When conjuring up an image of Madrid, envisage a beating heart placed squarely at the country’s centre. The Spanish capital is bursting with life and passion and through its well planned streets course Madrilenos, the city’s inhabitants who really know how to live.
Madrid’s forceful energy has lead it to be the country’s largest city and a centre of industry, but don’t be misguided into thinking that you’ll be entering a concrete jungle. Madrid has the highest number of trees per inhabitant of any European city and reportedly you are never more than a 15-minute walk away from a green area. Even the central railway station, Atocha, is home to a 4,000 square metre indoor garden with more than 500 species of plant life and ponds through which turtles and goldfish swim.
The nerve centre of the city is the Puerta del Sol which is the starting point for the numbering of all city streets and all the country’s highways. Madrid is a throughly modern city with excellent infrastructure, and although very little of the city’s actual medieval and renaissance architecture still exist, it has managed to preserve the historic look and feel its neighbourhoods.
Madrid is a powerhouse of culture, and no trip here could miss a tour of the the Golden Triangle of Art, encompassing the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Music is also an important feature and the city marches to the beat of flamenco, jazz and live music of all kinds. And don’t forget that Madrid serves some of the most delicious tapas on offer. It’s really rather unsurprising that Madrid is the most visited city in Spain.
When to go
While Madrid is a year-round destination, its winters are cold and its summers hot.
What to do
- Visit the Royal Palace of Madrid
- Tour the Royal Theatre
- Walk through Buen Retiro Park
- See the 19th-century National Library
- Tour the "Golden Triangle of Art" including the world renowned Prado Museum
- Visit the Museum of Outdoor Sculpture