Madrid is Spain’s capital and largest city. It’s the political, financial and administrative heart of the country, situated on a plateau 650m high, almost exactly at the centre of the Iberian peninsula. In 1561, Philip II established his royal court there, and successive kings commissioned grander and grander palaces, cathedrals, public buildings and triumphal monuments, turning Madrid into a splendid world city.
It’s heaven for culture vultures: the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia galleries are within a few minutes’ walk of each other, boasting magnificent religious paintings and royal portraits. Other landmarks include the enormous Royal Palace of Madrid, the National Library and the Royal Site of El Escorial. Madrid is one of the greenest cities in Europe with several parks and forested areas. When it comes to going out, nobody does it better than Madrilenos. They start late and finish later – almost breakfast time the following day. Tapas in Madrid is representative of Spanish cuisine – from sausages to snails and good, local wines.
Finding cheap flights to Madrid is a doddle. As Spain is the top destination for UK tourists, there is lots of competition on the route. Madrid flights land at Madrid Barajas Airport, close to the city.
Search and compare: cheap flights to Madrid
In May through October, Madrid’s weather is usually warm and dry. The spring brings some of Spain’s most spectacular fiestas, starting with Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter. Madrid’s biggest holiday is the feast of San Isidro, the city’s patron saint, which begins on 15 May. It’s a popular party, so book well in advance.The plateau on which Madrid is sited is high enough for clear skies and dry air. Summers are very hot (often hotter than 37 degrees Celsius), but it’s a dry heat. And the warm summer nights are a great pleasure. The winters are quite cold.
The summer months are high season.
October is an ideal time for Madrid. Hotel rates are lower, Madrid flights are cheaper, the weather is lovely, and there are not too many visitors. Winter is cold, but Madrid’s cultural life is in full swing, and you can make a day trip to a ski resort.
For cheap, inexpensive transport in Madrid, you can’t go wrong with the bus, Metro or a taxi – just make sure your taxi driver has turned the meter on. Don’t bother trying to drive in the city. Traffic is crowded to the point of becoming dangerous, and parking garages are very expensive. If you need a car to get out of town, major rental agencies are mostly found at the airport, with a few located in the city’s centre. You can also take a train on Spain’s excellent rail system.