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Madrid’s vivacious spirit and energy will leave you breathless.
There’s an unforgettable something extra to life in Madrid. Enjoy the sunrise and greenery in Retiro Park before spending the morning at the Prado. Have a late lunch and take an afternoon siesta, rising late to join the locals for dinner after 8.
Once upon a time, a bear stood next to a strawberry tree – and an icon was born. The statue "El Oso y El Madroño" stands in this large square and is Madrid’s official symbol. The area is renowned for its clock tower attached to the royal post office, and the various shops, hotels and restaurants. New Year’s celebrations are also held here. According to tradition, the locals eat one grape each time the bell tolls.Accommodations near Puerta del Sol Madrid
Although Plaza Mayor has a dark history—once a center for executions and violent bullfights—today it’s chic and vibrantly cosmopolitan. The 400-year-old equestrian statue of King Philip III watches over the restaurants, artisan shops and street artists that occupy the square. Explore the side streets and you'll find specialty calamari sandwich shops.Accommodations near Plaza Mayor
Don’t let the lack of can-can girls stop you from visiting Gran Vía. Known as the "Broadway" of Madrid, this long avenue is lined with luxury shops and theaters – all built in a variety of styles that appear to be an architectural guide to art history. The Goddess of Victory watches over the street from the top of the Metropolis Building, at the center of Gran Via.Accommodations near Gran Vía
Once you see this grand palace, you’ll be dying to take a look inside. Renaissance paintings, enormous chandeliers and beautiful frescoes decorate the rooms, along with the world’s only complete Stradivarius string quartet. Take a tour—although it’s the official residence of the royal family, they no longer live there—or just admire it from the nearby Sabatini Gardens.Accommodations near Royal Palace of Madrid
Sometimes, a lion-drawn chariot is the only way to see a city. Just ask Cybele, Madrid’s mythological protector whose statue sits on top of Cibeles Fountain. The area around the fountain attracts locals, especially when Real Madrid C.F. wins a game. Plaza de Cibeles is bordered by four iconic buildings: The Bank of Spain, Buenavista Palace, Linares Palace and City Hall.Accommodations near Plaza de Cibeles
Visit this golden triangle of art galleries and museums, with some of the world’s most iconic images, including Fra Angelico’s "Annunciation." El Prado has paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings from Europe’s masters. Wander the mile-long "art walk" with Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza galleries, the National Library, and Archaeological Museum all within 10 minutes of each other.Accommodations near Golden Triangle of Art
Back in 1774, Carlos III realized that Madrid wasn’t complete without an elaborate gate. This monument to Madrid’s fierceness was created in the 18th century, destroyed in the early 20th century, and then rebuilt to its former glory. It’s even the subject of a kitschy song by Spanish singers Ana Belén and Victor Manuel, popular throughout the Spanish-speaking world.Accommodations near Puerta de Alcalá
When you’re a royal, you’re always in competition for the biggest backyard. Once owned by the Spanish Royal Family, Retiro Park’s extensive gardens are filled with elegant fountains, statues and the spectacular architecture of centuries past. Its marvels, including the amazing Crystal Palace and equestrian statue of King Alfonso XII, are open to public viewing year-round.Accommodations near Retiro Park
You didn’t take a wrong turn and end up in Egypt. This 2,000-year-old temple once stood on the banks of the Nile in Aswan, but was given to Spain in 1968 to prevent its submersion after the construction of a dam. The temple is free to visit and guided tours can also be arranged.Accommodations near Temple of Debod
Stadiums or Arenas
For sports fans, nothing beats the wild atmosphere of soccer season at Santiago Bernabéu. Madrid has some of the most die-hard soccer fans in the world, and the streets are usually filled with people celebrating after winning a game. With a capacity of 81,000, the stadium has hosted four European Cup and Champions League soccer finals.Accommodations near Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
Start your adventure at Madrid’s crown jewel, Palacio Real de Madrid, the royal palace and the adjacent Sabatini Gardens. Madrid’s oldest district includes the popular landmarks of Plaza Mayor, Gran Vía and Plaza Cibeles, or the popular area of Lavapies in Embajadores.Accommodations in Madrid City Center
This neighborhood is a popular cultural hub throughout the year. Students congregate at the nightclubs around Santa Ana Square. The neighborhood’s bohemian atmosphere is partly due to its literary foundations. Spanish Golden Age authors like Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Quevedo and Góngora wrote their great works here.Accommodations in Barrio de las Letras
A central neighborhood that’s abuzz with numerous street cafes and a mix of reasonably-priced and gourmet restaurants. Enjoy shopping at plenty of boutiques for clothes from avant-garde design to popular labels. The area’s vibrant nightlife has something for everyone.Accommodations in Chueca
Lavapiés is a multicultural, cosmopolitan area that is popular with young people. The area is decorated with street art and has an eclectic mix of trendy shops and restaurants to enjoy. Every Sunday Lavapiés is filled with people heading to El Rastro market, Madrid’s largest traditional flea market.Accommodations in Lavapies
Serrano and José Ortega y Gasset (in Lista) are great for shopping and are lined with luxury and designer shops. The residential neighborhoods of Recoletos, Lista, Goya and Castellana feature some of Europe’s most expensive real estate, and the area itself is one of Madrid’s most important commercial zones.Accommodations in Salamanca
This small, historic residential district is becoming gentrified as young professionals move to the area. Spread over 6 neighborhoods, it’s a lively district to visit for some local flavor and has a village-like atmosphere. Filled with Modernist, Gothic and neo-Mudejar architecture, its streets are best explored by foot.Accommodations in Chamberí
This historic district can’t be missed. Loop around Retiro Park – once the royal family’s private garden, it’s full of lavish monuments and tree-lined avenues. People-watch on Paseo del Prado boulevard, filled with joggers, street vendors and locals, then spend a few hours exploring El Prado Museum’s important collection of paintings.Accommodations in Retiro
Barajas is a hotel-filled area around Madrid-Barajas International Airport. After developing into a full-fledged municipality in the late '40s, Barajas expanded to include the area of Alameda de Osuna. Chances are that if you’re in town for a conference, it'll be hosted at the IFEMA convention center.Accommodations in Barajas
Full of skyscrapers, Chamartín mainly functions as a business district. The district features two of Madrid’s treasures: Santiago Bernabéu Football Stadium, home to Real Madrid soccer team; for music fans, the National Auditorium of Music (Madrid’s main concert hall) hosts the Spanish National Orchestra.Accommodations in Chamartín
Madrid’s "Golden Mile" is a shopping area featuring local designers and international brands. You’ll find luxury brands at luxury prices, including prestigious jewelry stores like Suarez, Bulgari, Cartier and Tiffany’s. Take your pick from a wide range of mid-range to indulgent gourmet restaurants.Accommodations in Milla de Oro
Nieves loves traveling, partying and tapas – not necessarily in that order.
Since 2002, La Casa Encendida or "The Lit House" has been a social and cultural center. The cultural program features everything from performing arts to cinema, exhibitions to concerts, and workshops to courses. It’s open to anybody and includes a library, newspapers, radio lab, photography, and multimedia.Accommodations near La Casa Encendida
Victoria loves taking new people around Madrid and showing them up-and-coming and unique things.
A guided free tour is one of the best ways to get to know central Madrid, with 3 hours spent exploring medieval streets and squares. The starting point is in Plaza Mayor Square, a great place to try one of Madrid’s famous “bocadillos de calamares,” a crispy baguette filled with fried squid.Accommodations near Guided Tour of Madrid
Polish Joanna has lived in Spain for 9 years and loves the vintage cafes in Malasaña.
Madrid Rio is a new park area that is not very well known, even among local “Madrileños.” There are routes for joggers and walkers, cycle paths, and room for sports or just to relax in the open air. It’s also known as the "city beach."Accommodations near Madrid Río
Jorge loves diversity and his greatest passion is traveling and experiencing other cultures.
El Rastro occurs every Sunday of the year. It is a popular flea market where you can find all manner of things. After strolling through the market, join the locals in a typical treat, eating some tapas in and around the Embajadores area.Accommodations near El Rastro
Curious Elvira loves traveling and enjoying parks and all kinds of outdoor activities.
One of the most beautiful spots in the city, this charming park really is a “capricho” (treat). While you’re taking a walk around the park, you’ll come across delightful buildings like the Casino Ballroom and Beehives. The park’s beauty really makes it worth a visit.Accommodations near Parque de El Capricho (El Capricho Park)
Raquel likes the outdoors and traveling, and she loves sunny days chatting with friends on a terrace.
It’s easy to see Madrid’s character when the city celebrates. Among the most popular festivals are San Isidro at the start of May and La Virgen de la Paloma in mid-August. The streets are filled with traditional activities and lots of music; the buzzing atmosphere is infectious!Accommodations near Local Fairs
Friendly Marcos loves soccer, cars, travel and going out for tapas and cañas (beer) with friends.
Kapital is a club in one of the most upscale areas of the city. It has 7 independent floors, each with different types of music, spaces, theme and décor. Kapital always offers the best national and international DJs, which makes every night a unique musical event.Accommodations near Teatro Kapital (Kapital Theater)
Fran loves travel, food and visual arts and thinks he was a suitcase in his past life.
Even if you’re not interested in the cultural exhibitions often held in this 19th-century building, there is still a great reason to visit the Círculo de Bellas Artes: the stunning views of the emblematic Gran Via Boulevard on offer from the roof terrace.Accommodations near Círculo de Bellas Artes
Booking.com asked travelers...Which fine art museums should a first-time visitor to Madrid start with?
United States of America
Thyssen museum is in a class of it's own. The unique chronological ordering of art makes innovators stand out amongst there peers. Oh yeah Reina Sofia and Pardo is nothing to sneeze at either. Amazing collection of art in this city!See all 282 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What did you discover about the museums in Madrid that wasn't in the guidebooks?
Museo de Sorrolla near the plaza de la Olavide, monasterio de las descalzas reales is a real hidden gem in the middle of Madrid, the park Madridrio and a little bit further at the north east side near the station principe pio the tiny chapels decorated by Goya.See all 65 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you enjoy the sights in Madrid while avoiding the crowds?
United States of America
Its hard to avoid crowds.See all 53 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Is there more to shopping in Madrid than just brand-name stores?
United States of America
1. Explore Las Rizas Village (Calle Juan Ramón Jiménez, 3, 28232, Las Tozas, Madrid) It is a Disigner Stores Outlet Village. Get your Disigner clothes for fraction of the price 2. Most hotels give discount card for El Corte Ingles. The card offers 10% off (for non-EU residents), plus it accumulates cash, that can be used toward other purchases in the store. Plus you get Tax-Free - it all adds up to a very nice saving. 3. If you are looking for upscale shopping experience (Gucci, Ferragamo, etc), explore Calle de Serrano. It is a very long street with an abundance of beautiful stores, so I suggest research google first if you are interested in particular brands.See all 40 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...How can you get the most authentic cultural experience in Madrid?
Go by Merto to the center of the city (Sol) and walk from there to Parque del Retiro, to Museo del Prado, Plaza Mayor, and so on. You will experience how this vibrant city moves.See all 39 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Describe what other people like you would like about shopping in Madrid.
You will find something nice for your pocket ! What ever is your budget, there will be something nice to wear that night, or a beautiful memory to hang on your wall. Shopping here is gooood !See all 32 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...What's the best way to make the most of Madrid by foot?
United States of America
Good shoes, cash/coin and a city/metro map for finding your way back is my recommendation. The rest is just keep walking.See all 30 answers
Booking.com asked travelers...Where should people go if they don't want to eat in a tourist trap?
Look at where the locals are eating, usually a street back from the main tourist area..there are plenty which are cheaper and have great food,See all 24 answers
There are many connections from Barajas Airport to the city. The train to Puerta de Atocha takes 25 minutes and departs every 30 minutes (5:59 am to 12:15 am, 7 days). Taxis are readily available – the 7-mile journey takes 20 minutes (usually a 30 EUR flat rate). The express bus to Atocha-RENFE transportation hub takes 40 minutes and departs every 15 minutes during the day and 35 minutes at night, 24 hours a day.
Unless you’re heading to the airport or the outskirts of Madrid, the best way to get around the city is by metro. Puerta de Atocha is the main station and local trains ("cercanías") depart from here. Tickets can be purchased at machines. If you’re traveling on to other destinations, visit the service desk to buy a ticket. The center of the city is 20 minutes away by foot.
Madrid’s extensive metro system connects the entire city and is the easiest way to get around. Tickets can be purchased at machines or service desks. Tourist passes are also available from stations or tobacco shops, which allow you to travel with one ticket throughout the city. Consult the website for more details.
Buses get you close to various sites of interest throughout the city, but aren't as convenient as the metro. Catch buses from the designated stops throughout Madrid or from the main train station. Tickets can be purchased in advance in groups of 10 at stations; otherwise you can buy a ticket on board.
Madrid’s taxis are usually cheap in comparison to other European cities. Official taxis are white with a red stripe and a coat of arms on the door. Journeys are usually paid in cash, but credit cards are becoming more widely used. Private companies operate throughout the city too; they usually accept credit cards but you need to reserve in advance. There’s no official website, so it's best to catch one from the street or taxi stand.
Driving in the city can be difficult – keep in mind that there are lots of traffic jams and parking can be expensive. If you do drive, there are plenty of parking garages (look for the blue "P" sign). There's an hourly charge for on-street parking and there are green and blue parking zones – the ground is painted in green or blue and prices are displayed at the machines.
Serving elegant Mediterranean food, the sumptuous dining room is more like a chapel than a restaurant, with its domed ceilings, frescoes and ornate baroque swirls. The bon viveur atmosphere is taken a step further with live opera, operetta or chamber music during the evening meal. Private dining rooms are available.
Le Tercera is a small and rustic tavern. They serve tapas, salads and a huge variety of wines. The décor is vintage and there’s a distinctly lived-in feel about the place. Popular with the young and trendy, it’s a great local restaurant to discover.
Madrid's most famous "churrería" where the speciality of the house is thick Spanish doughnuts – or “churros” – served with lashings of hot, liquid chocolate. For those with willpower, there is also a wide variety of coffees and teas. A must after partying in Madrid, it is usually packed throughout the night.
The traditional wood-burning pizza oven is the heart of this classic Italian restaurant. Generous portions and value for money ensure a constant stream of orders for chef Lucio Fracassi’s pizzas, pastas and salads. It’s popular with just about everyone, from families to work colleagues, so book in advance.
The fish is really fresh in this Japanese restaurant and every dish is a work of art, Japanese style. Nice atmosphere, simple décor, medium prices and popular with couples, groups of friends and business groups.
Lateral is a large and minimally decorated restaurant with a wonderfully bright covered outdoor terrace. It’s popular with locals for their traditional Spanish menu, including ‘pinchos’. Great for young couples or friends, Lateral has affordable prices and is great for all occasions.
Looking for a truly authentic Spanish evening? Villa Rosa is one of Madrid’s oldest ‘tablao flamenco’ restaurants that offers a delicious set-priced meal complemented with flamenco dancing. The menu is expensive in comparison to others in the area, but it’s fantastic for visitors looking for a local experience.
Traditional Asturian restaurant specialising in the famous "Fabada" or Asturian stew. The décor is rustic Asturian, but the most striking feature in the room is the goat’s head mounted on the wall – it's kind of a restaurant mascot though, and most diners grow to like it over the course of the evening.
Italian doesn’t get much better than this! Ristorante La Piperna have a huge a range of traditional Italian dishes that have been given a contemporary twist. Don’t come here expecting pizza – their modern menu is pasta-based. It’s stylish and contemporary and suitable for all occasions.
Fonda La Lechuga is a restaurant that serves fine Spanish tapas, as well as a range of traditional dishes. Located down a small side street, this restaurant is small but popular. It has a homely feel and is great for a casual and low-cost meal.
Nirvana for gourmets. This traditional market is both a piece of Madrid history and a food paradise. Some 33 specialist stalls serve a range of the freshest food – from organic Spanish tapas and tortillas to sushi! Shop here, eat here, taste some of the best Spanish wines, from early till late.
Founded in 1725, The Guinness Book of Records lists Botín as the world’s oldest restaurant. Guests over the centuries have included Goya, Ernest Hemmingway and an assortment of Europe’s royalty. Still popular with Madrid’s politicians and rainmakers, book in advance if you want a table.
Mercado serves traditional Mediterranean cuisine in a stylish and contemporary environment. The kitchen is open all day long, so you can stop by whenever you’re peckish. The restaurant has a hip and trendy vibe that makes it a place to be seen.
La Barraca is an elegant restaurant that specializes in traditional paella in Levantine style. They pride themselves on using fresh locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant itself is brightly and tastefully decorated and suitable for all occasions. A reservation is recommended, as it tends to get quite busy.
This traditional tapas bar has been in business since 1931. They offer a large menu to chose from, including tostas (toast topped with various ingredients), cured ham, national and international cheese, and wines. The place is small and cosy and filled with local products available for purchase.
Located on the 7th floor of Hotel de Las Letras, this attic bar is very chic and trendy. They offer inexpensive salads and snacks, complemented with slightly expensive cocktails. It’s a small venue and they don’t accept advance bookings. Great for all occasions.
If you’re looking for contemporary Basque cuisine, you’ve come to the right place! They specialise in grilled and roast meats, including juicy steaks and ox. There’s also a degustation menu if you’re feeling adventurous. Great for all occasions, especially for small groups.
Casa Platas is Madrid’s most traditional ‘tablao flamenco’ and offers typical Spanish wines and cuisine, all accompanied by live flamenco shows. If you want to experience the passion of this dance, you'd better book in advance, as it's a very popular place.
For French-style cuisine in a slightly Parisian environment, this is a fantastic choice. They serve a set priced meal for lunch and dinner, but it’s most popular for Sunday brunch. It’s slightly north of Lavapiés, so it can be a trek to get there. Great for all occasions.
O'pulpo is a traditional Galician restaurant. They specialise in octopus-based dishes and designer desserts, including olive oil and violet ice cream. It’s a family-run establishment that is very warm and welcoming to all visitors. Great for all occasions.
Specialising in French cuisine, this chic restaurant is located on the sixth floor of the four-star Hotel Ada Palace, with spectacular views of the iconic Metropolis building, Gran Via and the Fine Arts Circle. It’s perfect for a romantic evening for two.
If there’s one sure way of attracting business in Madrid, it’s by serving free tapas. And that’s exactly what this bar does every time you order a beer. There’s no skimping either. The portions are generous, and as a result the place is always packed, with a great atmosphere.
In a city of excellent bakeries, this is one of the oldest and the best. Pretty much everything is good, but the "palmeras de chocolate" are legendary, and at Christmas the seasonal "roscón de reyes" walk out the door. The ideal place to stop for a coffee.
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