Madrid City Guide

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Madrid City Guide

By day, Madrid is sophisticated, steeped in history and culture. However by night, a dramatic change occurs, with the city letting her hair down and becoming a whirlwind of tapas bar-hopping, accompanied by the beat of fast-paced, dramatic flamenco dancing. Located in the center of the country, Spain’s capital has something for everyone, from exciting bullfights to elegant architecture, sleepy siesta times to a frenzied nightlife that lasts into the wee hours of the morning. After Franco’s death and the end of his totalitarian regime, Madrid celebrated with non-stop all-night parties, giving birth to an era known as la Movida. Today, Madrid has lost none of that energy, which continues to attract visitors from all corners of the globe.

When to Go

Summers in Madrid are hot, with temperatures topping 30C (86F), and sometimes even touching 40C (104F). Winters are moderate, with daytime temperatures at around 10C (50F), although the mercury can drop below 0C at night. As such, the best time to visit this majestic city is during the moderate Spring and Autumn months, although keep your fingers crossed for dry weather. If you’re visiting in the scorching summer months, be prepared for the city to shut down for the daily afternoon siestas.

How to Get There

Fly into Madrid’s airport, the Aeropuerto Internacional de Barajas (MAD), then take the metro to the city. Alternatively, the Airport Bus (#200) also makes frequent trips to the city center.

If you’re taking the train, you will arrive at either Atocha or Chamartín stations. From the latter, take a 45 minute ride on Bus #5 to Puerta del Sol. Alternatively, you can catch a red Cercanías train from the Atocha Renfe stop, which services both main train stations.

Madrid has an extensive public transportation network. However, once in the city, it’s best to stay above ground and enjoy the sights. Take the Metro only for longer trips or between your first and last destinations of the day.