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Madrid Travel Guide

The excitement and anticipation that overwhelm you when preparing for a trip can sometimes distract you from planning every single detail about your upcoming travel. With so many things to consider, such as booking a ticket, packing and making the flight in time, you might forget about planning the itinerary for the actual time you will be spending in Madrid.

You do not need to worry, because we have a perfect Madrid travel guide, which is going to help you with practical information you will need when staying in Madrid, as well as suggestions on places to visit.

Few facts about Madrid

When traveling to Madrid, you will benefit from knowing few things about the city, such as:

  • Madrid is the capital city of Spain.
  • The metropolitan area has population of approximately 6.5 million, making it the third-largest city in EU.
  • Official currency is Euro.
  • Official language is Spanish.
  • Time zone: CEST – Central European Summer Time (UTC/GMT +2 hours)

Getting to the city

There are several ways to get to the city, and airport is one of the most convenient ways if you are traveling from abroad. Madrid-Barajas Airport is located 13 km from the city so once you get to the airport, you will easily reach the center of the city. There are several types of transport available to you at the airport:

  • Rent a car – Although a more costly option, this is something you could consider if you would like to be mobile while in the city, if you are planning on visiting landmarks that are away from the city center or shopping malls located in the outskirts.
  • Take a taxi – It is certainly a cheaper option, but provides the same convenience when it comes to traveling from the airport to the accommodation. Lots of taxi drivers are circulating around the arriving terminals, so you do not need any phone numbers in advance. You will see them once you leave the terminal.
  • Shuttle – This is specialized taxi service with fixed pricing of 23 Euros. However, this is not an exclusive ride and you will have to share the taxi with other passengers in case you are traveling solo.
  • Airport Express (Exprés Aeropuerto) – Buses operate 24 and take passengers from the airport’s terminal T1, T2 and T4 to one of these three places in the city: O’Donell, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha. Ride at 5 Euros is certainly the main benefit for choosing the bus, but since it is an express bus, it has only three stops in the city, after which you will have to find other ways to reach your final destination.
  • Commuter train – Terminal 4 is connected to Atocha and Chamartin train station with a commuter train C-1. The train is available from 6 am until 10:30 pm with a ticket from €2.60.
  • Metro – Line 8 goes to Nuevos Ministerios station from all terminals, but to reach city center you will have to change metro line twice, which might be inconvenient if you have a lot of luggage.

In case you would like to use a train to arrive to Madrid, there is a connection with the French coast and Paris. Buses connect the city with major cities in Europe, and these international departures are scheduled from the Estación Sur de Autobuses. Metro is quite near the bus station, providing great connection with the rest of the city.

Finding apartment in Madrid

Preferably, you will have already found your accommodation prior to arriving to the city. Even though Madrid has a lot to offer when it comes to tourist accommodation including hotels, hostels and apartments in Madrid, during the peak season it can become more difficult to find accommodation. Therefore, it is advisable to book accommodation in advance. Due to conveniences and flexibility, we would suggest apartments in Madrid rather than any other type of accommodation. When it comes to how to rent an apartment in Madrid, we suggest browsing online as the best way to find available apartments in the city.

Finding your way around the city

Madrid has excellent public transport, allowing travelers to easily find their way around the city even if they are first time visiting. Different parts of the city are connected with 12 metro lines. The entire map of metro lines is available online.

 Metro and Light Rail Network - Madrid

Image source: https://www.metromadrid.es/export/sites/metro/comun/documentos/planos/Planoesquematicoingles.pdf

When walking around the city and looking for interesting landmarks to see, you will need a map. Tourist offices will have different kinds of maps available, including the one with metro lines, but you can always use an online map. Here is an interesting map of the central area of the city with the most important landmarks being represented through small graphics.

 Map of the central area - Madrid

Image source: http://www.esmadrid.com/sites/default/files/documentos/mapa_bloc_esp-ing_22082016.pdf

Going around the city with your map exploring the local landmarks is a great way to explore the city and get to experience your unique tour of Madrid. However, you will get in contact with a lot of locals, so learning a couple of Spanish phrases can be very helpful. Plus, the locals will be delighted by your trying to learn their language. Here are a couple of phrases you might need:

Hello/Hi (informal) – Hola
Have a good day – Que pase un buen día
How are you? (informal) – ¿Cómo estás?

How are you? (formal) – ¿Cómo está usted?
Fine, thank you – Muy bien, gracias.
Thank you – Gracias
I’m sorry – Lo siento / perdón
Goodbye – Adiós, Hasta luego
I speak a little Spanish. – Hablo un poco de español.
I can’t speak Spanish (well) – No hablo (bien) español
Do you speak English? (informal) – ¿Hablas inglés?
Do you speak English? (formal) – ¿Habla usted inglés?
Yes – Sí
No – No

If you need more helpful Spanish phrases, if you want to learn the numbers and how to tell time in Spanish, here is a great phrasebook which includes instructions on how to pronounce each phrase: Spanish Phrasebook.

Sightseeing of Madrid

Since the purpose of this travel guide is to help you get acquainted with the city and how to get the most when exploring the capital city of Spain, here are some suggestions on what to visit in Madrid.

  • Enjoy the art

If you are fond of art, Madrid is a place where you will absolutely enjoy! Permanent and temporary collections in the museums are always available and all you need to do is pick a museum in Madrid you would like to visit and have amazing time. Some museums offer free admission, while those that do charge the admission fee usually have group discounts and days when they offer free admission for everyone. When paying admission fee, the tickets start from 1.5 Euros and they can be up to 17 Euros. The prices in one museum may vary depending on the exhibition you want to visit. Most museums in Madrid are closed on Mondays and have shorter working hours on weekends.

However, there is more art to be seen apart from the museums. You could visit galleries and attend exhibitions. You could find out more about the Spanish royals by visiting the Royal Palace of Madrid and explore the art works displayed inside. Either way, you will get to experience the art works, some of which are centuries old and for an art lover, this would be an art tour of Madrid you will remember forever.

  • Admire the architecture

Madrid is well-known for its architecture that preserves the original look of historic neighborhoods especially in the central area of the city. As you walk down the streets of the city you get to admire the buildings and constructions that are product of different epochs, each of them leaving the traces on both interior and exterior. The Paseo del Prado is one of those streets where you get to see how the city landscape has changed over the centuries, preserving the best of the city’s history and heritage that will last for generations to come and still be symbols this city can be proud of.

 Madrid - Arquitecture

Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/madrid-building-architecture-385104/

  • Indulge in the local cuisine

Since Spanish cuisine is renowned worldwide, it is only fair to explore these famous dishes and tastes in the original surrounding. Numerous restaurants, cafes, pasty shops and bars are scattered around the city, especially in the central area. Dinner is typically served later in Spain, so an ideal time to have dinner when in Madrid is around 8 or 9 pm. Here is a guide with interesting places you could visit when it comes to eating out: Madrid Gastronomic Guide.

  • Visit the landmarks

Visiting the landmarks is your primary goal when visiting Madrid as a traveler, but as you explore the map of Madrid, you will notice that there is so many interesting places you could visit. If you are going to spend only a few days in the city, you might find it difficult to choose which places to visit, and which ones you will have to leave for some other trip to Madrid. The three must-see places in Madrid we would recommend are the Royal Palace of Madrid, the Retiro Park and the Gran Via Street. They are all located in the city center, so if you rent an apartment in the center of Madrid, you will certainly have time to visit them, regardless how short your stay is.

  • Explore further

While most travelers tend to focus their stay in the central area where they go sightseeing, as most of the landmarks are in fact located in the center of the city, there is more to be seen in Madrid than the central part. Visiting outskirts of Madrid is an amazing opportunity to see some historic places and small towns surrounding Madrid. Alcalá de Henares and Toledo are two of those, both of which are UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

  • Have fun

If you would like to find out about even more about what to do in Madrid, here is the list of ten things to do in Madrid. The city of Madrid is also well known place to go out and have fun, so all those outgoing people will enjoy the friendly atmosphere in the local cafes and bars. Another popular form of entertainment in the city are festivals. Most of them are organized during the period of nice weather which start from April and ends in October. Explore some options and suggestions related to festivals in Madrid here.

Apartments in Madrid City Center

You will finds numerous reasons to visit Madrid, regardless if you are fond of art and you want to visit some of the most prestigious museums in the world and internationally famous collections they house, or you are a party lover and you enjoy going out late in the evening. Shopping lovers, families with kids, business professionals, students, and basically all type of travelers around the world have at one point visited or considered visiting Madrid. This is a must-see location many travelers feature on their bucket lists, as the city never cease to stop to amaze and delight people from all over the world, people from different countries and different cultures.

The diversity which you will encounter in the city is something that is astonishing to international visitors, as they are able to see the traditional Spanish culture and customs, merging with the influences of neighboring countries, as well as the influence of settlers who have moved to Madrid in the past few decades.

If you are one of those people lucky to get a chance to visit Madrid, you will need help with finding accommodation. The city has so much to offer, there is no doubt about that, but as a traveler, you want to find the most convenient option for staying in the city, as this aspect should take only a smidge of your time during your trip. Obviously, your travel is all about getting in touch with different culture and customs, meeting new people and attending exciting events. There is not much time to spend on finding an apartment in Madrid to stay in, so here are some tips to help you along the way.

Madrid City Center

Madrid is a very large city, with metropolitan area being a home to more than six million people. The city stretches around the vast area, with lots of interesting places to visit and live in, but most of the tourists in Madrid actually only get in touch with the central area of the city. The main reason for this is certainly the fact that the historic center of Madrid is the oldest part of the city, and as such it holds a special place in the life of the city. Much has been preserved of the historic center, and monuments, buildings, squares, fountains and parks are all there to witness different epoch in the city’s history, epochs that shaped them, influenced the landscape of the area and made it to what it is today.

Madrid city center occupies four neighboring districts, which are generally considered a central area of the city. Travelers are most likely to visit at least one of them, but most travelers usually end up wandering around this entire area, as there is so much to see and visit in terms of culture, history, entertainment, etc.

1. Centro

This district is the oldest one in the city, so you will find a lot of old buildings and monuments that date centuries back and have been preserved from decay. As the city has grown over the centuries, the Centro district in Madrid remained the heart of the city with infrastructure being developed and improved as the area become a very important part of the local life. Some of the places tourists are interested in visiting in this part of the city include: Puerta del Sol, Royal Palace of Madrid, Plaza Mayor, Gran Vía, Plaza de España, Plaza de Colón, Paseo del Prado, etc. All of these places represent important places in the history of the city, and they are still as important, having in mind that some of the most city’s largest events, such as New Year’s celebration, are held at the squares of the Centro district.

Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plaza_Mayor_de_Madrid_06.jpg

2. Salamanca

Here is another district near the central area, very popular among visitors and tourists, and certainly a place you should consider visiting during you stay in Madrid. The area is now considered the most prestigious part of the city to live in, with lots of lavish buildings and houses, and some of the most luxurious and the most expensive shops in the city. One of the major reasons people love visiting this area is shopping. The landmarks you can visit in this district include: Calle de Alcalá, Paseo de la Castellana and Paseo de Recoletos.

Paseo de la Castellana

Paseo de la Castellana

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paseo_de_la_Castellana_(Madrid)_44.jpg

3. Retiro

The most remarkable part of this central district is Retiro Park, the largest park in Madrid, which features some of the impressive landmarks such as the Crystal Palace, the Retiro Pond, and the Monument to Alfonso XII. Since the park had major influence in the monarchs’ life in the past, it is very important for the city in this historic sense. You will also find lots of cafes and restaurants in the area, which is great for having a break and enjoying the local cuisine. Besides the park, the most important landmark in this area is certainly Paseo del Prado, a grand boulevard with the famous museums, including the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the avenue. If you love art and culture, there is no way you are going to miss visiting this shrine, where some of the most important artworks are stored.

Parque del Retiro

El Retiro Park

Image source: http://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/parque-del-retiro

4. Chamberí

Beautiful architecture is something that characterizes Chamberí district, which is why you will absolutely love going for a walk and enjoy gorgeous buildings as they display different styles that influenced the decoration and the outline of the facades of the buildings in this area. Plaza de Colón, Plaza de Chamberí and Plaza de Olavide are some places of interest that you might want to consider including in your day of sightseeing of Chamberí district.

Plaza de Colón

Plaza de Colón

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plaza_de_Col%C3%B3n_(Madrid)_06.jpg

Having presented the basic information about the districts in the central area, we will know focus on how to find an apartment in Madrid city center.

The best way to find an apartment in Madrid is to go through the offer online and scan the apartments that are available for the period during which you plan on visiting the city. A lot of websites and companies offer accommodation in Madrid using online presentations, so you will be able to choose and book the accommodation before you even arrive to the city. Although choosing accommodation online might seem more difficult than viewing the apartment in reality, you will have lots of images to look at the interior, in order to access if the particular apartment is really a place where you would like to spend your holiday in Madrid, regardless if we talk about short-term or long-term holiday. Reviews are also very helpful when choosing accommodation, as you get to read the experience of other travelers, who have chosen that particular accommodation provider in the past.

Online offer of accommodation is very vast that it will satisfy the choosiest travelers out there. Regardless if you want a cozy little studio apartment or a spacious apartment with a terrace, you will have a lot of opportunities to choose the accommodation that is perfect for you.

Benefits of apartments in Madrid city center

It is no wonder the travelers from all over the world choose the central districts as the place to stay while in Madrid. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Great connection to the airport

Although you can always use metro or taxi to get to and from the airport, Madrid’s Airport Express Shuttle Bus is a very convenient solution for all the travelers. The bus operates 24 hours, 365 days a year, within 15 to 20 minutes interval (35 minutes during the night). It is one of the quickest way to get to and from the Barajas Airport to Atocha (Cibeles at night), with an approximate 40-mintues ride. Four stops in the center of the city allow connection to other parts of the city. The price of the ride is 5 Euros.

  • Lots of cafes and restaurants

When visiting the city, you will surely want to go out and have coffee or try out some local specialties, and the best way to do so is in the central area, as this is where you will find lots of different types of restaurants and cafes. All of the gourmands visiting Madrid will enjoy eating out in Madrid and enjoying delicious Spanish cuisine, with tapas, paellas, Iberian ham and other treats on the menu, accompanied by Spanish wine and sangria. Additionally, some of the most popular parties are organized in the bars in the central districts of Madrid.

  • Shopping spree in Madrid

You will find a lot of shops in the central area of Madrid, perfect for a shopping spree, regardless if you are on the hunt for new clothing items, accessorizes or souvenirs. Apart from the large shopping malls located in the outskirts of the city, the central area is a shopping paradise for everyone looking to spend a day shopping in Madrid.

  • Walk and enjoy the sights

Another major benefit of finding an apartment in the city center is the fact that you will not have to spend much time using public transport. Instead, you will be able to visit the most important landmarks in the central area on foot, as they are all located quite nearby. Walking is a perfect way to enjoy sightseeing of the city such as Madrid, as walking from one landmark to another is very much interesting allowing you to enjoy the wonderful architecture and beautifully decorated shop windows along the way.

What else you need to know about city center

The central area of Madrid is the busiest part of the city, not only when it comes to tourists, but among locals as well. A lot of offices are located in the business centers scattered along the streets of the central districts, and you will see a lot of people commuting every day using the city’s metro to reach this part of the city. This means that you can expect the area to be crowded, even if there are not many tourists in the city.

Of course, the most crowded period for the central area is during holidays, when the concentration of tourists in this area is the highest. It does not matter if they are staying in the center, or they have stopped by for a meal or a drink, or day are walking along the streets enjoying sightseeing, a lot of tourists will end up in the central districts, one way or another. Therefore, you should not be surprised by huge crowds of people or hundreds of visitors queuing in front of the museum or other sights you can visit in Madrid.

The center of Madrid is also a home to many people, who live in the residential areas of the city. Frequently, you will find lots of people who have spent their entire life in the center of the city, and are unable to image their life outside the hub the central area has turned into. When you visit Madrid, you get a chance to become one of those people, even briefly, as renting an apartment in Madrid city center is a perfect way to feel like a local and get to experience the perks of living in the center of one of the busiest and one of the most exciting cities in Europe.

Apartments in Madrid

Having in mind the fact that Madrid is a large metropolitan center in the southwestern part of Europe, it is natural that it has so much to offer, regardless if we talk about business, education or culture. Not only is it a modern commercial center, but it is also a place where the influences of different epochs and art movement have left the traces in city’s architecture, paintings, parks and monuments.

When it comes to opportunities for living in the capital city of Spain, the choices are endless. Different districts of the city and different neighborhoods are at your disposal, so you can choose the apartment according to your liking.

Central part of the city is densely populated with a lot of high buildings. While there are old apartments in Madrid central district, there are newly built skyscrapers as well. The apartments vary in size and style, but the convenient location makes them very desirable, especially for tourists.

Retiro is the district named after the famous park in Madrid, which is located in this area of the city. This district is also a home to Atocha Railway Station. Although in the past this part of the city was not as popular for living, during the late 20th century, it grew into an important residential area, especially due to the fact that it is very close to the center of the city.

The urbanization of the district known as Salamanca started in the first half of 20th century, and over the years this part of the city became one of the wealthiest areas of Madrid, with luxurious apartments and expensive shops found along the streets of this district.

A lot of apartments can be found in the suburbs around the central area of the city, which are blooming over the recent decades. While these apartments are less desirable for tourists, they do offer a lot of perks to the locals. Not only are they usually affordable, but they offer tranquility and isolation from the city noise and crowded streets.

Besides the location of the apartment, when looking for apartments in Madrid, you want to find one which will make your staying comfortable and enjoyable. It is natural that people have different needs, especially when we talk about short-term visits versus long-term staying. In addition, depending on whether you are travelling with your family or solo, you might be in need of different type of accommodation, which will have a huge impact on decision where to rent an apartment.

In general, if you want to be able to make a good decision, you should go through the opportunities, as most of the apartments can nowadays be booked online, and then compare the apartments that are as closer as it gets to your original vision. Occasionally, you will be able to find a perfect match, but in most cases, you will have to make a compromise in order to find the solution and choose a place to stay while you are in Madrid.

Madrid Apartments

Are you one of several million people who visit the capital city of Spain every year? If you are, you will probably need to find accommodation during your staying in Madrid. Regardless if you are in the city for business, for shopping or simply as a tourist, you should find the accommodation that will provide perfect conditions for an enjoyable staying.

While there are different types of accommodation offering different possibilities, one of the most recommended solution for staying in a new city is to rent an apartment. Therefore, Madrid apartments are an option we would highly recommend, as you will be able to enjoy all the perks of having your own accommodation while you may be miles and miles away from home.

When it comes to tourists:

  • It is advisable to find an apartment near a metro station or near the city center. This way, you will be able to easily get from the airport or train station to the accommodation you have previously booked.
  • Or… Renting an apartment in the city center is also convenient if you prefer to go sightseeing on foot. All you need is a map and a pair of comfortable shoes, and you are ready to explore the city and its culture.

Perhaps the motive for your visit is business. If that is the case, it is very unlikely that you would be interested in finding an apartment in the city center when the place where you will be spending most of the time is located far away from the center of the city. When you are in the city for business, you are usually on a tight deadline, and you ought to finish the work as soon as possible. This is also the case when you arrive to Madrid in order to attend a seminar or a conference. In any of these cases, your priority is to focus on the work and on the activities you have planned as a part of your trip. If the opportunity for a sightseeing tour or dinner in a fancy restaurant comes up, you should most definitely take advantage of it.

Having in mind the fact that you will probably have short time to complete the work, you are most likely to find the apartment near the office or the conference room. In this case, you will save a lot of time, which would otherwise be spent in the public transportation.

In case you do need to use the public transportation in Madrid, you should know that you will be able to easily find your way around the city. Madrid is well known for having one of the best metro networks in the world, with lines connecting all major parts of the city. Since the entire metropolitan area of Madrid includes more than six million people, it is natural to have a well developed public transportation network. Besides using the metro, you can use buses and trains that connect the city center with the suburbs.

weekend-in-madrid-apartments

Weekend in Madrid

Modern way of living imposes a lot of worries and stress. As you spend most of your week working, you sometimes need a little time away from your everyday life. This is why a weekend getaways are a perfect way to simply ignore everything that causes you to feel worried and anxious. Weekend in Madrid is a good opportunity to unwind and enjoy the nature, architecture and nice evenings in local cafes.

If you are interested in visiting the capital city of Spain, you should know that this city has so much to offer. You might be fond of culture and history, you might enjoy the nature and you might be interested in visiting museums. In any case, Madrid is a place for you. And a weekend in Madrid will be a weekend you will never forget.

In order to enjoy your stress-free weekend, you have to start by finding apartments in Madrid. You need an apartment for short-term staying. Whether you are planning to spend the weekend exploring the city or relaxing on the terrace and enjoying the view, you need the apartment where you will feel comfortable.

You do not want an unpleasant experience to ruin your weekend getaway. Therefore, the best solution is to get all the information online and make sure that you rent an apartment that fulfills all of your demands. Look through the galleries of images online to make sure that the apartment you are about to rend is really what you are looking for. Even though you are staying in the city for a short period of time, you still want only the best apartments in Madrid.

weekend-in-madrid-apartments

And once you get to the city, you will not be sure where to start. Should you visit the museums first? After all, they have some of the most important artworks in the world. Or should you go to the Retiro Park? Besides being a real oasis in an urban area, this park is also the place where the Crystal Palace and the Palace of Velázquez are situated. It is one of the most famous parks and a perfect way for a picnic in the afternoon.

As the sun sets, the lively atmosphere in the city does not cease. Visit cafes and restaurants and you can enjoy the friendly ambient and local music. And above all, you will be able to try out some of the most delicious traditional meals.

When you feel tired from an eventful day, you can go to your apartment and enjoy in the evening. If you rent an apartment with a terrace, you will be able to start the next day drinking coffee and watching as the sun shines over the buildings creating the most amazing landscape right there in front of you. As your weekend in Madrid is coming to an end, you will realize that you must come back here again. One weekend is not nearly enough to experience all the charms of Madrid.