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A Quick Guide to Madrid

Europe > Spain > Madrid

Modern Spain

The royal city of Madrid is the capital city of Spain and home to the Royal Palace (Palacio Real) which houses three thousand rooms bedecked with priceless paintings. It is the highest capital in Europe therefore its climate is somewhat extreme with steaming hot summers and bitterly cold winters. 
Madrid is a haven for all lovers of art and culture. The museums of the "golden triangle", namely the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza, are home to an incredible array of paintings ranging from Old Masters to modern surrealists. And the rest of the city is just as rich in cultural icons and architecture. 
At the northern end of the Paseo de la Castellana you will find the 'leaning towers' of the Puerta de Europa (Gateway of Europe), a bold display of architecture symbolising the city's confidence in its future.
The medieval quarter of the city is a labyrinth of narrow streets which sharply contrasts with the grand boulevards of the 18th and 19th centuries. Each area has its own distinctive atmosphere - Lavapiés, Malasaña and Chueca are the oldest and most interesting. The central area, known as Madrid of the Austrias is situated roughly between the Palacio Real and the Puerta del Sol, Madrid's 'mile zero'. It is only a short walk from here to the city's main street, the Gran Vía, lined with shops, banks, offices, bars and cinemas.
When you are ready to take a break from art, you may want to visit the Plaza de Toros, Spain's largest bullring, where regular bullfights are still held. For sports enthusiasts who prefer something less bloodthirsty they can watch Real Madrid, or Atletico de Madrid, Spain's most famous football teams.
Once the sun goes down Madrid starts to come to life. The area of Malasaña is packed with bars and restaurants that stay open until dawn and rival anything Barcelona has to offer. More info


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