Madrid is a fabulous classical city with so much to see and do. Scorching in summer and cool in winter it is a city for all seasons. Winter time is the best time for exploring whilst in the heat of summer you’ll see the capital at its most raw and evocative. Crammed with beautiful buildings and immense plazas you’ll be overawed by its vistas.It's midnight on the streets, and an elderly woman passes by with a stroller. Up ahead, laughing crowds slide into chic restaurants for dinner. This charming city is up all night, every night. A perfect spot for the cosmopolitan couple, the Spanish capital blends big-city style and energy with laid-back Mediterranean attitude.
When to Go: Madrid at its best
Best weather: Art and gardens: April to June (Summers can reach highs of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and winters dip below freezing, so plan a trip in spring or fall for averages around 70.)
What To Do:
Art and gardens: No Spanish vacation is complete without a stroll through the renowned Museo del Prado. Commissioned in 1785 by King Carlos III, it houses the works of the nation's three great masters: Fransisco Goya, Diego Velazquez and El Greco -- not to mention a couple of famous and frightening works by Hieronymous Bosch. Next door to the Prado is the Jardin Botanico, a beautiful garden in the center of the bustling city. Spend an afternoon in the shade of this centuries-old garden that holds plants, trees, flowers, and cacti from around the world.
Watch Real Madrid Play
The world’s richest football team, not just in terms of money but also in skills and star quality. If you are lucky enough to get hold of a ticket you can watch footballing legends pit their skills against old enemies such as Barca. Many tickets include a guided tour of the Bernabeu stadium in with the price. For fans of the beautiful game this is a must!
People-watch: You can see plenty of sights while simply lounging in Madrid's town squares, where Spaniards of all ages congregate for delicious coffee and churros (the Spanish version of a donut) in the morning, and sangria and tapas in the late afternoon. One of the most popular places to people-watch is the Plaza Mayor, which has seen everything from bullfights to royal marriages and public executions in its centuries-long existence. (That's quite a combo!)
Watch a Bullfight
Madrid is home to Spanish bullfighting and the main bullring is Las Ventas, a huge red brick building decorated with thousands of ceramic tiles. Here you can see matadors pit their skills and risk their lives with El Toro. At other times the venue is used for pop concerts and political rallies. At the San Isidro the bullfighting festival in May and June has 20 nights of bullfights and is the FA Cup of bullfighting.
Tapas and copas: You certainly won't go hungry (or thirsty!) on the streets of Madrid. The city is packed with bars, “cafeterias” (bars with meals), pubs, and terrazas (fancy outdoor cafés) -- and the bartenders aren't stingy. Be prepared for an array of tapas (Spanish snacks), and a hearty dash of liquor in your copa (a mixed drink in a tall glass). You'll find bars and discotecas (dance clubs) open at all hours, so feel free to party 'til dawn.
Sunday mornings are just made for a leisurely stroll around el Rastro, Madrid’s famous flea market. It’s the largest in Europe with over 3,500 stalls and you’ll find absolutely everything you ever wanted here and many things you didn’t know you wanted. Named a little bizarrely after the trail of blood left by the dead animals being transported to the tanneries nearby, the market has been in existence since the Middle Ages.