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Quick Travel Guide to Amazing Madrid

Rich History and Culture Make this Spanish City an Ideal Destination for a Visit or Relocation

Madrid is a well-rounded travel destination. With its renowned museums, parks, shopping, entertainment, and gastronomy, this city has something for everyone.
Madrid, the capitol city of Spain, is a centrally located travel hub and a favorite of tourists and locals alike. In recent years Madrid has established itself as a metropolitan city with strong international presence. It is easily accessed by foreign visitors, boasting strong public transportation and a charming blend of international sophistication and true Spanish identity.

Madrid has a range of sights to offer its visitors and its local residents, from world-renowned museums, sprawling parks, a large range of shops and markets, plus festivals, bullfighting and sports.

Museums of Madrid: The Prado, The Queen Sofia Art Center, and the Royal Palace

El Museo Nacional del Prado, fondly known as The Prado, is considered one of the world’s most important art museums. Centrally located and easily accessible, The Prado museum houses some of the most historically influential art worldwide, including famous works of Boticelli, Raphael, Goya, El Greco, Titan, and many others.

El Museo Nacional Centro de Arte de Reina Sofia, or the Queen Sofia Art Center, is a downtown museum that has housed contemporary art since its opening in 1986. The former Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art has since been transferred to this six-story building.

El Palacio del Real, or the Royal Palace, is no longer a royal residence and is instead open for tours. In addition to the royal rooms, impressive gardens can be found, along with important paintings by prominent artists including Velazquez and El Greco.

Parks of Madrid: Retiro Park and the Temple of Debod

Parks are very important to Madrid’s culture, as they provide shade during the hot summer months and provide a bit of green within a busy city.

Built in 1632, El Parque del Buen Retiro remains Madrid’s largest and most popular park, boasting 15,000 trees, a rowboat filled lake, a sprawling rose garden, and a number of fountains. Also notable is the Palacio de Velazquez, which hosts temporary art and culture exhibitions.

El Parque de la Montaña, or Mountain Park, offers a beautiful view of the city and a very special monument, El Templo de Debod, or the Temple of Debod. When Spain assisted in the relocation of these fourth-century monuments to prevent their flooding, Egypt gifted the nation one of these monuments, the Templo de Debod, as a token of appreciation.

Shopping in Madrid: El Rastro Market and Puerta del Sol

Madrid’s famous flea market, El Rastro, is a historical site that offers every imaginable item and is open every Sunday morning in the La Latina neighborhood.

For everything from popular name brands to Madrid souvenirs, the shopping area of Puerta del Sol holds department stores, independent shops, and the all-inclusive Corte Ingles shopping center.

Madrid Entertainment: Festivals, Bullfights, and Sports

Madrileños enjoy a good party. Some of the more popular and historic fiestas and festivals include May’s Feast Days of San Isidro (patron saint of Madrid), the celebration of Carnival 40 days before Semana Santa, and Easter’s Semana Santa (Holy Week). For more information, see a schedule of specific neighborhood festivals.

Bullfighting is still a vital part of Madrid’s culture, despite growing resistance to the sport. Madrid’s bullring, La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo (or simply, Las Ventas), hosts bullfights many months of the year. However, the best and most popular time for bullfighting is between the months of May and June. Tickets can be purchased online or at the bullring.

Madrid’s most popular futbol (soccer) team, Real Madrid, plays at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Here it is also possible to find Spain’s national league competing against other countries. Tickets can also be found for Atletico de Madrid at the Vicente Calderon Stadium and for Rayo Vallecano at the Teresa Rivero Stadium.