Many people are attracted to Spain by the historic architecture of Barcelona or the allure of the Mediterranean costas. But this means they risk missing out on the country's capital - a modern, attractive and leafy city that has much to offer to tourists. Madrid is home to approximately 3.3 million people and offers a number of attractions to those who visit.
The Spanish capital welcomes approximately seven million tourists every year and that number is growing as word of its charm spreads. It's a largely modern city, yet there are still plenty of 'old' sights, particularly in the old town. Madrid is cheerful, but don't expect it to be cheap. In fact the cost of living is among the highest in the world. But it's possible to visit Madrid without breaking the bank, particularly if you opt for a high quality holiday apartment instead of a hotel.
There are several tourist attractions in Madrid, which is known for its culture, art and outdoor spaces. If you have time to wander, take in as much of the old town as you can, including its large number of churches and low-key tapas bars. Here are some of the other main features of Madrid that you should endeavour not to miss:
The Royal Palace - Spain's royal family are well-known for their down-to-earth attitude and as such, the Royal Palace of Madrid is used only for state ceremonies. The rest of the time, several of the palace's rooms are open to the public and are well worth a visit. Built on the site of a ninth century fortress, the palace is the largest in Europe by floor area and has a fascinating history. There is also a wealth of artwork to captivate visitors inside and extensive manicured gardens for those visiting in fine weather.
Buen Retiro Park - Madrid is an extremely green and leafy city, so it would be hard to miss its outdoor attractions. One place that is well worth the effort is Buen Retiro Park, one of the city's largest parks. Visitors will be treated to impressive sculptures and monuments, as well as galleries and a beautifully peaceful lake.
Golden Triangle of Art - Three important art museums make up the Golden Triangle of Art, located in the centre of Madrid. The Prado Museum houses pre-20th-century works of art; the Reina Sofia Museum features modern art from the 20th century; and the Thyssen-Bornemisza museum is home to a range of historical and contemporary works.
Madrid is served by Barajas International Airport, which is 13km from the city centre. The Metro service connects the airport to the city and is an affordable way to reach and travel around Madrid. There are also buses that ferry passengers to and from the airport, but the city traffic can cause these journeys to take up to an hour.
Try to avoid the peak season in the middle of summer, when Madrid can be hot and airless. Even the locals do their best to escape Madrid in July and August, closing the doors to many family-run shops and restaurants as they go. May and October are more pleasant times to visit, particularly if you want to avoid overbearing heat and crowds of tourists.
If you're interested in booking accommodation in this modern cosmopolitan city, why not take a look at our holiday apartments in Madrid? We offer high quality accommodation that is often much more affordable than staying in a hotel.
All Madrid apartments are available for online booking for the convenience of the travelers and direct reservation.