Madrid is the capital of Spain and the largest municipality in both the Community of Madrid and Spain as a whole. The city has almost 3.2 million inhabitants with a metropolitan area population of approximately 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union (EU) after London and Berlin and its monocentric metropolitan area is the third-largest in the EU after those of London and Paris.
Madrid has just so much to offer that it would be impossible to summarize everything in a few paragraphs.You can find a complete guide at www.esmadrid.com/en. The tourist information office provides maps, directions and organizes guided visits of the city:
- Tourist Information Point at Plaza del Callao, metro Callao.
- Tourist Information Office at Plaza Mayor 27.
Madrid has a vast array of activities and touristic highlights for visitors to enjoy:
- Art Museums. Madrid is internationally renowned for its impressive art galleries. The impressive Prado, Reina Sofía, or Thyssen-Bornemiza Museums host some of the most famous Spanish masterpieces of artists like Picasso, Velazquez, and El Greco. There are other galleries and cultural centers such as Matadero-Madrid for contemporary art, whose programs are worthy of being consulted, as well as an example of recovery of architectural spaces (in this sense, see also Mercado de San Miguel).
- The city center, Walk down the Gran Vía, one of the main arteries of the city and a great area for shopping, strolling, going out or enjoying a show in one of its many theaters. Stand on "Kilometro 0", the exact center of the city at the Puerta del Sol metro stop, take a picture with the Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree (a representation of the coat of arms of Madrid) and wander the diverse neighborhoods that surround the square. Hang out in the picturesque Plaza Mayor, eating some traditional Spanish food and observing some local street performers. Do not forget to try the bocadillo de calamares (squid sandwich) or have a traditional breakfast with churros con chocolate (hot chocolate with churros). Visit the ancient neighborhood of Madrid, La Latina, where every Sunday you will encounter the gigantic "Rastro" flea market and find some rare treasures.
- Palacio Real. Visit the Royal Palace of Madrid, the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family at the city of Madrid and the largest royal palace in Europe. The interior of the palace is notable for its wealth of art and the use of many types of fine materials in the construction and the decoration of its rooms. These include paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Francisco de Goya, and Velázquez, and frescoes by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Juan de Flandes, Corrado Giaquinto, and Anton Raphael Mengs
- Parque del Retiro. The Retiro Park is a large and popular 1.4 km2 (350 acres) park at the edge of the city centre, very close to the Puerta de Alcalá and not far from the Prado Museum. A magnificent park, filled with beautiful sculptures and monuments, galleries, a peaceful lake, and a host to a variety of events, it is one of Madrid's premier attractions. The park is entirely surrounded by the present-day city. The park belonged to the Spanish Monarchy until the late 19th century, when it became a public park.
Information about concerts and theatre shows (including a wide range of musicals) can be found in the Guia del Ocio webpage (only in Spanish):https://www.guiadelocio.com/madrid