Home to more than three million residents, Madrid is the capital of Spain and the third-largest city in the European Union in terms of population. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Madrid is also an extremely popular tourist destination that is visited by hundreds of thousands each year.
Spain’s capital is served by Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD). The airport is very well connected and there are plenty of carriers offering flights to and from Madrid. Popular carriers include British Airways Iberia. In addition, there are a number of budget airlines which offer cheap flights to Madrid such as BMI, Ryan Air and EasyJet.
Flight prices are their highest during the summer months, so if you are looking to save money on your flights, you are best off opting for shoulder seasons. Madrid is particularly nice in the early autumn as it less crowded but the weather is still pleasant. On average, a direct flight from London to Madrid will take just under 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Things to Do in Madrid
During the spring and summer months, Buen Retiro Park is a stunning example of the natural beauty that Spain has to offer. It was originally used solely for the monarchy until the nineteenth century although its history can be traced as far back as 1620. Now, tourists can enjoy countless statues, fountains, “ramblas” (footpaths) and a large glass enclosure known as The Crystal Palace.
The Plaza Mayor (main plaza) is perhaps the most well-known urban attraction within Madrid. It was constructed in the late sixteenth century and it offers a colourful history that spans from the dark days of the Spanish Inquisition into modern times that offer numerous outdoor festivals and concerts. The surrounding architecture is quite beautiful and a bronze statue of King Philip III can be found at its centre; affording some wonderful photographic opportunities.
Not far from this central district lies an area known as Plaza de Cibeles. This a neoclassical complex that is viewed by many to be a prominent symbol of Madrid. Some of the major attractions include the Cybele Fountain (named after the Roman goddess Cybil) and Cybele Palace. This plaza is particularly notable during Christmas when millions of displays are erected and street vendors abound. Be certain to set aside at least a few hours to experience all that this location has to offer.
The Royal Basilica of San Fransisco el Grande is another sight within the city centre that is not to be missed. This is actually the largest cathedral in Madrid and was designed in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Beautiful frescoes adorn the arched ceilings and paintings by the famous artist Fracisco Goya can be found within. With a dome of no less than fifty-eight metres in height, this church is ideal for anyone who appreciates the impressive architecture of antiquity. Public masses are also held here on a regular basis.
These four sights are considered a handful of the must-see attractions within Madrid. As this city can be enjoyed during any time throughout the year, it is easy to appreciate why so many tourists will choose its confines as their holiday destination.