Spain's vibrant and cultural capital
Madrid has the buzz and innovative architecture of a modern capital city, alongside a rich heritage and culture. The Prado is one of the world's great galleries, while Madrid's distinctive neighbourhoods offer welcoming backdrops for tapas trails, fine dining and the famous city nightlife that goes on beyond dawn.
The best time to visit
Discounting Andorra, Madrid is the highest altitude capital in Europe, so the climate can tend towards extremes. In high summer temperatures can reach the 40s, while in winter they drop below freezing with occasional snowfall. Spring and autumn offer warm and mild conditions, ideal for exploring the city. The fiesta of Dos de Mayo on May 2nd features parades, bullfights and traditional music. Jazz fans congregate in Madrid in late October for the International Festival.
Madrid visitor facts
The sheer number of restaurants in Madrid keeps prices competitive and eating out is noticeably cheaper than in London. The famous tapas bars of the capital are a popular choice for snacking and pre-dinner drinks in the evenings. Madrid's markets are an inexpensive source of picnic foods, while getting around the capital is also more economical than in London. Madrid time is an hour ahead of London at Central European time.
Accommodation and travel in Madrid
There is a wide range of accommodation in Madrid to suit most budgets. Beds in backpacker hostels can be found for around 12 EUR per night. Rooms in an average 3 star hotel are available from about 80 EUR per person per night. The Madrid metro is the fastest and most convenient way of getting around the city. Single tickets cost around 1.50 EUR, but it is more economical to buy an all day tourist travelcard, the abono turistico, for around 8 EUR, or a ten ticket Metrobus pass which costs around 12 EUR. Metro tickets can also be used on the EMT bus services. Taxis are less expensive than in London, but the Madrid traffic can make journeys slow.