"Real Madrid" Madrid by midnight_mike

Madrid Travel Guide: 5,417 reviews and 11,067 photos

Do not overlook this city

For being a metropolis, Madrid is a surprisingly easy city to navigate. This is due, in part, to its extensive subway system. In my opinion, it is faster and more efficient than its rivals in London, Paris and New York. Another reason Madrid is easy to manage is its design.

After the kingdoms of Spain united in the 15th century, there was a need for a new city to be built for this powerful empire. Plus, there was all that gold from Mexico and the rest of Latin America to pay for it.

Madrid's location in the center of Spain was no accident. People in cities such as Barcelona and Valencia gravitated toward regional loyalties. This is true even today, with the Basque areas of the northwest being the most obvious example. Madrid was suppose to be a symbol of impartiality.

Plenty of culture in Spain's capital

For those interested in Spanish culture, Madrid offers one of the best opportunities to see Spaniards being themselves. There is a large amount of tourism there, but it is easily absorbed by the vastness of the city. I mention this because a lot of Europeans capitals have become internationalised, losing long-held ethnic identities.

Spend at least two days

It would be hard to convince any visitor to Spain just to stay in Madrid. It seems like a great place for urban dwellers to live, but your "things to see" list will dwindle away after two or three days there. If you do have to change planes or trains in Madrid, you should spend at least a night or two there before traveling onward to Barcelona, Seville or Granada.

  • Last visit to Madrid: Jun 2005
  • Intro Updated Jun 11, 2006
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