Madrid is a striking city which attracts millions of tourists throughout the world. It became the capital of the Spain in 1531 under the reign of Felipe II as a symbol of the country’s unification. Sitting high on a plateau, its location also promoted a strong sense of vigour and power. Madrid is one of the most fascinating cities in Europe. With its intense cultural and artistic vitality, Madrid is a favorite travel destination among tourists and the most loved city by its own community. Explore this large Spanish city with our Madrid travel guide providing tourism and travel information about the city with travel tips and vacation ideas.
A population of over four million call this vibrant affluent city home. Streets are lined with flowering trees and overlooked by grand historic buildings from different periods and architectural styles. Narrow little streets are a labyrinth of shops reminiscent of Aladdin’s Cave, leading to plsant squares where people gather to socialise.
Constructed in the middle of the 19th century, the Teatro Real, also known simply as the Opera, this magnificent theatre conjures up images of the grand old days and still holds opera, ballet and classical music concerts which you can still enjoy today. Opera has managed to survive quite a few disasters – soon after it was built it almost sank due to subsidence and then had to close in 1925. In 1997, Opera was reopened after a staggering €150 million was spent refurbishing it.
The Museo Arqueológico Nacional is the place to head to if you are interested in learning more about the history of the region. The national museum is home to some vivid and extraordinary archaeological artefacts including Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Islamic objects. Some of the best objects to views are the Visigoth artefacts uncovered in Toledo. If you head towards the galleries left of the entrance then you can admire a reconstruction of the Altamira Caves located in Cantabria. Although the prehistoric wall paintings are not authentic they are still quite impressive to look at.
Another place visited by tourists is the Templo de Debod. This Egyptian temple dates back to the 4th century BCE and was given to Madrid as a gift for the excellent work done by Spanish workers on the Aswan High Dam. The temple was painstakingly reconstructed brick by brick to allow visitors to understand more about the fascinating ancient Egyptian culture.
If you are interested in naval history then the Museo Navel is a great place to visit. Located in the Naval Ministry, it has a wealth of charts, models and other navel objects from various periods of Spanish history. One of the highlights here is the first map which depicts the New World dating from 1500. Other artefacts include a portion of Cortes standard when he conquered Mexico and cannons from the Spanish Armada.
There is a wide variety of restaurants to choose from in Madrid, each offering a different taste of the country and the world. The local cuisine is heavier than other regional styles with an emphasis on meat. If you want to sample traditional foods from Madrid, try Cocido madrilène, Cochinillo asado, Oreja or Porras.
Madrid offers a vast array of hotels throughout the city but if you want a little bit of peace and quiet then select one on the city’s edge. No matter if you are a backpacker, a businessman or a stylish globetrotter, Madrid has something to suit your individual taste and budget.
Madrid is a city that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. The city pulsates with a zest for life that only the Spanish could be famous for. Simply walking down a street means walking through several different periods of Spanish history, allowing you to experience authentic Spain at its very best.