Located in the heart of the country, the capital of Spain is a cosmopolitan city with so much to offer any visitor. Shrouded in history, art, culture and sport, Madrid is an ideal location for a long weekend city break.
Originally built as a Royal park, Retiro is the perfect location to relax after a day of sightseeing and shopping. take in the ambience with a stroll or for the slightly more adventurous, rent a rowing boat on the Estanque del Retiro lake.
Madrid can cater for shopaholics, sport enthusiasts and historians alike and a good place to start is Gran Via. Considered the most important shopping area in the city the street also boasts an impressive array of architectural design worth taking a look at. The street is also where the main theatres are located and for visitors interested in theatre and music there will certainly be something suitable here. For those passionate about football, visit El Bernabéu Stadium, home to the world famous Real Madrid football team which has been host to some of the greats of football history. Visitors can take part in a tour of the stadium which would be perfect for the budding footballers of the family. So why not book a hotel in Madrid and enjoy all this historic city has to offer.
Visitors will not have to look far for a good restaurant or tapas bar in the capital. The Plaza Mayor is not only an architectural delight but there are several restaurants in the square. Nearby, Plaza Santa Ana is a less commercial option offering a wide range of tapas and in the evening there is plenty of entertainment ranging from street music to flamenco dancing to keep visitors entertained as they dine. There are also several bars in the area to enjoy a post dinner drink before a well earned rest in a lovely hotel.
Due to Madrid’s high altitude and close proximity to mountains there are wide variations between summer and winter climates. During the summer months the heat at midday can be intense, with cooler temperatures during the evenings. Winter, on the other hand, brings with it temperatures just below freezing and visitors will need to wrap up warm. Madrid is normally dry but there is usually a short rainy season in late October and sometimes there are light showers in spring.
Visitors will need to decide when to go depending on what type of holiday they desire. Summer is obviously a popular choice so that tourists can make the most of the Spanish sun, but Madrid is fast becoming a great winter destination thanks to the shopping and culture available all year round.
One of the country's top music, dance and theatre festivals, the festival del Otoño, is held in autumn and starts in the first week of October and lasts the whole month. Visitors interested in seeing culture from all over the country should pay a visit to the capital at this time of year.
Madrid's Barajas airport lies 13km northeast of the city. Flights to Madrid go from most major UK cities and the capital is a holiday destination favourite for most budget airlines. Transport on arrival is available by bus and underground into the city and there are always plenty of taxis waiting for arrivals.
Images by Flickr/Trioptikmal