Madrid and its region have a wide range of proposals for all tastes and budgets: renowned museums (the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza are not to be missed) and galleries, palaces and monasteries, monuments and more. The many exhibitions and shows on offer all year round alone are a good excuse for visiting Madrid again and again at any time of the year. Make sure to check the agenda in advance.
Within an hour from the city by local train, the Madrid region boasts three World Heritage Sites: Alcalá de Henares, the birthplace of Cervantes; San Lorenzo de El Escorial and its monastery, with the Pantheon of the kings and queens of Spain; and Aranjuez, famous for its gardens and the Summer palace, which inspired the concert of the same name by the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo.
Then there is the “Madrid Villas” programme and the many castles in the Region of Madrid, which combine a rich heritage with artistic and natural beauty. Of special significance is the Castle of Manzanares El Real, featuring dramatised tours by actors dressed in period costume who will guide you through the various halls and give you a taste of what castle life was like.
Madrid is an outstanding representative of the Spanish gastronomic boom. Food lovers will find here a wide range of flavours: national and international cuisine, restaurants with Michelin stars and centuries-old establishments, traditional taverns and gastrobars, among others. In addition to these permanent options, a number of food festivals and events take place throughout the year.
An interesting proposal are the traditional markets which have been turned into gourmet and leisure venues where you can buy gourmet products, and taste them before buying. Examples are the San Miguel Market near Plaza Mayor; the San Antón and San Ildefonso Markets in the Chueca district; the Moncloa Market; or the multicultural San Fernando Market in the district of Lavapiés. The upmarket Barrio de Salamanca is also home to the Mercado de la Paz and the unique Platea Madrid, Europe’s largest gourmet and leisure venue.
Highly recommended are the wines from Madrid, produced mainly in the southern part of the Region and covered by a Denomination of Origin certification, as well as the high quality Sierra de Guadarrama beef from selected breeds fed on pasture and grains.
Make room for shopping in your schedule: Madrid is a benchmark for fashion and design. The most modern, bohemian and cutting-edge designs are to be found in the Malasaña, Chueca, Triball and Salesas districts. If you are looking for something special to remind you of your trip to Madrid, in the district of Barrio Salamanca –popularly known as the ‘Golden Mile’– you will find the trendiest items for sale either in luxury boutiques or in shopping centres such as the ABC de Serrano and El Jardín de Serrano.
Open every day of the year, the various shopping centres around the city are the ideal one-stop shop for shopping and dining. If you are looking for luxury at affordable prices, do not miss outlets such as Las Rozas Village, a shopping outlet designed like a Mediterranean village which can be reached by regular bus service from Plaza de España.
If you are looking for traditional souvenirs, head for one of the centuries-old shops where time seems to stand still. These are located in the town centre, on streets such as Arenal, Carretas, Mayor, Carmen and Preciados.
Madrid is a region of contrasting landscapes, biodiversity and natural areas of high ecological interest, with ideal conditions for practising outdoor activities and sports. We suggest a trip on the Tren de la Naturaleza (the Nature Train) to admire the mountain scenery in a spectacular journey worthy of an Alpine cog railway. The train runs daily from Cercedilla to Puerto de los Cotos.
In the newly designated Parque Nacional de la Sierra de Guadarrama, the whole family can follow any of its many trails, either cycling or on foot. One such trail is the well signposted Senda de las Formas, in the La Pedriza area, with a short and easy 1.5 km alternative, which will take you past a number of geological formations with evocative names: The Seal, The Turtle, The Towers, The Pig or The Bird, amongst others.
The Region of Madrid has a wealth of cultural and scientific activities on offer, many of them family-friendly. Several museums have guided tours for the whole family, as well as workshops and activities for children and teenagers.
Families will especially enjoy the leisure and theme parks available. Near the city centre, in Casa de Campo, you can find the Teleférico cable car, the Zoo and the Parque de Atracciones, an amusement park which has recently added Nickelodeon Land for its youngest visitors to enjoy. Faunia and Warner Park are also highly recommended in this same category.
A stroll through the Retiro Park with a visit to the outdoor puppet theatre is a popular classic, although there are many other parks worth a family visit, such as El Capricho or Parque Juan Carlos I, amongst others. In Torrejón de Ardoz, Parque Europa offers miniature replicas of 18 European landmarks such as London Bridge or the Eiffel Tower.
Economic, financial, administrative and service centre, Madrid is a cosmopolitan region that combines modern infrastructures (airport, railways and buses, subway and commuter trains) and a wide range of hotels, with numerous venues for all kinds of events whatever their size: from large-scale congresses and conventions to business meetings at any scale.
The city has several convention and conference centres as well as two exhibition centres for hosting large-scale events; for smaller corporate events there are numerous venues in which to organize meetings and conferences. In addition, there are agencies specializing in MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Congresses and Exhibitions) that organise any type of event.
As a complement to business, the region has a wide variety of cultural and nature activities, together with restaurants, shopping and entertainment, which are an asset to any business gathering.
Open to the world, Madrid has always welcomed those who want to live differently. Madrid is today a benchmark for the LGBT community, and as such has been designated World Pride City 2017.
The cosmopolitan Chueca district, near Gran Vía, is the centre of Madrid’s gay community. Its tolerant atmosphere and numerous pedestrian areas make it a favourite with locals and visitors alike. It has a large number of quality restaurants and trendy shops. At night, the neighbourhood comes alive with numerous leisure alternatives, many LGBT or LGBT-friendly.
Chueca provides the backdrop for many LGBT events, such as the International Lesbian, Gay and Transsexual Film Festival of Madrid, or the National Gay Tourism Convention. The most important of these is undoubtedly the MADO (Madrid Pride), with the Pride Parade as its main event.
Madrid is said to be a city that never sleeps. Here, in one of the most vibrant capitals of the world, it is not difficult to find places for all tastes open until the wee hours of the morning: restaurants, bars, clubs where you can listen to different kinds of live music from jazz to an indie band, night clubs where you can dance to Latin rhythms or disco music, and much more.
Nightlife is concentrated in several areas around the city: the area around Plaza de Santa Ana and calle Huertas has the largest number of bars and nightclubs in Madrid; the neighbourhood of Alonso Martínez-Bilbao is the place to be for open-air terraces and beer bars; and Moncloa–Argüelles, the university area, is frequented by university students and young people. Cosmopolitan Chueca is one of the most famous gay neighbourhoods in the world, where quality restaurants, clubs and bars abound.
Some of Madrid’s most famous night clubs are located in the city centre, such as Palacio de Gaviria, Joy Eslava and Kapital.