Travel tips for Madrid: An unforgettable holiday in the Spanish metropolis
Madrid, located in the centre of the Castilian Plateau, is not only the capital of Spain. Madrid is a modern metropolis and at the same time the liveliest city in Spain. Madrid is known for its lively nightlife and its huge cultural offer with numerous artistic activities. Immerse yourself in the modern city, where at the same time many traditions are still alive, and experience the medieval centre, the impressive art museums, the exclusive fashion bars and the concert cafés. The city with the allegedly most beautiful sky in the world is affectionately characterized by its inhabitants with the words "From Madrid to the sky" and is, according to Hemingway, the best city to live in, with the most magnificent people. Our tips for unforgettable moments in Madrid:
The best time to travel to Madrid
Madrid's geographical location in the middle of the Meseta, the plateau of Castile, ensures a distinct continental climate. Means: it's hot in summer! The best time to visit Madrid is between April and June and between September and November. Here the climate is mild and temperatures vary around a pleasant 15 to 25°C. However, if you want to visit Madrid in midsummer (July, August), be prepared for temperatures of up to 40°C. It is hot, dry and even at night temperatures rarely fall below 30°C.
Public transport in Madrid
Sightseeing tours, excursions, activities - if you are in Madrid, you want to experience something. The best way to move quickly and stress-free through the metropolis is the Metro. The twelve lines in total are in operation from 6:00 a.m. to approx. 01:30 a.m. at night, and during the day they run for the most part every 3 minutes. Only in the evening hours one has to wait 15 minutes at the stop for the next train. Those who still have to get to the suburbs at night can take one of the 24 night bus lines from the Plaza de la Cibeles. You can buy tickets for the Metro at any station from the ticket machines. The prices here are one Euro for a single trip and 6,40€ for a ten-ticket (Metrobus or Diez Viajes).
Madrid Card: tickets, activities and public transport at a special rate
On a city trip, especially if it is only for a few days, you often look for the all-inclusive package that will give you the perfect and most affordable stay. This is exactly the package the Madrid Card wants to be for you. With the City Pass you have free and sometimes preferential admission to numerous museums, sights and even theme parks in Madrid. In addition, there are free city tours, as well as discounts in shops, restaurants and for Madrid's nightlife. Even the trip with the metro is free and thus ensures a stress-free vacation in the city. The Madrid Card is available for 1, 2, 3 or 5 days. If you plan all your activities in Madrid well, the Madrid Card will save you a lot of money!
The best places to eat tapas
There are some legends about the origin of the Spanish tapas. Everyone agrees on one point: tapas are delicious! An absolute must when visiting Madrid - eating tapas! Whether in a tapas bar or on the market is almost irrelevant. Among the top addresses in Madrid, there is the La Casa del Abuelo in the Calle de Goya, the Cervecería El Barrio in the Calle de Fernando or the Street-Xo in the El Corte Angles, which is located on the roof and can offer a wonderful view over the Spanish capital. Also the market hall San Miguel is a known and popular address for tapas, either for tourists as also for the Madrileneans. Find a table in the middle of the hall and taste the huge selection of delicacies. Bon appetit!
Visit to the famous El Rastro market
The Sunday shopping at the Rastro flea market in the district "El Rastro" is part of the weekly routine for many Madrileneans. At around 1600 stands you can really find everything your heart desires. Everything is represented, from bits and pieces to cheap fakes and real treasures. Even if you don't want anything, you always find some little thing. The market has a lot of charm and the Madrileneans use it as a little excuse to meet afterwards in the surrounding restaurants and bars for a good wine and delicious tapas. Imitation is strongly recommended. However, you should not be frightened: the market is very popular and attracts up to 60000 people on a normal Sunday. So you should not be afraid of large crowds.
Activities that children love
Madrid with children is exactly the right choice. Because here the place is teeming with activities and undertakings that make children shine. The "Faunia" is a spectacular natural theme park, which has much more to offer than an ordinary zoo. From tropical rainforest to polar ecosystems, the park amazes children and families. Children between 3 and 15 years pay 15€ each, adults 21€ admission. 25 km south of Madrid in San Martín de la Vega is Movie World. The theme park opened by Warner Brothers takes you and your children into the world of Hollywood movies. Buy your tickets directly at the Cercanías Railway counter in Atocha station. Also great for kids: The City tour with the red Hop on Hop off biplanes or a visit to Real Madrid at the Bernabéu Stadium.
The top 10 sights and activities in Madrid
1. Plaza Mayor
The Plaza Mayor is the center of the city. Here, tourists as well as locals meet to chat, make music or have a drink on one of the adjoining restaurant terraces. The evening outings crown the street musicians in the Plaza Mayor. Then stroll through Calle Mayor, the central shopping street of Madrid. Anyway, exploring Madrid on foot is the most fun. Leave the guide at home and get lost!
2. Museo del Prado
The Museo del Prado is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Spain and one of the most important art museums in the world. Marvel at the Museo del Prado 3000 works of art by Spanish and international artists, whether Boticelli or Rembrandt. Some of the most valuable works of art in the world are located here. In addition, the Reina Sofía and Thyssen-Bornemisza galleries are in the immediate vicinity, which are also worth a visit. It is worth buying tickets without queuing or booking a private guided tour of the museum.
3. Retiro Park and Las Tetas
For those who prefer the countryside, there's the Retiro Park in the best of hands. Beautiful gardens, monuments, ancient archways or a ride in a rowing boat are all tempting. If the weather is nice and not too hot, the park can become very crowded. Thus, those who prefer to have it a little quieter but also easier should visit the less known Parque de las Tetas. The view over the city is unique!
4. Círculo de Bellas Artes
The roof terrace of the Círculo de Bellas Artes is often described by visitors as the perfect place for a panoramic view over Madrid. On clear days, the Kulturhaus offers a view of the entire city and surroundings. But also the interior offers a lot of variety. Thus plays, lectures or readings take place here. It is best to inform yourself a little in advance. The house is located near the Plaza de las Cibeles.
5. The Bernabeu football stadium
For real soccer fans probably an absolute must-see: the Bernabeu Stadium. This football stadium is also one of the most visited sights in Madrid and can therefore be visited on various guided tours. Those who can even get a ticket for a Real Madrid game in advance are rewarded with an unforgettable experience. But also on the Bernabéu Stadium Tour you can step onto the sacred grass and feel like Christiano Ronaldo.
6. Puerta del Sol
The most famous square in Madrid is probably Puerta del Sol. On the one hand there is one of the most photographed stones of Spain, the zero kilometre stone, which marks the starting point of the six main national roads of Spain. From here they extend over the entire mainland. And on the other hand there is a clock tower, which always rings in the New Year with 12 bells. Traditionally, Spaniards eat a grapevine with each stroke and have broadcast the spectacle live on television every year since 1962.
7. Secret Food Tour
Experience a Secret Food Tour and enjoy the culinary highlights of Spanish cuisine in several hours. With your local guide you will taste various snacks of the traditional cuisine. Learn the secrets of preparing some selected Spanish tapas and experience Spanish lifestyle in the family run restaurants. Nobody knows the area better than the local guides. Do not miss the real Madrid. Tours are best booked in advance!
8. Culinary Tapas Tour
Much of Madrid revolves around the excellent Spanish food. So is a Tapas Tour a must for every visitor who wants to be sure to dine in the hippest places in town. Avoid bad food and tourist traps. Experience the Madrid of the Madrilenians and immerse yourself in the life of the locals. Booking a tapas tour is highly recommended.
The Royal Palace is the city castle and the official residence of the Spanish royal family. The Sabatini Gardens and the Campo del Moro Park, in addition to the spectacular building, are also some of the attractions on the site. So don't just visit the palace, but also its beautiful surroundings. A small tip: Wednesdays are free for EU citizens.
10. Train station Atocha
If you are in the city center, be sure to visit the tropical garden of Atocha Station. This was realised in the course of an extension and creates a unique atmosphere together with the surrounding steel. Meanwhile, over 260 different plant species from America, Asia and Australia can be found here. A particularly worth seeing place of Madrid.