"Europe's Third Largest Metropolis" Madrid by gilescorey

Madrid Travel Guide: 5,384 reviews and 10,937 photos

"It'll be a great city, when it's done"

I first heard the above statement in reference to New York and it's seemingly endless blocks of scaffolding. But, it certainly pertains to the bustling, war zone that Madrid has become. Most of the "projects" were preemptive efforts to win the Olympic bid which went to Rio. And, the city is indeed a torn up headache, at present.

While there, the morning news had a correspondent dressed in WWII-era fatigues, helmet and all, leaping over sand piles among sound effects and commanding passing Madrileños to "get down, get down"!!!

A hilarious, satirical commentary.

But, construction and reconstruction aside, Madrid is a great city. It has the imperialistic architecture and broad boulevards of an Iberian Paris, the sun-baked alleys of a North African ghetto, and the requisite overly-aggressive prostitutes that make Spanish cities so colorful.

Madrid is big, bustling, broad, brutish and hard to define. Barcelonans claim Madrid has an inferiority complex to their port city, but if so, I didn't see it. In fact, I am a Barcelonan, now - and our gorgeous Gothic city is losing it's progressive edge to the Capital - and I'm not the first to say it.


Madrid is a "hot" Euro capital. No doubt about it. But, the city still retains much of it's gritty past. Parts of the central city look downright 70's - like a handheld, grainy Cassavetes film rattling out of an old theatre. In the well-trodden, tourist-filled world of Western Europe, it's refreshing and fascinating, giving the passerby a glimpse into a recent past that is quickly being buried.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:progressive, energetic, diverse, great restaurants
  • Cons:non-stop construction, HOT summers, Barajas Airport
  • In a nutshell:A world city on the rise. Difficult to grasp, but worth the effort
  • Last visit to Madrid: Sep 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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  • Jan 13, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    sun-baked alleys of a North African ghetto and overly-aggressive prostitutes? That' more like Ciutat Vella,etc and Las Ramblas in Barcelona...


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