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.