Mad about Madrid
With 3.2 million inhabitants, Madrid is the capital and largest city in Spain. Madrid lies on the River Manzanares in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political, economic and cultural centre of the country.
With over 6 million visitors a year, Madrid is the most visited city of Spain and there are plenty of reasons why!
Madrid is generally a warm city, with 6 months of the year being above 15°C. The hottest month is July, with an average temperature of 25°C, and the coldest is January with averages of 6°C. Avoid visiting in the months of April, November and December if you’re looking to avoid the rain!
Top 5 Landmarks
1. The Palacio Real
The Palacio Real, or Royal Palace, is Madrid’s largest building and possibly its most beautiful. It is located next to the equally beautiful Plaza de Oriente square. Built in 1764, it is home too over 2,500 ornately decorated rooms. Open most of the year to visitors, you’re able to see paintings, sculptures, tapestries and antiques. It’s the largest royal palace in western Europe and if you’re visiting, should not be missed!
2. Retiro Park
Madrid’s green heart and full of elegant gardens, the Retiro is just a few steps east from the Prado and was a royal property up to the end of the 19th century when it was opened to the public. With a boating lake, cafés and exhibition venues, it is particularly popular with locals on Sunday mornings.
3. Debod Temple
The Temple of Debod is one of the most unusual sights in Parque del Oeste. More than 2,000 years old, this Egyptian temple was given to Spain in thanks after Spanish archaeologists helped save Abu Simbel from flooding when the Aswan Dam was built. The four-thousand-year-old building is etched with bas-reliefs depicting the gods Ammon and Isis.
4. Prado Museum
The Museo del Prado is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Madrid. The 18th century structure designed by architect Juan de Villanueva houses one of the world’s finest art collections. The Prado displays superb works by Spanish masters such as Velázquez, El Greco and Goya.
5. Reina Sofía Museum
Originally built as a hospital, the museum was expanded in 2005 with a structure designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. Only a fraction of the museum’s collection of 20,000 works of 20th-century art is on display, although about a third can now be viewed on its website. Pablo Picasso’s great masterpiece Guernica draws the biggest crowds to this incredible museum.
5 Facts you didn’t know about Madrid:
1. Madrid is the highest capital city in Europe, 650 Meters above sea level.
2. Madrid has been the capital since the 17th century.
3. According to Fifa, Real Madrid FC is the worlds most successful football club of the 20th century.
4. Madrid was founded around the year 860 A.C.
5. Madrid gets its name from the Arabic ‘magerit’, which means ‘place of many streams.’