Museums of the highest level, palaces and churches, parks and fun to no end, Madrid is a compact city and welcoming to visit it even if you have little time available. Here are some valuable tips to organize a weekend in the capital of Spain without missing the most important attractions.
Plaza de Cibeles
Madrid is easily accessible. The airport of arrival, Barajas, is a few kilometers from the city and well connected with the center. Alternatively, you can reach your destination by train, which must be taken, however, in France or Barcelona if you happen to be there. It is easier and more convenient to walk around with a network of buses, subways and taxis that are really reliable. Public transportation is on the move in the evening until 2am. To get yourselves a map, schedules, information and tickets or subscriptions, you can go the appropriate offices in the Plaza de Cibeles and Puerta del Sol.
Puerta del Sol
Puerta del Sol is the center of the city and you will inevitably cross it several times. In its immediate vicinity are the three most important museums: the Nacional Reina Sofia, where you can admire above all Picasso’s Guernica, the Thyssen-Bornemisza with a large exhibition of works and the Prado, the main attraction of Madrid with a collection of over 8000 paintings. The museums are really extraordinary but remember to start the visit very early to avoid the crowd due to the many visitors.
Also in the central area, the Plaza Mayor is a must. The square of extreme beauty with its frescoes, it is also famous for the Casa de la Panederia. In the far west of the city you can admire the Catedral de la Almudena, reflecting different periods of Spanish architecture. A splendid and imposing sight is the Palacio Real, the building that the royal family uses for visits and meetings of the State. Next to it, the elegant Plaza de Oriente with its terrace is very impressive and perfect for enjoying refreshing cocktails.
Madrid also offers real oasis of relaxation, thanks to its beautiful parks. To stay in the west, a huge green space for a refreshing break is the Casa de Campo. By day, you can walk undisturbed, visit the aquarium and the zoo – famous for the flamingos – rent a boat and take a ride on the big lake, or play sports and go to the amusement park. Moving instead to the east, not to be missed is the Parque del Retiro, smaller but with large green areas, an observer, a pond and the beautiful Palacio de Cristal.
Casa de Campo
Madrid photos by: javisaye, pepoexpress, jack r. johanson, oneterry aka terry, fransisco aragao
For more on Madrid check: The best places for bungee jumping in Madrid, Madrid travel guide, Spain
By +Nikos Kontorigas