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A variety of styles combine to make Madrid a joy to explore. Throughout the architecture, see Moorish and Neoclassical influences. Around every city corner, be wowed by modern and avant-garde looks. And when the sun goes down, take in a classical theater performance or party like a rock star at an all-night disco.

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Overview

After your first gulp of icy mountain air, the next thing likely to strike you is the vast, cerulean, cumulus-clouded sky immortalized in the paintings of Velázquez. "De Madrid al cielo" ("from Madrid to heaven") goes the saying, and the heavens seem just overhead at the center of the 2,120-foot-high Castilian plateau. "High, wide, and handsome" might aptly describe this sprawling conglomeration of ancient red-tile rooftops punctuated by redbrick Mudéjar churches and gray-slate roofs and spires left by the 16th-century Habsburg monarchs. Madrid has burst back onto the world stage with an energy redolent of its 16th-century golden age, when painters and playwrights swarmed to the flame of Spain's brilliant royal court. A vibrant crossroads for Iberia and the world's Hispanic peoples and cultures, the Spanish capital has an infectious appetite for art, music, and epicurean pleasure.

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Planner

As the highest capital in Europe, Madrid is hot in summer and freezing in winter. Your best bet is to visit during the temperate springs and autumns, when the city is as it best. Especially in winter—when steamy café windows beckon you inside for a hot caldo (broth) and the blue skies are particularly bright—Madrid is the next best place to heaven. As with most Spaniards, residents of Madrid vacation in August, and the annual migration to the beaches causes traffic jams. The city is relaxed and somewhat empty in August; small shops and some restaurants shut down for the entire month, but museums remain open.

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Top Experiences

  • Strolling the Centro Histórico : The Plaza Mayor on any late night when it's almost empty is the place that best evokes the glory of Spain's golden age.

  • Painting the Past : Find a pleasant mix of art and architecture in the Prado, the Reina Sofía, and the Thyssen, all of which display extensive and impressive collections.

  • Relaxing on the Green : Visit the Retiro Gardens on a Sunday morning, when it's at its most boisterous, to unwind and take in the sun and merrymaking.

  • Bar-hopping : Indulge in a madrileño way of socializing. Learn about the art of tapas and sample local wines while wandering among the bars of Cava Baja.

  • Famous Nightlife : When other cities turn off their lights, madrileños swarm to the bars of the liveliest neighborhoods—Malasaña, Chueca, Lavapiés, and more—and stretch the party out until dawn.

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Content provided by Fodor's Travel. Copyright © Fodor’s Travel, a division of Internet Brands, Inc. All rights reserved. Fodor’s is a registered trademarked of Internet Brands, Inc.

Transfers

Region: Madrid
Transfer Company: 3E Luxury Services

Emergency Telephone: +34 606 974 742
Instructions: The phone number should only be used for last-minute changes while traveling such as delays or missed flights. For other issues, contact can be made by emailing costco@3els.com. The emergency phone number is also reachable through WhatsApp, which can be used with the internet connection that may be provided at the airports.

Trains

From To Madrid
Seville
2 hours 30 minutes
Barcelona
3 hours

*Overnight Trains

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