Barcelona may have the reputation as the capital of cool, but Madrid has plenty for travellers to “ooh” and “aah” at. Every year, millions of tourists take cheap flights to Madrid to gawp at the magnificent, treasure-stuffed Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia galleries.
The streets of Madrid, Spain’s capital and largest city, are almost open-air museums so stately and grand are the public buildings. King Philip II set up his court in Madrid in 1561 and he and later kings added grander and grander palaces, cathedrals and monuments.
Madrid is one of Europe’s greenest cities; there are more than 40 parks. The Retiro is Madrid’s best known. Other popular parks are the Casa de Campo and Parque Quinta de la Fuente del Berro.
As for food, the cuisine offers the best of Spain’s regional dishes. The stews, hotpots, and most famously, tapas, provide the fuel for long, raucous nights. Madrilenos head out late and stay out even later. A Friday night out in Madrid may only end with a late breakfast on Saturday or later.
Madrid’s climate is temperate Mediterranean. The summer months, when most travellers take cheap flights to Madrid, are very hot with temperatures of about 30 degrees Celsius. Sometimes, temperatures soar to 40 degrees. It’s a dry heat; humidity is not a problem in Madrid. Winters are cold; average temperatures hit the 9-degree mark.
May to September is high season, when most travellers arrive on cheap flights to Madrid.
The winter months are, in general, low season.
The spring and autumn months are good times to seek cheap flights to Madrid. There won’t be as many fellow tourists and the cost of flights and accommodation will be cheaper.
Walking: you could see most of Madrid’s must-see monuments in about two hours, but if you get tired, the metro (underground) is clean, fast and cheap. The bus system is great too – day buses run from 6am-1.30am and night buses (buhos) run from 11.30pm to 5.30am.
Taxis are white with a red stripe. Flag them down on the street, pick one up at a taxi rank or order them by telephone.