Madrid is not as large as it might seem—especially the central districts. Right in the middle of the city lies the Puerta del Sol, a traffic nexus that is the point from which all distances are measured. Also, the house numbering on every street starts at the end nearest the Sol. West and south of the Sol, are the oldest areas of the city, Los Austrias, which contain the royal palace (Palacio Real) and the historic and well-trodden square, Plaza Mayor.
The triangular area to the east and south of the Sol—with the Plaza de Cibeles, Atocha Station and the Sol at its corners—is one of the liveliest districts in Madrid, containing countless bars and restaurants. This is also where the three big museums stand in a row, and beyond them, the largest park in central Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro.
Directly south of the Sol is Lavapiés: formerly a working class area, but now the most ethnically interesting part of the city thanks to a significant influx of immigrants from Africa and Asia.
North of the Puerta del Sol and the parade avenue of Gran Vía are the Malasaña and Chueca districts. The former is an old residential area that has been cleaned up in the last twenty years, whilst remaining one of the city’s most relaxed bar districts. The latter has also undergone a rebirth: today it is Madrid’s hippest quarter, a centre for a culture of clubbing, restaurants and clothing shops. Originally a gay district, it is now best described as broad-minded.
Real Madrid is a professional football club based at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid. Real Madrid is considered one of the best football clubs in the world, and they have won an impressive number of titles, both in Spain and abroad. Santiago Bernabeu stadium was inaugurated in 1947 and has a capacity of more than 85,000 spectators. Three times the European Cup final has been held here.
Madrid is a city renowned all over the world for its excellent Flamenco performances, and the popular dance can be seen in several taverns and bars around the city. Enjoy a three course meal and after dinner, take in a magical show. Flamenco is not only a dance, but also the music to which the dance is performed. It originated in Andalusia and is known mostly for songs accompanied by guitar and complex techniques of foot stomping and hand clapping and the use of castanets. The best place to go for a breathtaking exhibit of Flamenco is "Corral de la Moreria".
This is a very exclusive and chic nightclub, located on the ground floor of a prestigious hotel. This entails for example valet service and a VIP area that is usually filled with fashionable people. Don’t be surprised if you meet soccer players and super models here.
Good to know
Madrid’s metro system consists of 16 lines that serve both the city and its suburbs. The metro is also the most efficient way of getting around, and runs from 6am to 2am daily.
The EMT bus network is made up of about a hundred lines, including a useful “circle route” (the buses are marked with a C). Buses run from 6am to 11:30pm daily, with some night buses running later.
220 volt (125 volt in some older buildings)