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About Madrid, Spain

[Madrid] is the capital and largest city of Spain, as well as the capital of the autonomous community of the same name ( Comunidad de Madrid). The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million with a metro area population of almost 6.5 million. Madrid is best known for its great cultural and artistic heritage, a good example of which is the El Prado museum. Madrid also boasts some of the liveliest nightlife in the world.



Madrid is located just northeast of the geographical center of the Iberian Peninsula, in the middle of the Spanish central Castillian plateau (Meseta central), at an average altitude of 650m. Nearly all of the most famous tourist areas are located in the center of the city including Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real, and Plaza de Colón. The major streets in Madrid include the Gran Via, Alcalá Street, and Paseo de la Castellana.

Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid's city hall, Cibeles Square

Palacio de Cibeles, Madrid's city hall, Cibeles Square


The climate of Madrid is continental; mainly dry and quite extreme at times. Madrid sees perpetual sunshine and a characteristically hot and dry summer, and a fairly cold winter with frequent frosts during the night and the occasional snowfall. Spring and autumn are mild with the most rainfall concentrated in these seasons. Spring and autumn are definitely the best times to visit, especially the months of April, May, June, September and October. There is very little rainfall during summer and also less rainfall during winter. During winter snow occurs sporadically; however, snowfall usually lasts only for a few days, but there is abundant snowfall in the adjacent mountain ranges nearby.


The culture of Madrid was dominated by its Royal history, centre of the Spanish Empire. The Royal Palace, big places and buildings used by the Spanish Monarchy, enormous cathedrals and churches are plentiful in Madrid, as well as medieval architecture, although nowadays Madrid is just as much a cosmopolitan city as Berlin or London, full of new architecture, lifestyle and culture.

As Spanish Capital, Madrid has meant the different "establishment" for most Spaniards. During the 2nd Republic (1931-1936) was a bustling city of new ideas. Being capital of the Franquist dictatorship (1939-1975) made the city still seemed to represent a conservative part of Spain to many Spaniards. However, the city is also the epicentre of the famous Movida, Spain's 80s movement that bred personalities such as the director Pedro Almodóvar. The heritage of this era is indeed still visible in the city centre, where a party can be found at all times and one of the most liberal and colourful environments of Spain can be seen. The city is also known for its great gay tolerance.

The citizens of Madrid, who refer to themselves as Madrileños or the more traditional and currently seldom used term "gatos" (cats), live by a daily routine that is heavily influenced by the climate. Due to the typically midday heat during summer, a "siesta" can be still observed during which some citizens take a break to cool off, though Madrileños can usually only afford this 'luxury' during holidays and weekends. Most stores are open during all the day; just small stores are often closed during this time. Workers and those more afflicted by Western lifestyles choose not to observe this long break and work traditional business hours, which are usually between 9AM and 6-7PM. During summer many offices, however, will have a summer schedule requiring workers to start at 8AM and finish at 3PM (most commonly without the standard 1-2 hour break for lunch). Offices usually close during the weekend but businesses are often open Saturday morning (downtown stays open until afternoon). Most grocers are closed on Sundays, but some major chain and department stores linked to "culture" (books, music, etc.) will be open throughout the day and all of them on the first Sunday of the month. Shops and department stores in Puerta del Sol area are open every day.

Madrid possibly has the largest number of bars per capita of any European city and a very active nightlife; Madrileños are known to stay up until as late as 5AM-7AM. It is quite common to see a crowded Gran Vía on weekend nights. It is important to note that, due to this lifestyle, lodging located near the fun areas may end up a nightmare for light sleepers if your window faces the street.

Madrid has a very modernized and elaborate transportation network of buses and Metro. The city contrasts with some large European cities in that it is extremely clean, and city employees in bright yellow vests can almost always be seen cleaning the streets and sidewalks. Like most large cities, however, there is a substantial population of vagrants and beggars lining the streets.

Madrid is one of the biggest and most cosmopolitan cities in Europe. Communities of West Africans, North Africans, other Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Filipinos, Pakistanis and (especially) Latin Americans are prominent.

Some popular neighborhoods are:

  • Alonso Martínez - Many pubs and small discos. Until about 3AM, a very young crowd, and if you′re around here before midnight, and over the age of 20, prepare to feel positively old. Most places close around 3AM, then people move to nearby areas to continue partying (clubs in Gran Vía or Tribunal).
  • Barrio de las Letras / Huertas - Many of Spain's most famous writers lived there (Cervantes, Quevedo, etc.). It is among Lavapiés, Puerta del Sol and Paseo del Prado. It is an area full of history and interesting buildings and is also well-known because of its concentration of bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels. Plaza de Santa Ana is a beautiful square. It can be considered "too touristic" for some local people.
  • Chueca - Near Malasaña and Gran Vía, it is the gay district (although no one is ever excluded) with a very strong personality. New design, trendy shops, cool cafes. Pop and electronic music. By far, the most cosmopolitan place in town. Has become quite chic and expensive.
  • Tribunal / Malasaña - Alternative area. You can enjoy a café, a dinner, a book or just some drink. Mainly rock and pop music clubs, some of them still open from "La movida madrileña" (beginning of 80's). Calle Manuela Malasaña is a great place to eat, Calle del Pez a great place to have some drinks and Plaza Dos de Mayo is the heart of the district.
  • Conde Duque - Like Malasaña, this district shares a similar audience. Calle Conde Duque is full of cafés and restaurant. Between the main squares in the district, Plaza de Guardias de Corps and Plaza de las Comendadoras, you will also find other options to have drinks, cafés or tapas. The Conde Duque Cultural Centre usually hosts shows, concerts and exhibitions.
  • Gran Vía - The place that never sleeps. Major street that includes many popular nightclubs, usually open from 1AM to 6-7AM.
  • thumb|right|Black & White photograph of Gran Vía (2011).

  • La Latina - Near Lavapiés, it is the place to go for tapas and full of bohemian young people looking for stylish bars. In the old section, many small bars and pubs, a generally older crowd (late 20s, 30s - you know, "adults"). Contains La Cava Baja street. Avoid places in the Plaza Mayor but for sunbathing and beers. Multiple bars serving fantastic tapas in the Cava Baja and Cuchilleros. It's surprisingly very crowded on Sunday mornings, from 11AM to late in the afternoon due to its close location to the flea market El Rastro.
  • Lavapiés - Multicultural quarter of the city, with more than 50% foreign residents, mostly from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Plenty of world music bars and many alternative theaters and art galleries. Lavapiés is maybe the most cosmopolitan and hippy area at the same time in Madrid. Indian restaurants, alternative cafés, African music and South American shops. Walking around for a coffee is well worth it.
  • Moncloa - Due to its proximity to the main University in Madrid (Universidad Complutense), Moncloa is associated with students and a student lifestyle, many cheap bars and discos as it is near the university, although some of the places are best avoided.
  • Salamanca - Plenty of expensive boutiques, unique shops with impossible prices and department stores.
  • Torre Europa. There used to be several posh pubs and clubs under the tower across from the stadium. There are 4 or 5 bars and discos in the avenida de Brazil area catering to a young and student crowd.
  • Ciudad Universitaria. This area is where most of the students reside as there are several dorms in this area. There are a few cheap bars with great nightlife starting from Thursdays.

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

Get in

By plane

Main article: Madrid–Barajas Airport

Madrid Barajas International Airport (IATA:MAD) is the most important airport of Madrid. There are direct flights there from most major airports in Europe and the Americas as well as a few African and Asian airports. The extensive, practical and affordable metro network extends to the airport, and with one or two transfers you can get pretty much everywhere in the city. Alternatively you can take a taxi or bus.

Two smaller airports, Torrejón and Cuatro Vientos, also serve the city, however, there are no commercial flights coming in or out of these two airports.

By train

The state-owned rail company Renfe ( +34 902-240-202, []) operates train service to/from Madrid. Frequent long-distance trains operate between Madrid and Alicante (3 h 15 min), Barcelona (2h 40min), Córdoba (2 hrs), Malaga (2h 30 min), Salamanca (2 h 45 min), Seville (2h 20 min), Valencia (2 hrs) and Zaragoza (2 h 15 min).

There are also 2 direct international trains, run by Renfe under "Trenhotel" designation, in service every night to and from Lisbon ("Lusitania") and Paris Gare Austerlitz ("Francisco de Goya"). These have a variety of sleeping accommodations (in 4-, 2- and single-person berths) as well as reclining and "super-reclining" seats, and take 9 and 14 hours respectively. A trip to Santiago de Compostela, clocking at 5 hours during the day, can also be made overnight (in which case it takes closer to 9 hours).

Madrid has two train stations: Chamartín and Atocha, both of which have excellent Metro and Cercanias commuter train connections. Most northbound and both international trains arrive and depart from Chamartín station, while trains to Barcelona, Valencia and southern Spain depart from Atocha. If you need to get between the two stations, Metro line 1 (€1.50, 30–40 minutes) or Cercanias lines C3 and C4 (€1.35, 15 minutes) offer the most direct connection.

is on the north side of the city and is served by the Metro stop of the same name on Metro lines 1 and 10. is on the southern side of the city center and is divided into two main sections, an area for Cercanias trains and one for long-distance trains. The long-distance side is set inside the towering old station, where you will find a tropical garden with a pond full of small turtles as well as a number of shops. A memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack of March 11, 2004 is in the Cercanias portion of the station near the Metro stop.

Tropical garden in Atocha

Tropical garden in Atocha

  • Chamartín station
  • Atocha

By bus

Madrid has eight enormous international and intercity bus stations. Information on where buses to a particular destination depart from can be found at the Tourist Office.

Many of the international buses, and those headed south of Madrid, arrive at and depart from Estación Sur de Autobuses ( Calle de Méndez Álvaro, Tel:+34 91-468-4200 []) which is accessible by metro.

Buses to and from Barcelona and Bilbao operate from the Avenida de América bus terminal, also accessible by Metro.

By car

There are car rental facilities available at the airport, train stations, and other main travel sites. Always be sure to have a street map handy! The roads within Madrid are difficult to navigate as there are no places to stop and consult a map or check your route.

Also, if you are relying on GPS navigation, be aware that there are several consecutive junctions underground near the centre and your GPS may not get a signal underground. Plan your turns before you enter the tunnels.

Get around

By public transit

Madrid proudly sports one of the best public transportation networks in the world and the second largest metro network in Europe, second only to London's. Buses and subways form an integrated network [] and work with the same tickets.

  • A single ticket costs €1.50 (max. 5 stations) – €2.00 (Zona A)
  • A ten trip ticket (10 viajes) costs Zona A: €12.20, Combinado: €18.30.
  • Alternatively, you can buy unlimited travel passes as follows: 1 day (€8), 2 days (€13.40), 3 days (€17.40), 5 days (€25.50), or 7 days (€33.40).

    Children under the age of 4 may travel without a ticket. Children under 11 receive a 50% discount. Tickets can be purchased at Metro stations, news-stands, and estancos (tobacconists').

  • If you're planning on staying for a long time, you might consider investing into the Tarjeta Transporte Público. You can load travel plans onto them according to your social status - regular, joven or mayor. You need to apply for one in advance at one of the metro stations by completing an application and bringing a copy of your passport. The travel plans can be loaded from any metro automat.


The [Metro de Madrid] (Madrid's Subway/Underground) is one of the best and less expensive metros in Europe. In addition, the underground tunnels of the Metro provide relief from the sun on hot days. Ticket machines are bilingual with instructions in both Spanish and English. Stamping the ticket one time allows you to use the Metro network as long and far as you like - make sure you stay inside the Metro zone, once you leave it, you'll have to stamp your ticket again. When you travel to or from airport stations, there is additional supplement of €3, which can be paid at the entrance or exit. The Passes do not require this supplement-it is included in the price. You can catch some trains as late as 2AM, although the official close time for the metro system is at 1:30AM.

Nights before Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays have a night bus (BúhoMetro) service on the same routes as the Metro lines, from roughly 01:00AM to 05:30AM. Stops for these lines are sometimes not in obvious places, especially in the pedestrian areas in the city center.

Announcements in the metro are made only in Spanish, though signs are bilingual in Spanish and English.

Tourist map of the Madrid Metro

Tourist map of the Madrid Metro


Whatever the Metro doesn't cover, the buses do.

Night buses ( Búhos, "night owls"), have their main hub at [Plaza de Cibeles], covering most of the city at roughly 20-minute intervals.

Buses are equipped with free wi-fi facility (EMTmadrid), easy to use with any type of laptop or netbook.

A bus in Madrid.

A bus in Madrid.


Madrid has a system of local trains ( Cercanías) that connect outlying suburbs and villages with the city center. Although most useful for visiting historic or outdoor destinations outside the city core, they are also useful for quickly getting from the north end of the city (Chamartin and Nuevos Ministros) to the south end of the city (Sol and Atocha) and, as of Sept 2011, Barajas airport (terminal 4).

By taxi

Taxis can be hard to find during late hours on weekends, especially if there is some rain. Unlike in other European cities, there are few taxi stands; just stand by the side of a major road or bus stop and wave your hand to signal an available taxi passing by. Available taxis have a green libre sign in the windshield and a green light on top.

Official taxis are white, and have a red stripe and the flag of Madrid on the front door. The tariff is displayed on top of the car (a 1 during daytime, a 2 during the night, which become 2 and 3 on holidays such as Christmas Eve).

There are also special surcharges for entering or leaving the airport/train station. Ask for the written table of tariffs and charges ( suplementos) (shown on small stickers on rear windows, compulsory by law) before paying if you think it's too expensive.

Be aware there are some taxi drivers that will do what is called 'la vuelta al ruedo' which basically means they will drive you around or through the crowded avenues to increase the fare.

Most taxi drivers do not speak English, so you should have the names and/or addresses of your destinations written in Spanish to show your taxi driver. Likewise, get your hotel's business card in case you get lost.

By car

Transportation by private automobile in Madrid can be a nightmare. The Spanish capital suffers from the typical problems of most big cities; far too many cars and not enough space to accommodate them. Sometimes there can even be traffic jams in the Paseo de la Castellana at 3AM (early to some Madrileños). The problem is compounded by the narrow streets in the old town, where a lorry delivering beer barrels to a local bar can cause a huge tailback. Finding a parking space can be very time consuming, and difficult if one is not skilled in the art of close proximity parallel parking. Many Spaniards are also lacking in this art, prompting them to simply park in the street, blocking other cars in. If you find yourself blocked in by such a practice, honk your horn until the driver returns. If you parallel park your car in Madrid, be aware that most Madrileños park by sound alone. They will feel no remorse for repeatedly hitting the car in front and behind them while trying to get into or out of a tight spot. If you value your car's paint job, or you have rented a car, it may be best to park underground. Though this is no guarantee for nobody hitting your car, the chances are somewhat diminished.

For free parking but within walking distance of 20 mins to city centre (Sol), try the street at Principe Pio metro stop. The place to park is the street near to the shopping mall called Calle de Mozart. It is packed with cars on weekday mornings because of people getting to the Metro station. During the evenings and weekends it's easy to get a parking spot.

In short, renting a car is not only unnecessary, but not recommended for getting around downtown Madrid, and a car is likely to be more of a liability than an asset. Visitors should make use of Madrid's excellent public transportation instead. Renting a car only makes sense if you are planning to leave Madrid and drive to the nearby towns.

By bicycle

Although Madrid does not appear as a bike-friendly city at a first sight, things are changing slowly to make bike experience more comfortable. Several streets in historical downtown have been transformed into mixed-traffic spaces where pedestrians and bikes have priority over cars. There are new easy-bike paths all along the river and connecting important parks.

It is also possible to use a lot of narrow easy streets where traffic is slow and calm to travel along the city without dependig on exclusive bike paths. There are some official and unofficial publications with these streets along the web.

To avoid some of Madrid inconveniencies, such as hot weather or slopy streets it is also possible to get bikes on Metro and Railways trains with some schedule restrictions, and on every public transport without restrictions when using folding-bikes.

There is no public rent-a-bike service, but there are some rent shops on historical center area such as the company [Baja Bikes Madrid] or [Urban Biking]. This company offers several rental points in Madrid (Retiro, Atocha, Madrid-Río, etc.). They offer Guided and self-guided bicycle tours, using electric or conventional bicycles.


Landmarks and architecture

Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol

Royal Palace

Royal Palace

Catedral de la Almudena

Catedral de la Almudena

  • Mercado de La Cebada
    Metro: La Latina (lines 5),

    Once a glass and iron market of the late XIX century, it is now a vaulted concrete building which still serves as a neighborhood market. Where it used to stand an annexed public swimming pool and sports facilities, it lies now an empty field, used and managed by a neighbor association.

  • Mercado de San Miguel
    Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R),

    Near Plaza Mayor is this indoor market, identifiable by its ornate iron posts. Built in 1913, it's full of a wide range of high quality food. Even if you're not buying anything, it's worth entering for the sights and smells of dried ham, fine wine, freshly baked goods and other treats from the vendors inside.

  • Plaza de la Villa
    Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R),

    The main square during Middle Age, as Calle Mayor (High Street) was the main street as well. It houses the former City Hall, the former Academy of Fine Arts and the Archbishopric.

  • Palacio Real
    Calle Bailen, Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R),, phone: +34 91 4548800

    The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is an enormous palace, one of the biggest in Europe, with scorching plains of concrete around it. Though it is the official residence of the King of Spain, the royal family does not actually reside here and it is generally used only for state ceremonies. The Royal Palace is considered to be one of the most emblematic and beautiful buildings in Madrid, not only for its location on a bluff overlooking the river valley but also for its architecture and the artistic treasures to be found in its rooms. A simple one-way tour of the palace (both self-guided and guided are available) takes you up the grand stairway and through the lavishly decorated state rooms with their elegant tapestries, frescoes, porcelain, carvings and added decor like china, silverware, medals, etc. From the courtyard you can access the Farmacia (Pharmacy), which contains hundreds of bottles of early medicines and a reconstructed laboratory, and the Real Armorial (Royal Armory), a two-story collection of medieval weapons and armor. Explanations in the armory are in Spanish only, so do not expect to understand much unless your know the Spanish names for all that medieval weaponry. The lines to get in are very long, especially on Wednesday when the place is free - try to go early. Photography inside the palace is not allowed.

  • Catedral de la Almudena
    Metro: Opera (lines 2, 5 and R),

    This massive cathedral faces the Palacio Real. Finished near the end of 20th century, it is where the Princes of Asturias Felipe and Letizia were married in 2004.

Museum Triangle

This is Madrid's museum district, named for the three major art museums clustered along Paseo del Prado east of the old city: the Museo del Prado, one of the finest art museums in the world, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, a baron's collection of classical art, and the Reina Sofia, Madrid's modern art museum. However, a couple of smaller museums also occupy the neighborhood which are well worth seeing as well.

The northern entrance to Prado

The northern entrance to Prado

Vertical garden, CaixaForum

Vertical garden, CaixaForum

Other museums

Dama de Elche: Iberian (pre-Roman) fertility goddess statue

Dama de Elche: Iberian (pre-Roman) fertility goddess statue

  • Museo de América
    Avenida Reyes Católicos 6, Metro: Moncloa (lines 3 and 6). Easy walk to/from Museo del Traje.,, phone: +34 91 5492641 and 91 5439437

    An excellent museum that many tourists miss. Houses thousands of artifacts from the Americas. The exhibit displays objects from many native cultures from before European conquest to colonial times and beyond. Don't miss the Tesoro (Treasure) de los Químbayas, a collection of gold objects that was given as a gift by the Colombian government. Also of interest is the Tudela Codex, an Aztec law book from the 1500s. Beware: most explanations to the objects on display are in Spanish only.

  • Museo de la Ciudad

    Closed permanently. Some of the collection was moved to the Museo de San Isidro and the Museo de Historia de Madrid.

  • Museo de San Isidro, los Origenes de Madrid
    Plaza San Andres 2, Metro: Latina (line 5),, phone: +34 913 667 415

    This is a museum of two parts. One part is dedicated to Saint Isidore the Laborer, while the other part is dedicated to the paleontology and archaeology of the region of Madrid from prehistory to 1561 (when Philip II made Madrid the seat of the court). Most of the exhibits are explained in both Spanish and English.

  • Museo de Historia de Madrid
    Calle Fuencarral 78, Metro: Tribunal (lines 1 and 10),, phone: +34 917 011 863

    Previously the municipal museum of Madrid, it is dedicated to the history of Madrid from 1561 to present. Exhibits from the Museo de la Ciudad were moved here after its closure but as of March 2013 most are still in the warehouse and it is unknown when they will be put on display.

  • Museo de Lazaro Galdiano
    Calle Serrano 122, Metro: Gregorio Mariñon (lines 7 and 10),, phone: +34 91 5616084

    This museum houses the stunning collection of Spanish entrepreneur José Lázaro Galdiano (1862-1947) and is considered to be one of the best private collections in Spain. Not only will you find works by Goya, Velázquez, El Greco and others, the museum is also filled with jewelry, furniture, sculpture and ceramics. This is an excellent museum that is usually not crowded and well worth the price of admission.

  • Museo Sorolla
    General Martínez Campos, 37, Metro: Iglesia (line 1) or Rubén Darío (line 5); Bus lines 5, 7, 14, 16, 27, 40, 45, 61, 147 and 150,, phone: +34 91 3101584

    This museum is in what was the impressionist painter's house and features fine furniture and porcelain as well as his paintings.

  • Museo del Traje
    Avenida de Juan de Herrera 2, Metro: Moncloa (lines 3 and 6) or Ciudad Universitaria (line 6). Easy walk to/from Museo de América.,, phone: +34 91 5504700

    Offers a wide selection of historical and more temporary costumes (from the early 1200s to now) which shows the aspects of different cultures and Spain. The museum also organizes many activities and events. The building itself won some architectural awards in the 1970s. The restaurant underneath the museum is fairly good. The museum is surrounded by sprawling gardens, replete with well maintained lawns and fountains, are a pleasant place to relax.

  • National Archeology Museum
    Calle Serrano 13, Metro: Serrano (line 4),, phone: +34 91 5777912

    Don't let the sound of it frighten you. This well designed museum houses an incredible collection of archaeological finds from across the peninsula. It leaves the visitor with a sense of the chronology of civilization in Spain (Iberian, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Visagoth, Arab, and into the modern age). The famous Dama de Elche, an Iberian (pre-Roman) fertility goddess statue, is in this museum. There are also a few pieces from ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It is currently undergoing renovations and is open with limited exhibits.

  • Real Academia de Bella Artes de San Fernando
    Calle Alcalá 13, Metro: Sevilla or Banco de España (line 2),, phone: +34 91 5240864

    Highly impressive art collection with paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints. Several Goya masterpieces.

  • San Antonio de La Florida Hermitage

    This small church is famous for its murals, painted by Goya. It's also the mausoleum of the painter.

  • Planetario de Madrid
    Avenida del Planetario 16, Metro: Mendez Alvaro (line 6) or Arganzuela-Planetario (line 6),, phone: +34 91 467 34 61

    Features several exhibits related to space exploration, two screens playing documentaries, an interactive area and, of course, the planetarium. Projections last 45 minutes each. Different ones play on different days so check their website. Note that all the exhibits are explained in Spanish only and the projections in the planetarium are also in Spanish.

  • Museo de Ferrocarril de Madrid
    Paseo de las Delicias 61, Metro: Delicias (line 3); Renfe Cercanias: Delicias,, phone: +34 902 22 88 22

    Museum with four railway tracks, exhibiting a large number of steam, diesel and electric locomotives used in Spain in the 19th and 20th century. Also on display are several model railways. Exhibits are described in Spanish only.

  • Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia
    Paseo de las Delicias 61, Metro: Delicias (line 3); Renfe Cercanias: Delicias,, phone: +34 916 037 401

    Attached to the Railway Museum of Madrid, this is a museum dedicated to the history of science and technology, exhibiting scientific instruments and consumer products from the last few centuries. Exhibits are described in Spanish only.

  • Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales
    José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, Metro: Gregorio Marañón, Nuevos Ministerios; Renfe Cercanias: Nuevos Ministerios,, phone: +34 91 411 1328

    Contains a large collection of fossils and minerals, plus educational exhibits (some are described in English but many are in Spanish only). Has two parts open to visitors with separate entrances. The ticket is purchased at the main entrance and to visit the other part you need to exit from the main entrance, turn left and follow the building until you reach the second entrance. Your ticket will be checked again there so don't lose it.

  • Museo Geominero
    c/ Rios Rosas 23, Metro: Rios Rosas,, phone: +34 91 349 5759

    Part of the Spanish Institute of Geology and Mining, this museum is dedicated to Geology (with a focus on Mineralogy) and Paleontology, containing an impressive collection of fossils and minerals discovered on the territory of Spain and abroad. Also contains educational exhibits, although all are described in Spanish only. The interior of the building is just as impressive and may be worth a quick tour even if you are not particularly interested in Paleontology and Mineralogy.

  • Museo Nacional de Antropologia
    Alfonso XII, 68, Metro: Atocha Renfe; Renfe Cercanias: Atocha,, phone: +34 91 530 64 18 or +34 91 539 59 95

    Small but interesting museum with artefacts and models from the indigenous people of Asia (mainly the Philippines, former colony of Spain), Africa and America. The exhibits are described in Spanish, however on each floor there is a leaflet in English explaining all sections.


El Retiro park

El Retiro park

  • La Casa de Campo
    Metro: Lago, Batan (line 10) or Casa de Campo (lines 5 and 10),

    The park at the rear of the Palacio Real which used to belong to the Royal family. Much of the park has been taken to smaller activity parks such as the Zoo but in general it's peaceful. From Moncloa you can take a teleferico across into the park.


There are a number of free, English language periodicals that you will find in bars and restaurants that are a great source of event information. [PopGuide Madrid] is Madrid's premier English and German lifestyle magazine and features the best Madrid has to offer and the latest in film, fashion, music and art. The monthly InMadrid newspaper [] has a number of articles and information about events around town. Aimed at the 20-35-year-old crowd, [European Vibe] has listings for concerts, exhibitions, bars, restaurants, parties and other events happening in Madrid as well as articles about living in the city. Check the websites for current distribution points.

Flamenco Shows

Concert Venues

Classical & opera



Four teams from Madrid play in La Liga (Spain's premier division). The matches between Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid are known as "El Derbi Madrileño" (English: Madrid Derby).

  • Rayo Vallecano, plays games at Estadio Teresa Rivero. A popular team from the Vallecas area in Madrid, known for its alternative culture and left-wing ultras.



There are two major teams, Estudiantes and Real Madrid. Both play in Palacio de los Deportes every other weekend during the season.


Movies and film

There are a number of cinemas offering American and British films in English (along with films in other languages). These original films are denoted in the listings by a designation of "V.O." which stands for versión original. Cinemas in Madrid will sometimes have días del espectador (viewer days) with cheaper ticket prices, usually on Mondays or Wednesdays. Some of the V.O. theaters to check out are:

There are also a few movie theatres in Madrid where they show the original version of the movies subtitled in their original language. The list is provided below.



If you want to go to Madrid to learn Spanish, there are several private language schools that offer Spanish courses for foreigners. Another option is to take a Spanish course at university, the Complutense University of Madrid offers Spanish courses for foreigners that take place in the faculty of Philology and Letters [].

Language Schools

  • Academia Eureka
    Calle del Arenal, 26 - 3º D,, email:, phone: +34 915 488 640, fax: +34 915 482 580

    Academia Eureka is a Spanish language school located in the heart of Madrid near Puerta del Sol. The school's sole objective is teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Academia Eureka is accredited by the Instituto Cervantes and has been offering Spanish classes since 1988. The school offers optional housing : on-site or with a Spanish family and provides after-school activities and excursions. Classes start on Monday and all 6 levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2) are offered. Class sizes are small with a maximum of 8 students per class.

  • AIL Madrid
    Calle de Núñez de Balboa, 17,, email:, phone: +34 917 25 63 50

    AIL Madrid is an Instituto Cervantes - accredited Spanish Language School that offers a wide range of Spanish classes for adult students of all ages. 16 different Spanish courses and free 10 hours a week/ 2 hours a day of cultural activities. Average class size 6 persons.

  • Inhispania

    Inhispania is specialized in teaching Spanish language and culture. It is an Accredited School by the Instituto Cervantes with an excellent location near Puerta del Sol offering intensive and regular programs, in smalls groups, for all levels and during the whole year. The school also organizes after-school actitivies and offers an optional accommodation service.

  • Don Quijote

    great school where you can take 4-6 hours of courses a day. All courses including beginner courses are taught entirely in Spanish.

  • Babylon Idiomas
    Plaza Santa Ana 1,, phone: +34 91 532 4480

    They offer a wide range of different Spanish courses with qualified and experienced native teachers. The school is accredited by Instituto Cervantes and is located in the very heart of the city. New courses start every Monday.

  • Linguaschools Madrid

    Offers Spanish courses for foreigners all year round. Students with previous knowledge can start any Monday. For absolute beginners there are fixed start dates.

  • PopEnglish

    Offers English, German, Italian, French, Swedish and Spanish courses for individuals and companies in Madrid.

  • Spanish Abroad
    Near Puerta del Sol,

    Spanish school.

  • Cambio Idiomas
    Calle Orense, 20 (Nuevos Ministerios),, phone: +34 915567804

    Cambio Idiomas is a greatly well communicated language academy in the business center of Madrid, specialized in Spanish courses for expats. We offer a number of courses in different languages, levels and with different objectives.


Major credit cards and foreign bank cards are accepted in most stores, but be aware that it is common practice to be asked for photo-ID ("D.N.I."). If asked for your DNI present your passport, residency permit or foreign ID card. Basically anything with your photo and name on it will be accepted by most shopkeepers. The signatures on credit cards are usually not checked.

Shopping districts

In addition to the shopping areas below, there are also a great number of H&M, Zara, Mango, and Blanco stores all over Madrid, with high fashion clothes and accessories at a low price.

  • Sol-Salamanca districts. The most convenient area for tourists is around Calle de Preciados, between Sol and Gran Vía, home to the El Corte Inglés department store, high-street names like Zara, Gran Vía 32, H&M, Sephora, Pimkie. The smartest shopping district is Salamanca northeast of the center, around Calle Serrano. Top designer names like Chanel, Versace, Hermès, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Hugo Boss, including the fluid fabrics and elegant cuts of Spanish designer Adolfo Domínguez, are located on Calle Ortega y Gasset. Head for Calle Serrano for Purificación García, Roberto Verino, Ermenegildo Zegna, Loewe, Carolina Herrera, Manolo Blanik, Cartier, and Yves Saint Laurent. Prada is on Goya street, and on Jorge Juan St you can find even more luxury shops.
  • Chueca and Fuencarral Street Area— This part of the city used to be an abandoned and marginal area. However recently, it has quickly turned into the most avant-garde and modern part of Madrid. Thanks to the gay community, old shops were taken over and turned into the coolest places of Madrid. Today it is an example of modernity, a paradise for entertainment where everything is possible. The streets are filled with restaurants, alternative cafés and shops, a good example is the Market of Fuencarral (Mercado de Fuencarral, in Spanish) a novel shopping center concept. Apart from the purely commercial, this area proposes a wide range of gastronomy and party clubs by night in the weekends.


  • El Rastro
    Metro: La Latina,

    Madrid's largest flea market, featuring rows upon rows of private vendors selling a variety of homemade bads, and a plethora of live entertainment. It is very important to note that the Rastro is notorious for having an abundance of pickpockets, so watch your handbag closely and do not bring along valuables.

  • Cuesta de Moyano
    near Museo del Prado,

    A quaint outdoor book market

  • Fuencarral Market (Mercado de Fuencarral)
    Fuencarral street 45, between Tribunal and Gran Via, Metro: Gran Via,

    One of the most daring and dynamic spaces in the city. Besides shops selling clothes, shoes, accessories and decorative items, that will delight the most daring and fashion conscious shoppers, this modern market also offers avant-garde cultural activities on a continuous basis. Frequent disc jockey sessions are put on in the center’s café, and also exhibitions in the art gallery and cinema projections and theater pieces in the old cinema room. The Cinema and activities are open until midnight. Its 3 floors crowded of modern shops are aimed specially for young people.

  • El Corte Inglés
    Several locations,

    Not a market in the same sense as the others in this list. It's Spain's largest department store. There are several locations around Gran Via, each with multiple floors. It has almost everything, from a hardware store to a supermarket. It's about as much fun to visit as a Walmart or Target -- not very. The penthouse "fine dining" area at one of the locations may be worth a visit because you can get a good view of parts of Madrid.

  • El Mercado de San Miguel
    San Miguel Plaza, Close to the west corner of Plaza Mayor,

    Sets the ambience of a traditional market, with the advantages of the new times. It has an Iron and Glass Structure from the 20th Century.

  • Mercado de la Cebada
    Plaza de la Cebada,

    Large market hall next to La Latina metro with 3 large floors of dozens of vendors, each specializing in, for example, fruit, meat, cheese, or bread. There's even a bar inside.

Shopping Outlets

  • Las Rozas Village Chic Outlet Shopping
    Calle Juan Ramón Jimenez 3, Las Rozas,, phone: +34 916 404 900

    Fantastic outlet in the suburbs of Madrid with villa-like shops. It is part of the Chic Outlet Shopping Villages in Europe which has other villa-like outlets in Paris, Barcelona, Dublin, London, Milan, Brussels, Frankfurt, and Munich. [] It offers up to 60% off in over 100 luxury brands such as Bally, Burberry, Hugo Boss Man and Woman, Pepe Jeans, Loewe, Desigual, Camper, Tommy Hilfiger and Versace. In Las Rozas Village you can also find some coffee places like Starbucks and a few bars. It takes around 40 minutes to get there by car from the center of Madrid. A fantastic experience for a warm Sunday afternoon.



Dishes popular throughout Spain are also widely served in Madrid.

In addition, Madrid has a number of "typical" dishes:

  • Gallinejas and Entresijos - Portions from different parts of lamb fried in its fat. Very traditional and typical from Madrid city.
  • Callos a la Madrileña - A hot pot of spicy beef tripe similar to those found in Turkey and the Balkans.
  • Cocido Madrileño - Chickpea stew with meat and vegetables. The particularity of this stew is the way it is served. The soup, chickpeas and meat are served and eaten separately.
  • Oreja de Cerdo - Pigs ears, fried in garlic. This popular dish is widely eaten throughout central Spain.
  • Sopa de Ajo - Garlic soup is a rich and oily soup which generally includes paprika, grated Spanish ham, fried bread and a poached egg. A variation of this soup is known as Sopa Castellana.

    It is ironic that Madrid, located right in the centre of Spain has higher quality seafood than most coastal regions. This quality comes at a price, and most Spaniards only occasionally shell out for a mariscada (Spanish for "seafood feast"). Experiencing Madrid's seafood may be, for the visitor, an experience which will be worth the cost.

    Meat and meat products (Jamon Iberico, morcilla, chorizo etc.) are of generally a very high quality in Spain and particularly in Madrid.


Many of the restaurants and cervecerías in the Sol and Plaza Mayor area have "generic" poster board advertisements on the sidewalks with pictures advertising various paella dishes. These paellas are usually of bad quality and should be avoided. If you are looking for good, authentic Spanish paella, it is usually best to find a more expensive, "sit-down" type of restaurant that offers a variety of paella dishes.

A much better option is the La Latina neighborhood just south of Plaza Mayor, especially along the Cava Baja street. To enjoy a gastronomic tour of this area you can join the [Old Madrid Tapas & Wine Tour]. There are also a number of deli-like shops along Calle Arenal that offer food para llevar (for take away).

At bars, one generally orders various sized plates, a ración meaning a full dish, a media ración a half dish or a smaller version which would be a tapa, a pinxto or a pincho.

The Spaniards don't eat lunch until 2 or 3PM, and dinner doesn't start until 9 or 10PM. As a rule of thumb, restaurants serve lunch from 1PM (earlier in touristic zones) until 3:30PM, then close and re-open for dinner at 8PM, serving until 11PM. This schedule is usually for restaurants since bars and "mesones" are usually opened all day long offering a wide variety of "tapas" and "bocadillos"(rolls) for a cheap price. If you're really desperate, the standard bunch of fast food chains do stay open throughout the day.


Museo del Jamon

Museo del Jamon

  • Freiduría de Gallinejas Embajadores
    Calle de Embajadores 84, near Glorieta Embajadores, Metro lines L3 and L5,, phone: +34 915175933

    Another classic tapas bar in Madrid. Not for conservative stomachs. Their most popular tapas are two of the most typical and traditional dishes in Madrid: Gallinejas and Entresijos. A treat for adventurous palates and lamb-lovers.

  • Museo del Jamon
    Several locations,

    Offers deli takeout service as well as tapas and raciónes at reasonable prices. They offer €1 ham sandwiches and a "picnic" lunch consisting of a said ham sandwich, fresh fruit and a drink for €2.

  • Cervecería 100 Montaditos
    Several locations,

    Home to the famous 100 "montaditos" (small sandwiches), you'll find several branches dotted around the city. Great place to go for a cheap drink with a bite to eat. CURRENT OFFER: Buy a montadito (1-2 euro) and a pint of beer is just 1 euro!

  • Home Burger
    2 locations: Malasaña District and Plaza de la Luna(Gran Via),

    THE place for serious hamburgers. Americans will feel at home!

  • Antigua Huevería
    Malasaña District, Calle San vicente Ferrer, 32, , phone: +34 915312882

    The very best huevos rotos ("broken eggs") and croquetas. Cheap, beautiful and delicious!! The chicken-adorned tiled front dates from the 19th century.


  • Alhambra
    Calle de Victoria 9, Metro: Sevilla, , phone: +34 91 5210708

    This is a good place to drop by on a hot afternoon to enjoy a cold beer and some Andalusian tapas. Sample the sausages and cheeses.

  • Al-Jaima (Cocina del Desierto)
    Calle Barbieri 1, Metro: Chueca, , phone: +34 91 523 1142

    This dark, cave-like Moroccan restaurant has some of the best North African food in the city. The seating is at low Moroccan-style tables and the calm, mellow atmosphere makes you feel like you're far from the bustling center of Chueca.

  • Bacchus
    Avenida Moratalaz 141, Metro: Vinateros or Artilleros,, phone: +34 913280468

    Right in the middle of Lonja, an area filled with places to dine and drink. It is still close enough to city centre but offers a more relaxed ambience, making it one especially suitable for families, though all types of customers can be encountered. Bacchus offers a mixture of innovative and traditional-style tapas. Very good though expensive wine list. It can get very busy on weekends. Nice outside seating area makes up for the fact that inside it is rather small and, in traditional Tapas-bar style, somewhat littered.

  • Casa de Valencia
    Paseo Pintor Rosales 58,
  • Chocolatería San Ginés
    Calle de Pasadizo De San Ginés 5, metro: Sol, , phone: +34 91 3656546

    Specializing in chocolate con churros, this Madrid fixture is open 24 hours a day. The perfect place to top off a night on the town. Also offers the usual assortment of coffees and teas.

  • Cocina Mex-Mex
    Calle Libertad 33, metro: Chueca, , phone: +34 91 521 7640

    This is a small, usually crowded, friendly Mexican restaurant with good food and drinks at reasonable prices. Sample some of their tacos and super-cheesy chilaquiles.

  • D'fabula
    Plaza Conde de Barajas 3, Metro: Opera,
  • El Inti de Oro
    Calle de Ventura de la Vega 12, metro: Sevilla, , phone: +34 91 4296703

    For something different, try this great Peruvian restaurant a short walk from Sol. Be sure to order some of their ceviche and try the Pisco Sour cocktail.

  • Estay
    Calle de Hermosilla 46, metro: Velázquez, , phone: +34 91 5780470

    A great place for tapas, they offer a large menu, reasonable prices and excellent quality food. The Solomillo al Foie is excellent and the deserts come highly-recommended as well. Very crowded on Friday and Saturday nights.

  • Jaen 3
    Calle Poitiers 3, metro: Coslada Estadio Olimpico, , phone: +34 63 0036987

    An excellent bar de tapas and restaurant. A nice place to enjoy Spanish food and lifestyle without spending too much. Being located just outside central Madrid, it's far from being a tourist trap and you can enjoy good food and true "raciones" (portions). The pleasant owners are very willing to share stories about Madrid and Spain more generally. In summer time it has a superb terrace, within a stones throw of the Olympic Stadium.

  • La Bola
    Calle de la Bola 5, Metro: Opera,
  • La Casa del Abuelo
    Calle de Victoria 12, metro: Sevilla, , phone: +34 91 5212319

    A Madrid landmark in operation for over 100 years, this bar attracts a standing room only crowd on the weekends. They mainly serve shrimp-based tapas dishes so if you're not into shellfish it may be advisable to steer clear. Order a plate of their garlic shrimp and accompany with their house wine.

  • La Mucca
    Calle Del Pez, Metro: Noviciado,

    Nice designer restaurant popular within the 20s-30s crowd. Good music, cool people, even better food and cocktails. The kitchen opens in the afternoon.

  • La Zapateria Tapas Bar
    Calle de Victoria 8, Metro: Sevilla,, phone: +34 91 5210708

    Great potato dishes that come mixed with chorizo or other ingredients. Also try the pincho moruno (pork skewers) or something else displayed on ice in the front window. The Ribeiro on tap (sparkling white wine from Galicia) is not to be missed.

  • Malacatin
    Calle Ruda 5,

    Serves typical Madrid cuisine.

  • Midnight Rose
    Plaza de Santa Ana, 14,

    The ME Madrid Hotel´s restaurant. Mediterranean cuisine with Asian, American and Italian influences, with an emphasis on seasonal Produce. Dining for private parties is also provided.

  • Samm
    Calle de Carlos Caamaño 3, Metro: Pio XII,

    Best paella in Madrid, but only if you bring more than two people by order of the proprietor. Frequented mainly by locals, prepare to be stared at by the wait staff if you are from out of town.

  • Siam
    Calle San Bernardino 6, Metro: Plaza España or San Bernardino, , phone: +34 91 559 8315

    Beautifully-decorated with a tranquil atmosphere, the food is reasonable and offers a pleasant departure from Spanish fare, if so desired.

  • The Penthouse
    Plaza de Santa Ana 14,, phone: +34 91 7016000

    Located on the roof of the ME Madrid hotel, this terrace-style restaurant serves tapas and traditional cuisine. At night they serve great mojitos in a youthful, club-like atmosphere.

  • La Barraca
    C/. Reina , 29 ; 28004, , phone: +34 91 532 71 54

    Recommended for paella if more authentic experience is sought. A meal for 2 with a drink each costs in the region of €50 Euros.


  • Botín
    Calle Cuchilleros 17, Metro: La Latina,, phone: +34 913664217

    Opened in 1725, Botín is listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the oldest operating restaurant in the world. Once a favourite of Ernest Hemingway, the menu still delights with specialities including roast suckling pig (cochinillo) and roast lamb (cordero). offers a tour of this institution.

  • Casa Lucio
    Calle de Cava Baja 35, Metro: La Latina,, phone: +34 91 3653253

    Pricey but worth it, the Spanish Royal family sometimes entertain guests here and you may run into a few sports figures and movie stars. You should definitely book ahead on the weekends, and reservations are recommended even for the weekdays. Known for their cocido, their roasts and their huevos rotos.

  • La Trainera
    Calle de Lagasca 60, metro: Velázquez or Serrano,, phone: +34 91 5768035

    A Madrid institution for decades, Trainera is an excellent but somewhat pricey restaurant serving strictly seafood dishes. They have a great wine selection and the waiters can recommend different vintages that will complement the food. Try the carabineros (giant scarlet shrimp) or the rodaballo (turbot). Usually closed in August.

  • Teatriz
    Calle Hermosilla 15, metro: Serrano or Colon,, phone: +34 91 5775379

    Built inside a former theatre, the restaurant counts with 4 spaces (restaurant, tapas, sushi bar, cocktail bar). Unique decoration and a wide range of dishes. Desserts are specially recommended.

  • Manete
    Calle Doctor Castelo 2,
  • Casa Nemesio
    Paseo de la Castellana 260,


  • Telegrafo
    Calle Padre Damian, 500m from Bernabeu Stadium,

    Arguably, the best seafood in Madrid.


Tapas Bars

In the tapas bars, you should get free food with your drinks.

  • El Tigre
    calle de los Infantas 30, Metro: Gran Vía / Chueca,

    Probably the most well-known tapas bar in Madrid, a must do. Don't get frightened by how crowded the bar is and go in anyway. This is one of the most lively places in the city! Get beers, big glasses of wine or "un mini de mojito" and get free big plates of tapas every time you order. Very affordable.

  • El Boñar de Leon
    Calle de la Cruz Verde 16, Metro: Noviciado / Santo Domingo,

    You win a trip to the Canary Islands if you are able to finish their "Cocido Madrileño". Seriously.

  • La Esquina de Eusebio
    Calle Caramuel 16, Metro: Puerta del Angel,

    Trays of tapas are passed from one person to another in this typical bar of Madrid, absolutely not touristy but really worth it! And it's not so far from the center.

  • The Sherry Corner
    Pza. de San Miguel. Mercado de San Miguel, Metro: Sol,

    Sherry-tasting available in 8 languages. Commentary by knowledgeable oenologists explaining the details of the history, elaboration methods and tasting notes for each of the wines, while inviting guests to combine them with tapas served at different market stalls.


  • Café Central
    Plaza del Angel 10, Metro: Sol,

    Café by day, live jazz music at night.

  • Cafe Circulo de Bellas Artes
    Calle Alcala 42, Metro: Banco de Espana,

    A soaring hall on the ground floor of Madrid´s art center combines atmosphere, excellent food and good coffee at reasonable prices. A wonderful place for lunch not far from Madrid´s shopping or museums.

  • Cafe Commercial
    Cafe Commercial, Metro: Bilbao,

    opened in the 1880´s, this is the oldest cafe in Madrid. Has been run by the same family since the early 1900s. There´s a modern internet cafe upstairs, but the downstairs remains traditional.

  • Café Gijón
    Paseo Recoletos 21, Metro: Banco de España or Colon,

    A historic literary cafe. The outdoor terraza is nice in the summer.

  • Café de Oriente
    Plaza Oriente 2, Metro: Opera,

    Overlooks the Plaza Oriente and faces Palacio Real. Outdoor tables in summer, cozy indoor rooms in the cold months. Basement banquet room with a glass floor over ancient remains. Excellent food.

  • Café Pabellon del Espejo
    Paseo de Recoletos 31, Metro: Colon,

    Opened in 1978, but looks much older. Good food and very crowded during lunchtime.

  • La Mallorquina
    Puerta del Sol 8, Mayor, 2, Metro: Sol,

    Famous for its pastries. Peaceful upstairs room where you can linger undisturbed over your café con leche and napolitana de chocolate (chocolate croissant).

  • La Tabacalera
    Plaza de Embajadores, Metro: Embajadores (L3),

    An abandoned tobacco factory turned into a huge Berlin-like alternative art space driven by the diverse locals of Lavapies district. Also Tens of free workshops daily. Nice big cheap outdoors terrace.

  • Nuevo Café Barbieri
    Calle Ave Maria 45, Metro: Lavapies,

    Slightly scruffy cafe draws an avante garde crowd at night.


Nightlife starts later in Madrid, with most people heading to the bars at 10-11PM.

  • Dubliners, Espoz y Mina, 7 ( Metro: Sol), An Irish bar in the centre of Madrid near Puerta del Sol. The bar has televisions and is one of the places where sport can be seen.

  • El Rincón de Fogg

    Calle Juan de Urbieta 12. ( Metro: Pacífico). Open daily from 07:00 to 22:00 and Friday and Saturday till 00:00. You can have 2 litres of sangría in a self service dispenser from just €14, or €13 for 2 litres of beer, and you get a free plate of patatas bravas. They also have a delicious selection of bocatas from €2,45. Big TV to watch the football matches while enjoying eating and drinking. If you say you've read this, they'll invite you to a glass of rosado wine.

  • Areia
    Calle Horteleza 96, Metro: Chueca,

    Very cool chill out bar decorated with deep colours in a Moroccan style. Dark and inviting. The seating includes cushions on the floor, traditional tables and chairs, or if you’re lucky, grab the four poster bed at the back.

  • La Corolla
    Visitag Manzana 10, Metro: La Latina,

    Specializes in delicious ‘tostas’ (small pieces of toast with different toppings) and avocado (aguacate), along with cañas (small beers).

  • La Via Lactea
    Calle de Velarde 18, Malasaña, Metro: Tribunal,, phone: +34 91 446 75 81

    A swingin' bar where you can twist the night away with local hipsters.

  • Miali
    Plaza Santa Ana, Metro: Sol,

    Nice terrace outside,great for people-watching. The interior is tastefully decorated.

  • Museo Chicote
    Gran Via, Metro: Gran Via,

    Voted the Best European Bar 2004 by MTV-Campari. Extensive cocktail list. Claims to have served drinks to many famous celebrities, including, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Lana Turner, Gary Cooper, Orson Wells, Yul Brynner and Ernest Hemingway, Catherine Zeta Jones, Hugh Grant and Tim Robbins. They only serve drinks.

  • Redbar
    Joaquín María López 28, Metro: Islas Filipinas,

    Small, cozy cocktail bar with great music and a very nice and original decoration. Extensive cocktail list.

  • Stork Bar
    Mancebos 2, La Latina, Metro: Latina,, email:, phone: +34913656357

    Cocktail Lounge & World food in the heart of La Latina. Great summer terrace and surprising basement brick cave with live music and karaoke.


Clubs generally open at about midnight. If you go in any earlier you may find it quite empty. Many clubs don't close until 6AM, and even then everyone is still full of life.

  • Demode
    Calle Ballesta, At the back of Gran Via, closest metro may be Tribunal/Gran Via,

    Cool electronic sounds for 20s-30s.

  • El Sol
    Calle Jardines, 3, Metro: Gran Via,

    Popular with the 20-30 age group. Plays a mix of 70s, funk, and bossanova sounds. No dress code, but people do tend to look cool.

  • Joy
    Calle Arenal 11, Metro: Sol,

    Well known across Europe. Attracts at multi-national crowd. Popular with tourists as well as locals. It plays a mix of popular dance music. Every Thursday there is a Students Party.

  • Kapital
    Atocha, 125, Metro: Atocha,

    Enormous club with 7 floors. However, despite it's popularity this club is usually not worth visiting. The owner has a policy to try and limit the number of foreigners in the club so if you are from anywhere except Spain, you will likely get bad treatment.

  • Ohm
    Plaza de Callao, 1 (in Gran Via street), Metro: Callao (L3),

    Popular Commercial House club with a mixed young straight/gay crowd.

  • Pacha
    Calle Barcelo, 11, Metro: Tribunal or Alonso Martinez,

    Different dance music styles from night to night. Glitz and glamour. Strict doormen.

  • Stardust
    Princesa 1, Metro: Plaza España,

    Powerful Techno/House club popular within the younger crowd.


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"Locutorios" (Call Shops) are widely spread in Madrid near touristy locations. In Madrid do it's very easy to find one. Making calls from "Locutorios" tend to be much cheaper, especially international calls (usually made through VoIP). They are usually a good pick for calling home.

When travelling in Spain is not easy getting connected, Internet pre-paid cards can be purchased but with few formalities. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias in Madrid are available after ordering, and most Hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.

Prepaid portable WiFi Hot spot service is now available in Spain (provided by trip [NETer]) which allows the connection to any WiFi device: Smart-phones, Tablets, PCs…


Stay safe

Madrid is a relatively safe city. The police are visible, and the city is equipped with cameras. There are always a lot of people in the streets, even at night time, so you can walk across the city generally without fear. Travelers who remain aware of their surroundings, and keep an eye on their belongings should have little to worry about.

Madrid has a significant amount of nonviolent pickpocket crime so always watch any bags you have with you especially on the Metro and in busier public spaces. It is important for your safety to avoid falling asleep in the metro, which can leave you particularly vulnerable to thefts. It is not unknown for thieves to cut jean trouser pockets in order to steal belongings.

Be careful when carrying luggage, especially if anyone approaches you with an outspread map in hand asking for directions. This may very possibly be a trap to distract you while an accomplice steals your luggage.

When using ATM machines, be aware of your surroundings, just as you would anywhere. Bring a friend if you need to withdraw cash after dark. If someone approaches you while using an ATM, simply hit CANCELAR, retrieve your card and move on.

Have fun when going out, but do avoid drinking too much, and keep an eye on your drink. Beware of thieves preying on people leaving night clubs who have had a lot to drink. Do NOT carry valuables on a night out.

Beware of anyone who approaches you and asks you to write down your signature: it is normally for a "sick hospital" unit, and she will point out the "stamp" on the paper. She will then ask for a generous donation of €20 or more. This distraction can often be used to block vision while a pickpocketing or theft attempt is made.

Be aware of young men and boys who are indicating they are deaf/homeless trying to get you to sign a piece of paper. This also can be a ruse to distract you in order to steal your belongings. These thieves sometimes enter cafes/bars so make sure you do not leave wallets/phones on the table as possessions on show make for easy targets. The area around Calle de las Infantes near Gran Via is particularly renowned for this.

Avoid people offering masaje (massages). Be firm and say "No me toque" (Don't touch me) or "No tengo dinero" (I don't have any money) and keep walking. This is often a scam to extort money.

Go next

  • Alcalá de Henares — A UNESCO World Heritage site. Alcalá de Henares was the world's first planned university city. It was the original model for the Civitas Dei (City of God), the ideal urban community. This city has a lot of interesting places to visit like its university founded in 1499 which became famous as a centre of learning during the Renaissance. One of the most important features of Alcalá de Henares is that it is the city where the famous writer of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, was born where you can visit his natal house.
  • Aranjuez — A UNESCO World Heritage site. Aranjuez is an excellent day trip away from Madrid. Highlights include the Palacio Real, the summer home for the Bourbons and the lavishly designed Casa del Labrador near the Tagus River. There are some excellent restaurants serving the local specialty, artichokes. To get there, catch a local train (Cercanía C-3, direction Aranjuez) from either the Atocha or Chamartin stations. It takes around 45 minutes from Atocha station, or around 55 minutes from Chamartin station.
  • Ávila — A UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Chinchon — A typical Spanish town that retains its character from the 1700s.
  • El Escorial — A UNESCO World Heritage site. A mountainous retreat home to Spain's largest monastery, the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. To get there, catch a local train from either the Atocha or Chamartin stations. It is just over one hour from Atocha station or around 55 minutes from Chamartin station.
  • Segovia — A UNESCO World Heritage site. Medieval city home to a famous Roman aqueduct and the Spanish Mint (It doesn't belong to Madrid region, but it's quite close and worth a visit). It is about a 2 hour train ride from Atocha station or 1 hour and 45 minutes from Chamartin station on the regional trains, or as fast as 30 minutes on the high speed trains.
  • Toledo — A UNESCO World Heritage site. Medieval walled city and former capital of Spain. It's about a 30 minute train ride from Madrid Atocha station, with plenty of art (del Greco) and architecture (one of the best cathedrals in Europe) so very worthy of a day trip but more worthy of a night. But it is on the late spring and the early summer nights that it reaches its beauty peak, simply breathtaking, do not miss it.
  • Valle de los Caidos — The memorial to all soldiers killed during the Spanish Civil War, it is the world's largest free-standing Christian cross and houses Franco′s tomb. The construction was ordered by Franco and carved from the rocks through the labor of Republican prisoners of war.
  • El Pardo — A little village near Madrid (8 km. from the city center, connected by bus) and close to the Palacio de la Zarzuela (residence of the King of Spain, no visits allowed), surrounded by mountains and the location of the Palacio de El Pardo (El Pardo Palace), Franco′s residence between 1940 until his death in 1975 and a former residence of the Kings of Spain.
  • Sierra de Guadarrama — A mountainous area north-east of Madrid probably reached most easily by Renfe Cercanias to Cercedilla on the line to Segovia. There is a special Renfe Cercanias line, narrow gauge and often single track, from Cercedilla through glorious scenery to Los Cotos. This is only yards from an entrance to the Peñalara Nature Park.
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Name: madrid
AccentCity: Madrid
State/Region: Madrid
Country: Spain , Short Name: es
Continent: Europe

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