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Hotels in Madrid  /  Self-Catering Apartments  /  Return to Travel Articles

A Whistlestop Tour of Madrid, Spain  by Anne Sewell
 
Madrid is a modern, world-class, but also  historic city - the capital of Spain - located almost centrally in the heart of the country.  A contrast of old and new, Madrid is a beautiful and vibrant city of great architectural interest.  You might find the drive into the city a bit boring with its suburbs of concrete apartment blocks, but once in the centre, you will enjoy the traditional streets, with medieval buildings and some narrow and very atmospheric alleys, containing shops and bars.

The old quarter has a concentration of magnificent attractions including the Prado Museum with its great art collection, as well as the Reina Sofia and Thysssen-Bornemisza galleries, displaying Picasso and many other European and American masters.

The people of Madrid are among the great attractions of the city.  Commonly known as the "Madrileños" they can be seen relaxing in the traditional cafes and cars, at the Sunday El Rastro flea market, and also late into the night at the many bars and nightclubs of Madrid.

Relaxing on Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
Relaxing on Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
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For shopping, Madrid is a shopper's paradise, including the classy and expensive shops of the Salamanca Quarter.  For those on a more modest budget, the El Rastro flea market is highly recommended.

Other attractions include:

Parque del Buen Retiro (Park of the Pleasant Retreat) - a lovely green and leafy oasis in the heart of the city including a lake where rowing boats can be hired.  There are also wonderful puppet shows for the children in the park.
 
Templo De Debod, Madrid, Spain
Templo De Debod, Madrid, Spain
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Temple of Debod - an ancient Egyptian temple which has been rebuilt in Madrid. The temple was originally built in southern Egypt, close to the first cataract of the Nile and is dedicated to the goddess Isis, in Philae. Due to the construction of the Great Dam of Aswan In 1960,  and the subsequent threat it posed to certain monuments and archaeological sites, UNESCO made an international call to save this rich historical patrimony. As a sign of gratitude for the help provided by Spain in saving the temples of Abu Simbel, the Egyptian state donated the temple to Spain in 1968.

The Teatro Real (Royal Theatre) which has the world's finest stage and acoustic settings for opera.

The Santiago Bernabéu Stadium - home to Real Madrid - is a must visit for football fans.

The city has many relaxing plazas with beautiful sculptures, including the Plaza de Cibeles with its magical fountain and the Plaza Mayor, a lovely place for strolling, feeding the pigeons and enjoying a cup of coffee at one of the sidewalk cafes.

Weather in Madrid:  Freezing cold in winter, and boiling hot in summer!  Recommended seasons for visiting this fascinating city are Spring and Autumn, when you can stroll around the city and enjoy its many pleasures in comfort.

Transport - with the versatile metro and bus transport systems, plus convenient taxis that can be hailed in the street, you will have no problems getting around Madrid.

In conclusion, Madrid is among the world's most popular destination cities and is well worth the visit.

Madrid Hotels  /  Self-Catering Apartments in Madrid

About the Author: Anne Sewell runs the website allmadridaccommodation.com, which offers hotel and apartment reservations in Madrid, along with great private tours of the city and its surroundings.

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Latest update: September 2, 2012