourful environments of Spain can be seen. The city is also known for its great gay tolerance. The citizens of Madrid, who refer to themselves as Madrileños or the more traditional and currently seldom used term "gatos" (cats), live by a daily routine that is heavily influenced by the climate. Due to the typically midday heat during summer, a "siesta" can be still observed during which some citizens take a break to cool off, though Madrileños can usually only afford this 'luxury' during holidays and weekends. Most stores are open during all the day; just small stores are often closed during this time. Workers and those more afflicted by Western lifestyles choose not to observe

this long break and work traditional business hours, which are usually between 9AM and 6-7PM. During summer many offices, however, will have a summer schedule requiring workers to start at 8am and finish at 3pm (most commonly without the standard 1-2 hour break for lunch). Offices usually close during the weekend but businesses are often open Saturday morning (downtown stays open until afternoon). Most grocers are closed on Sundays, but some major chain and department stores linked to "culture" (books, music, etc.) will be open throughout the day and all of them on the first Sunday of the month. Shops and department stores in Puerta del Sol area are open every day. Madrid possibly has the largest number of bars per capita of any European city

and a very active nightlife; Madrileños are known to stay up until as late as 5AM-7AM. It is quite common to see a crowded Gran Vía on weekend nights. It is important to note that, due to this lifestyle, lodging located near the fun areas may end up a nightmare for light sleepers if your window faces the street. Madrid has a very modernized and elaborate transportation network of buses and Metro. The city contrasts with some large European cities in that it is extremely clean, and city employees in bright yellow vests can almost always be seen cleaning the streets and sidewalks. Like most large cities, however, there is a substantial population of vagrants and beggars lining the streets.

Madrid is one of the biggest and most cosmopolitan cities in Europe. Communities of West Africans, North Africans, other Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis and (especially) Latin Americans are prominent.  Alonso Martínez - Many pubs and small discos. Until about 3AM, a very young crowd, and if you′re around here before midnight, and over the age of 20, prepare to feel positively old. Most places close around 3AM, then people move to nearby areas to continue partying (clubs in Gran Vía or Tribunal).  Barrio de las Letras / Huertas - Many of Spain's most famous writers Some popular neighborhoods are:

lived there (Cervantes, Quevedo, etc.). It is among Lavapiés, Puerta del Sol and Paseo del Prado. It is an area full of history and interesting buildings and is also well-known because of its concentration of bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels. Plaza de Santa Ana is a beautiful square. It can be considered "too touristic" for some local people.  Chueca - Near Malasaña and Gran Vía, it is the gay district (although no one is ever excluded) with a very strong personality. New design, trendy shops, cool cafes. Pop and electronic music. By far, the most cosmopolitan place in town. Has become quite chic and expensive.  Tribunal / Malasaña - Hip area. You can enjoy a café, a dinner, a book or

just some drinks. Mainly rock and pop music clubs, some of them still open from "La movida madrileña" (a vibrant cultural period from the early 80's). Calle Manuela Malasaña is a great place to eat. So is Calle del Pez although it has mostly bars. Plaza Dos de Mayo is the heart of the district and a great place to have a drink in the open.  Conde Duque - Like Malasaña, this district shares a similar audience. Calle Conde Duque is full of cafés and restaurant. Between the main squares in the district, Plaza de Guardias de Corps and Plaza de las Comendadoras, you will also find other options to have drinks, cafés or tapas. The Conde Duque Cultural Centre usually hosts shows, concerts

and exhibitions.  Gran Vía - The place that never sleeps . Major street that includes many popular nightclubs, usually open from 1AM to 6-7AM.  La Latina - Near Lavapiés, it is the place to go for tapas and full of small bars and pubs, a generally older crowd (late 20s, 30s - you know, "adults"). Contains La Cava Baja street. Avoid places in the Plaza Mayor but for sunbathing and beers. Multiple bars serving fantastic tapas in the Cava Baja and Cuchilleros. The area centered on Calle Calatrava (what the locals call 'Chuecatina') is has developed into a gay (but very hetero-friendly) zone. It's surprisingly bohemian young people looking for stylish bars. In the old section, many

very crowded on Sunday mornings, from 11AM to late in the afternoon due to its close location to the flea market El Rastro.  Lavapiés - Multicultural quarter of the city, with more than 50% foreign residents, mostly from Africa, Asia and Latin America. An increasing amount of westerners are choosing Lavapies as their residence in Madrid, mainly because of the hip vibe it has attained in recent years. Plenty of world music bars and many alternative theaters and art galleries. Lavapiés is maybe the most cosmopolitan and hippy area at the same time in Madrid. Indian restaurants, alternative cafés, African music and South American shops. Several community gardens, food co-

ops and eco shops are scattered around the district. Not a lot of tourists here since the quarter holds no monumental sights but has a rather a unique atmosphere. Walking around for a beer or a coffee is well worth it.  Moncloa - Due to its proximity to the main University in Madrid (Universidad Complutense), Moncloa is associated with students and a student lifestyle, many cheap bars and discos as it is near the university, although some of the places are best avoided.  Salamanca - Plenty of expensive boutiques, unique shops with impossible prices and department stores.  Torre Europa . There used to be

several posh pubs and clubs under the tower across from the stadium. There are 4 or 5 bars and discos in the avenida de Brazil area catering to a young and student crowd.  Ciudad Universitaria . This area is where most of the students reside as there are several dorms in this area. There are many, many cheap bars with great nightlife starting from Thursdays.

Get in

By plane

Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (IATA: MAD), +34 902 404 704, [2] is located 13km from the city center. It is one of the largest airports in Europe and is serviced by many airlines, as well as being the home

base for Iberia Airlines. The airport has 4 terminals. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are close together and serviced by the same metro station, while Terminal 4 is far from those and has its own metro and commuter train stations. By far the most convenient way of reaching downtown is a 24-hours express bus service [3] that passes all terminals and then goes direct to O'Donell , Cibeles (20 minutes’ walk or quick metro ride to Puerta del Sol ) and Atocha ( main train station , not serviced between 11:30 PM and 6 AM). 5 euros, paid in cash to the bus driver. Departures every 12 minutes (daytime) to 35 minutes (late at night). Travel time Terminal 4 (end of line) - Cibeles 30-40 minutes.

Terminal 4 of the airport is connected to the city by Cercanias commuter train (line C-1, from 05:30 to 23:30, €2.15) which goes directly to Atocha and Chamartin mainline train stations, and provides easy connection to Sol . Take the train (look for Renfe Cercanias ) to "Nuevos Ministerios" and then transfer to line C-3 or C-4 southbound on platform 8; Sol will be the first stop. Alternatively, you can take the Metro (line 8 pink, from 06:30 to 01:30, to/from the airport €5.00) to Nuevos Ministerios station from all terminals. In order to reach the city centre (Sol, Ópera or Gran Vía), you must change metro line twice - first in Nuevos Ministerios (which is a huge station and involves a lot of walking) and then again

at another station, which is obviously quite inconvenient. Public bus 200 operates between the airport and Avenida de América bus station in Madrid. It is only 1.50€ and you can use your weekly ticket or 10- trips ticket. Bus 114 does NOT go to the airport terminals and is a 40- minute walk to Terminal 1. Public night bus N4 goes from Plaza Cibeles to Barajas district, 400m walk from the terminal through a passageway over the highway. Best to get off at the second-last stop, Avenida Central, and then make a right turn immediately after the bus stop. Go straight on, keep going straight crossing the parking lot, and then you make a left to cross another huge parking lot. After that you see the

road and the pedestrian highway overpass. Only 1.50 Euros or the 10- trip ticket is valid as well. From the Airport it is also possible to take a taxi. Journeys between the airport and the inner M30 area (city center), or vice versa, including those reserved electronically, are subject to a flat rate of 30€.  Transfer Airport Taxi , ☎ +34 91 125 1602 ( info@taxi-aeropuerto- madrid.es ), [4] . 24hs. From the Airport to City Center / From City Center to the Airport. Transfer Airport operates 24 / 7 - 365 days. 30 eur fixed price.  MadShuttle , ☎ +34 91 125 1008 ( booking@madshuttle.com ), [5] . 24hs. MAD SHUTTLE operates 24 /

Madrid, Spain - airpano

7 / 365 between the airport and city centre with all type of vehicles. From 8,66 Euros per person.  EuropeShuttle , ☎ +44 20 3318 1696 ( booking@europeshuttle.com ), [6] . 24hs. Europe Shuttle offers the airport taxi transfer from or to Madrid Barajas Airport to any destination. From 26 Euros per vehicle.

 Airport Shuttle Madrid , [7] . 24hs.  Radio Eco Taxi ( Taxi Service ), ☎ +34 911251602 ( taxi@eco- taxi.es), [8] . 24hs. Taxi transfer from or to

Madrid Barajas Airport to any destination. Booking and price

Online. Fixed price 30 eur city center.  Book Taxi Madrid ( Mercedes Taxi Service ), ( info@booktaxispain.com ), [9] . 24hs. Premium Airport transfers to any destination. Online booking, immediate confirmation. Fixed price 50 eur city center.  TaxiLeader.net ( Madrid Airport Taxi ), ( customerservice@taxileader.net ), [10] . 24hrs. Private Taxi with Driver Waiting for you at Airport Exit. Price from 38 euros Airport Barajas to City Centre.

By train

Renfe , +34 902-240-202, [11] operates train service to/from Madrid. Frequent trains operate between Madrid and Barcelona (2h 40min), Seville (2h 20 min), Malaga (2h 30 min), Zaragoza, Tarragona, Lerida, Huesca, Ciudad Real, Puertollano, Lisbon, Milan, the French coast, Paris, with continuing journeys to most of Europe. Madrid has two train stations: Chamartín and Atocha, both of which have excellent Metro and Cercanias commuter train connections. Most northbound and international trains arrive and depart from Chamartín station, while trains to Barcelona, Valencia and southern Spain depart from Atocha. If you need to get between the two stations, Metro line 1

(€1.50, 30-40 minutes) or Cercanias lines C3 and C4 (€1.35, 15 minutes) offer the most direct connection. Chamartín station is on the north side of the city and is served by the Metro stop of the same name on Metro lines 1 and 10. Atocha is on the southern side of the city center and is divided into two main sections, an area for Cercanias trains and one for long-distance trains. The long- distance side is set inside the towering old station, where you will find a tropical garden with a pond full of small turtles as well as a number of shops. A memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack of March 11, 2004 is in the Cercanias portion of the station near the Metro stop.

By bus

Madrid has eight enormous international and intercity bus stations. Information on where buses to a particular destination depart from can be found at the Tourist Office. Many of the international buses, and those headed south of Madrid, arrive at and depart from Estación Sur de Autobuses ( Calle de Méndez Álvaro , Tel:+34 91-468-4200 [12] ) which is accessible by metro. Buses to and from Barcelona and Bilbao operate from the Avenida de América bus terminal , also accessible by Metro.

By car

There are car rental facilities available at the airport, train stations, and other main

travel sites. Always be sure to have a street map handy! The roads within Madrid are difficult to navigate as there are no places to stop and consult a map or check your route. Also, if you are relying on GPS navigation, be aware that there are several consecutive junctions underground near the centre and your GPS may not get a signal underground. Plan your turns before you enter the tunnels. Madrid city is well covered by the main global car rental companies, such as Avis, Budget,Hertz, Thrifty & Europcar, some of these also provide Rent to Buy Facilities. All car rental companies offer competitive pricing for economy class vehicles and unlimited mileage options.

Some local car rental companies may also offer competitive pricing. Parking within the city follows the pay- and-display system, daily from 9am to 9pm (limited on Saturdays, and all August, to 9am to 15pm, and being free on Sundays). Madrid proudly sports one of the best public transportation networks in the world and the second largest metro network in Europe, second only to London's. Buses and subways form an integrated network [13] and work with the same tickets. A single ticket costs €1.50 (5 stations) – €2.00, a ten trip ticket costs €12.20 / €18.30. Get around By public transit

Alternatively, you can buy unlimited travel passes as follows: 1 day (€8), 2 days (€13.40), 3 days (€17.40), 5 days (€25.50), or 7 days (€33.40). Children under the age of 4 may travel without a ticket. Children under 11 receive a 50% discount. Tickets can be purchased at Metro stations, news-stands, and estancos (tobacconists'). The Metro de Madrid [14] (Madrid's Subway/Underground) is one of the better and less expensive metros in Europe. In addition, the underground tunnels of the Metro provide relief from the sun on hot days. Ticket machines are multilingual with instructions in Spanish, English, French, and German. Stamping the ticket one time allows you Metro

to use the Metro network as long and far as you like - make sure you stay inside the Metro zone, once you leave it, you'll have to stamp your ticket again. When you travel to or from airport stations, there is additional supplement of €3, which can be paid at the entrance or exit. The Passes do not require this supplement-it is included in the price. You can catch some trains as late as 2:00AM, although the official close time for the metro system is at 1:30AM. Announcements in the metro are made in both Spanish and English on most major lines, including the line to and from the airport. Along with this, almost all metro stops have a map of the exits and the surrounding area above the station.

Bus

Whatever the Metro doesn't cover, the buses do. Night buses (Búhos, "night owls"), have their main hub at Plaza de Cibeles [15] , covering most of the city at roughly 20-minute intervals. Buses are equipped with free Wi-Fi facility (EMTmadrid), easy to use with any type of laptop or netbook. Madrid has a system of local trains (Cercanías) that connect outlying suburbs and villages with the city center. Although most useful for visiting historic or outdoor destinations outside the city core, they are also useful for quickly getting from the north end of the city (Chamartin and Nuevos Ministerios) to Train

the south end of the city (Sol and Atocha) and, as of Sept 2011, Barajas airport (terminal 4).

By taxi

Taxis can be hard to find during late hours on weekends, especially if there is some rain. Unlike in other European cities, there are few taxi stands; just stand by the side of a major road or bus stop and wave your hand to signal an available taxi passing by. Available taxis have a green libre sign in the windshield and a green light on top. Official taxis are white, and have a red stripe and the flag of Madrid on the front door. The tariff is displayed on top of the car (a 1 during daytime, a 2 during the

night, which become 2 and 3 on holidays such as Christmas Eve).

There are also special surcharges for entering or leaving the airport/train station. Ask for the written table of tariffs and charges ( suplementos ) (shown on small stickers on rear windows, compulsory by law) before paying if you think it's too expensive. Be aware there are some taxi drivers that will do what is called 'la vuelta al ruedo' which basically means they will drive you around or through the crowded avenues to increase the fare. Most taxi drivers do not speak English, so you should have the names and/or addresses of your destinations written in Spanish to show your taxi driver. Likewise, get your hotel's business card in case you get lost.

By car Transportation by private automobile in Madrid can be a nightmare. The Spanish capital suffers from the typical problems of most big cities; far too many cars and not enough space to accommodate them. Sometimes there can even be traffic jams in the Paseo de la Castellana at 3:00 AM (early to some Madrileños). The problem is compounded by the narrow streets in the old town, where a lorry delivering beer barrels to a local bar can cause a huge tailback. Finding a parking space can be very time consuming, and difficult if one is not skilled in the art of close proximity parallel parking. Many Spaniards are also lacking in this art, prompting them to simply park in the street,

blocking other cars in. If you find yourself blocked in by such a practice, honk your horn until the driver returns. If you parallel park your car in Madrid, be aware that most Madrileños park by sound alone. They will feel no remorse for repeatedly hitting the car in front and behind them while trying to get into or out of a tight spot. If you value your car's paint job, or you have rented a car, it may be best to park underground. Though this is no guarantee for nobody hitting your car, the chances are somewhat diminished. In short, renting a car is not only unnecessary, but not recommended for getting around downtown Madrid, and a car is likely to be more of a liability than an asset. Visitors should make use of

Madrid's excellent public transportation instead. Renting a car only makes sense if you are planning to leave Madrid and drive to the nearby towns.

By bicycle

Although Madrid does not appear as a bike-friendly city at a first sight, things are changing slowly to make bike experience more comfortable. Several streets in historical downtown have been transformed into mixed- traffic spaces where pedestrians and bikes have priority over cars. There are new easy-bike paths all along the river and connecting important parks. It is also possible to use a lot of narrow easy streets where traffic is slow and calm to travel along the city without depending on exclusive bike paths.

There are some official and unofficial publications with these streets along the web. [16] To avoid some of Madrid inconveniencies, such as hot weather or sloppy streets it is also possible to get bikes on Metro and Railways trains with some schedule restrictions, and on every public transport without restrictions when using folding-bikes. There is a public rent-a-bike service: BiciMAD . There are also private rental shops in the historical center: Baja Bikes and Urban Biking [17] . These companies have several points around Madrid (Retiro, Atocha, Madrid-Río, etc.). They offer Guided and self-guided bicycle tours, using electric or conventional bicycles.

City Tour Bus

The Madrid City Tour Hop on/ Hop off Buses cost EUR 21 for 1 day and EUR 25 for two days (adults). For families with 2 adults and 2 kids, it costs EUR 53 for 1 day. Stops on Route 1 include Museo Del Prado, Puerta De Alcala, Barrio De Salamanca, Plaza De Colon, Plaza De Cibeles, Gran Via 14, Gran Via 30, Gran Via 54, Plaza De Espana, Templo De Debod, Teatro Real, Palacio Real, Puerta De Toledo, San Francisco El Grande, Cathedral De La Almudena, Plaza Mayor, Puerta Del Sol, Circulo De Bellas Artes, Museo Thyssen, Museo Reina Sofia, Jardin Botanico, Museo Del Prado.

Stops on Route 2 include Plaza De

Neptuno, Plaza De Cibeles, Plaza De Colon, Museo De Esculturas, Museo De Ciencias Naturales, Nuevos Ministerios, Santiago Bernabeu, Consejo Superior Investigaciones Cientificas, Museo Lazaro Galdiano, Serrano 61, Serrano 66, Museo Arqueologico, Puerta De Alcala, Alcala 19, Puerta Del Sol, Plaza De Las Cortes, Plaza De Neptuno. Madrid is relatively flat, it's great to easily move by bicycle, skateboard, rollerblades or book a segway tour in Madrid or rent one and move through the city without walking. It's secure and if you would like to know more about the different sights, what to do, where to eat or hang out you should go with a guide. By Segway

Talk

Almudena Cathedral and Royal Palace - airpano

While knowledge of the English language is increasing among the younger generations, the majority of Madrid's residents know only a few words - even employees at American businesses such as McDonald's, KFC or Burger King and employees at cash exchange centers rarely speak much English. You can often find someone with a fair grasp of

English at larger hotels and tourism sites, but it would nevertheless be helpful to know at least a few common Spanish words and phrases.

See

Landmarks and architecture

 Puerta del Sol , ( Metro: Sol (lines 1, 2 and 3) ). This plaza is the heart of Madrid and one of the busiest places in the city - a hub for the local transit system, a favorite meeting spot for locals, a visible area for festivals or political demonstrations, and a opportune location for tour guides, street performers, pickpockets and anyone else looking to take advantage of all the tourists on hand. In the center of the plaza sits the Statue of King Charles III on

horseback, facing the Royal Post Office ( Real Casa de Correos ), the red-and-white building adorned with a clock tower on the plaza's south side. Originally the building served as Madrid's first post office, then the police headquarters under Franco before being transformed into its current use as the office of the President of Madrid, the head of the regional government. The clock tower is noteworthy for being the center focus of New Year's celebrations every year, which are broadcast across Spain and mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes (one for each ring of the bell) and the beginning of a new year. In front of the building is Kilometer Zero ( Kilómetro Cero ), a plaque

showing the point where the measuring of national highway

system begins. On the east side of the plaza is the famous Bear and the Madroño Tree Statue , a bear climbing a madroño tree, which is the symbol of Madrid. Nearby the giant neon Tío Pepe sign sits above the plaza and is a famous fixture of this area. Perhaps the best known plaza in Madrid, this impressive square is now one of the main stops on any tourist visit. Originally built outside the city walls, this enclosed square has played host to bullfights, markets, symphonies, tournaments and executions. Today it is ringed  Plaza Mayor , ( Metro: Sol (lines 1, 2 and 3) or Opera (lines 2, 5 and R) ).

with tourist shops, cafes and restaurants. The statue of Philip III sits in the middle across from the Casa de la Panadería , a beautifully painted building with two towers on the north side of the square (not to be confused with the other building with two towers on the opposite side) which once served as the headquarters of the bakers' guild and now houses a tourist information office. Access to the square is via one of the many arcades which connect to the surrounding pedestrian streets.  Mercado de San Miguel , ( Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R) ). Near Plaza Mayor is this indoor market, identifiable by its ornate iron posts. Built in 1913, it's full of a wide range

of high quality food. Even if you're not buying anything, it's worth entering for the sights and smells of dried ham, fine wine, freshly baked goods and other treats from the vendors inside.  Plaza de la Villa , ( Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R) ). The main square during Middle Age, as Calle Mayor (High Street) was the main street as well. It houses the former City Hall, the former Academy of Fine Arts and the Archbishopric.  Palacio Real , Calle Bailen ( Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R) ), ☎ +34 91 4548800, [18] . M-Sa 9:00-17:00, Su and holidays 9:00-15:00, closed occasionally for official ceremonies. The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is an enormous palace, one of the

biggest in Europe, with scorching plains of concrete around it. Though it is the official residence of the King of Spain, the royal family does not actually reside here and it is generally used only for state ceremonies. The Royal Palace is considered to be one of the most emblematic and beautiful buildings in Madrid, not only for its location on a bluff overlooking the river valley but also for its architecture and the artistic treasures to be found in its rooms. A simple one-way tour of the palace (both self-guided and guided are available) takes you up the grand stairway and through the lavishly decorated state rooms with their elegant tapestries, frescoes, porcelain, carvings and added decor

like china, silverware, medals, etc. From the courtyard you can access the Farmacia (Pharmacy), which contains hundreds of bottles of early medicines and a reconstructed laboratory, and the Real Armorial (Royal Armory), a two-story collection of medieval weapons and armor. Explanations in the armory are in Spanish only, so do not expect to understand much unless your know the Spanish names for all that medieval weaponry. The lines to get in are very long, especially on Wednesday when the place is free - try to go early. Photography inside the palace is not allowed. If you pay an additional €1 to see the El Escorial exhibit, that same ticket can be used to visit El Escorial (day trip

from Madrid) saving you €11. Entry €10; Guided tour €11; Students and children €5; free W for EU citizens.  Plaza de Oriente , Calle Bailen ( Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R) ). Located between the Palacio Real and the Teatro Real. Baroque-style gardens surround a large monument to Philip IV. Dozens of statues of other kings line the gardens. In good weather there are often a number of street performers here.  Catedral de la Almudena , ( Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R) ). This massive cathedral faces the Palacio Real. Finished near the end of 20th century, it is where the Princes of Asturias Felipe and Letizia were married in 2004.  Plaza de España , ( Metro: Plaza de

España (lines 3 and 10) or Noviciado (line 2) ). A prominent square on the northwest side of central district, adjacent to two of the tallest buildings in Madrid: the Torre de Madrid (the taller, white one) and the Edificio España (the red and white one). The square contains a large fountain and a sculpture of Cervantes and his famous Don Quixote and Sancho Panza characters.  Gran Vía , ( Metro: Banco de España (line 2), Gran Via (lines 1 and 5), Callao (lines 3 and 5), Santo Domingo (line 2), or Plaza de España (lines 3 and 10) ). Literally "Great Way" (better translated as "Broadway"), Gran Vía is one of the busiest avenues in Madrid. Running from Plaza de España to Plaza de

Cibeles, it is the location of the cinema district and a number of shopping malls and is lined with large billboards and lights. There's a constant buzz of traffic and life - 3- 4am early morning traffic jams are not unusual.  Plaza de Cibeles , ( Metro: Banco de España (line 2) ). A massive roundabout at the intersection of Calle de Alcala and Paseo del Prado, this plaza houses one of Madrid's emblems, the Fountain of Cibeles , which portrays the Roman goddess of fertility sitting upon a chariot pulled by two lions. On the southeast corner dominating the Plaza is one of the world's most beautiful city halls, the Palacio de Cibeles (formerly the Palacio de las Comunicaciones ), an

impressive structure with a jaw- droppingly spectacular facade. Inside, the building holds a cultural center with changing art exhibits and info on Madrid, and you can climb to the upper floors for some excellent views out the window. On the southwest corner of the square sits the imposing Bank of Spain ( Banco de España ) building, while the northeast corner is home to the Palacio de Linares , which holds the Casa de América [19] , a cultural center with an art gallery of Latin American works.  Plaza de Castilla , ( Metro: Plaza de Castilla (lines 1, 9 and 10); Bus line 27 ). On the north side of the city and bisected by Paseo de la Castellana, this plaza is in the center of Madrid's

skyscraper district. A tall obelisk sits in the center of the plaza while the Gate of Europe ( Puerta de Europa ) towers, two slanted towers which frame the boulevard, are situated on the north side of the plaza. Taking the #27 bus, which runs along Paseo del Prado and Paseo de la Castellana and ends at Plaza de Castilla, will take you pass several Madrid highrises. North of the Plaza is the Four Towers ( Cuatro Torres ), four sleek new skyscrapers which are the tallest in Spain.

Museum Triangle

This is Madrid's museum district, named for the three major art museums clustered along Paseo del Prado east of the old city: the Museo del Prado, one of

the finest art museums in the world, the Thyssen- Bornemisza, a baron's collection of classical art, and the Reina Sofia, Madrid's modern art museum. However, a couple of smaller museums also occupy the neighborhood which are well worth seeing as well. It’s important to note that many of the museums offer free entry during certain times most days. It varies by museum and day, but to if you are looking to take advantage of these beautiful muesums with a lesser budget, it is still possible  Museo del Prado , Paseo de Prado ( Metro: Atocha (line 1) or Banco de España (line 2); Bus lines 9, 10, 14, 19, 27, 34, 37 and 45 ), ☎ +34 90 2107077, [20] . Mo-Sa: 10AM-8PM, Su: 10AM-7PM. Closed and reduced

hours on some holidays.. One of the finest art collections in the world and the best collection of classical art in Madrid. It includes many different collections: the Spanish (El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya), the Flemish and Dutch (Rubens, van Dyck, and Brueghel), Italian (Botticelli, Tintoretto, Titian, Caravaggio, and Veronese) and German (Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, and Baldung Grien). The Prado Museum currently offers free entry Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 8pm, and Sundays and holidays from 5pm to 7pm. The museum can be extremely busy during free entry hours. Some highlights not to miss at the Prado: The Bosch masterpiece The Garden of Earthly Delights, The famous

Velázquez piece Las Meninas, The Black Paintings and The Third of May 1808 by Goya, Adoration of the Shepards by El Greco, and David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio. Be sure to walk along Paseo del Prado, a pedestrian walkway full of fountains and trees near the museum. Nice affordable restaurant on the main floor. Adults: €14; Students free with ISIC etc & children: €4; free entry Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 8pm, and Sundays and holidays from 5pm to 7pm.  Reina Sofía National Museum and Art Center , Santa Isabel 52 ( Metro: Atocha (line 1) ), ☎ +34 91 7741000 (fax: +34 91 7741056), [21] . M, W-Sa 10AM- 9PM, Su 10AM-2:30PM. Houses Madrid's best collection of

modern art. It includes many of Pablo Picasso's most revered works including the renowned Guernica . The Reina Sofía also houses masterpieces by Miró, Kandinsky, Dalí, Bacon, and more. The Reina Sofia National Museum and Art Center offers free entry into the museums on Sundays 3:00 to 7:00 (times change frequently). general: €8; students with ISIC etc, free; free Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sundays 1:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.  Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum of Art , Paseo de Prado, 8 ( Metro: Banco de España (line 2) ), ☎ +34 913 69 01 51, [22] . Tu-Su 10AM- 7PM. The ticket office closes at 6:30PM. The Museum is closed all

day on 1 Jan, 1 May, and 25 Dec. Contains a large art collection including masterpieces by Monet, Goya, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Picasso, Mondrian, Bacon and Lichtenstein. The Thyssen- Bornemisza Museum of Art offers free entry on Monday afternoons, from 12:00 to 4:00. Adults: €8; Students: €8; Children under 12: Free.  Caixa Forum , Paseo de Prado, 36 ( Metro: Atocha (line 1) ), [23] . A private museum of contemporary art and culture that is particularly well- known for the "vertical garden" by Patrick Blanc installed on a wall in front of the museum, as well as the

Madrid, 2016 Panoramic iPhone – Rodrigo Paredes. (CC BY 2.0).

quite special architecture of the building itself. The vertical garden can be seen from the street outside, just a block south of the Thyssen- Bornemisza and across from the Prado. Inside the museum has free exhibitions and functions.  Naval Museum , Paseo del Prado 5. ( Metro: Banco de España (line 2) ). Beautiful museum with vast

interesting collections about Spanish sailing. The Juan De La Cosa map, the oldest known map showing America, is held here. You will be asked for a €3 donation on the free days. Free on Saturdays and Sundays.  Museo de América , Avenida Reyes Católicos 6 ( Metro: Moncloa (lines 3 and 6) ), ☎ +34 91 5492641 and 91 5439437, [24] . Tu-Sa: 9:30AM-3PM, Su 10:00AM-3PM, Closed Mondays, Jan 1, May 1, Dec 24, 25, 31. An excellent museum that many tourists miss. Houses thousands of artifacts from the Americas. The exhibit displays objects from many native cultures from before European

Other museums

conquest to colonial times and beyond. Don't miss the Tesoro (Treasure) de los Químbayas, a collection of gold objects that was given as a gift by the Colombian government. Also of interest is the Tudela Codex, an Aztec law book from the 1500's. Beware: most explanations to the objects on display are in Spanish only. Adults: €3, students €1.50, free Su, free for seniors and children.  Museo de San Isidro, los Origenes de Madrid ( Museum of San Isidro, the Origins of Madrid ), Plaza San Andres 2 ( Metro: Latina (line 5) ), ☎ +34 913 667 415, [25] . Mo: Closed Tu-Su: 9:30am-8pm. This is a museum of two parts. One part is dedicated to Saint Isidore the

Laborer, while the other part is dedicated to the paleontology and archaeology of the region of Madrid from prehistory to 1561 (when Philip II made Madrid the seat of the court). Most of the exhibits are explained in both Spanish and English. Entry is free.  Museo de Historia de Madrid ( Museum of History of Madrid ), Calle Fuencarral 78 ( Metro: Tribunal (lines 1 and 10) ), ☎ +34 917 011 863, [26] . Mo: Closed, Tu-Su: 9:30am-8pm. This museum is dedicated to the history of Madrid from 1561 to present. Much of the history is explained by referencing exhibited paintings depicting people or events from the time, so it is also an art museum. Several maps and models

(including two large ones in the basement) show how Madrid grew since the 16th century. All exhibits are explained in both English and Spanish. Entry is free.  Museo de Lazaro Galdiano , Calle Serrano 122 ( Metro: Gregorio Mariñon (lines 7 and 10) ), ☎ +34 91 5616084, [27] . W-M: 10AM-4:30PM. Closed: Tu; Jan 1; Easter Thursday and Friday; May 2 and 3; Nov 1; Dec 6 and 25.. This museum houses the stunning collection of Spanish entrepreneur José Lázaro Galdiano (1862-1947) and is considered to be one of the best private collections in Spain. Not only will you find works by Goya, Velázquez, El Greco and others, the museum is also filled with jewelry, furniture, sculpture and

ceramics. This is an excellent museum that is usually not crowded and well worth the price of admission. €4, free on Sundays.  Museo Sorolla , General Martínez Campos, 37 ( Metro: Iglesia (line 1) or Rubén Darío (line 5); Bus lines 5, 7, 14, 16, 27, 40, 45, 61, 147 and 150 ), ☎ +34 91 3101584, [28] . Tu - Sat: 0930 to 2000 - Sun 1000-1500. This museum is in what was the impressionist painter's house and features fine furniture and porcelain as well as his paintings. €3.  Museo del Traje ( The Costume Museum ), Avenida de Juan de Herrera 2 ( Metro: Moncloa (lines 3 and 6) or Ciudad Universitaria (line 6) ), ☎ +34 91 5504700, [29] . Tu-Sa 9:30AM-7PM, Su 10:00AM-3PM.

Closed 1, 6 Jan, 1, 15 May, 24, 25, 31 Dec. Offers a wide selection of historical and more temporary costumes (from the early 1200s to now) which shows the aspects of different cultures and Spain. The museum also organizes many activities and events.  National Archeology Museum , Calle Serrano 13 ( Metro: Serrano (line 4) ), ☎ +34 91 5777912, [30] . Tu-Sa: 9:30AM-5PM, Sun and Holidays 9:30AM-3PM. Closed: M; Jan 1 and 6; May 1 and 15; Dec 24, 25, and 31. (Holidays: Apr 5 and 6, May 2, Aug 15, Oct 12, Nov 1 and 9, Dec 6 and 8.. Don't let the sound of it frighten you. This large, well designed museum opened again in April 2014 after several years of renovation

works. It houses an incredible collection of archaeological finds from across the peninsula. It leaves the visitor with a sense of the chronology of civilization in Spain (Iberian, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Visagoth, Arab, and into the modern age). The famous Dama de Elche, an Iberian (pre- Roman) fertility goddess statue, is in this museum. There are also a few pieces from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. €3, Free entry Saturday after 2:30PM and Sundays.  Real Academia de Bella Artes de San Fernando , Calle Alcalá 13 ( Metro: Sevilla or Banco de España (line 2) ), ☎ +34 915240864, [31] . Tu- Fr: 9:30AM-7PM, Sa-M: 9:30- 4:30PM. Highly impressive art collection with paintings, sculptures,

drawings and prints. Several Goya masterpieces. Adults: €3, students €1.50, free W, free for children and seniors.  San Antonio de La Florida Hermitage . This small church is famous for its murals, painted by Goya. It's also the mausoleum of the painter.  Planetario de Madrid ( Planetarium of Madrid ), Avenida del Planetario 16 ( Metro: Mendez Alvaro (line 6) or Arganzuela- Planetario (line 6) ), ☎ + 34 91467 34 61, [32] . Mo: Closed, Tu-Fr: 9:30am-1:45pm and 5pm- 7:45pm, Sa-Su: 11am-1:45pm and 5pm-8:45pm. Features several exhibits related to space exploration, two screens playing documentaries, an interactive area and, of course, the

planetarium. Projections last 45 minutes each. Different ones play on different days so check their website. Note that all the exhibits are explained in Spanish only and the projections in the planetarium are also in Spanish. Entry is free but the sessions in the planetarium each have a cost of €3.60 for a regular ticket and €1.65 for a reduced ticket (children and seniors).  Museo de Ferrocarril de Madrid ( Railway Museum of Madrid ), Paseo de las Delicias 61 ( Metro: Delicias (line 3); Renfe Cercanias: Delicias ), ☎ +34 902 22 88 22, [33] . Mo: Closed, Tu-Th: 10am-3pm, Fr- Sa: 10am-8pm, Su: 10am-3pm. Museum with four railway tracks, exhibiting a large number of steam, diesel and

electric locomotives used in Spain in the 19th and 20th century. Also on display are several model railways. Exhibits are described in Spanish only. Regular ticket price €5.09, reduced ticket price €3.56 (children, students and seniors), on Sundays €2.04.  Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia ( National Museum of Science and Technology ), Paseo de las Delicias 61 ( Metro: Delicias (line 3); Renfe Cercanias: Delicias ), ☎ +34 916 037 401, [34] . Attached to the Railway Museum of Madrid, this is a museum dedicated to the history of science and technology, exhibiting scientific instruments and consumer products from the last few centuries. Exhibits are described in Spanish

only. Entry is free.  Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales ( National Museum of Natural Sciences ), José Gutiérrez Abascal 2 ( Metro: Gregorio Marañón, Nuevos Ministerios; Renfe Cercanias: Nuevos Ministerios ), ☎ +34 91 411 1328, [35] . Contains a large collection of fossils and minerals, plus educational exhibits (some are described in English but many are in Spanish only). Has two parts open to visitors with separate entrances. The ticket is purchased at the main entrance and to visit the other part you need to exit from the main entrance, turn left and follow the building until you reach the second entrance. Your ticket will be checked again there so don't lose it. Regular

price €6, reduced price €3.  Museo Geominero ( Geo-mining Museum ), c/ Rios Rosas 23 ( Metro: Rios Rosas ), ☎ +34 91 349 5759, [36] . Mo-Su: 9am- 2pm. Part of the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mining, this museum is dedicated to Geology (with a focus on Mineralogy) and Paleontology, containing an impressive collection of fossils and minerals discovered on the territory of Spain and abroad. Also contains educational exhibits, although all are impressive and may be worth a quick tour even if you are not particularly interested in Paleontology and Mineralogy. Free.  Museo Nacional de Antropologia described in Spanish only. The interior of the building is just as

( National Museum of Anthropology ), Alfonso XII, 68 ( Metro: Atocha Renfe; Renfe Cercanias: Atocha ), ☎ +34 91 530 64 18 or +34 91 539 59 95, [37] . Mo: closed, Tu-Sa: 9:30am- 8pm, Su: 10am-3pm. Small but interesting museum with artefacts and models from the indigenous people of Asia (mainly the Philippines, former colony of Spain), Africa and America. The exhibits are described in Spanish, however on each floor there is a leaflet in English explaining all sections. Regular price €3, reduced price €1.50, free on Sat after 2pm and on Sun.

Parks

 El Retiro Park , ( Metro: Retiro (line 2), Ibiza (line 9) or Atocha (line 1) ).

The main park of Madrid, the perfect place to take a rest during a sunny day, or take part in the drum circles around the statue of Alphonso XII on summer evenings. There is a large boating lake where one can hire a rowing boat - great fun for the children! There is a monument to the victims of the Madrid 3/11 terrorist bombings, the Forest of the Absent , and the Crystal Palace , a large structure entirely made of glass. Sunday afternoons in summer are a treat in the park, where young hippies play bongos and dance.  Royal Botanical Garden ( Real Jardín Botánico ), ( Metro: Atocha (line 1) ), [38] . 8-hectare garden located next to the Prado Museum and Retiro Park. Opens at 10am,

closing time varies by season. €3 admission. €3.  Parque del Capricho , ( Metro: El Capricho (line 5) ). One of the most beautiful parks in Madrid. Built in 1797-1839, it has a strong Romanticism influence. Declared as an Historic Garden, its lakes with swans and ducks, labyrinths, palaces, squares and fountains makes this a lovely place.  Templo de Debod , Paseo del Pintor Rosales 2 ( Metro: Plaza de España (lines 3 and 10) ), ☎ +34 91 765108, [39] . Tue-Fri: 10AM - 2PM and 6PM - 8PM, Sat-Sun: 10AM- 2PM, closed Mondays and holidays. An Egyptian temple, located in one of Madrid′s most beautiful parks. Near the Royal Palace and Plaza de

España, it was a present given by Egypt to Spain for its role in saving the temple of Abu Simbel from the floodwaters of Lake Nasser following the construction of the Aswan Dam in southern Egypt. A great place to watch the sunset. Free.  Rosaleda del Parque del Oeste , Calle Rosaleda 2 ( Metro: Principe Pio (lines 6 and 10) ). 10AM - 7PM. The rose garden of Madrid, located in the same park as the Templo de Debod. If you like roses and are in Madrid when they have flowered, definitely worth a visit. The garden holds an international competition yearly. Entry is free.  La Casa de Campo , ( Metro: Lago, Batan (line 10) or Casa de Campo

(lines 5 and 10) ). The park at the rear of the Palacio Real which used to belong to the Royal family. Much of the park has been taken to smaller activity parks such as the Zoo but in general it's peaceful. From Moncloa you can take a teleferico across into the park.  Zoo Aquarium Madrid , ( Metro: Casa de Campo (lines 5 and 10); Bus line 33 ), [40] . See the Pandas. Pet the Lemurs. Watch the Dolphin show. Enjoy the Bird show. Adults €22.90; Children: €18.55.  Faunia , ( Metro: Valdebernardo (line 9) ), [41] . A different type of zoo,

Almudena Cathedral - airpano

aiming to recreate the native habitats of the animals (e.g. the building of the nocturnal animals is dark on the inside, emulating night time and allowing visitors to see the animals during their active hours). Several shows, incluidng marine mammals and birds of prey.

Art in Madrid

 Art galleries (which display and sell art) can mostly be found via the "Asociación de Galerías de  Arte" (de Madrid) ; they have a great map of all associated galleries that will lead you to a great variety of places to discover great art, established or upcoming. Most galleries will also be able and willing to provide you the map in paper form. Many of these galleries are located in the Barrios de Lavapiés, las Letras, Salamanca, Las Salesas (upper part of Chueca Neighborhood), while you may find some treasures elsewhere, too. For the neighbourhoods with more galleries, just wander around the neighbourhoods, step in in some of them and "get lost in art". In some

neighbourhoods you may need to ring a bell to have the personell open the door, feel free to do that, you are most generally really welcome. Please also note the Art Gallery Tour guiding you through such great places (see next bullet).  Art Gallery Tour Art Gallery Tour is a pioneer initiative that brings people closer to the world of contemporary art through guided tours of the best and most important galleries & exhibitions in Madrid situated in magnificent spaces in the three most historic districts of Madrid: Salesas, Letters, Salamanca and Dr. Fourquet

St. It is a great opportunity to discover Madrid & its cultural

heritage. Their main goal is to democratize art in Spain, raising awareness of contemporary art and stimulating the art market. For more information visit: http://www.artgallerytour.es .  Sanchinarro Cultural Center Located north of Madrid, the Cultural Center Sanchinarro is a large public space dedicated to art and culture. It offers a program of shows and high- level activities especially designed to accommodate a multitude of artistic, cultural offerings and specialized courses. It also has great facilities with ample time. Sanchinarro Cultural Center was founded with the goal of becoming the main cultural landmark of northern Madrid. This Madrid City Council, owner of this equipment,

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