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.
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