Madrid - Spain’s main calling card

Madrid, Spain’s calling card, attracts millions of tourists not only due to its weather but also, above all, as a result of its amazing atmosphere, wonderful food and museums. It’s also the highest-situated capital city in Europe, at 655 metres above sea level.

PLAZA MAYOR

Madrid is famous for its countless number of squares, but the one we especially recommend is Plaza Mayor. This place is completely closed off to vehicle traffic, and it was once, as the name suggests, the centre of the city’s life where coronations, tournaments, bullfights and even executions took place. Today we can enjoy numerous theatre performances, mime shows and street music, and also admire the wonderful architecture of this place, especially the building known as Casa de la Panaderia. We can find here many gardens where we can eat popular Tapas or drink some coffee. It’s worth going to the Sobrino de Botin restaurant, which not only serves wonderful examples of Madrid's cuisine, but is also listed as the oldest restaurant in the world in the Guinness Book of World Records.

THE PRADO MUSEUM

A necessary stopping place for all art enthusiasts, and also a gem among Madrid’s museums, is the Prado Museum. Visitors are greeted by the monumental Edificio Villanueva building from the 18th century on Paseo del Prado, which contains some of the most wonderful works of art created in the history of humanity. We can find works by such artists as Velazquez, Goya, El Greco, Rubens, Titian, Raphael, Hieronymus Bosch, Hans Memling and many others. It’s worth remembering that the Prado Museum currently owns about 7,700 paintings, 1,000 statues, 8,200 prints and numerous objects of ancient art. This place is one of the most frequently visited museums in the world. If we wish to spend most of our trip admiring visual art, it’s worth considering the purchase of a ticket enabling entrance to three of Madrid's main museums.

SANTIAGO BERNABEU

All fans of sport, especially football, can’t imagine a visit to Madrid without seeing the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, a place with cult status. The arena belongs to one of the best football teams of our times - Real Madrid - and it’s able to hold over 85,000 fans, and sometimes during concerts it has held over 100,000 people. Tourists can buy tickets for what’s called Tour Bernabeu, which gives the opportunity to become acquainted with the history of the team and to feel like a player or VIP guest. The program includes such things as entrance to the playing field, a view of the stadium’s panorama, and visits to the Real players’ locker room and the president’s loge. The tour also includes a room devoted to the history of the club and an exhibition of trophies. Entrance costs about 20 euros.

CHOCOLATERIA DE SAN GINES

Every visit to a new place must have something pleasing to the eye, something for the body and of course something for the palate. Regarding the quality of flavours, all of Spain is full of outstanding restaurants, tapas bars and small cafes. Madrid is no different. Due to lack of space in this article, we recommend only Chocolateria de San Gines, a place, as the name indicates, devoted to chocolate and located close to the popular Calle Arenal. This place is famous for serving Churros, of course accompanied with hot chocolate. In its over 130-year history, it has created a brand that is present in Tokyo, Shanghai and Bogota. The popularity of this place attracts many famous people from the world of art, culture, show business and politics, which has been immortalized in black-and-white photographs hanging on the walls. The chocolate cafe is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

TABLAOS DE FLAMENCO

Something for the body? It's impossible not to associate Spain with Flamenco and performances of this wonderful dance. There are so many Tablaos de Flamenco to choose from - how can one decide where to go? We recommend Corral de la Moreria due to the amazing experience and artistry of the dancers who perform here as well as the wonderful cuisine combining classic dishes with a hint of modernity. Though it's not the cheapest attraction, since entrance alone costs nearly 50 euro and the tasting menu another 80 euro, the sheer fact that the place has been visited by such celebrities as Muhammad Ali, Ronald Reagan, Samuel L. Jackson and Sarah Jessica Parker, and has gained the title of "1000 places to see before you die” by The New York Times, makes the place impossible to miss.

Tags: Spain