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 It is possible that the city that never sleeps has calmed down a little in recent years, but even if the bars close a bit earlier these days, you can still count on finding a party at all times of the day and in all situations. And then, once you have had enough of socialising, you can take a few days to enjoy the best kilometre of art to be found in Europe.

currency

Euro, €1 = 100 cents

phone

112

newspaper

El País
El Mundo
ABC

hours

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.

population

City: approx. 3,223,000
Metropolitan area: approx. 6,791,000

info

Plaza Mayor Tourist Information Centre
Plaza Mayor 27, Madrid
+34 91 578 78 10
Open daily 9:30am-8:30pm

Aerial view of Cibeles fountain at Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid S-F/Shutterstock.com

The City

Madrid is not as large as it might seem—especially the central districts. Right in the middle of the city lies the Puerta del Sol, a traffic nexus that is the point from which all distances are measured. Also, the house numbering on every street starts at the end nearest the Sol. West and south of the Sol are the oldest areas of the city, Los Austrias, which contain the royal palace (Palacio Real) and the historic and well-trodden square, Plaza Mayor.

The triangular area to the east and south of the Sol—with the Plaza de Cibeles, Atocha Station and the Sol at its corners—is one of the liveliest districts in Madrid, containing countless bars and restaurants. This is also where the three big museums stand in a row, and beyond them, the largest park in central Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro.

Directly south of the Sol is Lavapiés: formerly a working-class area, but now the most ethnically interesting part of the city thanks to a significant influx of immigrants from Africa and Asia.

North of the Puerta del Sol and the parade avenue of Gran Vía you will find the Malasaña and Chueca districts. The former is an old residential area that has been cleaned up in the last twenty years, whilst remaining one of the city’s most relaxed bar districts. The latter has also undergone a rebirth: today it is Madrid’s hippest quarter, a centre for a culture of clubbing, restaurants and clothing shops. Originally a gay district, it is now best described as broad-minded.

Couple in la Puerta del Sol of Madrid Goodluz/Shutterstock.com

Do & See

Madrid is a wonderful city that inspires casual strolls around green areas and frantic nights of adventure. People fill the streets at every hour of the day and there are impressive buildings, lush parks and picturesque streets in abundance. Culture is ever-present here, and you don't have to be a history buff to appreciate the architecture and constant reminders of a long and rich history.

Anibal Trejo / Shutterstock.com

The Three Big Art Galleries - Paseo del Arte (Art Walk)

Pat_Hastings / Shutterstock.com

Prado Museum

rubiphoto/Shutterstock.com

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

Eva Madrazo / Shutterstock.com

Reina Sofia Museum

Alvaro German Vilela/Shutterstock.com

Casa de Campo Park

Steven Paul Pepper / Shutterstock.com

Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabéu

Vlad Teodor/Shutterstock.com

Plaza Mayor

Luis Lea/Shutterstock.com

Palacio Real

Hibiscus81/Shutterstock.com

Puerta del Sol

Dima Moroz/Shutterstock.com

Faro de Moncloa

donvictorio/Shutterstock.com

San Lorenzo de El Escorial

MobileSaint/Shutterstock.com

Flamenco

S-F/Shutterstock.com

Teleférico de Madrid

Iakov Filimonov/Shutterstock.com

Toledo

katatonia82/Shutterstock.com

Buen Retiro Park

Luis García / Wikimedia Commons

Museum of Romanticism

benjasanz/Shutterstock.com

Parque Juan Carlos I

Jennifer Stone/Shutterstock.com

El Rastro Flea Market

Tapas food JuanSalvador/Shutterstock.com

Dining

The varied culinary traditions of the entire Iberian Peninsula come together in Madrid to such a degree that experts discuss whether Madrid actually has a distinct culinary style of its own. The culinary culture of Spain’s capital city has been enriched by immigrants from Andalucia, Galicia, Asturia and a number of other regions in Spain and around the world.

Kzenon/Shutterstock.com

Santceloni

Esetena / Wikimedia Commons

Restaurante Botín

Luis García / Flickr

Paco Roncero Restaurante

Natthawon Chaosakun/Shutterstock.com

Marisquería Ribeira do Miño

haveseen / Shutterstock.com

Aderezo Restaurante

Shebeko/Shutterstock.com

El Club Allard

Valentyn Hontovyy/Shutterstock.com

Gastromaquia Chueca

Olena Brodetska/Shutterstock.com

Restaurante Lúa

Minerva Studio/Shutterstock.com

Metro Bistro

merc67 / Shutterstock.com

Casa Lucas

JuanSalvador/Shutterstock.com

Oyamel

Cheerful couple of tourists eating churros in Madrid Goodluz/Shutterstock.com

Cafes

Spanish coffee culture is a social and animated affair. Café con leche 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.

Daniel Lobo / Flickr

Café Gijón

M a n u e l/Wikimedia Commons

Chocolatería de San Ginés

Antonio Rubio / Flickr

Mamá Framboise

Lesya Dolyuk/Shutterstock.com

Churrería Madrid 1883

Daniel Lobo / Flickr

Café Central

saschanti17/Shutterstock.com

Celicioso

Anna Bogush / Shutterstock.com

Café Manuela

KIRAYONAK YULIYA/Shutterstock.com

Café de Mahón

krsmanovic/Shutterstock.com

Anticafé

Food Via Lenses/Shutterstock.com

Café Murillo

Jose Antonio Moreno Cabezudo / Flickr

Círculo de Bellas Artes

Madrid in a beautiful summer night in Spain S-F/Shutterstock.com

Bars & Nightlife

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.

Kohlhuber Media Art / Shutterstock.com

Siroco

Kondor83/Shutterstock.com

Bar Cock

Fran Villena / Flickr

Museo Chicote

Hakan Tanak/Shutterstock.com

Del Diego

Milan Ilic Photographer/Shutterstock.com

El Parnasillo del Príncipe

ARENA Creative/Shutterstock.com

El Son

barmalini/Shutterstock.com

Magnum Bar

Daniel Lobo / Flickr

Café Central

krsmanovic/Shutterstock.com

Anticafé

Jose Antonio Moreno Cabezudo / Flickr

Círculo de Bellas Artes

Renata Apanaviciene/Shutterstock.com

Cardamomo

brunette woman with shopping bags walking in Madrid city Spain Quintanilla / Shutterstock.com

Shopping

Put simply, there are three main shopping areas in Madrid: Centro, located between Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía; Chueca, directly to the north and east of Centro; and Salamanca, slightly further to the east. These represent three different types of shopping, especially with regard to the range of products offered. It’s middle-of-the-road in Centro, trendy in Chueca and expensive designer fashion labels in Salamanca.

Las Rozas Village

Goodluz / Shutterstock.com

Mercado de San Miguel

Mar Coll del Tarré / Flickr

Mercado de la Paz

Air Images/Shutterstock.com

LaVinia

Maksim Ladouski / Shutterstock.com

Adolfo Domínguez

michaeljung/Shutterstock.com

The Style Outlets Getafe

DanielCz/Shutterstock.com

Lavapiés

Tiia Monto

Centro Comercial Príncipe Pío

Jennifer Stone/Shutterstock.com

El Rastro Flea Market

Metro Station Sign in Madrid Spain prochasson frederic/Shutterstock.com

Tourist Information

Barajas - Airport

Madrid’s airport, Barajas (MAD), lies a little over ten kilometres 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: Avenida de la Hispanidad, Madrid

Email:

Phone: +34 913 21 10 00

Website: www.aena.es

More Information:

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.

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Best Time to Visit

Madrid offers a generally dry climate, as it is located in the heart of Spain. There is little rain- or snowfall—you can consider a trip all year round. During the summer months, the city can be quite crowded with tourists, while the locals flee the heat for the shores. Spring and autumn offer both mild temperatures and lower prices for accommodation.

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Public Transport

Madrid’s metro system consists of 16 lines that serve both the city and its suburbs. The metro is also the most efficient way of getting around and runs from 6am to 2am daily.

The EMT bus network is made up of about a hundred lines, including a useful “circle route” (the buses are marked with a C). Buses run from 6am to 11:30pm daily, with some night buses running later.

Address:

Email:

Phone: +34 914 06 88 00

Website: www.emtmadrid.es

More Information:

Taxi

When taxis are available for hire, this is indicated by a “Libre” sign in the front windshield and a green light on the roof.

Radio-Taxi Asociación Gremial
+34 914 475 180
www.radiotaxigremial.com

Radio-Taxi Independiente
+34 914 051 213
www.radiotaxindependiente.com/rti/

Tele Taxi
+34 913 712131
www.tele-taxi.es

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Post

Most post offices are open Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 8:30pm and on Saturdays from 9:30am to 1pm. The main post office on Plaza de Cibeles, stays open until 9:30am on weekdays and from 8am to 2pm on Saturdays.

Address: Paseo del Prado, 1, Madrid

Email:

Phone: +34 915 23 06 94

Website: www.correos.es

More Information:

Pharmacy

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:

Farmacia Central
Paseo de Santa Maria de la Cabeza 64, Madrid
+34 914 730 672

Farmacia Lastra
Calle del Conde de Peñalver 27, Madrid
+34 914 024 272

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Telephone

Country code: +34
Area code: 91

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Electricity

220 volt (125 volt in some older buildings)

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