Spain at it's best; vibrant, humane and down to earth
Madrid doesn't follow the rules; however, ever since Philip II made it his capital in 1561, it has evolved its unique character as a city that represents Spain at its best: vibrant, humane and down to earth, where people enjoy life with an intensity that is contagious. Just being there makes you feel better.
The city is full of trees and royal parks as well as city squares and can boast being one of Europe's art cities. In the Triangulo del Arte you will find a trio of art galleries - the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Galleries and sights aside, you soon realise that it's the inhabitants - the Madrilenos - that are the capitals key attraction; they don't believe the night was made for sleep. Picturesque bars overflow with revelling insomniacs, particularly in the now ultra-hip barrios of La Latina and Chueca. Come prepared: the weekend starts on Thursdays - people dine at 11 p.m. and clubs close only for breakfast.
Unlike the Irish, Spaniards can sit over a beer for many hours. That’s not to say that they don’t know how to party – nightlife starts late and goes on until well into the morning and Madrid has a well-earned reputation as a city that knows how to party.
There are two other clubs that we’d also recommend, both of which are on Calle del Arenal – Palacio Gaviria, a 19th Century Palace and Joy Eslava, housed in a former theatre.
There are distinct shopping areas in Madrid – in Centro head for Plaza de Callao and Puerto del Sol; if you’re in Salamanca the streets between Calle de Juan Bravo and Calle de Goya are where you’ll find the best shops.
Barajas Airport is 16km outside Madrid. It is connected with the city centre by bus every 15 mins and takes approximately a half hour.
Taxis are available for hire at the airport for transfer to your hotel.