madrid City Breaks
Whether you’re looking for a culture-rich few days, splendid parks and boulevards, some excellent shopping or great food and a lively atmosphere, Madrid is sure to have something to suit you.
The museums of the “golden triangle”, namely the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza. Saunter along the Gran Via or wander around the grand arcaded Plaza Mayor in the heart of the old town. Madrid has some wonderful parks and gardens and it’s worth taking time to unwind in the extensive gardens of the Retiro Park. Come dark, nightlife is plentiful and varied, including a number of nightspots where you can enjoy a traditional flamenco show.
Madrid is not only the capital of Spain but also the country’s art capital. There is nowhere else in the world where there are as many masterpieces in such a small area as in the “golden triangle”. A visit to all three museums will take you on a complete tour of the history and evolution of painting. The Teatro Real, Spain’s premier opera house, is an elegant building located in front of the Royal Palace and offers a wide range of operas and music concerts.
Eat & Drink
Magnificent and hearty meat stews or humble staples cuch as Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup) and tortilla de patatas (potato omelette). Meander through a menu of tapas, a gastronomic tradition where savoury titbits are served as appetizers, all washed down with a glass of wine or beer. For breakfast order “churros con chocolate”, a type of long doughnut dipped in rich, strong hot chocolate which is a speciality of Madrid.
In a variety of large department stores including El Corte Ingles and the many designer boutiques in the city. This is a well dressed nation with a love of fashion so you can take your pick of the designers. For the less extravagant, leather goods are low-priced and good quality. The Rastro weekly market is held every Sunday in Calle Ribera de Curtidores and adjacent streets and is a great haunt for all manner of second-hand goods and antiques.
The relatively new Almudena Cathedral has an interesting museum explaining the history of the church. You can see the new mosaics that decorate the Cathedral Sacristy and Chapter Hall and then go through the clerestory and finish off enjoying a spectacular view over Madrid from its dome.( Note: The entrance to the Cathedral is free but not the entrance to the museum).
The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is considered by many to be one of the finest palaces in Europe. State ceremonies and official banquets take place here, although it is not the official residence of the King of Spain. The palace is located next to the equally beautiful Plaza de Oriente in the city centre.
The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, commonly known just as “El Escorial” comprises two architectural complexes of great historical and cultural significance. It is one of Spain’s royal sites and functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and school. The site, which lies just 28 miles north-west of the capital, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
A Mediterranean climate with Continental influences, giving cool, dry winters and hot summers. Spring and autumn are generally warm, although rain is not uncommon.
Any time of year but if you like the idea of having the city to yourself and don’t mind the heat, August is the time when the locals leave the city en-masse.
Goes well with
Toledo, Salamanca, Segovia or head south by train to Andalucia and explore Granada, Seville or Malaga.
Thinking that this is a city which doesn’t get the publicity which it undoubtedly deserves...
In Our Opinion
Once the richest and most powerful city in the world, Madrid will seduce you with an unbridled enthusiasm for living.
I wouldn’t hesitate to use your company and your excellent recommendations again. Spain was great and the connecting train between Madrid & Barcelona was amazing – so clean, punctual and fast... Madrid & Barcelona
Art galleries and museums
Music and dancing
Combining with a stay in Toledo, Segovia or Seville