Madrid, Spain has a long and complicated history. For centuries it ruled half the world as the center of the monarchy power, but it is now a one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. One central to the Spanish Inquisition, Madrid is now known for its vibrant nightclubs, incredible shopping and abundance of art.
A Madrid city break rewards the traveler with first-rate soccer and shopping, third in Europe to only Paris and London. The traveler also experiences the best and most beautiful art museums, parks equal to those in Manhattan, New York. A Madrid city break is surely not a quick pass through. Visitors should anticipate spending some time in the city.
Art lovers will surely want to visit the Prado, but the Museu Thyseen-Bornemisza is a recent addition that should definitely not be missed. It was founded by the family of wealthy industrialist Baron Thyssen and his wife, a former Miss Spain, housing over seven hundred of Europe’s beautiful treasures from the thirteen to the twentieth centuries. The Queen Sofia is home to an abundant amount of twentieth century art, enough to satisfy fans of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
However, there is more to Madrid than the art museums. You can take a walk in Madrid’s sunny climate and visit the beautiful Parque del Buene Retiro. Though this park is smaller than Manhattan’s Central Park and even smaller than London’s Hyde Park, it is no less beautiful with lakes, sculptures, lovely grounds and Crystal Place.
At nearby Plaza Mayor, travelers can enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants or cafes. Or, they can simply sit under the shade and “people-watch.” The Plaza Mayor square is nearly 100m on each side and is surrounded by buildings that have watched many things throughout the years, from beheadings to bullfighting.
Be sure to allow time for a visit to the Royal Palace, or Palacio Real. It was home to Spain’s monarchs and still contains the Royal Armory, throne room and Royal Pharmacy. Visitors can stand in some of the 2,800 rooms and imagine what it was like for the royal families and monarchs ruling half the world from that very room. It is not a difficult thing to imagine, though, when you are looking at displays of El Cid’s sword, porcelain vases and hundreds of jewels.
Of course, leave time to shop. Gran Via is Madrid’s most well known shopping area. You can find anything form the popular El Rastro flea market to department stores, such as the El Core Inglés. In addition to these, Madrid’s shopping offers much more, including Calle Montera, Calle Alcala, Calle Princesa and so many terrific stores and boutiques.
For anyone planning a Madrid city break, you will want to plan to spend some time in the beautiful city. There are many great packages available offering fabulous accommodations and great travel deals. Take a look and make your way to Madrid to experience its art, history, attractions and fabulous shopping!