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MadridSpain

A city of cool shaded alleys, and wide sunny parks, grand palaces and even grander plazas, this is a place that lives up to its motto of 'Madrid never sleeps'.

In the 18th century, a new dynasty – the Bourbons – were on the Spanish throne, and they didn't like the shabby look of their capital and decided to make a few changes. You can see their efforts in the splendour of Madrid's parks, monuments and palaces – and in the curious contrast between old Madrid's tight-packed streets, and its many beautiful open parks. You can thank the royal connection for those – the Casa de Campo, a huge tract of parkland in the west, was once a royal hunting ground. Now it has an amusement park, boating lake and zoo.

To the east is the more formal park of El Retiro, actually the gardens of the old Habsburg palace. Its 121 hectares of tree-lined avenues, waterways, Romanesque gardens are the perfect 'back lawn' for Madrid's best-known museum – the Prado Museum, which houses a world-class collection of European Renaissance and Classical paintings. Close by are two other art galleries – the Reina Sofia Museum, with its famed Dali's and Picasso's and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum. Taken together, they form Madrid's Golden Triangle of Art.

Starting at the old town's gateway of Puerta De Alcala, follow a string of beautiful plaza's, from the famous fountains of the Plaza De Cibeles, to the vibrant Puerta Del Sol and finally the Plaza Mayor – Madrid's jaw-dropping square. A perfect contrast to that plaza's wide open skies is nearby El Rastro, Madrid's infamous and ancient flea-market of a thousand stalls.

But if you keep going along the Calle Mayor, and you'll find yourself at the Royal Palace, where Spain's kings moved to in the 19th century, and which still hosts royal events. Next-door is the grandeur of the Almudena Cathedral, the elegance of the Royal Theatre, and the beauty of the Sabatini Gardens. To the north, the gardens lead you onto one last 'must-see' plaza – the Plaza De Espana. This is where you'll find a fabulous monument to Spain's greatest author – Cervantes, the 16th century creator of Don Quixote. This monument to past glories sits beneath two enormous, yet stylish, post-war tower blocks. Incongruous, quirky but done with style – you could say that's Madrid all over.

Where to stay in Madrid

Chueca which includes a city, a house and a square or plaza

Chueca

5/5Exceptional!(8 area reviews)

If you're spending time in Chueca, you might enjoy attractions like Paseo de la Castellana and Teatro Infanta Isabel. You might also enjoy the neighbourhood's ample dining options before hopping on the metro at Chueca Station to see more of the city.

Chueca

Top hotels in Madrid

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
NH Madrid Barajas Airport
NH Madrid Barajas Airport
3 out of 5
Calle de Catamaran, 1, Madrid, Madrid
The price is NZ$123 per night

Located in Barajas, this hotel is within 2 miles (3 km) of IFEMA, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano and Plenilunio Shopping Mall. IFEMA - Feria de Madrid and Real ...

4.3/5Excellent! (971 reviews)

"It was adequate, no frills. A good airport hotel. A bit pricey at $140.00 Cdn. The shuttle service was timely, the driver excellent."…"

Reviewed on 25 Mar. 2020

NH Madrid Barajas Airport
Hotel Riu Plaza España
Hotel Riu Plaza España
4 out of 5
C/ Gran Via, 84, Madrid
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is NZ$169 per night

Located in Centro, this hotel is steps away from Plaza de Espana - Princesa, Gran Via Street and Teatro Coliseum. Royal Palace of Madrid and Lope de Vega Theatre ...

4.6/5Wonderful! (774 reviews)

"The room was lovely and the staff made you feel you were staying in one of the world’s best hotels. The breakfast buffet was one of the best I’ve had, with so many choices it was hard to try them all in 2 days. I had drinks in the lobby bar one night with a couple of small finger sandwiches. The ..."…"

Reviewed on 17 Mar. 2020

Hotel Riu Plaza España
Novotel Madrid Center
Novotel Madrid Center
4 out of 5
O'donnell 53, Madrid, Madrid

Located in Salamanca, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of WiZink Center and Nuevo Teatro Alcala. El Retiro Park and Paseo del Prado are also within 1 mile ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (1,880 reviews)

"Very nice and clean rooms.Good food.Helpful staff."…"

Reviewed on 8 Mar. 2020

Novotel Madrid Center

Popular places to visit in Madrid

Plaza Mayor
Image for Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

4.5/5(93 reviews)

A square-shaped piece of Madrid's soul – a sheltered 17th century quadrangle that has seen bull-fights and fiestas, fires and protests and kings that come and go.

Prado Museum
Image for Prado Museum

Prado Museum

4.5/5(57 reviews)

A roll call of brilliant painters – Bosch, Rubens, Botticelli, Rembrandt, Goya and Velázquez – are waiting to be viewed at the Prado Museum.

Gran Via Street
Image for Gran Via Street

Gran Via Street

4.5/5(54 reviews)

Madrid’s famous shopping strip has boutiques and international brands, an exciting nightlife and an impressive display of early 20th-century architecture. 

Puerta del Sol
Image for Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol

4/5(64 reviews)

The Puerta del Sol is where all of Madrid's roads meet, a central gathering point for madrileños, and home to some of its best-loved symbols.

Royal Palace of Madrid
Image for Royal Palace of Madrid

Royal Palace of Madrid

4.5/5(89 reviews)

Armouries and pharmacies, rooms filled with fine porcelain, amazing collections of watches and silverware, and never-ending corridors graced by masterpieces.

Casa de Campo
Image for Casa de Campo

Casa de Campo

4/5(18 reviews)

Packed with entertainment – an amusement-park, a zoo, boating lake, sports arena and never-ending trails – but spread over 1700 hectares, it never feels crowded.

Top activities in Madrid

Day Tour of Toledo & Segovia with Alcazar Entrance
Image for Day Tour of Toledo & Segovia with Alcazar Entrance

Day Tour of Toledo & Segovia with Alcazar Entrance

94% of travellers recommend
NZ$123
Per adult
Salamanca & Ávila Full-Day Tour
Image for Salamanca & Ávila Full-Day Tour

Salamanca & Ávila Full-Day Tour

92% of travellers recommend
NZ$141
Per adult
Avila & Segovia Guided Tour with Lunch Upgrade
Image for Avila & Segovia Guided Tour with Lunch Upgrade

Avila & Segovia Guided Tour with Lunch Upgrade

90% of travellers recommend
NZ$86
Per adult
The Original Madrid Tapas Crawl
Image for The Original Madrid Tapas Crawl

The Original Madrid Tapas Crawl

100% of travellers recommend
NZ$116
Per adult
Hard Rock Cafe Dining with Priority Seating
Image for Hard Rock Cafe Dining with Priority Seating

Hard Rock Cafe Dining with Priority Seating

88% of travellers recommend
NZ$37
Per adult
Lonely Planet Experiences: Madrid Tapas & Wine Adventure
Image for Lonely Planet Experiences: Madrid Tapas & Wine Adventure

Lonely Planet Experiences: Madrid Tapas & Wine Adventure

100% of travellers recommend
NZ$213
Per adult

Reviews of Madrid

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
134
5 - Excellent 59.030837004405285%
4 - Good
79
4 - Good 34.801762114537446%
3 - Okay
14
3 - Okay 6.167400881057269%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

25 Feb. 2020

Even with constant crowds it is fairly easy to move about. Festivals in the major plazas are offered daily. GPS though is sometimes unreliable in narrow streets.

5/5 - Excellent

Chris

18 Jan. 2020

Enjoyed every single part of Madrid, all the places, Food, culture, streets, shopping and people.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

4 Jan. 2020

We spent 4 nights 3 days in Madrid. We could have easily condensed this into 2 days which would have left us more time to spend in Segovia and Zaragoza which we loved.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

2 Jan. 2020

I definetly will recommend to my friends and relatives to visit Madrid, it is a safe place to travell and to visit and the people are very friendly and helpful.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

20 Nov. 2019

Vibrant city with lots to see and do. I loved walking around the city, it felt safe and had a great atmosphere. Retiro Park, the Prada museum, the palace and the hospitality were all very good.

5/5 - Excellent

dee

23 Oct. 2019

Amazin :)

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