Chris Butler May 21st, 2018 1,552 views
Madrid is a city of mass proportions both in its geography and population, and there is an overwhelming amount of things going on to emerge you in a truly Spanish experience. Here's a few of our top ways to spend your time in the Spanish capital.
Described by Ernest Hemingway as 'Madrid’s answer to Broadway', the street known as Gran Via is home to a vibrant array of shops, theatres, cinemas and museums. The famous stretch, which has since become a European shopping epicentre and the busiest street in the Spanish capital, was constructed around 100 years ago to reduce congestion around the narrow streets of the city. It is now believed to attract around 10 million people each year and is considered one of the top tourist spots of Madrid. Many an hour can spent shopping at designer stores, people-watching accompanied with a cocktail in the cities great bars, or by going to see a live theatre performance or film. For lovers of architecture, the stretch has some of the grandest buildings in Madrid, including the instantly recognisable Edificio Metrópolis on the corner of the street.
An often overlooked part of Madrid is the amount of green space it contains. The biggest park in the city is the Case de Campo just east of the centre, where you can enjoy views from cable-carts that tower above the city, but it's the Retiro Park near the Prado museum in the centre, which is the main outdoor attraction in Madrid. Shrouded in history, the park was built in the 17th century and originally belonged to the Spanish monarchy until the late 19th century. Filled with marble statues, grand buildings and a picturesque lake, now passers-by from all corners off life come here for an escape from the bustling city lifestyle. Strolls around and row-boating across the lake are particularly popular blissful pastimes, which can be followed by a sit down and a drink at one of the many terrazas (open-air cafes) Madrid specialises in.
Madrid's renowned world class nightlife has no hyperbole. It's been said that the people of Madrid know how to have a better time than any other city, and when work is done, the locals love to head to the abundance of great bars and nightclubs throughout the Spanish capital. If you're after a dance, then don't expect to be heading to a club any earlier than 2 am. Madrid locals generally don't eat dinner until around 10pm, and usually head to pre-club bars around midnight. It's also been said that a true Madridians head shouldn't hit the pillow until just before sunrise. The surrounding areas of the Gran Via host some of the best nightclubs in the city. Mondo is one of the highlights of an exciting underground scene, attracting the best names in house & techno, with great line-ups on display most weekends.
The Prado national museum in central Madrid, houses one of the most extensive collections of art of any museum in Europe. The museum spans the history of Spanish art, covering works dating from the 12th century all the way through to 20th century. Expect to see paintings by the likes of Goya and Velázquez , along with other European heavyweights, from Rembrandt to Raphael. Picasso's iconic 'Guernica' was originally stored at the Prado, but was later controversially moved to the Queen Sofía Museum. During the civil war of the 20th century, paintings were kept in the basement of the museum and were protected by being covered with sacks of sand, and luckily enough little damage was done! The museum itself is a grand neoclassical building, which again was built by the Spanish monarchy, and it's beautiful design is enough to draw you entice you to visit it in the first place, without the added bonus of the amazing art!