Madrid is the third largest city in the European Union after London and Berlin. Therefore, visiting this political, economic and cultural center of Spain is much of a thrill. To begin with, the city lies on the River Manzanares and offers a lot to visit and experience. The first time travelers must explore the Roman-influenced architecture, vibrant night-life, outdoor sculptures, Soccer stadium, Royal Palace and Segovia castle. There are plenty of historical sites, preceded by modern bars, restaurants, clubs and entertainment facilities.
Things To Do in Madrid
The Prado Museum is a must-visit recommendation for art lovers. It exhibits striking works from the 12th to 19th Centuries. As a matter of fact, The Reina Sofia houses Picasso’s most famous painting Guernica. Many of the historic buildings of Madrid date from the Golden Age between 1516–1700. Philip II moved his court to Madrid in 1561 and transformed it into the capital city. The new Alcázar became the second most impressive royal palace of the kingdom. Madrid has not retained much Medieval or Renaissance architecture, except the Bridge of Segovia and the Las Descalzas Reales. Pedro de Ribera introduced Churrigueresque architecture to Madrid, like the Bridge of Toledo. The Paseo del Prado has been decorated with classical monumental fountains since the 18th century. The Museum of Outdoor Sculpture at the Paseo de la Castellana is dedicated to abstract works.
The Fountains and Cuisine of Madrid
Ventura Rodríguez designed The Fountain of the Artichoke (Fuente de la Alcachofa), the Four Fountains (Cuatro Fuentes), the Fountain of Neptune (Fuente de Neptuno), the Fountain of Apollo (Fuente de Apolo) and the Fountain of Cibeles (Fuente de Cibeles). Many areas of the Parque del Retiro are sculpture oriented. Then again, on the other hand, they have neon advertising signs which are legally protected.
A typical Spanish cuisine in Madrid consists of meat and chickpea stew (Cocido madrileño), Roasted sucking pig (Cochinillo Asado), Stuffed cow or bull’s tail (Rabo de Toro), Fried calamari sandwich on French bread (Bocata de Calamares), Thick omelet of eggs, onion and potatoes (Tortilla de Patatas), Pig’s ears (Oreja), Fried eggs on a plate of french fries (Huevos rotos), Garlic Soup (Sopa Castellana) and Porras, Fried batter served with hot chocolate/coffee. You can also try their potato dishes and traditional Tapas. While you are in Madrid, you have got to taste Sangria, the cool red wine with fruits.
- A typical sangria in Madrid sells for €3-4.
- You can also try Sangria’s alternative ‘Tinto de Veran’, another wine based drink.
- They say that Spain’s red wine is one of the best, for which you have Vino Tinto.
- Another speciality drink in Madrid is ‘Horchata’, a rice and cinnamon blend you must try. Moreover, it’s available in markets and cafes for 2-4€.
- Then again, no problem if you don’t drink alcoholic beverages. Spanish treat their coffee with more love than alcohol. Try the classic caffeinated con Leche with churros.
- Tea lovers must try the black tea with caramel flavour.
- Then again, most spanish are Coca Cola fans and you won’t really notice any other soft drink served in the country.
Transportation in Madrid
Getting around Madrid is easy with the public transport. It’s clean, safe, fast and efficient. There are Trams, local trains and Hop On Hop Off Buses which offer excellent sigh seeing options. The Metro line operates between 6 – 1.30 AM and has a unique colour and number to it which ensures rapid commuting.