Madrid Vacation Attractions
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Madrid is the capital of Spain, housing 3.3 million in the city centre and 6 million in its metro region. Travelers considering a vacation here will be happy to know that rental cars aren’t necessary, since the inexpensive metro system is one of the best in all of Europe.
There is something for everyone in the Madrid neighborhoods. Malasa?a houses alternative pubs, bars, cafes and novelty shops. Lavapies is both cosmopolitan and hippy at the same time, with African and South American influenced shops, Indian restaurants and some of Spain’s best coffee houses.
The bohemian neighborhood of La Latina offers excellent tapas restaurants, micro-brews and the El Rastro flea market. Moncloa, near Universidad Complutense, is a student hangout with cool shops, cheap food and budget-priced drinks. Chueca is the gay district of Madrid, with trendy art galleries, cafes and high-priced shops.
Another rich area of Madrid is historic Salamanca. Huertas is a popular tourist destination, with a high concentration of popular hotels, restaurants and pubs. Read on for more travel tips to help you get the most bang for your buck in Madrid!
Eating is a crucial component of any vacation and Madrid travel is no exception.
The Spanish are known for their use of spices like saffron, pinchitos, paprika, bouillons and sea salt. They use some of the world’s best olive oil to cook their dishes and combine rice with meat and vegetables in sumptuous feasts. The Spaniards are also very good at using every part of an animal, much to the chagrin of visitors with sensitive stomachs.
Those with adventurous palettes and strong stomachs may want to try local favorites like Oreja (pig’s ears) Callos a la Madrile?a (tripe with beans), Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup), Bacalao a la Madrile?a (salted cod in a sauce) or Rabo de Toro (stuffed cow or bull’s tail). Madrid novelties aside, you won’t want to leave the city centre without trying manchego cheese, manzanilla wine or croquetas and Madrid dipping oil.
Naturally, after eating all that rich food, you’ll need to walk around and see the sights of Madrid. At the ultra-modern Cosmo Caixa (science museum), you’ll catch a glimpse of how the Earth was created, how tornadoes work and play with interactive exhibits that will keep the kids busy for hours. Visit a zoo, an amusement park, a garden and a bullfighting school at Casa de Campo, which is the “Central Park” of Madrid.
At Casa de Am?rica you will see stunning 19th century architecture and, the locals warn, you may even see a ghost! Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna is one of the most tranquil settings in bustling Madrid. As a hideout for Napoleon’s soldiers, these well-manicured gardens are fit for a duchess (the Duchess of Osuna, to be exact). Nuestra Se?ora de la Almudena is a neoclassical cathedral built in the 19th century, which tops many Madrid travel plan itineraries. Similarly, the art museum at Bas?lica de San Francisco el Grande cannot be missed.
A vacation is also a great opportunity to go shopping and find newfound treasures to take back home. Madrid travel offers numerous fashion boutiques, specialty shops and shopping districts to choose from. Calle Preciados and Calle Montera are only accessible by foot and showcase both women’s and men’s apparel. Calle Serrano is home to the most sophisticated designer boutiques and art galleries.
Similarly, Calle Goya and Calle Alcal? are popular designer shopping streets. Calle Princesa and Calle Bravo Murillo have a number of great clothing and shoe shops. In El Rasto, shoppers will find more than just clothing, as pet accessories, furniture, art and books can also be purchased here. Another eclectic area is Calle Gran V?a, which is bustling with clothing shops, cinemas and popular hotels. La Vaguada is the region’s largest shopping mall, with over 300 stores in a small area, as well as a cinema, bowing alley and several trendy cafes. As you can see, there is much to do in Madrid, Spain!
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