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Madrid - SpainMadrid is Spain's most visited tourist destination and the 4th most visited city in Europe. About 7 million tourists are visiting Madrid each year to enjoy the sights and attractions. The experiences range from historical monuments, museums, art and culture to architecture and intriguing structures, from the city's green parks to amusement parks and experience centers. In addition lots of football fans are coming here each year to see the world's best football team, Real Madrid, playing in the Spanish "La Liga".
From Madrid it is easy to get to Barcelona, Alicante and Málaga with both high speed trains and by planes. Moreover there are good connections from Madrid to the Canary Islands, Europe's capitals, South America and many other destinations.
With its 3.2 million inhabitants, Madrid is the largest city in Spain and the third largest city in Europe after London and Berlin. Along with its nearest towns the population is about 6.5 million inhabitants. Madrid is Spain's financial and cultural center. Many large Spanish companies have their headquarters here and the city is a mixture of old and modern architecture.
Climate in MadridMadrid is 665 meters above sea level and located far away from the coasts. Thus it can get very cold in winter and very hot during summer. The Spanish saying "Madrid, nueve meses de invierno y tres de inferno" which translates to something like: "Madrid, nine months of winter and three months of Hell" describes this very well. The best time of year to visit Madrid is during spring or autumn. The average temperature in winter at daytime is between 5-10 °C, but the temperature can drop below 0 °C at night, especially in January and it is not unusual wih snowfalls. Already in March you can feel that spring is coming and in April the temperature rises to around 12-18 °C. Summer usually begins in late May and offers heat and temperatures of 24-35 °C until the beginning of September. Mid-summer it is not unusual with daytime temperatures around 40 degrees.
Restaurants in MadridBeing a world metropolis, there are plenty of restaurants and tapas bars in Madrid. There is an incredibly wide range of restaurants of all types and in all price ranges. In the city centre, we find Plaza Mayor with tapas bars and restaurants. In addition there are numerous restaurants all the way from Plaza Mayor to the Royal Palace. Puerta del Sol and the surrounding area also has a number of good restaurants and tapas bars.
Hotels in MadridA good place to look for hotels in Madrid is hotels.com. There you can search through a variety of hotels in Madrid and book hotels directly. The price is often lower when you book on hotels.com than through other websites.
Attractions in MadridThe main attraction for travelers visiting Madrid is undeniably the historic downtown with all the historic buildings. Among these are the Royal Palace, the Opera, the Royal Theatre, The National Library, the Banco España building and the three famous art museums the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. Madrid also has many great monasteries and more than 100 churches.
Moreover, the Retiro Park located right in the centre is definitely worth a visit.
Obviously many tourists are travelling to Madrid to watch the football matches of Real Madrid or to get a guided tour of the team's football arena. See Real Madrid's website for more information.
If you want to get an overview of the city you may want to take a day with the sight seeing bus which allows you to hop on and off as much as you want along the way. The spanish café and tapas bar atmosphere that makes many people fall in love with Spain, is found everywhere in the city on the small sidewalks in cafes, restaurants, tapas bars and plazas.
Activities MadridZoo, skiing, water parks, or amusement parks? If historical buildings, art or churches are not the thing for you, there are plenty of other things you can do in Madrid.
Activities for children and families in Madrid:
Read more about fiestas in Madrid here: http://www.gomadrid.com/fiestas/madrid-fiestas.html
Holidays in Madrid1 January - New Year's Day
5 January - Cabalgata - meaning the holy kings are on their way ride to visit Jesus Christ. Symbolic celebrated this with a big parade through the city. During the night, frequented all Spanish homes and leave gifts for kids that they can open early in the morning the next day, on January 6, is called El día de Reyes (King of day).
March / April - Easter
1 May - Labour Day
2 May - Dos de Mayo
24 June - San Juan
15 August - Virgin Mary ascension
12 October Columbus day - Spain's National Day
1 November - All Saints Day
6 December - Constitution Day
8 December - The Immaculate Conception
25 December - Christmas Day
26th December - Boxing Day
Car hire in MadridThere are countless car hire companies, such as Avis, Hertz, Oasis, Goldcar and Cicar, to name a few. Many car hire companies have offices at the airport and are well available in the major tourist resorts and cities. The easiest way to hire a car in Madrid is through the web site rentalcars.com where you will find rental cars to the best price. The advantage with rentalcars.com is that they compare prices from several car rental companies at the same time, so you can choose the one that suits your wallet. Their website is www.rentalcars.com
Public transport in MadridMadrid has a well-developed network of subways, bus and commuter trains. Cercanias commuter trains: www.renfe.com
Trains to MadridMadrid has excellent train connections to other major cities in Spain with the high-speed train AVE. AVE trains have largely ousted planes when it comes to domestic transport.
With an AVE train you can travel from Madrid to Malaga or Alicante city center in just 2.5 hours skipping slow security checks, long lines and you don't need to be at the gate half an hour before departure. The travel time between Madrid and Barcelona is about 2 hours and 50 minutes with the AVE train. Tickets can be booked on renfe.com
Madrid AirportTo get to the center of Madrid Airport you can take bus number 203, which stops at Placa de Cibeles, right in downtown Madrid. The bus has departures all day and takes about 30 minutes between the airport and Madrid city centre. During the day, the bus also stops at the Atocha train station. You can also take the shuttle train Cercanias Madrid. Read more about transport to and from Madrid airport on www.aeropuertomadrid-barajas.com
Shopping in MadridEither if you like the big brand chains or small independent shops, there are plenty of malls and shopping districts in Madrid where you can find what you desire. Read more about shopping in Madrid...
Spanish classes in MadridWhether you want to learn Spanish from scratch or you want to improve your Spanish skills, Madrid is a superb choice. The advantage of attending a Spanish class in Madrid is that you can practice your Spanish skills everywhere. On basicspanishclasses.com you can find Spanish courses in Madrid and many other cities in Spain.
Congreso de los Diputados Madrid
Monumental building in Madrid
Church in Madrid
Foto: Luis García, Wikipedia
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