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Madrid’s population dates back to prehistoric times, based on artefacts found along the Manzanares River. The city’s name Madrid is said to come from the Muslim Matrice, which refers to the water found in the region.
The city’s modern history began in the 10th century, when the Moors occupied a fort along the Manzanares River, from where they controlled the area until Alfonso VI conquered and changed the main mosque into the a Catholic church. Madrid’s first court was established in 1329, and Madrid was later handed over rule to Enrique of Tastamara.
During the 1500s, King Felipe II moved the imperial court to Madrid, and the population of the city increased dramatically. Much of Madrid’s city improvements such as gates, bridges, were built in the 18th century, as well as now-historic buildings like The Royal Palace, the Royal Theatre, the Ministry of Finance, the Natural Science Museum, and the Botanical Gardens.
The 19th century marked the War of Independence commemorating the battles against Emperor Napoleon’s rule. The French left the city after five years. Isabel II became the Queen until the revolt that eventually led to the Spanish Civil War.
Madrid maintained sovereignty from the Spanish Republic until Nationalist troops under Franco entered. Madrid became heavily industrialized, and Franco’s death resulted in the succession of a constitutional monarchy. Today, Madrid is a leader in culture, education, and industry on the peninsula.
As the autumn slowly approaches, there is no better way to kick back and relax than taking your holiday in Madrid.
A city with boundless energy and spirit, visitors can spend a day watching a live football game of Real Madrid, spend hours inside some of the most beautiful art galleries and museums in the world, and walk all around the city’s numerous parks and monuments.
Madrid is also known for its great nightlife of bars, restaurants, and legendary flamenco, so tourists will stay entertained through the wee hours. So what are you waiting for – hop on the next flight to Madrid today!
The most comfortable times to visit Madrid are in the spring and fall, when temperatures average 25Â°C. Summers can be hot and relentlessly sunny, and many days reach 30Â°C and higher in June, July and August. If you are looking for pleasant weather without the crowds, visit Madrid during Easter, when many residents head out of the city for holiday. The winter is the low season, when you will find shorter lines at the city's museums. From late November until February, temperatures can drop to 1 degree Celsius and rain is common around Madrid.
Instead of catching an early dinner and flamenco show, plan to stay out until after midnight, when the best acts perform.
Take a group of friends and head out for tapas on Sunday afternoons, and don't be afraid to have a few drinks.
Join the locals for food and cinema at Matadero Madrid, which used to be a slaughterhouse.
Spend a sunny afternoon wandering around Retiro Park, or rent a bicycle to explore the leafy paths.
Just outside the Prado Museum, you can lose yourself in the luscious flowers and plants of Madrid's Botanical Gardens.
One of the classiest hotels in all of Madrid, the ME Madrid Reina Victoria Hotel lies in the heart of the city, just blocks from the Prado Museum and Puerto de Sol square. Rooms are comfortable with patios, furniture with 100 thread-count linen, and bathrooms with all of the amenities. High Speed Internet is always available, and spa services provide ultimate relaxation.
For guests who are looking for a modern and stylish hotel, the 30-storey Eurostars Madrid Tower Hotel is the place to stay. Three large pillars support the building’s structure and create its unique shape. The 478 guest rooms have LCD televisions, big bathrooms, designer furniture, tapestries, and an incredible view of the city.
If you are interested in affordable yet comfortable lodging, be sure to check out the Alexandra Madrid Hotel for Madrid’s finest budget lodging. This hotel was built in the 20th century and has since been restored. It is located in the centre of the city just minutes from the Plaza Mayor and the Royal Palace. Rooms come standard with air conditioning, satellite television, and a nice bathroom.
Guests can get an antique feel in the former 18th century palace, Catalonia Las Cortes Hotel. This hotel is near the Plaza de las Cortes in the bohemian Las Letras neighbourhood. Located close to the main city attractions, the hotel also features original frescos paintings, free wireless Internet, and a restaurant.
Click here for more information about hotels in Madrid so that you can plan your perfect vacation.
Madrid is located in the central region of Spain and for this reason it can be accessed by various means of transportation. The Renfe train system is good for knowing places outside of Madrid as it is used often as a national form of transport to the south, north, east and west.
Madrid’s Barajas Airport is about 15 kilometres from the centre of the city. For this reason there are taxis services, chauffeur specialty vehicles, buses, car hire in Madrid, and metro. A good taxi service is Aerocity, but you may need to reserve in advance. Travellers looking for comfort and reliability can choose Aresmobile. Otherwise there is the 89 bus route that goes to the Plaza Colón, and the Terminal T2 has the Metro which runs every 5 minutes.
Once in the Madrid metro area there are several ways to get from point A to point B. The most common options are taxis, the underground, and buses.
The EMT bus network operates in the city. They operate within designated bus lanes and run almost 24 hours per day. Beware that it is necessary to flag the bus down. The price is 1 euro per ticket.
A single ticket for travel on the Metro is priced at €2 each. A 10-journey pass provides a discount. Trains arrive about every three minutes, but on weekends wait can be up to ten minutes. The Metro runs from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. and is open year round.
Guests looking to taste the finest Spanish and Portuguese cuisine in the most comfortable environment available should check out the Terraza del Casino (Alcalá, 15). This restaurant features spectacular views of the city. Some of chef Ferran Adrià's top dishes include Galician Hake, Creamed Asturian bean soup, and Cured Ham. Wine connoisseurs will enjoy the long lest of Spanish and French vinos.
Those wanting to taste Spanish and Portuguese flavours without having to spend a fortune should go to Casa Lucio (Calle Cava Baja, 35), a favourite hotspot for major players from Spanish royalty to Latin American film stars. The place has a comfortable vibe with antique accessories and cured hams hanging from the roof. The menu includes shrimp in garlic sauce, Hake with sauce, and roasted lamb.
Txirimiri (Humilladero, 6) is an incredible dining destination for budget travellers. Located in the Salamanca district of the city, this restaurant has great tapas and a generous Basque menu. Txirimiri is famous for its quiet and enjoyable atmosphere, along with its signature Pinchos and other plates such as the Grilled steaks.
For more general Mediterranean cuisine, check out Pan de Lujo (Jorge Juan, 20). The restaurant’s design is trendy and contemporary, with a glass wall opening to an illuminated reflecting pool. A great meal might include eggplant, olive oil, and hummus appetizers followed by a fish plate with grilled vegetables.
There are no necessary vaccinations for a trip to Madrid. Water is potable, however bottled water is recommended for babies.
Madrid’s health infrastructure is very good. It is recommended to have a European Health Insurance Card just in case.
In the case of an emergency, visitors should dial 112 for emergency rescue or 085 for the fire department. Some good clinics include the Ramon y Cajal Hospital in Madrid (91) 336 8000, the Princesa Hospital (91) 520 2200, and the Ciudad Sanitaria La Paz (91) 358 0851.
Unfortunately, criminal acts and assaults have increased in recent years around the city. There are certain neighbourhoods that tourists should try to avoid, such as the areas that surround Retiro Park, the Prado Museum, and Colon Square. Do not walk alone at night and do not walk around with flashy jewellery or electronic gadgets like MP3 players that might attract unwanted attention from strangers.
Do not accept any food or drinks from strangers that you meet in bars or restaurants, and do not walk around with too much cash on hand. It is recommended that you make photocopies of original travel documents like passports and credit cards in the case they become lost or are stolen.
Carry a mobile phone with some emergency numbers stored in the contacts in case of an incident. If assaulted, do not panic and do not resist.
The possession and consumption of drugs is illegal in Spain, and alcohol is only permitted for those older than 18. Prostitution is also outlawed.