Spain has long been a popular destination for British travellers looking to embrace the summer sun, but it’s also a great place to head for a short city break – and the capital city Madrid sits pretty high on the list…
Modern day Madrid is a truly cosmopolitan destination where visitors are welcomed with open arms by locals proud to show off the many delights that their city has to offer.
As with most city destinations, Madrid is somewhere you can visit no matter what the time of year may be, although some periods are more popular than others.
Visit during spring and you’ll encounter warm conditions as the gardens around the city burst into life, with the summer months then featuring higher temperatures and more sun.
When autumn and winter arrives, there is a greater chance of rain and you’ll need to wrap up warm, although it doesn’t make Madrid any less appealing…
As one of Europe’s largest cities, it follows that there are plenty of things to see and do during a break in Madrid no matter what you might be into.
Should culture and history are your thing, then there are plenty of stunning old buildings that showcase the way in which the city has changed through the years and countless museums – many of which show off the artistic pedigree for which Madrid is so well known.
You could decide to spend some time exploring designer stores or sipping coffee in a street side café whilst watching the locals go about their business, or pay a visit to the famous Santiago Bernabeu to catch a match.
Madrid is also a haven for food lovers, with the very best in Spanish cuisine being found in restaurants across the city, whilst you are guaranteed a great night out when the sun goes down thanks to a huge array of bars and nightclubs.
The Plaza Mayor is one of the main squares in the heart of Madrid and a good place to start your trip to the city. You’ll be able to marvel at impressive architecture and will have easy access to the many attractions that the capital has to offer from the nine exits that lead off to different areas of the city.
The Royal Palace is the official residence of the Spanish Royal family within the city – although no longer the place that the royals call home. Dating back to the 1730s, it’s an impressive example of Baroque design and is now used primarily for state events. Access is available to various areas including the Royal Armoury and the renovated Royal Kitchen, whilst the Changing of the Guard – which takes place twice a week – is a popular attraction in its own right.
The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is the home or Real Madrid and is one of the most famous football stadiums in the world. With a capacity of more than 81,000, you might want to take your seat to watch the Galacticos in action, whilst tours are available that include the chance to visit the dressing rooms, Presidential Box, the substitute benches and the pitch itself.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum is one of the top museums in Madrid and popular with art lovers who want to explore the many famous works that make up one of the largest private collections in the world. Work from the likes of Picasso, Munch, Van Gogh and Monet all feature.
The Prado Museum is another top attraction for art lovers visiting Madrid having opened back in 1819 to showcase painting and sculptures. Visited by millions of people every year, the collection within the museum comprises of well in excess of 10,000 different pieces of art with the building having been designated as place of Cultural Interest.
El Rastro is a huge flea market that takes place every Sunday in Madrid and which is well worth a visit. You’ll find all manner of goods both new and old available from the various stalls, with what was originally a market primarily for antiques now seeing people offering all manner of brand new products.
Hit the shops
Madrid is a great place to go if you want to check out the very best designer stores, with the ‘Golden Mile’ in Barrio de Salamanca being the place to go in search of the big names. You can also expect to see some of the more mainstream brands from back home too if the top designers are out of your price range.
Casa de Campo
Should you want to escape the bustling streets then the Casa de Campo part might just tick the boxes during your trip to Madrid. Once a royal hunting estate, the park is home to a large lake as well as an amusement park that offers fun for all the family as well as Madrid Zoo.