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Madrid has been the capital of Spain since 1562. It lies in the centre of the Iberian peninsula with an altitude of over six hundred metres which results in warm summers and cool winters. It is a lively cosmopolitan city with many great buildings and monuments. There is much to see and do in Madrid by day but you must save some of your energy for the evening entertainment. After a late dinner the bars, clubs and discos become alive and the partying continues until dawn.
Madrid is not only a cultural destination although its architecture spans centuries, it is also a thriving metropolis with a vibrant nightlife. Although a city break is not normally associated with a family holiday, there are many attractions in the city that are enjoyed by children.
Madrid has broad appeal attracting both young and older visitors. There are many child-centred attractions for families and young people can party through the night in this lively city.
The geographical position of Madrid leads to hot summers and cold winters. The summers can be very hot with temperatures in the thirties. March to May and late September and October are the most popular times to visit as sightseeing in the city can be very tiring in the summer heat.
Madrid on the River Manzanares is of great cultural importance. It has over seventy museums covering almost every field of knowledge, and containing some of the world’s greatest paintings. Three of the most important museums are the Prado, the Thysssen-bornemisza and the Reina Sofia which houses works by Picasso and Dali, Madrid’s architecture spans the centuries from medieval times and there are some magnificent buildings including the Royal Palace built in 1738 and the Theatre Royal built in 1850. Tours of the latter are available when there are no performances.
The largest bull ring in Spain is in Madrid. Although the popularity of this event has waned among British tourists, there are still many fights throughout the year.
Madrid is one of the greenest cities in Europe having one third of its area covered in trees. The largest park is the Parque de Buen Retiro. In the height of the season there are many entertainers around the lake.
Attractions for children include a zoo, said to be one of the finest in Europe with animals separated by moats instead of bars, an aquarium, a safari park, a water park, a theme park and an interactive science museum.
A Madrid city break offers busy days and lively nights with never a dull moment in between.
Madrid is renowned for its nightlife which is so varied that it caters for all tastes. There is opera and theatre as well as an enormous number of bars and pubs, clubs and discos. The night clubs don’t really get going until midnight, when revellers have finished their dinner, but they continue without respite until the break of day. Madrid also has a vibrant gay scene.
There is even a casino for those who like a flutter.
Madrid has a fine selection of shops as you would expect in a city of this size and status. There are many large department stores and wonderful boutiques. Small craft and gift shops provide a wide range of goods perfect for gifts and holiday mementoes.
There are many fine restaurants in Madrid serving a wide range of international cuisine. The Spanish like to eat out and it is easy to see why. You don’t need to pay a fortune in a fancy dining room to enjoy a meal. Small, family-run restaurants often provide the best of food. Although lamb and veal are popular dishes, fish is more popular. This is surprising considering Madrid is far from the sea but it is said to have the second largest fish market in the world. The wines of Madrid are good accompaniments to these dishes.
The Spanish eat dinner much later than the British so if you feel a little peckish between meals pop into a tapas bar and sample the fare. This will take the edge off your appetite.