Spain's buzzing capital
Camping in Madrid
There is a noticeable shortage of good caravan sites in Madrid and the central regions of Spain, but there are a couple here and there. El Escorial is very large site, where there are 1,358 individual pitches of which about 600 are for touring, with the remainder used for permanent or seasonal units. There are another 250 spaces for tourists on open fields nearby, which include good shade from mature trees, but rather long cables may be necessary for the use of electricity. Most people who visit Madrid tend to stay in Hotels or hotelas though. Camping holidays in Madrid are a possibility but aren’t seen as that fashionable.
City Breaks in Madrid
Why not get acquire an authentic taste for old Spain on a city break to Madrid? Amongst the finery of the grand squares and palaces in the Centro, Sol and Austrias areas of this spectacular city you will be in heaven. Or be close to the party nightlife in Huertas' trendy streets and for a more exclusive but pricier city break in Madrid, choose the upmarket Salamanca or Retiro districts. Gay people head for the vibrant and stylish Chueca area and for the younger visitors and locals, Malasaña is the best bet. You can explore a variety of art galleries, from the Prado Museum to Reina Sofia Art Museum, which are a must for Madrid short breaks, as are the cool cafes of Sol, where visitors can while away the time watching the world go by.
Beach in Madrid
Madrid is in the centre of the country and obviously has no beaches itself but it is possible to enjoy a day trip to beaches just a short travelling distance away. Alicante has beautiful beaches edged with palm trees and clear blue seas, perfect for a relaxing break from the mayhem of Madrid. From Madrid to Alicante, you can take a train which will take about 3.5 hours and if you drive you should be there in about four hours, using the mostly 2-line national road N330.
For a beach holiday in Madrid, Barcelona is eight hours away by train, but you can catch shuttle flights inside Spain and the flight from Madrid to Barcelona is about 1.5 hours. Malaga is another stunning Spanish beach destination and is 552 kms / 344 miles away from Madrid. Again, the train is probably the best bet. It is possible to enjoy a beach holiday to Madrid – you will just have to travel a little farther away!
Backpacking in Madrid
It is easy to be confused as to the differences between a hostel and a hostal. A hostel in Madrid is a youth hostel, which is otherwise known as an Albergue Juvenile. Youth hostels have shared sleeping dormitories and sometimes a couple of family or group rooms for rent also. They are one of the cheapest forms of accommodation on a backpacking holiday in Madrid, and a bed will cost you about 15 euros a night. They are a great place to meet other travellers and students, and a good place in which to gain information about what’s going on in the city from other residents.
Corporate Weekend in Madrid
If you are going on a corporate weekend to Madrid on business you may find that a hotel near the airport is most suitable. There are many hotels in that area, which are geared up for business travellers, and have conference suites and internet access. Otherwise you can book a comfy hotel in any of the other areas if you are on a corporate weekend in Madrid and for the more sumptuous stay you will be looking at a hotel room for around 100 euros, which is 5 stars, but for a 3 star hotel prices begin at 75 euros.
Culture and Arts in Madrid
The parks and flower-filled gardens around Madrid are some of the finest in Europe, providing relaxing getaways for those wishing for a little tranquillity away from the busy streets. If you are looking for a culture and arts holiday in Madrid then the museums are wonderful places to visit and cover a wide range of topics, from art to technology.
There are three superb art museums - the Prado, which houses one of the finest art collections in the world; the Queen Sofía Museum of modern art; and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, placed in the renovated Villahermosa Palace. For years Madrid has been known worldwide as a city of arts and culture, with many theatres and events, such as the stunning Teatro Real (Royal Opera House) which stage's performances by the world's leading opera and ballet companies. A culture and arts holiday in Madrid will definitely leave you wanting more.
Cycling Activity Holiday in Madrid
Many people whizz around the city on motos (mopeds), but little has been done to assist cyclists in Madrid and bike lanes are almost non-existent, and the roads are tricky, so ensure that you are a confident cyclist.You can transport your bicycle on the metro from 10am to 12.30pm and after 9pm Mondays to Fridays and all day on weekends and holidays. You can also take your bike aboard cercanías (local trains serving big cities, suburbs and nearby towns) from 10am onwards Monday to Friday and all day at the weekend. The tourist office’s programme of tours also includes cycling excursions in Madrid and there are plenty of places that hire out bicycles to visitors.
Disabled Needs in Madrid
To be honest, the city in general is not great for disabled access, but the situation is getting much, much better. The good news is that most tourist attractions now have disabled access and wheelchair rental. The Madrid EMT bus service does cater to disabled people, but do be aware that to stop the bus you have to flag it down.
If you are planning to travel on the bus and you have a wheelchair, be prepared for the buses to be full, so don’t fret; if you can’t get on the first one, another bus will always be along within 15 minutes. Generally if you call any taxi company and ask for a ‘eurotaxi’ you should be sent one adapted for wheelchair users. Many hotels do have ramps for wheelchair users and other facilities which are important for a successful holiday for disabled people but do make sure that you do your research and ask questions up-front.
Family Holiday in Madrid
Take an exhilarating trip on the Teleférico, a cable car that takes you from Paseo del Pintor Rosales, (Metro Argüelles or Moncloa), to the Casa de Campo, where you will also find Parque de Atracciones, the city’s main amusement park, which is always a highlight of a family holiday in Madrid. The weekend flea market, El Rastro is disorganised looking but fantastic and full of character, but do keep a close eye on your children though, as it so packed and rather shambolic – although really marvellous fun!
If you are a family that appreciates the finer things of life then go to the Prado; Madrid’s premiere tourist site and one of the most important art collections in the world. Often loud and eccentric, a family holiday in Madrid is an awesome choice, especially as the Spanish take their kids out with them at night and that dinner often starts at 10pm.
Gay and Lesbian in Madrid
Madrid's gay scene is centred around the old quarter of Chueca (pronounced Choo-aye-ka), which is in the old quarter at the centre of Madrid and exudes stylishness and hedonism.
Most people tend to get ready for a night on the town and head to dinner at 10 or 11pm, and then hit the bars around 1am, followed by some serious clubbing around 3am in one of the fantastic gay venues. If you are big on partying it is wise to sleep all day so you are fresh and raring to go for the night-time, when the city really comes to life. It's a tightly compact and usually very busy area and is not for the shy as pretty much anything goes here. Places further away are easily accessible by the highly efficient Metro and you will find that all Spaniards tend to party late, so wherever you go you won&rsquo;t be at a loss for something to keep your interest.
Hen Destination in Madrid
The Spanish capital is a cosmopolitan city, world renowned for its architecture, fashion and high profile sporting events – and as the nightlife proves it was built for a hen party destination.
A hen do in Madrid will provide you with everything you would expect from this sophisticated European capital; shop until you drop in the swanky designer stores that Victoria Beckham has frequented, relax in true Spanish style at one of the many coffee shops and party the night away in one of the buzzing bars and clubs which never seem to close. The crazy night life will ensure that your hen party in Madrid will be full of unforgettable fun and great memories.
Honeymoon in Madrid
Should you fancy spending your honeymoon in Madrid, it may interest you to know here are lots of brand new and rather sophisticated hotels springing up in the area of Las Huertas, near to the Plaza Santa Ana. This area has an interesting history and some beautiful old buildings that are undergoing impressive renovations.
It is blissfully peaceful during the day, and brimming with life at night, so it is a perfect place in which to enjoy a honeymoon in Madrid. This is also an excellent central location, ideally located for trains, buses and excursions should you want to take in the history and beauty of this romantic city.
Golf Activity Holiday in Madrid
There are around 20 golf courses in and around the Madrid area and if not smack bang in the city they are a fairly short drive away. Some of the clubs are members only and have a strict code which you will have to follow if you are invited by a guest, but there are plenty of clubs in which to enjoy a round or two, where invites aren’t necessary. There are several tour companies who run golfing holidays for groups or corporate jaunts and most seem to start at the £300 mark for a weeks golfing in Madrid.
If you are a complete beginner or a consummate professional there is something to suit all. Although not well known, a golfing holiday in Madrid is a great plan as the courses here are wonderful, as is the weather.
Hiking Activity Holiday in Madrid
To the north of Madrid is the Sierra de Guadarrama (sierra is a mountain range) which is almost 2.500 meters (8.200 ft) at its highest point. The Sierra is a Mecca for walkers, hikers and climbers, with lots of marked routes offering varying challenges and terrain should you want to enjoy a walking holiday in Madrid. Helpful information and maps can be bought at many of the map shops in the city and are all clear and easily understandable and show some great routes for hiking in Madrid. A special branch of the Cercanías trains (line number C9) goes to a few of the mountain villages, travelling from Cercedilla to Cotos. Many of the stops along the way are ideal places from which to get off and to begin a day's hiking in gorgeous surroundings.
Skiing - Snow Boarding in Madrid
In winter, when there is enough snow, skiing is possible at the resorts of Cotos, Navacerrada and Valdesquí, although their closeness to Madrid makes them very crowded, especially at weekends. A day trip or excursion is advisable.
Party Holiday - Singles Life in Madrid
Spain's artistic and cultural centre by day, Madrid becomes singles party central by night. It has earned the tag of ‘the city that never sleeps’ because there are few places in Europe where you'll find large crowds socialising in the bars and clubs until well after 4am every night of the week. It is highly usual for Madrileños to sit down for dinner at 10pm and after a leisurely meal the night time fun begins in the bars or clubs dotted all over the place. There are fiestas, flamenco shows, music bars, clubs, gay joints, student hang-outs and you can also find every type of music in Madrid.
Many major artists play here, and there are hundreds of venues that list flamenco, jazz, rock, pop, DJ’s and live concerts. The centre of Madrid is full of flamenco shows that are held at venues called ‘Tablaos’ and often they advertise the vibrant shows on sandwich boards outside. Singles party nightlife really rocks in Madrid!
Shopping Holiday in Madrid
El Corte Inglés is Spain's best known chain of department stores, and they are so big they could almost be counted as districts of their own - plus they sell anything. Many try and shop in the independent and smaller shops, as they are more interesting and El Corte Inglés is renowned for its convenience. Ortega y Gasset is the classy district, where the likes of Victoria Beckham and the other footballers' wives go shopping in Madrid. Not far away, you'll find ABC Serrano, a three floor shopping mall with some of Europe's most expensive clothing outlets, so be prepared for some big price labels.
For cheaper shopping head to the fantastic and charming weekend flea market, El Rastro. It is even better for people watching and bargain hunting. All in all, a shopping holiday in Madrid isn't really for those on a tight budget but there are bargains to be had in the markets and chain department stores - as well as women's clothes shops like Mango.
Well-being and Spa in Madrid
There are many spa retreat hotels in Madrid and a number of Spa & Wellness Centres, with Turkish baths, dry saunas, indoor heated swimming pools, spa circuits with pools, spa therapy, facials, Shiatsu massages, beauty cabins, anti-stress massage services and gymnasiums with fitness centres, amongst other treatments. If it is a holistic holiday that you require then many of the plusher hotels in Madrid will offer varied treatments and massage, and you can also find a number of specialised spa retreats in Madrid, where relaxation and bodily and spiritual regeneration are the goal.
Stag Destination in Madrid
High on the lists of people arranging a European stag do, Madrid is not only the home of Real Madrid but is undoubtedly one of the most stylish and vibrant cities in which to celebrate. The locals are renowned for their warm hospitality and the nightlife is buzzing.
There are a number of tour operators who arrange stag weekends in Madrid, which means that everything is laid on for you and all you have to think about is having a blast.
Quad Biking across miles of extreme terrain are just one of the activities you can enjoy during the day and you could even take an exhilarating trip on the Teleférico, a cable car that takes you from Paseo del Pintor Rosales, (Metro Argüelles or Moncloa), to the Casa de Campo, where you will also find Parque de Atracciones, the city's main amusement park. At night things don't get going until after 10pm every night of the week and clubs are open until dawn, so your stag weekend in Madrid will be a non-stop party!
Wine Tasting Holiday in Madrid
In recent times the Spanish wine industry has really come onto the world scene with a whole new range of wine styles which have adapted to market demands and an enormous improvement in quality. No longer is Spain a producer of what people refer to as ‘cheap plonk’ but is now a serious producer of quality European wines. The Rioja of northern Spain and the Cava of Catalonia are the best known wines, but the rich red Ribera del Duero is making its mark too. Spain hasn't yet reached its enormous potential in terms of wine tourism however, with only a tiny amount of small businesses offering quality wine tours in Madrid. Hopefully that will soon change.