Madrid

Spain

Overview

Madrid, the capital and the largest city of Spain, is located in the Iberian Peninsula. From medieval mansions to royal palaces, the broad sweep of architectural history provides a glorious backdrop to this city’s life. Madrid has evolved into one of the richest culinary capital of Europe. It’s no coincidence that the world’s oldest restaurant is found here. For centuries, Spanish royals have showered praise and riches upon the greatest artists of the city, from home grown talents like Goya and Velazquez to a stunning pantheon of Flemish and Italian masters. Masterpieces by them and other Spanish artists like Picasso, and Dali adorn the walls of city’s world-class galleries. Art, beauty, music and passion – visit Madrid and experience them all!

Events

Things to do in Madrid!

Hotels

Booking.com

Guide

Neighborhood


Some of the popular neighborhoods of the city:

Alonso Martínez:

  • The neighborhood of Alonso Martinez is known for its nightlife and has many pubs and small discos that are open till late.
  • It has a very young crowd, and if you′re around here before midnight, and over the age of 20, prepare to feel positively old.
  • Most places close around 3:00 am, then people move to nearby areas to continue partying (clubs in Gran Vía or Tribunal).

 

Barrio de las Letras / Huertas:

  • Many of Spain's most famous writers have lived in Barrio de las Letras including Cervantes and Quevedo. It is located adjacent to the areas of Lavapiés, Puerta del Sol and Paseo del Prado.
  • It is an area full of history and interesting buildings and is also well-known because of its concentration of bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels.
  • Plaza de Santa Ana is a beautiful square in this neighborhood. It is, however, considered "too touristy" by some local people.

 

Chueca:

  • Located near Malasaña and Gran Vía, Chueca is the gay district (although no one is ever excluded) of Madrid and has a very strong personality.
  • Chueca has new design, trendy shops, cool cafes with pop and electronic music being heard.
  • By far, Chueca is the most cosmopolitan place in town. Over time, it has become quite chic and expensive.

 

La Latina:

  • Located near Lavapiés, La Latina is the place to go for tapas.
  • It is full of bohemian young people looking for stylish bars.
  • In the old section of the neighborhood you will find many small bars and pubs and a generally older crowd (late 20s, 30s - you know, "adults").
  • La Latina contains La Cava Baja Street.
  • Avoid places in the Plaza Mayor but for sunbathing and beers.
  • La Latina has multiple bars serving fantastic tapas in the Cava Baja and Cuchilleros areas.
  • The area centered on Calle Calatrava (what the locals call 'Chuecatina') has developed into a gay (but very hetero-friendly) zone.
  • It's surprisingly very crowded on Sunday mornings, from 11:00 am to late in the afternoon due to its close location to the flea market El Rastro.

 

Gran Vía:

  • Gran Vía is "the" place that never sleeps!
  • It includes many popular nightclubs, usually open from 1:00 am to 6:00-7:00 am.

Tipping


Tipping is in Spain typically depends on the quality and type of the service.

  • Hotels: Tip your porter EUR 1.00 – 2.00 per bag depending on the bag weight. Housekeeping can be tipped EUR 2.00 – 5.00 per day. The concierge can be tipped EUR 5.00 – 10.00 depending on the quality of service.
  • Restaurants: Tip your server 10% of the bill in cash, if the service is good.
  • Spas: Tip your therapist 10% and up depending on the service.
  • Tour Guide: You can tip your tourist guide around EUR 20.00, only if it is a personal tour.
  • Taxi: Tip your driver about 10% of the total fare or round-up the fare.

Getting around


General info

Getting to the city from Adolfo Suarez Madrid – Barajas Airport

  • The Airport is approximately 13 Km from the city centre. 
  • You can use the following services to reach Madrid:
    • Bus:
      • 24-HOUR EXPRESS BUS SERVICE: Passes from all terminals and goes directly to O’Donell, Plaza Cibeler and Atocha, the main train station.
      • This service costs EUR 5.00 and there is a bus every 12 minutes in the day and every 35 minutes at night.
      • Public Bus 200 operates between the airport and the Avenida de America Bus station in Madrid; costs EUR 1.50.
      • Refer here for more details.
    • Train
      • RENFE trains are available from the airport.
      • Terminal 4 of the airport is connected to the city by Cercanias train (line C-1 from 5:30 am – 11:30 pm) which goes directly to Atocha and Chamartin main line stations.
      • The service costs EUR 2.15.
    • Metro
      • You can take the Line 8 pink Metro from 6:30 am – 1:30 am from the airport to Nuevos Ministerios, in order to reach the city centre.
      • One-way ticket costs EUR 5.00.
    • Shuttle
      • Following shuttle services are available to/from the airport to the city centre:
        • Mad Shuttle: +34911251008 (Operates 24 hrs between airport to city centre and charges EUR 8.66 per person)
        • Europe Shuttle: +442033181696 (Operates 24 hrs as airport transfer to any destination, starting from EUR 26.00 per vehicle)
        • Airport Shuttle Madrid: +34902946513
        • Radio Eco Taxi: +34 911251602 (Taxi transfer to/from airport to any destination. Fixed price of EUR30 to city centre)
    • Car Rental

 

Getting around the city 

  • Madrid Travel Pass is valid for all metro and bus services within the city together with the local suburban trains and inner-city light railway.
  • The pass is available for 1,2,3,4,5 or 7 days and can be purchases for zones A or T only. Most of the visitors will require a pass for zone A only which covers all locations within Madrid’s city center including the airport.
  • The pass once bought will be activated after the first time it is used and is valid till 5:00 am on the day after expiry date.

Type of Tourist Pass

Price (EUR)

Zone A, 1 day

  8.00
Zone A, 2 day  13.40
Zone A, 3 day  17.40
 Zone A, 5 day  25.40
 Zone A, 7 day  33.40

Train

  • Cercanias trains runs from 6:00 am to 11:00 am every 3 to 5 minutes and are extremely punctual and efficient.
  • The railway is connected to the subway at Atocha, Chamartin, Nuevos Ministerios, Príncipe Pío, Delicias, Pirámides or Méndez Alvaro stations.
  • For fare and schedule information, visit here.

Bus

  • EMT buses connect the Madrid downtown with the rest of the city. The buses are blue and red and in the summer, they are air-conditioned.
  • They run every day from 6:00 am to 12:00 am every 5 to 15 minutes. The frequency may vary according to the time and the bus line.
  • Being a nocturnal city, a system of night buses known as the ‘Buhos’ run after 11:45 pm until 6:00 am with a frequency of 15-30 minutes. Many of them depart from Cibeles Square.
  • There are also 3 lines of double-decker tourist buses which charge EUR 21.00 per day and covers some of the most beautiful avenues and monuments.
  • For more information, visit here.

Metro

  • The Metro De Madrid operates the second largest metro network in Europe, second only to London’s Underground.
  • It includes 13 metro lines and 213 stations and runs from 6:00 am to 1:30 am.
  • The frequency varies according to lines but there is usually a metro every two to three minutes in rush hours to five minutes otherwise.
  • Refer here for schedules.
  • Refer here for fare information.

Taxi

  • Official taxis are white and have a red stripe and the flag of Madrid on the front door.
  • The tariff is displayed on top of the car (a 1 during daytime, a 2 during the night, which become 2 and 3 on holidays such as Christmas Eve). There are also special surcharges for entering or leaving the airport/train station. Ask for the written table of tariffs and charges (suplementos) (shown on small stickers on rear windows, compulsory by law) before paying if you think it's too expensive.
  • Unlike other European cities, there are few designated taxi stands. To hail a cab, stand by a side of a major road or bus stop and wave your hand to signal an available taxi. Empty taxis have a green libre sign in the windshield and a green light on top.
  • The minimum taxi fare is EUR 2.40 in the day and EUR 2.90 from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am and increases by EUR 1.05 in the day and EUR 1.20 at night every Km.
  • Taxi agencies with their contact numbers.
  • You can refer to the www.taxiautofare.com website for taxi fares in the city.

Staying connected


  • Spain uses the GSM 900 and 1800 frequency bands. For 3G carriers use the 2100 band. Vodafone is now providing 4G services in the country.
  • There are multiple service providers in Spain that offer prepaid SIM / Pay As You Go options.
  • Major national carriers:
  • Mobile Virtual Network Operators:

Eat / Drink


Local

  • Madrid has a number of "typical" dishes:
    • Gallinejas and Entresijos - Gallinejas and Entresijos are portions from different parts of lamb fried in its fat. It is a very traditional and typical Madrid dish.
    • Callos a la Madrileña- Callos a la Madrileña is a hot pot of spicy beef tripe similar to those found in Turkey and the Balkans.
    • Cocido Madrileño - Cocido Madrileño is chickpea stew with meat and vegetables. The particularity of this stew is the way it is served. The soup, chickpeas and meat are served and eaten separately.
    • Oreja de Cerdo - Oreja de Cerdo is pigs ears, fried in garlic. This popular dish is widely eaten throughout central Spain.
    • Sopa de Ajo - This is a rich and oily garlic soup which generally includes paprika, grated Spanish ham, fried bread and a poached egg. A variation of this soup is known as Sopa Castellana.
  • Some notable restaurants serving the local specialties include:

Gourmet

  • Coque
    • Cuisine: Madrillenan
    • Awards: Michelin Rated

 

  • DriverXO
    • Cuisine: European, Japanese, Mediterranean.
    • Awards: Michelin 3 stars

 

Vegetarian

 

 

Drink

  • An excellent non-carbonated drink for the summer is called Tri-Naranjus, which comes in lemon and orange flavors. In summer you should also try an horchata. Not to be confused with the Mexican beverage of the same name, the Spanish horchata is a sweet, milk like beverage made of tubers called chufas. In hot weather granizados (crushed-ice drinks) of lemon, orange, or even coffee are very popular.
  • Beer (cerveza) is now drunk everywhere and is rapidly superseding wine as the most popular tipple. Domestic brands include San Miguel, Aguila, Cruz Blanca, Cruzcampo and, last but not least, Mahou (which is made in Madrid). Bottled or draft versions of the latter are widely available, usually in the form of a caña, which is a small glass drawn from the barril or cask.
  • Sangria - The all-time favorite refreshing drink in Spain, sangria is a red-wine punch that combines wine with oranges, lemons, gaseosa (seltzer), and sugar. Be careful, however; many joints that do a big tourist trade produce a sickly sweet Kool-Aid version of sangria for unsuspecting visitors. Other places may also add an unwelcome amount of cheap coñac or anis to the drink.
  • Popular places to drink in Madrid:

;
Banner image credits: Álvaro Serrano