is the capital of Spain. Located in the middle of the country, 660 metres above
sea level it gets extremely hot in summer and cold in winter, like many other
interior cities in Spain. If you don't like walking in temperatures of around
40ºC it is not advisable to visit Madrid in the Summer. On the other hand,
if you don't mind the heat but don't like crowds, August is the best month as
thousands of Madrileños leave the city to spend their holiday month
Madrid is well equipped for tourisim with its large number
of hotels and restaurants.
It is well connected to the rest of the country by road and rail. The city itself
has an extremely user-friendly underground system, bus network and local trains
to surrounding areas. As in any major European capital city, stations get extremely
crowded during rush hour times.
Madrid is a charming city with a lot of
personality. People from Madrid are friendly and hospitable. There are many historical
buildings and sights to visit. For further information see: museums, palaces, parks and sights in
Walking around Madrid
Madrid is a
lovely city to walk around, full of interesting plazas, buildings, parks, shops....
Here are a few recommendations of the best places to stroll around to get a real
feel of the city. For more detailed description of Madrid's main sights, click
on the links at the bottom of the page.
del Madrid Antiguo or Madrid de los Austrias: this is an
old neighbourhood full of bars, pubs and restaurants with lots of history. It
is where you can find many of Madrid's oldest buildings, squares and monuments
such as the Palacio Real, the Opera House, the famous Puerta del Sol where Madrileños gather to greet the New Year, the Plaza Mayor, the Arco de Cuchilleros, the Basílica
de San Miguel, the Almudena Cathedral, the Encarnación
Monastery, the Descalzas Monastery, la Casa Cisneros, la Colegiata de San Isidro and the Santa
Cruz palace...A walk along calle Mayor, which goes from
the Palacio Real to the Puerta del Sol, and which is full
of shops of every type is definitely recommended. Also recommended is a walk along calle Arenal, the location of an old church called Iglesia
de San Ginés and many interesting shops.
area known as Madrid de los Borbones, is another place which shouldn't
be missed. This is where the famous Retiro park is located. The Barrio de Salamanca,
is one of Madrid's most exclusive areas where the most expensive designer shops,
art studios, hotels and residences are located. People who enjoy window-shopping
are advised to stroll along the streets Serrano, Velazquez and Claudio
Coello. Two well-known plazas (Plaza Cibeles and Plaza Colón)
are in Salamanca, as is the Retiro Park with its boating lake and open-air
artists and buskers, the National Library, the Arqueological Museum and the Real Jardín Botánico (Botanic Gardens).
Many of Madrid's most important museums
are in the area known as Alcalá: the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza,
the Reina Sofía, the National Archeological museum, the Military Musuem
and the Decorative Arts museum. You can also see the emblematic Puerta de Alcalá. Other historical buildings to see are the Teatro Español, el Congreso de los Diputados, Atocha station, el Café
Gijón, la Casa de Lope de Vega, el Ateneo...
the west of the city you have the Gran Vía, a commercial
street where many theatres, cinemas and restaurants can be found as well as the
Gran Casino de Madrid. The Plaza de España and the hill known
as la Cuesta de San Vicente, which goes down from the Estación
del Norte (the North Station) and along el Paseo de la Florida,
eventually takes you to the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida.
From the Plaza de España you can easily get to the Parque
del Oeste or de Rosales where you can visit the Templo de Debod.
In the east of the city you can visit the famous bullring la Plaza
de Toros de las Ventas, in the street called calle Alcalá.
To the south of the city you can find interesting areas such as
La Latina and Lavapiés. This is where the famous Rastro flea market is located. The Reina Sofia Museum of Art is situated between el Paseo
de las Delicias and el Paseo de Santa María de la Cabeza, Embajadores and la Ronda de Atocha.
The Paseo de la Castellana is
the centrepoint of the city. It crosses from the north to the south of Madrid
(the impressive Kio towers are situated in the Plaza Castilla), it continues
until the Plaza Colón where it becomes the Paseo de Recoletos until the Plaza de Cibeles (flanked by the main headquarters of
the Bank of Spain and the Post Office) where it becomes the famous Paseo del
Prado. This continues until la Glorieta Carlos V, next to the Atocha
railway station. The headquarters of banks, and the most important national companies
are all found on the Paseo de la Castellana as well as the most famous
museums and galleries: the Thyssen, the Prado, the National Library,
the Science Museum...There are also a number of government ministeries
here too: (the Ministry for Work, the Ministry of Defence...). The Museum of Sculpture
can also be found here with exhibits from contemporary artists such as Botero
and Chillida as well as buildings such as the Picasso Tower, the Tower of Europe
and the world famous Santiago Bernabeu football stadium, home to Real Madrid.
on eating out in Madrid: There are thousands of restaurants offering cuisine
from all over the world as expected in any capital city. Even though it could
hardly be further from the coast, people say that 'Madrid is the best harbour
in the world' referring to the excellent fish and seafood restaurants. The most
typical restaurants in Madrid are called 'mesones' or 'tascas',
serving traditional dishes and tapas. Asian and Japanese restaurants are very
popular in Madrid at the moment as is creative cuisine, and some of Spain's best
innovative chefs have restaurants in the capital city. For reviews of our favourite
restaurants see restaurants
in Madrid and for reviews of what the food critics rate as the top of
the bunch, see best
restaurants in Madrid
The best restaurants in the area surrounding
Madrid: It is very typical for people from Madrid to go to the area known
as the Sierra at weekends to escape the city. There are some excellent
restaurants in this area where you can eat typical dishes from the province. Here
are a few we recommend: El Charolés in El Escorial (c/ Floridablanca,
24, Tel: 91 890 59 75); Mesón de la Virreina in Chinchón (Telf: 91 894 00 15, Plaza Mayor, 28); El Caserón de Araceli in San Agustín de Gudadalix, (c/ Olivar, 8, Tel: 91 841 85 31); Casa Pablo in Aranjuez (Telf: 91 891 14 51, c/ Almibar, 42); Casa José in Aranjuez (c/ Abastos, 32, Tel: 91 891 14 88); El Cenador de Salvador in Moralzarzal (Av. de España, 30, Tel:
91 857 77 22); La Ermita de los Negrales in Alpedrete-Los Negrales
(c/Santa Emilia, 4 B, Tel: 91 851 33 71); D'Moncho in Guadarrama
(Plaza de España, 5, Tel: 91 854 33 98; La Chimenea in Alpedrete,
c/ La Sierra, 20 (Tel: 91 854 29 36); Mesón del Comendador in
(Plaza Mayor, 21, Tel: 91 894 04 20); Casa Sala in Guadarrama, (on
the los Molinos road, 2, Tel: 91 854 21 21); Bodega La Ardosa (c/
For good tapas we recommend: Las Cuevas
de Luis Candelas, La Chata (c/ Cava Baja, 24), Oliver (c/
Almirante, 12), El Telegrafo (c/ Padre Damián, 44), José
Luis, (Paseo de la Habana, 4), La Gran Barra de la Máquina (por Angela de la Cruz, 22), Viña Olivo (Infanta
Mercedes/Pensamiento), El Mesón de los Castúos, (Infanta
Mercedes, 56), Entrevinos (c/ Ferraz, 36), L'Antigua,
(c/ O'Donnell,8), Cervecería Santa Barbará (c/Alcalá,149;
Goya,70; Pl.Sta. Barbara, 8),
Cuisine from Madrid: Madrid does
not have any special dishes as such but incorporates dishes from the province
such as hotpots and stews - popular due to the harsh temperatures in winter.
dishes to look out for are: el Cocido Madrileño (a type of
stew), los Callos a la madrileña (tripe); el Asados
de Cordero (roast lamb), Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup),
Cabrito al Ajillo (baby goat with garlic sauce), Caracoles a la
madrileña (snails), Ensalada de San Isidro (salad),
Potage de vigilia con garbanzos (chickpea stew), Besugo a la madrileña (sea bream Madrid style), Rabo de Buey con setas (oxtail with mushrooms)
, Estofado de toro de Las Ventas (stew made from the bulls killed in the
Ventas bullring), Bacalao a la madrileña (cod Madrid style),
Cochinillo asado (roast piglet), Guisadillo de ternera madrileño (beef stew), Criadillas de cordero (lamb).
deserts are: Panecillo de San Antón de yema, Bartolillos, Huesos de Santo,
Natillas estilo Casa Lucio, Madrileñas, Torrijas, Churros, Leche Frita,
Buñuelos de viento.
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