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Madrid

 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 atmosphere at all times of the day and in all situations. And then, once you have had enough of socializing, you can take a few days out and 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: 3,350,000
Metropolitan area: 6,000,000

info

Madrid Tourist Centre
Plaza Mayor 27, Madrid
+34 91 588 16 36

Colón Tourist Centre
Plaza Colón, Madrid
+34 917 01 22 10

Aerial view of Cibeles fountain at Plaza de Cibeles in Madrid

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 are 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

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.

Real Madrid

Flamenco

El Rastro Flea Market

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

Prado Museum

The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum

The Reina Sofia Museum

Palacio Real

El Escorial

Plaza Mayor

Puerta del Sol

Teleférico - Madrid's Cable Car

Toledo

Buen Retiro Park

El Museo Naval

Cardamomo

Salamanca

Teatro Lara

Museum of Romanticism

Parque Juan Carlos I

Tapas food

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.

Santceloni

Botín

La Terraza del Casino

Marisquería Ribeira do Miño

Aderezo Restaurante

El Club Allard

Taberna Gastromaquia

Restaurante Lúa

Metro Bistro

Casa Lucas

Diverxo

Oyamel

Il Bambino Restaurante

Cheerful couple of tourists eating churros in Madrid

Cafes

Spanish coffee culture is a social and animated affair. Café con leche usually accompanies breakfast, preferably with a croissant. 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 two first coffees. In the afternoon, or after dinner, order a café solo corto, a strong espresso, or a carajillo—a café solo with Spanish brandy.

Happy Day Bakery Coffee

Café Gijón

Mamá Framboise

Círculo de Bellas Artes

Celicioso

Café Central

Café Manuela

Café de Mahón

Anticafé

Madrid in a beautiful summer night in Spain

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.

Joy Eslava

Siroco

Bar Cock

Museo Chicote

Círculo de Bellas Artes

Del Diego

Taberna Almendro 13

El Parnasillo del Príncipe

El Son

Glass Bar

Magnum Bar

Marmobar

brunette woman with shopping bags walking in Madrid city Spain

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.

Mercado de San Miguel

Objetos de Arte Toledano

El Rastro Flea Market

ABC Serrano

Mercado de la Paz

LaVinia

Adolfo Domínguez

The Style Outlets Getafe

Metro Station Sign in Madrid Spain

Essential 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

Phone: +34 913 21 10 00

Website: www.aena.es

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.

Phone: +34 914 06 88 00

Website: www.emtmadrid.es

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 051213
www.radiotaxiindependiente.com/rti/

Teletaxi
+34 913 712131
www.tele-taxi.es

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

Phone: +34 902 19 71 97

Website: www.correos.es

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

Telephone

Country code: +34
Area code: 91

Electricity

220 volt (125 volt in some older buildings)

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