Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world, and cities like Madrid explain the statistics. The capital of Spain is a beautiful city, and you will see that in Madrid centre, full of beautiful and lively plazas and of majestic buildings and monuments. All of it is improved by plenty of green areas, wonderful museums and a very rich and imperial history told in what is called el Madrid de los Austrias (the Madrid of the Habsburg). As if that wasn’t enough, Madrid centre offers great food and the friendliest of atmospheres – Madrid may not have the beaches and the seaside charm of Barcelona, but it doesn’t need them. Get ready to fall in love with yet another Spanish city!
The capital of Spain is divided in districts, and Madrid centre takes one of them as a whole: Centro, which means centre in Spanish. However, the districts are of course divided in neighbourhoods, since they are fairly big. The district Centro is divided in six neighbourhoods, Embajadores, Palacio, Cortés, Universidad, Sol and Justicia.
Even though the centre of any city is usually touristic and the locals tend to prefer to live far from that, your neighbours during your stay in the apartments in Madrid centre will be locals as well. There are many families and young professionals who live there, so you will be able to experience the real atmosphere of the city. Besides, you will be able to enjoy the most cosmopolitan district of Madrid: Almost 30% of the close to 150.000 inhabitants of Centro are foreigners.
Madrid centre is full of shops, so get ready to do some shopping for yourself, your loved ones or your kids – there are plenty of options! You will find shops of the major fashion brands in Gran Via, as well as in the surrounding streets, such as calle Fuencarral, and in the streets surrounding Plaza del Callao. Besides clothes, you will be able to buy shoes, accessories, books, records, jewellery and perfumes. In calle Preciados you will also find an Imaginarium shop, where you will find educational toys for children of all ages. In the area, you will also find the Spanish chain department store El Corte Inglés, where you will find all types of items as well.
If you want to do other kinds of shopping, around the metro stop Tribunal you will find vintage and alternative shops, and you can always go to flea markets around Madrid centre as well. The most famous one is El Rastro, located close to metro station La Latina.
Madrid is a big city, but if you fancy walking, your own feet are as good way as any to move around the centre. However, Madrid centre is still big, so you may have to use the metro system, which, lucky for you, is pretty great! There are many lines that go to all the corners of the city, and a circular line that pretty much connects them all, line 6. The metro stations that are more convenient for you will very much depend on where exactly in Madrid centre you are staying, but the main ones generally are Opera, where you can get lines 2 and 3; Sol, where you have access to lines 1, 2 and 3; Callao, with lines 3 and 5, and Gran Via, with lines 1 and 5.
There is plenty to do in Madrid centre – in fact, depending on how many days you are in the city, you won’t even be able to see everything! One of the most typical things that you can see in Madrid are the plazas, centre of life of the city and its neighbourhood. There are many beautiful ones: Puerta del Sol, with its wonderful clock tower, where you will see the famous statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree or the Km. 0 of the country; Plaza Mayor, one of the oldest and most beautiful, with its red façades and its arches; or the Puerta de Alcalá, the beautiful and majestic entrance to the Parque del Retiro. You will also be able to enjoy the busy atmosphere and the entertainment of Gran Via, the main avenue of the city, full of shops and theatres.
There are other important attractions that are usually considered to be in Madrid centre, even if they are not in the district Centro, such as the beautiful Egyptian Temple of Debod, a great visit for the sunset. And don’t forget about the Royal Palace and the Almudena Cathedral, or about the beautiful Parque del Retiro, a great green area full of monuments and ponds where you will be able to spend a wonderful afternoon with the whole family.
Finally, Madrid centre is a great art centre as well, as proves what is called the Golden Triangle of Art, formed by the three most important museums of the city: El Prado Museum, the Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
Spain is famous all over the world thanks to the delicious typical cuisine and the tapas – although Spanish cuisine can be much more elaborate than tapas. They are delicious, though!
Madrid is the perfect place for you to try Spanish dishes. You can try tapas in any of the taverns and bars located in the central areas, but we recommend to try to go wherever you see the locals go, so you avoid tourist traps (no, Madrid doesn’t escape those, unfortunately). We recommend El Mercado de la Reina or Alhambra, as well as La Taberna de la Dolores for tapas. You can also try the famous cocido madrileño, a typical dish from Madrid. The restaurants La Bola Taberna and Malacatín are famous for it. Of course, you can’t miss out on the opportunity of trying the fine restaurants that the city offers as well, such as Algarabia, La Tragantúa or the famous Casa Lucio, where you will have to try their wonderful huevos rotos.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the menu deals, a typical offer in all Spanish cities available from Monday to Friday at different prices that includes a first and a second course, with dessert, bread and a drink.
Besides its many attractions, Madrid centre is also known for its lively atmosphere at night. The night party of Madrid starts late and finishes early… In the morning! The locals like to have fun in bars and pubs until 2-3 in the morning, when those bars close and the people go dancing to clubs. In Madrid centre, you can choose between three main party areas to mingle with the locals and join the party. The first one is Malasaña, the cradle of the 80s cultural movement of la movida madrileña – you can find out what it was in music bars or pubs such as Tupper, Penta, La Vía Láctea or Madrid Me Mata. Malasaña offers a very fun atmosphere, and so does Chueca, the ‘gay neighbourhood’ of Madrid centre, where you will have lots of fun in the many gay-friendly pubs located there. Finally, you can also go to Calle de las Huertas, the best place to start your night, where you can go to some of the bars to eat tapas for dinner and wash them down with some beer or wine. So, are you ready for Madrid centre’s nightlife?