Madrid, a good compromise between culture and relaxation

Famous for its soccer team, Madrid also has high tourist appeal. It is often overshadowed by Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, however Madrid has changed considerably over the past years and is open to tourism. With more than 3 million inhabitants, it is the most populated city in Spain. It is also the cultural capital with a large number of museums and historical buildings.
Come spend a day, a week-end or a week, and experience Madrid's atmosphere. Sun, tapas and walks: the program is already designed for your well-being. Or perhaps you prefer to take advantage of Madrid's night life.
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Culture in Madrid

If you only have a few days to visit Madrid, here is a non-exhaustive list of must-see places and monuments:

Puerta del Sol: emblematic place in Madrid, it is the heart of the city. It is the starting point for all roads in Spain and today is the place for many popular meetings and gatherings.

Royal Theater and Palacio Real: The Teatro Real is one of Europe's finest opera houses with incomparable acoustics. A little further, when you cross the plaza de Oriente, you will see the Palacio Real de Madrid, the official residence of the king of Spain which overlooks the Sabatini Gardens.

The Nuestra Señora de la Almudena cathedral: Next to the royal palace is the Almudena cathedral which was finished in 1984. It is the most recent religious building in the capital. It has the particularity of being built in three different styles. The façade is neoclassical, the interior is neo-gothic and the crypt is in the neo-roman style.

Place Mayor: like the Puerta del Sol, the Plaza Mayor is one of the hearts of life in Madrid.

Arco de Cuchilleros: Arco de Cuchilleros is a very famous passage that links the Plaza Mayor with the cava de San Miguel.

Parc du Retiro: for some greenery, stop in the Retiro Park. It extends more than 250 acres. You can see the Palacio de Cristal and walk among the statues that represent the rulers of the Spanish kingdom.

If you have time, take a trip to Aranjuez, a city that is on UNESCO's World Heritage list. You can visit the magnificent royal palace.

Madrid and its museums

Madrid has many museums, some of which welcome millions of visitors each year. In particular, the Prado Museum, is one of the largest buildings to exhibit paintings. You will discover many European painters from collections belonging to the Hapsburgs and the Bourbons.

There are free expositions at the CaixaForum. The Museo Centro de Arte Reina presents Spanish works from the 20th century. You can see Guernica by Picasso as well as works by Buñuel, Dalí and Miró.
Finally, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza houses a large collection of paintings from the 16th to the 18th century.

Life in Madrid

Madrid is a very animated city. There are many places for dining, going out and for entertainment. Some of the essential spots are the Place de Santa Ana for its restaurants and Huertas street for its night life. The La Latina quarter is also perfect for cocktails and a few tapas. As for shopping, you can easily find souvenirs in the city center.
Finally, if you love musicals, don't miss the Gran Via, Madrid's Broadway.

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