Just one week to remember in Madrid: its history, its artistic richness along with his prestigious role as the capital of Spain, not to mention the famous nightlife, make itinevitably this city absolutely worth seeing.
The first day, once you are in the heart of the historic center of Madrid, there's no better way to dive into the unique atmosphere of the city that take a long long walk afoot. However, you should know that it's also comfortable visit Madrid with the subway, which is one of the largest and most extensive in the world ( twelve highly efficient lines!): cheap and practical opportunity.. with a ticket for 7 days you can move easily and with low price by bus and subway.
Are you ready? Let's go! The start is in Plaza Puerta del Sol, also famous because this is the favorite place where spanish people wants celebrate the New Year's Eve. From here we move through Calle Mayor in the direction Plaza Mayor, another symbol of Madrid.
Arcaded rectangular square wich is one of the centers of Madrid life (especially when it's Christmas time), full of shops, pubs and restaurants where it is more than nice to stop and eat.
At the same architectural style is the Town Hall, located in nearby Plaza de la Villa. Continuing, we are located under Almudena Cathedral, and opposite there is the Royal Palace, the official residence of the royal family. The entrance to the palace, strongly recommended, particularly for the Real Armeria and Real Farmacia is open daily from 9am to 6pm (excluding during the holidays when closure is at 3pm) and Wednesday is free for EU citizens.
Skirting the Royal Palace to get Plaza de Oriente, where is the beautiful Teatro Real, and a little farther, the Real Monasterio de la Incarnacion.
Then, we arrive in modern Plaza de Espana, where among the traffic jam and high skyscrapers, towering obelisk and a fountain with statues dedicated to the writer Cervantes and his most famous characters, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
The first day in Madrid could end with the famous Calle Gran Via, the main path in Spanish capital, the "Great Road" dedicated on trade and business, where they are really so many shops, cinemas, restaurants, always prestigious and fashionable. At the end of Gran Via there is Plaza de Colon: here the National Library and stands the obelisk with the statue of Cristoforo Colombo, Cristóbal Colón in Spanish.
After walking for the streets and squares, if you did not stay up late the night before (very hard to avoid because of the the nightlife of Madrid!), the second day can be devoted to visiting the many treasures art of the Spanish capital.
The day begins with one of the world's most prestigious art galleries, the Museo del Prado, famous for the preservation of masterpieces by great artists such as Goya, Velazquez, Tiziano, Rubens, Rembrandt, for instance.
The museum is enormous, you need atleast three hours to visit, so you should prepare in advance what you want to see, not to waste too much time.
Then, there is the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which, with its eight hundred works remains a stop not to be missed for those who want to give a serious cultural look to this Spanish week.
Lovers of modern and contemporary art for sure will go the Queen Sofia Art Center, a real treasure trove of art treasures from the beginning of the twentieth century to today, with the signing of names like of Miro, Dali and Pablo Picasso. Here you can admire one of the most important Picasso's masterpieces , "Guernica".
Please note: the museums are free on Sundays and closed on Mondays.
The third day, after diving into culture, you can relax yourself with a "natural" tour, visiting the enormous zoo in Madrid, Zoo Aquarium de Plaza del Campo, with the opportunity to rent small electric cars to travel within the park. Then, we continue with the green oasis named Parque del Buen Retiro, 118 hectares with a wealth of gardens, monuments and fountains, and even a small lake where you can hire boats. Landed in the park is the beautiful Crystal Palace, nineteenth-century winter garde full of tropical plants.
But other dips in the green can be made in Lepanto's gardens and Campo del Moro (near the Royal Palace) and at the Atocha station (the oldest Madrid station made of iron and glass, created in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel) inside which there is a small but picturesque botanical garden.
Madrid is perhaps the most famous cities in the world for its nightlife: this time, instead of the day, we prefer show you cult places of the night: the famous “movida” of Madrid starts from the district of "Chueca", where the gay community offers shows and events for the best amazing entertainment in the city.
Other places where no one ever goes to sleep are in Malasaña( don't miss "Clamores") and Lavapiés. If you love flamenco you have to go on Thursday to "Caracol" or glamorous “Café de Chinitas” (also restaurant).
Historical are the “Corral de la Morera”, the "Pacha" in Calle de Barceló and the "Kapital", near Atocha.
Don't forget the elegant disco "Torero" and the "Moby Dick", ideal for young people, but you'll find other locals in the "Barrio de las Letras", in the center, just around the square in Santa Ana (where it stands the Teatro Espanol, the oldest theater in Madrid), the streets Huertas, Echegaray, Calle Arenal (with the its many discos, see "Joy" or ”Palacio de Gaviria”).
The fifth day could be dedicated to two structures symbol of Madrid, first of all the temple of Spanish, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium: if they are not scheduled matches, is entirely open to public (ticket costs 8 euros).
The tour begins by climbing up an elevator that leads up to a very suggestive view, and then continue along the platforms up to the main Tribune. From there we descend to the dressing room and, through the same path made by the players, you go into the field where you can take a ride on the sideline, then falls to the museum, which collects all the cups, shoes and clothing of the old glories,.. For fans of football here is the heaven! Old newspapers, memorabilia, a wall with all the pictures of players of legendary local team, Real Madrid.. at the end, inevitable final shopping!
The other place to see of the day is landed in the Salamanca district, where you have to visit the arena, among the largest in the world, of Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, theater amousof bullfights. Like it or not, bullfighting is an historical tradition of Madrid and Spain. To see this bloody show we must come here from March to December, every Sunday at around 6pm (only during the Feast of the Patron Saint of Madrid, San Isidro, there are fights every day).
With five days the idea that you can have about Madrid is more than clear. Obviously, more time available will give you the possibility to live better atmosphere and style of the Iberian metropolis. So, today could be ideal for a little trip not far from Madrid... 74 km is the distance from Toledo, a city that for years has been the capital of Spain, famous for the fascinating mix given by the old jumble of different cultures.
From the charming Plaza de Zacodover we move to the small historic center, where it is worth visiting the Cathedral, very nice, and the famous fortress of Alcázar.
A day here in Toledo is enough to see this medieval gem, because in the evening we have to back in Madrid, for the last night before departure.
The last day of our trip the “must” is the ritual tour for shops in search of souvenirs.
The classic Madrid like castanets, the fans and the colorful posters of bullfights can be found in the many shops which crowd the streets around the Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol, but you can make purchases of all types even in department stores of “El Corte Ingles”.
If the last day of your holiday falls on a Sunday (or holiday), it's worth visit the always crowded "El Rastro", the most famous flea market of Spain, set up in the Barrio Lavapies, along the Calle Embajadores, with its folkloric and colorful assortment of furniture, clothes and various objects. Two advices.. be careful to the wallet and the hours, unusuals for Madrid: begins early in the morning to finish at 2pm! If you don't want to lose it maybe you need to go to sleep not too late the night before, or, like the Spaniards, make it a stop directly after the eventful evening of Saturday night!