Known for its museums, landmarks and nightlife, the city of Madrid is an ideal destination for a short city break. There plenty of parks for family travellers, bars and restaurants for those who want to party and a variety of monuments for those seeking to learn about the country’s culture.
The Triangle of Museums
The city is famous for its museums: there are art museums, a costume museum and even a naval museum. The three main museums are the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen Bornemisza, three museums located close to the city center. All three are free during most evenings. The Prado is known for its collection of paintings by Goya and Velázquez, and the Thyssen is one of the largest private collections in the world.
The Buen Retiro Park
This large green space is located close to the Triangle of Museums, a short walk away from the Atocha train station. If you visit during the summer months, rent a rowing boat and sail around the pond. There are paths for joggers and bikers; areas for children; lawns ideal for sunbathing; and a variety of terraces where to enjoy a beer. There are two other large parks located in this city. The Madrid Rio park can be found on the banks of the Manzanares River and the Casa de Campo is located west of the city center, next to the city’s Parque de Atracciones theme park and the zoo.
Barrio de las Letras and La Latina
These two neighbourhoods are located in the city center, a short walk away from the famous Puerta de Sol and Plaza Mayor square. If you want to enjoy local food and dance until dawn, try to stay in the center of Madrid: in this way you will be within walking distance of the museums and the tapas bars. La Latina is known for its variety of tapas bars where you will be able to enjoy authentic appetizers accompanied by a variety of beers and wines. Head to Huertas, the Barrio de las Letras, if you want to party: locals and tourists can party until dawn in one of the many clubs and discos located in this bohemian district.
The Circle of Fine Arts
If you want to enjoy views towards Madrid’s rooftop, head to the terrace located on the top floor of the Circle of Fine Arts. This building houses a cultural center where you will be able to visit temporary art exhibits. The observation deck is located next to the café, where you will be able to enjoy a drink and a view towards the famous Gran Vía street, the Cibeles fountain and the Palacio de las Comunicaciones, one of the most famous buildings in Madrid.
Located a short distance away, this ancient town is ideal for a day trip. There are plenty of buses and trains that connect the city center with this town, known for its monastery. Explore the El Escorial Monastery before heading to one of the many traditional restaurants in the area, and do not forget to order a delicious, hearty cocido madrileño chickpea stew.