About Madrid

Welcome to Madrid! A lively cosmopolitan and friendly city where everyone feels at home. A place for business and new trends, Spain’s capital offers a safe, comfortable setting where leisure time and doing business are equally enjoyable.

Its rich and artistic natural heritage, modern transport network, quality accommodations, fine cuisine and a local vibrancy and night life make it one of the most attractive cities in the world.

Madrid at a Glance

Over 200 direct flights connect Madrid to more than 70 countries.

Madrid’s airport “Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas” receives all international flights arriving in Madrid. It is located just 12 kilometres/7.5 miles northeast of the capital.

There are different ways to get to the airport by public transportation:

Metro: Madrid’s Metro is the second largest metro network in Europe. To get to the airport, line 8 (Nuevos Ministerios-Airport T4) connects the capital with Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport, taking less than 20 minutes to T4 and just 12 minutes to the other terminals. View prices here.

Airport Express Bus: 24-hour service from Atocha (between 6 a.m. and 11:30 p.m.) and Cibeles, stopping at O’Donnell (intersection with Doctor Esquerdo), T1, T2 and T4.

Other lines: Lines 101, 200, Interurban Lines 822, 824, 827, 828. For more information, click here.

Shuttle Bus: Free service linking the four terminals. Running every five minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., every 20 minutes from 11:30 p.m. to 1:50 a.m. and every 40 minutes from 1:50 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.

Taxi: You must go to the official taxi pickup location to get a taxi. Please ignore unofficial taxi drivers offering their services from within the terminals. There is a flat rate of 30 € for services between the airport and Madrid city center (within the M-30 ring road).

Cercanías (Local trains): The suburban train network runs between Príncipe Pío station and Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport Terminal 4 on the new C-1 line. Trains depart every half hour, and you can check ticket prices here. AVE (Spain’s high-speed train system) ticket holders can travel from the train station to the airport for free.


Madrid is well-known for its museums and cultural agenda. The city has 88 museums, 87 art galleries, and the largest art gallery in the world with 10,000 works of art housed at the Prado Museum.

El Paseo del Arte, known in English as “Art Walk,” boasts art and beauty. Along a stretch of more than one kilometer (about a half-mile), you will find the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía Museum, as well as a number of other institutions and buildings worth visiting, including:

Museo del Prado – Paseo del Prado, s/n
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza – Paseo del Prado, 8
Museo Reina Sofía – Calle Santa Isabel, 52
Museo Arqueológico – Calle Serrano, 13
Casa de América – Plaza de la Cibeles, 2
Centro Palacio de Cibeles – Plaza de Cibeles, 1
Museo Naval – Paseo Prado, 5
Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas – Calle Montalbán, 12
Real Jardín Botánico – Plaza Murillo, 2
CaixaForum Madrid – Paseo Prado, 36
Real Observatorio de Madrid – Calle Alfonso XII, 3
Teatro Circo Price – Ronda de Atocha, 35
La Casa Encendida – Ronda de Valencia, 2
Biblioteca Nacional – Paseo Recoletos, 20 – 22

Madrid is the second city in the world with the most green spaces. Casa de Campo, El Retiro Park and Madrid Río are Madrid’s best known park areas, but almost every neighborhood in the city has its own park, square or community garden for visitors to walk and participate in outdoor activities.

Particularly beautiful and with less tourists are Capricho Park and Campo del Moro Park, a fabulous English-style garden in the Hapsbug section of Madrid featuring the Royal Palace in the background.

Madrid will also surprise you with its intense blue sky. With a dry climate and little rainfall, the city has hot summers and mild winters, making it a wonderful place to visit any time of year.

Learn more 


Although Madrid is an open city that welcomes all kinds of influences – culinary included – from neighbors and visitors, it also has it own cuisine. Madrileño cooks have drawn inspiration from those of Castile and La Mancha. Chefs in Madrid excel in making soup, proof of which is the nutritious and delicious garlic soup. They even use the insides of birds and tripe, which lovers of curious recipes will find delicious. Although Madrid is far from the coast, restaurants regularly serve fish caught from the Cantabrian Sea. A fine example is the Madrid-style red bream, a dish that’s more than 600 years old.

Tapas: Going out for tapas is a fun way to hang out with friends. Just walk into a bar and order a pint of beer, patatas bravas (similar to French fries in a spicy tomato sauce), cazuela de callos (tripe casserole) or chopitos (tiny fried cuttlefish).

In recent years, tapas bars have expanded across Madrid. However, the hottest tapas districts are Sol, Plaza Mayor and Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid de los Austrias (Hapsburg Madrid), La Latina,Chueca-Malasaña and Conde Duque.

Learn more here.


There are three UNESCO heritage sites near the city. Outside Madrid, you will find the cities of Ávila, Segovia and Toledo. Within the Madrid region, it is worth seeing:

  • El Escorial: Built at the end of the 16th century, the Escurial Monastery stands in an exceptionally beautiful site at the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama, north of Madrid. It was the retreat of a mystic King Phillip II. Learn more
  • Alcalá de Henares:The place where Miguel de Cervantes was born and the Complutense University, a key city in the history of the Spanish language. Learn more
  • Aranjuez: A town linked to royaltly. Be sure to visit the Royal Palace and its gardens. Learn more 

Medieval Madrid

  • Magerit, “land rich in water.” This is how the Arabs called this area on the central plain of the Iberian Peninsula, where King Phillip II of Spain later established the royal court. Later, it grew into the large city it is today.
    • The first historical record of Madrid dates back to the year 865, when Emir Muhammad I commissioned the construction of a fortress in Mayrit on the banks of the Manzanares river. “Mayrit” means “plenty of waterways,” which is why the city’s first recorded coat of arms read, “I was built on water / My walls are made of fire / This is my flag and my coat of arms.” Madrid belonged to the Islamic world until 1083, when King Alfonso VI of Castile reigned over the city.
  • Few remnants have remained from this era. On Calle Mayor, next to the Institute of Italian Culture, there used to stand the Grand Mosque and the souk. On the site of the former mosque rose the Church of Santa María. Close by, on Cuesta de la Vega, parts of the old town walls remain that surround the medina or citadel.
  • In the Medieval district of Madrid, you can visit the National Archaeological Museum, which has an interesting collection of decorative objects from the Visigoth Kingdom of Toledo to the Late Middle Ages. The rooms dedicated to Medieval and Renaissance art in the Lázaro Galdiano Museum and the Prado Museum are well worth a visit as well.

Hapsburg Madrid

  • Throughout the 16th and 17th  centuries, Madrid was the capital of a huge empire. However, the buildings and landmarks didn’t truly reflect the city’s standing. The churches and palaces were built in a simple style that had little in common with lavish courts elsewhere in Europe. Austerity was the second name of the Hapsburg dynasty – or Austrias, as they were called in Spanish. Secluded in the Alcázar Real Palace, the kings rarely appeared in public. Meanwhile, Madrid drew writers, artists, fortune hunters and members of the lesser nobility who hoped to prosper in the court.
  • From that period, narrow, winding streets, mansions and convents hidden behind high walls can still be seen in Madrid de los Austrias (Hapsburg Madrid). Between Cuesta de la Vega and Plaza Mayor, the heart of the city, you’ll find traces of the old capital.

Bourbon Madrid

  • When Philip V, the first member of the House of Bourbon to rule as king of Spain, arrived in Madrid in 1701, the city was enclosed and criss-crossed by narrow lanes and filled with churches and somber palaces. From then on, the Bourbon kings would carry out comprehensive urban development plans aimed at adapting Madrid to the taste of European royal courts. They built fountains, gardens, triumphal arches, and the new Royal Palace, all of which helped change the appearance of the city dramatically.
  • Bourbon Madrid sprung up along the banks of the Fuente Castellana stream, where the present-day Paseo del Prado is located. In the 17th century, the aristocracy had chosen this area to build homes beyond the city’s boundaries. The Buen Retiro Palace, erected under Phillip IV, was the first step taken to turn the eastern part of Madrid into the most stylish side of the capital. However, it wasn’t until the eighteenth century that the Prado became the green boulevard lined with mansions that you can see today.
  • Also from Bourbon times are the Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, with the third largest round floor plan in Christianity and an important collection of paintings; the Basilica of San Miguel, designed by Italian architect Santiago Bonavía and the burial place of composer Luigi Boccherini; the Church of San Marcos, with its characteristic design by Ventura Rodríguez; and the Convent of Las Salesas Reales, commissioned by Queen Barbara de Braganza to François Carlier as the place where she would retire in 1748. Currently the seat of the Supreme Court, the convent accommodates the graves of the queen and her husband, Ferdinand VI. They’re the only Spanish monarchs, along with Queen María de las Mercedes of Orléans, whose funerary urns aren’t in the royal pantheon at El Escorial.

La Movida

  • In the early 1980s, the Malasaña district witnessed the birth of the movida madrileña, the underground movement that changed Madrid’s image as it is today.
  • The story began on February 9, 1980, when the auditorium of the Escuela de Caminos in Madrid hosted a tribute concert to Canito, the drummer of the band Tos and Los Secretos. Tos, Mermelada, Nacha Pop, Paraíso, Alaska y los Pegamoides, Trastos, Mario Tenia y los Solitarios and Los Rebeldes also performed. Popgrama broadcasted the concert on Spanish TV network “TVE,” and soon afterwards, all bands signed contracts with different record labels. This was the origin of La Movida, though the term didn’t emerge until later on.
  • Today, you can follow in the footsteps of La Movida. It was the democratic transition that came after Franco’s dictatorship, and people were eager to try it all. The city also saw an explosion of new artistic productions. In Madrid, the statues in the Botanical Gardens were brought to life, as they were in Radio Futura’s song “La Estatua del Jardín Botánico,” and everyone wanted “to die a little bit every day on Gran Vía,” just like Tino Casal’s lyrics for the song “Que Digan Misa.”

Madrid and its surroundings

Few European capitals are as beautiful as Madrid. Mountain ranges to the north of the Madrid region are another world, with holm-oak meadows where fighting bulls graze, beautiful sheep-farming villages, unique natural environments and a fabulous historic heritage with jewels as amazing as the Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial, and in the neighboring region of Castilla-León, the ancient city of Segovia and the Royal Site of San Ildefonso.

Click here to learn more

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