In the heart of the Iberian Peninsula, surrounded by mountains and natural parks, Madrid is an irresistible destination that boasts a wealth of cultural and leisure offers. It is home to renowned museums, art galleries, elegant buildings, and charming squares, as well as two world-class football teams, Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid. The capital of the Kingdom of Spain also boasts unique neighbourhoods, bustling nightlife, and scrumptious cuisine. Brimming with energy and character, Madrid is a city that is sure to captivate the hearts of many travellers.
Euro, €1 = 100 cents
El País – elpais.com
El Mundo – www.elmundo.es
ABC – www.abc.es
Opening hours are traditionally 10am–4pm, and then 5pm–8pm, though these times may vary. Nowadays, however, it is more common for shops to open continually 10am–10pm.
Metro area: 6.7 million
Plaza Mayor Tourist Information Centre
Plaza Mayor 27, Madrid
Open daily 9:30am–8:30pm
+34 91 578 78 10
Madrid is not as large as it might seem, especially its central districts. The heart of the city is marked by the Puerta del Sol, a bustling intersection from which all distances are measured. The oldest area of Madrid, Los Austrias, is located south of Calle Mayor and includes historic landmarks such as the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) and the well-trodden square Plaza Mayor.
To the east and south of Sol lies a vibrant triangular region, where Plaza de Cibeles, Atocha Station, and Sol converge. This neighbourhood is brimming with restaurants and bars and is home to the three renowned museums of Madrid, as well as the expansive Parque del Buen Retiro.
Lavapiés, just south of Sol, was previously a working-class district but has transformed into a melting pot of ethnic diversity, thanks to an influx of immigrants from Africa and Asia.
On the other side of the Puerta del Sol and the grand avenue of Gran Vía, one can find the Malasaña and Chueca neighbourhoods to the north. The former has undergone gentrification over the past two decades while retaining its reputation as one of the city's most laid-back bar districts. The latter, once a predominantly gay neighbourhood, has evolved into Madrid's trendiest quarter, a hub of nightlife, restaurants, and boutique stores catering to an open-minded clientele.
Explore the city like a local and discover the top things to do and see in Madrid, as well as the best restaurants, bars, nightclubs, cafés, and hotels Spain's capital city has to offer, with our comprehensive, up-to-date, and free Madrid travel guide.
Madrid is an enchanting city that offers a plethora of activities — from casual strolls around verdant parks to world-renowned museums to frantic nights on the town. Its streets are always bustling with people, and the city is brimming with culture. Even if you're not a history buff, you'll find yourself captivated by Madrid’s stunning architecture and the constant reminders of its illustrious past.
Madrid's unique blend of old-world charm and modern flair creates a dynamic atmosphere that's unlike any other city in the world. Whether you're looking to immerse yourself in art and culture, explore the city's vibrant nightlife, or simply soak up the local ambience, Madrid is the perfect destination.
El Rastro Flea Market
El Retiro Park
Reina Sofía National Art Center Museum
Royal Palace of Madrid
Madrid Tapas & Wine Tasting Tour
San Miguel Market
Avila & Salamanca Tour from Madrid
Lázaro Galdiano Museum
The Three Big Art Galleries — Paseo del Arte (Art Walk)
Casa de Campo Park
Teleférico de Madrid
National Museum of Romanticism
Parque Juan Carlos I
Madrid's gastronomy is a fusion of the diverse culinary traditions found throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Some experts even debate whether Madrid has a unique culinary identity of its own, given its blend of various regional styles.
The city's food culture has been enriched by migrants from different parts of Spain and across the globe, including Andalucia, Galicia, Asturias, and beyond.
Sobrino de Botín
Paco Roncero Restaurante
Ribeira do Miño
El Club Allard
La Mi Venta
Spanish coffee culture is a social and animated affair. Café con leche (coffee with milk) usually accompanies breakfast, preferably with a croissant. Around mid-day, especially after a meal, locals have an espresso, café solo, or a cortado, which is an espresso with milk. Café Americano is what some would call watered-down versions of the first two coffees. In the afternoon, or after dinner, order a café solo corto, a strong espresso, or a carajillo — a café solo with Spanish brandy.
Chocolatería San Ginés
Churrería Madrid 1883
Because the clever Spaniards think you should always eat when drinking, most bars also serve food — usually tapas. And despite the efforts of the authorities, Madrid's nightlife still happens later than in most other cities and goes on for longer as well. For the real party animals, the neighbourhoods of Malasaña and La Latina are a mandatory stop at night.
Del Diego Cocktail Bar
El Parnasillo del Príncipe
Discoteca El Son
1862 Dry Bar
Círculo de Bellas Artes
Cardamomo Tablao Flamenco
In Madrid, there are three primary shopping districts: Centro, which spans the area between Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía; Chueca, located directly north and east of Centro; and Salamanca, situated a bit further to the east. Each of these areas offers a distinct shopping experience, particularly in terms of the range of products available.
Centro offers a middle-of-the-road shopping experience, while Chueca caters to trendy shoppers seeking the latest styles. On the other hand, Salamanca features expensive designer fashion labels, making it the go-to destination for luxury shopping.
El Corte Inglés
El Rastro Flea Market
Las Rozas Village
Centro Comercial ABC Serrano
Mercado de la Paz
Getafe The Style Outlets
Centro Comercial Príncipe Pío
Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD)
Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD), commonly known as Barajas Airport, is the main international airport serving Madrid. It lies a little over 10 km northeast of the city. The cheapest way to get to Madrid is by metro: line 8 goes to Nuevos Ministerios (the journey takes about 30 minutes). A taxi ride costs more at night and on Sundays, and takes about 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Numerous car rental companies are also available at the airport.
Address: Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport, Madrid
Phone: +34 913 21 10 00
Passport / Visa
Spain can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travellers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
Best Time to Visit
As it is located in the heart of Spain, Madrid boasts a predominantly dry climate with minimal rainfall or snowfall throughout the year. This makes it a great destination for travelers to visit all year round. During the summer, the city can become crowded with tourists, while locals seek respite from the heat by heading to the coast. In spring and autumn, mild temperatures and reduced accommodation prices make it an ideal time to explore the city.
With over 300 stations and 12 lines serving the city and its suburbs, Madrid's metro system is the most efficient way to travel around the city. The metro operates from 6 am to 1:30 am daily. Additionally, the EMT bus network includes approximately 200 lines, including a useful "circle route" (marked with a C) that passes through key attractions such as El Retiro Park, Gran Vía, Paseo del Prado (and all the museums on that street), and the Royal Palace. Buses run from 6 am till 11:30 pm on weekdays and from 7 am till 11 pm on weekends and public holidays, with slightly less frequency. After 11:30 pm, the city operates night buses known as "búhos" (the Spanish word for owls).
When taxis are available for hire, this is indicated by a “Libre” sign on the front windshield and a green light on the roof.
+34 914 05 12 13
+34 913 71 21 31
Rideshare companies such as Uber and Cabify are also available in Madrid.
The majority of post offices in Madrid are open between 8:30 am to 8:30 pm from Monday to Friday. The main post office is located on Plaza de Cibeles.
Address: Paseo del Prado, 1, Madrid
Phone: +34 915 21 25 89
All chemists have a list or a sign in the window with details of the pharmacies on duty each night, with the nearest one highlighted. There are two chemists that are open at all times:
Paseo de Santa Maria de la Cabeza 64, Madrid
Opening hours: daily 9:30am–11pm
+34 914 73 06 72
Calle del Conde de Peñalver 27, Madrid
Opening hours: daily 9am–9:30pm
+34 914 02 42 72
Country code: +34
Area code: 91
220 volt (125 volt in some older buildings)