What do tourists like me think when they first hear about Madrid? Hot weather, nice people, good nightlife? Maybe most of the tourists appreciate all of the above but Madrid offers much more than just that.
Madrid, the capital of Spain, is considered to be one of the most popular tourist destinations for a reason. With its sightseeing, beautiful architecture, warm and friendly people, and rich history and culture, Madrid is a place that attracts a lot of foreigners every single year. Whether you want a quiet holiday or a place to party all night, Madrid offers it all. During the day, a famous place tourists visit is the Prado museum, which offers some of the best works of art worldwide. So if you are culture-savvy and appreciate fine art, you should pay a visit to it. However, keep in mind that you need to give the visit to Prado a whole day and book your visit in advance to avoid long queues and disappointment. Another famous destination is Madrid’s Palace – Royal Madrid. Beautifully situated in Madrid’s city centre, the Palace is the home of the Spanish royal family and is surrounded by everlasting flowers and a big royal garden.
Other buildings that attract many tourists are the Crystal palace and Kerry James Marshall museum, both situated in one of the biggest and most well-known parks in Madrid – El Retiro Park. The entree is free for both of them and if you are lucky enough to catch the time of the year when there is an exhibition, the Crystal Palace offers a great variety of paintings and sculptures. Otherwise, it is a nice place for relaxing and enjoying the mild sunlight that comes from outside while reading for free one of the offered books there.
Something significant with which Madrid differentiates itself from the rest of the world is that it is the city where tourists can find the actual centre of the Equator – beautifully painted as a compass and surrounded by Madrid’s symbol – the bear with the tree, many tourists choose to visit that place.
For sports lovers, Madrid is a great place to visit because it’s the home of the world-famous Santiago Bernabeu where the European Champions Real Madrid play their games. Widely regarded as one of the best football stadiums in the world, football fans are in for a treat and the El Classico match between Barcelona and Real Madrid is arguably the biggest match worldwide. If you’re planning to watch, and brave enough, tickets must be bought early on and for high prices. You can find wonderful merchandises being sold just in front of the stadium and you can choose from a variety of goods- from keyholders to Real Madrid jerseys. Of course, there are many other opportunities to get involved in sports such as rafting, racing and even cycling.
Another reason for so many tourists visiting Madrid is its national cuisine. The city is famous for its amazing food such as the traditional dishes tapas, cocido, paella, tortillas, and pattatas bravas, or just snacks such as bocadillo (a typical Spanish sandwich) with jamon (ham), chorizo (a Spanish sausage-salami) or anything you feel like eating it with. It has a wide variety of restaurants serving different kinds of food at reasonable prices. You can never starve here!
In terms of shopping, the best area is the big boulevard Serrano, where you can find from casual to formal clothes shops.
Last but not least, foreigners in Madrid should consider taking up some day trips to famous historical and cultural cities such as Segovia, Toledo, Cuenca, Valladolid, Valencia, Zaragoza or Cordoba which are near Madrid. They are beautiful places to visit and a great opportunity to enhance your historical and cultural knowledge or if you’d rather – take a break from the daily routine. If you are more into ‘’fiestas’’ you can go to a flamenco event (one of the most popular typical Spanish dances) or on toreador (bullfight). If you are a night owl, you can experience one of the greatest nights out in one of many of Madrid’s clubs and party until 5 am, when most of the clubs close. Whatever you do in this great city, it is sure that you will never get bored.
Madrid is a beautiful city which can be visited both during the winter and during the summer. The winter is mild and the summer- is hot and sunny. The people are nice and friendly, there are shops, cafes, nice hotels and entertainment to fit everyone’s taste along with the cultural places to go, so what stops you from greeting Madrid: ‘’Hola Madrid!’’
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