One of the best places you can visit in all of Spain is Madrid — the country’s capital and largest city. Located on the mighty Manzanares River in the centre of the nation, Madrid is a hub of exciting experiences and inspiring landmarks. There’s so much to do here, you’d have to clear your schedule for a fair few days to do it justice, so it’s the perfect place to spend a fun weekend with family or friends.
First up is the Plaza Mayor, which is a grand square in Madrid surrounded by traditional shops and cafes. Once the setting for markets, bullfights and public executions; this is one place you simply can’t miss. While you’re here, you have to sample the signature dish of this great city — squid sandwiches, which are found right here in the Plaza Mayor.
Nearby, sits another famous spot; the Puerta del Sol (Gate of the Sun), which lies at the very centre of Madrid’s circular network of roads. The square contains a famous clock, whose bells initiate the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the start of a new year. Make sure to get a picture with the 20-ton statue of a bear eating fruits from a tree — the most iconic and famous symbol of Madrid.
Not far from the Puerta del Sol, you can find the majestic Palacio Real (Royal Palace), which is thought to be one of the finest palaces in Europe. Officially, this is the residence of the Spanish Royal Family, although it’s generally only used for banquets and state ceremonies. Several rooms in the palace are regularly open to the public, which are well worth a look around considering the interior design includes Spanish marble, mahogany wood and important works of art.
Perhaps you want to relax and enjoy walking through beautiful gardens? Then head to Buen Retiro Park, which temptingly translates to ‘Park of the Pleasant Retreat’ in English. This is an ideal spot to unwind with a peaceful lake and blend of sculptures, monuments and galleries. Then again, if you’d prefer to experience the bustling centre and taste the best tapas in this vibrant city, take a stroll up Gran Via Avenue. Believed by many to be the most popular tourist street in Spain, it’s filled with cinemas, theatres, bars, nightclubs, and shops.
But of course, you can’t leave Madrid without tasting ‘cocido’ — one of Spain’s most loved and traditional dishes.
We’ve only taken a snapshot of what’s in store when you visit vibrant Madrid, so why not hop on a flight and explore it for yourself?
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