Madrid is the capital city of Spain in all its magnificence, and the architectural, economic, social, political and cultural hub of the country; a truly amazing city. Madrid is situated in the absolute centre of Spain; it was designated capital city of Spain due to this, for Felipe II desired a seat of government that had the best of access to every corner of the country, unifying it through its position. With a total population of just over 6.5 million, Madrid is the third largest city in the European Union, behind London and Paris with tourism Madrid onm the increase.
Madrid attracts tourists from the world over, who come to visit the city's innumerable attractions and experience its food, culture and incredible nightlife; within Spain, Madrid is the most visited city, and fourth in Europe. Coming to Madrid is a real treat for everyone – the perfect place to see what Spain is all about, and the chance to blend in with local, national traditions in this remarkable cosmopolitan metropolis. As a general guide, the northern area of Cuatro Torres (the four majestic skyscrapers; Madrid's ultimate achievement in the modern era), Chamartin, and the upper Paseo de la Castellana is the financial and business area of Madrid, perfect for visiting during the daytime, but goes relatively quiet at night. On the other hand, the southern part is the cultural, traditional and historic part of Madrid, the hub for its nightlife and its most artistic landmarks.
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Getting to Madrid is very easy via its international Aeropuerto de Madrid-Barajas, located to the northeast. From there, a taxi would be your best option – arrive in style passing through central Madrid; ask the driver to take you through the Paseo de la Castellana, the main 8 kilometre-long avenue from which all sites in Madrid can be accessed from (definitely on your agenda), if where you're heading is somewhere central. Alternatively, Madrid's underground metro system (Metro de Madrid) operates an airport line from the terminal right to the city centre – a quick and much cheaper way to get there. I must say, getting around on the metro is excellent; for only 1.50€ for a single fare, you can switch lines as many times as you need, and go anywhere really (the underground system in Madrid is among the longest in the world). Madrid is also very well linked to other every corner of Spain via motorways, which radiate out from the city, as well as by high-speed rail (AVE) to major cities of Seville, Barcelona, Valencia and Malaga.
Madrid has a fairly uneven climate, conforming to its long distance from the nearest coast – during the summer, it is very hot and dry; during the winter, it is quite chilly to cold and only slightly wetter. Madrid is among the greenest cities in the world, boasting a tonne of green spaces and several parks, the most famous of which is the beautiful El Retiro Park (a calm, relaxing wilderness in the middle of the city – much like New York's Central Park), but also including Casa de Campo and Monte El Pardo, a perfectly preserved Mediterranean forest area, absolutely intact and teeming with wildlife typical to the Iberian Peninsula – these would make great visits for those breaths of utterly fresh air and that sense of freedom and isolation from the world around you.
Madrid is full of museums and sites of great cultural history. World famous venues, such as El Prado Museum and the Palacio Real are just a snippet of some of the thousands of wonderful places on the Madrid trail. Whether it be fine art, modern and medieval sculpture, architecture, religion or whatever you have in mind, you will find it in Madrid. The city's nightlife is definitely a must-experience delight and, I must say, probably the best and most active and diverse in the country. Hit Gran Via (Madrid's most famous avenue, located right towards the southern part of the city) and the surrounding areas of Callao and Chueca for a real treat and a true metropolitan flavour of life. Afterwards, why not go de tapeo in central Madrid's excellent tapas bars? Perfect. Don't forget to wander around the Palacio Real, and then on to the adjacent Calle de Bailen, which will take you through heaves of history and Spanish delicacies up to the magnificent Puerta del Sol, the centre of Spain.
With so much to choose from, you can't go wrong. I could go on for hours because there are literally a million things to do and see in Madrid. Madrid is the Spanish capital, and boy does it live up to its name!