City of Madrid
Madrid is the capital of the Kingdom of Spain. The King of Spain, whose functions are mainly ceremonial, has his official residence in the Zarzuela Palace (map). Madrid is the capital of the Community of Madrid. The region has its own legislature and it enjoys a wide range of competencies in areas such as social spending, healthcare, education.
Little medieval architecture is preserved in Madrid, mostly in the *Almendra Central, including the *San Nicolás (map) and *San Pedro el Viejo church (map) towers, the church of *San Jerónimo el Real (map), and the *Chapel of the Bishop (Chapel of Our Lady & of St John Lateran, map). Nor has Madrid retained much Renaissance architecture, other than the Bridge of Segovia (Puente de Segovia, map) and the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales (map).
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*La Latina and Austrias are neighbourhoods in central Madrid. They can be labelled as the old town of the Spanish capital.
The *Plaza Mayor (map) is a major public space in the heart of the city. The Royal Palace (map) is the official residence of the Spanish royal family.
The Royal Theatre (Teatro Real, map) with its restored 1850 Opera House. The 19th-century National Library (Biblioteca Nacional de España, map) building (founded in 1712) containing some of Spain’s historical archives and National Archaeological Museum. (*List of museums in Madrid)
The Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising three art museums.
- Prado Museum (Museo del Prado, map) — a National Museum featuring pre-20th-century art.
- Reina Sofía Museum (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, map) — a National Museum featuring 20th century modern art.
- Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (map) — a National Art Museum with a collection of historical through contemporary art.
*Cibeles Palace and Fountain (map) has become one of the monument symbols of the city.
Madrid is home to two world-famous football clubs, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.
El Retiro (map) is the most visited location of the city, it is the largest park within the Almendra Central, the inner part of the city enclosed by the M-30. Created during the reign of Philip IV (17th century), it was handed over to the municipality in 1868, after the Glorious Revolution.
Madrid is reputed to have a “vibrant nightlife”. Some of the highlight bustling locations include the surroundings of the Plaza de Santa Ana (map), and La Latina (map). It is one of the city’s main attractions with tapas bars, cocktail bars, clubs, jazz lounges, live music venues and flamenco theatres.
Nightlife >> One of the best options to enjoy the nightlife is in the popular quarter Barrio de las Letras (map), especially on its main street, Calle Huertas (map), and other nearby streets.
Calle Cava Baja (map, Metro: La Latina). This narrow street in La Latina is by far the most famous and popular place for tapas.
Spring and autumn are definitely the best times to visit, especially the months of April, May, June, September and October.
***Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol might be beauties to look at, but they are Meccas for scammers.
Public transport of Madrid
CRTM / + Metro • Tram – one of the best public transportation networks in the world and the second largest metro network in Europe, second only to that in London. Buses and subways work with the same tickets, and operate within the integrated transit network.
CityMapper – Madrid | The ultimate transport app and technology for mobility in cities.
BUS > ALSA • Grupo Avanza • Socibus and Secorbus. + movelia.es – bus tickets.
RAIL > Renfe. The state-owned rail company. Alicante (2 hr 30 min), Barcelona (2 hr 40 min), Bilbao (6 hr), Córdoba (2 hr), Malaga (2 hr 30 min), Salamanca (2 hr 30 min), Santiago de Compostela (6 hr), Seville (2 hr 20 min), Valencia (2 hr), Zaragoza (1 hr 15 min).
AIRPORTS > Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport. All commercial flights into Madrid use this airport, which is 13 km north-east of the city. + aena.es – information about all airports in Spain.
WATERWAYS > –