What you need to know about Madrid
Madrid has an astounding combination of history and contemporary way of life. Since Madrid is a substantial city, it very well may be difficult to get yourself orientated but let us guide you through the basics and get your travel to Madrid started!
Language: Spanish is the national language so you will ideally learn the usual handful of phrases to help you get by, but as with most developed cities in the world, Madrid is full of locals who can understand and/or speak good English so navigating your way through sights, menus and transportation is less challenging than you might have first feared.
Currency: Spain uses the Euro (€) as their currency, which is normally traded as one of the stronger currencies in the world.
Banking: ATMs are typical in shops, super markets and on most streets. All major bank cards are accepted by retailers generally.
Weather: The weather is great - In the summer Madrid can reach some really warm temperatures, and winter is chilly but not as cold as more northern parts of Europe. It is basically exactly what you would imagine from a Central European city.
Say "hola" to Madrid life
Madrid is regularly eclipsed by its northerly neighbor Barcelona. There appears to be little explanation behind this, however - with incredible dining options using local cuisine and high-end shopping galore, the capital of Spain merits its very own badge of distinction!
Find what the locals love about their city - ample bars at both street level and on rooftops, dancing at the hippest clubs, incredible art galleries, and quiet & quaint green parks to relax in. Madrid is a place to lose yourself in the local vibe of enjoying the nicer things in life. And if it all gets too much at any point, go have a siesta which is when the city slows down (many places shut) between 14:00-16:00.
Eat well after a day on your feet
Walking around the things to do in Madrid is sure to work up an appetite. There are LOADS of places to grab a bite to eat but there are two in particular that you absoltuely must fit into your trip.
The first is Mercado De San Miguel which is a fabulous indoor market that is full of different options to eat and drink. Grab a plate, pack it full of Bacalao, patatas bravas, jamon, oysters, sparkling wine and other spanish culinary delights, sit back and enjoy watching Spanish life pass by the huge plate glass walls.
The second 'must do' food-wise in Madrid is paying a visit to Chocolatería San Ginés which is the ultimate indulgence the city has to offer. For over 100 years the owners have been serving the thickest of thick hot chocolate accompanied by freshly made churros. It is absolutely to die for and the Chocolatería's reputation has resulted in the walls being covered with photos of the world's most famous actors, singers and celebrities visitng for a taste of chocolate heaven.
Plazas are the place to be
While the Plaza Mayor might be the most popular square in Madrid, the Puerta del Sol is themes vibrant and most fascinating square to visit, as it is an essential transport centre point and in addition an incredible open plaza full of captivating sights and sounds.
There are fascinating statues and open fine arts in plain view in this specific square, and the Royal Post Office currently fills in as the workplace of the Spanish President.
This is an incredible place to sit down and appreciate an espresso as you watch the general population of Madrid continue on ahead, and see the alluring buildings of the square.
Time to dance
Flamenco is a standout amongst the most famous types of dancing on the planet, and as it began in Spain, it is nothing unexpected to find that it is a key piece of the nation's way of life.
Madrid has plenty of places that offer exhibitions of Flamenco accompanied by a customary Spanish supper, and this is an incredible method to appreciate some great, energetic performances and some great local cuisine together.
Wondrous worship spots
Looking on to an expansive open square, this Cathedral De la Almudena is a standout amongst the most luxuriously adorned structures in the city, alongside being one of the biggest houses of prayer in Europe.
Crafting this magnificent structure took over 100 years with things being finally consecrated in 1993, and the assortment of aesthetic and artistic approaches appearing inside is exceptionally great.
Glorious glass house and grounds
The Palacio de Cristal is made for the most part of glass set in an iron structure and is utilized today for contemporary workmanship shows, despite it being built in 1887.
Located amidst 130 hectare grounds and close by a huge lake, there is a wide assortment of flowers, plants and more than 15,000 trees to explore and wander through on a radiant Spanish day.
Spain is one of the most passionate and successful countries with regards to soccer, or football.... you can decide what to call the 'beautiful game' depending on where you are from. The city has two gigantic clubs supported fervently and tribally so if you are lucky enough to see a match while in Madrid you are certain to be in for a treat.
Real Madrid is the most famous and successful team in the world, with stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo among a group of the finest players in history over the years to have pulled on the famous white shirt of Los Blancos. Arch-rivals Atletico Madrid is the traditional dark horse of the Spanish league although their move into their new enormous Stadium and league title win (both recent occurrences) are helping them to become much more of a fixture.
For us, we recommend seeing Real play at their Santiago Bernabeu stadium, with the ultimate experience being seeing them host either local rivals Atletico or the other traditional Spanish 'big dog' of Barcelona.
Museums and galleries to drool over
There are many places to see fantastic works of art in Madrid, and for us the Museo del Prado is extraordinary compared to not just the rest of the city but most other major galleries in Europe. It showcases a heavenly gathering of artworks that traverses probably the most conspicuous craftsmen to have put brush to canvas.
From Spanish experts, for example, Velasquez and Goya through to different Europeans, for example, Rubens, Botticelli and Caravaggio, this is a fascinating and wonderful accumulation that is well worth investigating.
How to get around
Madrid's Barajas Airport is situated a little way from the focal point of the main city. The metro is the speediest method to get into the city, however remember there are many stops and dealing with big travel bags of your gear may be torment. Something to keep in mind before lugging it all on the train.
The Express Bus Shuttle will get you from the airport straight to the city in only 35-40 minutes for just 5 Euros. In the event that cash isn't an issue, get a taxi for the snappiest option!
Once in the city there is a handy Metro service that will get you to where you need to be, local bus routes and even specialist tourist bus services that will let you hop on and off throughout the day and see the sights that you want with convenience.