Madrid is the capital city of Spain and one of the most famous cultural centers in the whole Europe. As a result it remains one of major tourist destinations worldwide. The city offers a wide range of attractions which are mostly assembled in its center and in three major districts: Retiro, Salamanca and Arganzuela. However there are also some hotspots on the outskirts and in the vicinity of Madrid.
The downtown area boasts of so-called 'Golden Triangle of Art' which includes: The Prado National Museum, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Reina Sofia Museum. In Prado visitors may see masterpieces of such famous painters like: Goya, Velazquez, van Dyck, Dürer, Breughel and Rubens while Thyssen-Bornemisza owns a great collection of paintings and sculptures from different periods of art including the latest ones like: Post-Modernism , Cubism, Surrealism and Pop-Art. Most tourists will remember Reina Sofia Museum as it presents world-famous Picasso masterpiece called 'Guernica'. This painting is an icon of the modern culture. It expresses tragedies of citizens who lived in the village named Guernica when it was heavily bombarded by the Nazis during Spanish Civil War in 1937. After visiting so many museums most people feel tired. Fortunately there are two big parks nearby. One of them is called Retiro and it is definitely the largest and most famous recreational place in the city center of Madrid while the other is Royal Botanical Garden. Botanical Garden is recommended for all those who want to see unique species of plants and trees. Adult entrance fee is 2 Euro, while Retiro Park is accessible free of charge. Another attraction in Madrid is downtown which is an area located around main town square called Plaza Mayor.
At present it is a great place to taste delicious dishes from Spanish cuisine or have a small drink in one of many stylish cafes. From Plaza Mayor there are only a few steps to famous Royal Palace (Palacio Real) that is the main seat of Spanish Royal Family. About fifty rooms are available for tourists to visit. The palace is surrounded by marvellous garden named Campo del Moro which is a great place to relax. Music lovers should absolutely visit the most famous Spanish opera-house – Teatro Real.
Apart from cultural institutions, parks and monuments, Madrid is also known as Spanish sports hub. In fact there is a magnificent Estadio Santiago Bernabeu stadium located in Cuatro Caminos district. The stadium is a home of Real Madrid soccer team and all fans of this club have to see it and buy some souvenirs in local Real Madrid shop. Another soccer team linked with the city of Madrid is Atletico. Atletico play its home games on Vicente Calderon venue which is located in the north-western part of Arganzuela neighborhood in a district called Imperial. Soccer is one of the favorite sports in Spain, while another Spanish national sport is bullfighting. So in Madrid you may see a very famous bullring called 'Las Ventas'. It is probably the home of bullfighting in Spain and as a result the national treasure of this country. This attraction is located in Salamanca quarter called Guindalera. Any if someone does not like watching sports, but just wants to spend some time in active way, then it is recommended to visit Casa de Campo park. This is the largest park in Madrid and probably also one of the largest in the whole Spain. As a result it is a great place for bike riding, jogging and playing soccer as well as other team sports. In addition to that Madrid's Zoological Garden is located in this park.
Apart from unique and exotic species of animals, there are also such facilities as: aquarium, aviary and dolphinarium on the ZOO's promises. Next to the ZOO you will find marvellous theme park with many attractions for adults, teens and kids. After seeing so many hotspots on the ground, everyone would like to take a look of the city from above. It is possible to do so from Faro de Moncloa tower which is situated by Plaza de Moncloa square. Another good vantage point is Edificio de Espana which is one of the most spectacular buildings in Madrid as its height is 117 meters.
Like most cities located in the Mediterranean region, Madrid has its own special atmosphere. It is possible to feel this charm at night when all major buildings are beautifully lit and lots of people enjoy their lives in restaurants, cafés and discos. Another place to taste the spirit of Madrid is 'El Rastro' flea market which is held every Sunday in the neighborhood called La Latina. Madrid is not only a Mecca of tourists, but shopping fans as well. In the capital of Spain they should visit 'Mercado de Fuencarral' and 'El Corte Ingles'. These two shopping centers are famous in the whole Spain and even abroad. If you like to take part in any event, it is always a good idea to come here for a carnival which takes place either in February or in March. Another fever is held every year on May 15, when Madrid dwellers celebrate the life and wonders made by San Isidro Labrador who is a patron saint of the city. Finally please remember that if you come to Madrid on your own, then it is a good idea to buy Madrid card as it offers large discounts in many attractions as well as free use of means of public transportation system including underground. Do not forget that there are also many attractions in the vicinity of Madrid like medieval towns: Avila, Segovia and Toledo as well as El Escorial palace and The Valley of the Fallen. All these places may be seen during a one-day trip from Madrid.
Source by Emil Netzov