Europe’s biggest capital cities are all mesmerizing in their own right but depending on what type of person you are, one of the big five—Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris and Rome—will call to you more...Continue reading
From the Art Deco esplanade of Gran Via to the myriad bustling streets made for bar-hopping between mouthwatering tabernas, Madrid has a rich history of attracting artists from all over the world—long before Ernest Hemingway sipped his first...Continue reading
Sometimes you don’t need to travel to visit a new destination. A well-written travel book, be it fiction or guidebook, can transport you from the comfort of your own home or daily commute to another place. To kickstart...Continue reading
From the Gran Via's architecture to the cozy tapas bars of the Puerta del Sol, Madrid has something for all travelers in Spain. The works of Picasso, Dali, Velazquez and Goya, featured at the Prado museum, will delight art lovers, while gourmands will enjoy a glass of Rioja wine and some of Madrid's famous cured hams that often hang from the rafters of the city's restaurants. Be sure to conserve your energy for Madrid's nightlife and the parties that often continue until dawn.
Whether you are traveling to Madrid for leisure or business, it's important to assess the city's best modes of transportation before arriving. The public transport in Madrid is clean, safe, fast and efficient. It includes the metro, bus, and the commuter rail service, with the metro being the quickest form of public transportation. The metro has 13 lines, traveling between more than 301 stations. Each line has a different color, making map reading and route planning easy. Taking the bus in Madrid is an affordable way to get around the city. The local bus service in Madrid is operated by a company called EMT, which offers 2,000 buses serving more than 200 lines between the downtown area and other parts of the city. Standard buses run daily from 6:00 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., every 10 to 15 minutes. Night buses operate from 11:55 p.m. until 5:50 a.m. Another fast way of getting from one part of Madrid to another, especially within the city center, is by the commuter rail service. The commuter rail service, also known as Madrid Cercanías, has ten lines, which offers frequent daily services between 5:30 a.m. and midnight.
Madrid is made up of distinct neighborhoods, or barrios, each with its own character, drifting in and out of fashion. Unlike some capital cities though, its center is still a popular place to socialize, eat out, enjoy the nightlife and meet friends for a tapas crawl. The obvious starting point is Puerta del Sol, the central square that is used as the capital's measuring point for all distances in Spain, as well as the meeting place for city celebrations or protests. West of Sol is the city's elegant 17th century Plaza Mayor, beautifully restored to its historic splendor, with archways leading to small streets still filled with traditional Castilian restaurants and bars. Sightseers heading further west to the Palacio Real pass through the oldest part of Madrid, with winding streets showing vestiges of Moorish occupation in the medieval era. An alternative route from Sol towards the Prado Museum leads southeast through the vibrant neighborhoods of Huertas and Santa Ana. These barrios were once bohemian quarter of the city, and are still the preferred evening destination for enjoying a glass of wine and the latest tapas, with views of the picturesque Plaza Santa Ana, one of Madrid's must-sees.
Tapas bars may have become a global phenomenon, but the idea began in Madrid as a basic snack served in bars, a 'lid' for a glass of beer or wine. Madrid locals have turned a simple idea into a lifestyle, and most evenings will find office workers and families enjoying an early evening stroll in city center neighborhoods sampling the latest creations from the bar kitchens. Traditional dishes such as kidneys in sherry, potato omelet, braised tripe, or meatballs with paprika still feature, but are now joined by elaborate and stylish seafood morsels, as well as more international offerings. Basque chefs have also introduced the capital to stylish pintxos, northern Spain's eye-catching version of tapas, and these have become a popular lunchtime option. Although Madrid has all the international restaurants you would expect of a capital, locals still flock to Spanish regional specialty restaurants. Late evenings around Puerta de Sol are full of Madrid families thronging established eateries and snacking on Galician octopus, Castilian roast lamb, or suckling pig from Segovia. The perfect antidote to a spot too much Rioja is a morning visit to a Madrid cafe to dip freshly-fried churro donuts into the distinctively thick Spanish hot chocolate.
If you are planning to visit the lovely city of Madrid, knowing when the best time to go is a great way to ensure that you have the most fun on your vacation. Summer stretches from June to September. These are the hottest months but should not be missed because of the music festivals and open-air concerts that take place throughout the city. August is the best month to explore the beautiful beaches in Madrid. Spring, from mid-March to May, is also a pleasant time to see the city. Throughout these months the weather is warm during the day, and cool at night, making nightlife very exciting. There are also a lot of cultural activities during this season. The winter season is from December to mid-March. It is usually dry and the best time for those who are avoiding the sun-tanning weather and large crowds. Snow falls, but it does not accumulate in the city, and during this time, you can stroll down without distractions from the crowds. You can enjoy seeing museums and other historical sites without waiting in long queues. It is also the best time for skiing in the mountains. Whatever season you may choose to tour Madrid, be assured that you'll find culture, cuisine, and excursions that are second to none.
The coffee scene in Madrid has experienced exponential growth in the past decades, with formerly residential neighborhoods like Chamberi and Lavapies transforming into specialty coffee hotspots. Head on over to the heart of Madrid, where you'll find Ruda Café, a tiny but cozy caffeine shop where you can enjoy 100% Arabica coffees and great conversations with fellow coffee lovers - the place is always buzzing. For other breakfast options, find HanSo in the trendy Malasaña neighborhood. The menu hinges on single-origin beans roasted to a balanced perfection, served with a round of delicious Tostada con tomate and Matcha cake for dessert. With an eclectic, contemporary style featuring white wall tiles, concrete floors and a large communal table, you'll feel right at home amongst coffee lovers. A few steps away is the equally trendy Toma Café, where you'll find a set of staff devoted to the art of brewing coffee. Toma makes a great espresso with avocado toast, and is famous for brewing Toma beans in small brown envelopes. With a snug, laid-back vibe, it's the perfect place if you're in no rush and want to observe coffee connoisseurs in their element. Whether it's a morning coffee or an afternoon snack you're looking for, Madrid has a cup of coffee for all kinds of brew lovers.