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The Ultimate Urban Travel Guides -- What You Need to Know Before You Go

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Madrid

Seize the Moment

Madrid, Spain

With its number of world-class museums, outstanding gastronomy, and a passion for the night, Madrid radiates excitement and vitality. This boomtown is one of Europe's major business centers, and competes with its compatriot Barcelona as one of the continent's most joyful cities.

Its irresistible "live for the moment" attitude is its calling card -- even more than its world-famous Prado, Thyssen, or Reina Sofia museums. Madrileños dine at the time when elsewhere you'd be going to bed, and often have breakfast before they go to sleep rather than when they wake up. The city's buzzing nightlife extends until morning and you haven't experienced the Spanish capital until you do the same.

Visit a tapas bar, but don't miss the fantastic new restaurants, and after sitting at a café in one of the grand plazas, head to a trendy but laid-back bar.
This feel-good city's energy and vibrancy is contagious.
You've been warned.


Top 10 Sights and Attractions

  1. The masterpieces of the Prado Museum.
  2. Picasso's Guernica and the contemporary art in the Reina Sofia Museum.
  3. The history of Western art illustrated in the works of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.
  4. A stop for a drink in PLAZA MAYOR.
  5. Going down the GRAN VIA to CHUECA for some trendy shopping.
  6. The lavishly decorated ROYAL PALACE.
  7. The monumental PLAZA DE CIBELES.
  8. The atmospheric RASTRO MARKET.
  9. Relaxing in PARQUE DEL RETIRO.
  10. The majestic ALMUDENA CATHEDRAL.

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Where to Stay

Look for the hotel or hostel that best matches your budget, type of trip or personality. Here you can guarantee a room but you do NOT pay anything at the time of booking. Payments are only made at the hotel and there are no booking fees. Most hotels allow cancellations with no penalty if done up to 24 or 48 hours in advance. You'll see that information at the time of booking and again in the confirmation email.

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Eating and Drinking

Spain's culinary star has recently been Barcelona, but it's in Madrid that you'll find the biggest variety of restaurants, tapas bars, and creative cuisine. Most of Spain's greatest chefs open a restaurant in the capital, and to experience them like the Madrileños do, don't show up until at least 9PM.
Also as the locals do, don't leave the city without sampling a tapas bar at any time of the day, and start your morning with the local delight: the churros, the long doughnuts dunked in chocolate sauce.

Shopping

As you shop in Madrid you'll pass by trendy fashion names next to charming old-fashioned shops looking as they did decades ago. It's a city that loves to shop and offers a variety of places to browse through. It's also an increasingly fashion-conscious city, and the Salamanca district addresses the need for the chic and the latest with its smart boutiques and designer labels.
High-end fashion is concentrated in Calle Serrano, while for the hip high street or unusual fashions your destination should be the neighborhood of Chueca and its Calle Fuencarral and surrounding streets. There you'll find Spanish designers along with familiar brands such as Zara and Mango.
And you can't leave the city without visiting the sprawling El Rastro Market which takes place every Sunday. It's filled with bargains mixed with junk you don't need but that it's fun to see.

Gay and Lesbian

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Airport and Transportation

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Tours &
Activities

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Car Rental

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