|Photo not mine|
Madrid, the centrally located capital city of Spain, is known for its historical museums, its buoyant nightlife and its exquisite gastronomical scene. The city might not have the architectural charm of Barcelona or the pristine beaches of Malaga, but Madrid is truly the heart of Spain. If you are still planning your next holidays, take a look at this list about the main landmarks in the city.
1. The Museums
The Golden Triangle is formed by the city's three main museums, the Museo del Prado, the Museo Reina Sofia and the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza. Walk around the Prado while looking at some of Goya's masterpieces, contemplate Picasso's Guernica located at the modern art Reina Sofia, and walk through the history of art at the Thyssen Bornemisza.
2. The Shops
The Golden Mile stretches along Serrano Street, an upscale street a couple of minutes away from the large hotels in the city center. The nearby streets are filled with classy shops revealing designer handbags, evening dresses and shoes signed by fashion's top brands. Next to these glossy shops visitors can find more affordable brands such as H and M and Zara. If toting heavy bags from shop to shop is a tiring process, maybe one of the many El Corte Inglés department stores is the right choice. There, all brands are located on one floor, and one can buy anything ranging from a cocktail dress, baby clothes or jewelery to a book, a digital camera or gourmet food.
3. The Food
The tapas might not be a strictly Madridian invention, but the sheer amount of bars that serve them is enough to cater even for the most capricious guests. Just a couple of minutes from the tourist traps near Plaza de Sol is La Latina, a traditional barrio where visitors can mingle with locals while enjoying some pan con tomate, patatas bravas and aceitunas with a caña or a tinto de verano.
4. The Football
Barcelona F.C. might get all the international headlines, but there is more to Madrid's most beloved team than football. Home to the royal club, Real Madrid F.C., the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium located in the financial district is a must see for all football fans out there. The stadium has its own sports shops where visitors can buy the official uniform of the club, sports equipment and stock up on souvenirs. There is a cafeteria inside the stadium and guided tours are offered around this stadium, which has so far hosted three European Cup finals. The Estadio Vicente Calderón, home to the Atlético de Madrid, is another stadium.
5. The Nature
Right in the centre of the city visitors will find the Parque del Buen Retiro, the ancient royal gardens that are one of Madrid's top attractions. Enjoy a café con leche in one of the terrazas, let the little ones play in one of the many playgrounds, observe the locals taking their daily stroll or simply rent a boat and enjoy a boat ride in the pond.
6. The Day Trips
This centric city offers visitors the opportunity to visit some of the nearby historical towns. In Aranjuez guests can visit the ancient Royal Palace. In Segovia they can walk under the Roman Bridge before tasting a juicy cochinillo segoviano. In El Escorial, up in the hills of the sierra, guests can walk around the old monastery and its gardens. In the historical town of Toledo visitors can explore the history of this country.
7. The Theme Parks
There are two theme parks in the city. The relatively new Warner Bros Park, located to the south of the city, has many themed attractions, roller coasters and water rides. The more traditional Parque de Atracciones is located only a couple of metro stops from the city center, in a large park with a lake and a zoo, where visitors will be able to enjoy the many roller coasters, drop towers, and other amusement rides. There are several water parks in the city where visitors can spend a day in the many pools.