What to see in Spain
The capital and largest city in Spain, Madrid is situated almost directly in the centre of the country, on the River Manzanares. It is located in the autonomous community of the same name, bordered by the regions of Castile & Leon, Asturias and Castilla–La Mancha.
This city, known for its significance to the thriving Spanish art scene, is the third largest city in the European Union after London and Paris. It is revered as somewhat of a place of ‘pilgrimage’ for artists and art-lovers due to its world-class galleries such as the Museo del Prado and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, home to both Spanish and international masterpieces.
Many choose to enjoy a city break in Madrid to experience the legendary nightlife. Thousands of bars and restaurants, to suit all tastes and musical persuasions stay, open way into the early hours, with visitors often surprised at the infectious energy of Madrid’s post-midnight streets, even on weeknights!
Madrid has a metro system, numerous city parks and plenty of plazas, but its beautiful architecture takes centre stage, composed on an eclectic mix of classical mansions and villas alongside modern structures, such as the CaixaForum Museum. Its gastronomic prowess is yet another reason a holiday to Madrid needs to be on your travel list, with many restaurants pushing the boundaries of modern Spanish cuisine.
Like any capital city, Madrid is home to heaps of important and unmissable sights, it can be hard to determine where to start. The Plaza Mayor, in the centre of the city, is a good place to begin, with a number of cafes and restaurants sat under the arches of its bordering buildings. It’s the perfect place to people-watch and to enjoy a cool drink on a hot summers day.
If you can’t help but admire the Spanish fashion-sense during your trip to Madrid, then head to the Gran Via, the city’s most famous shopping street with both high-end and high-street shops to help you replicate the Spanish flair for fashion in no time. For a touch of culture, as well as the most famous art museums, mentioned above, the Fine Arts Circle is at the cutting-edge of Madrid’s creative scene and is one of the most important private cultural centres in Europe.
If you find yourself yearning for somewhere to enjoy the fabulous Spanish weather, explore the 19th-century El Retiro Park, complete with a boating lake, fountains and sculptures, it’s a true highlight of the city and a little oasis amidst the metropolis.