Explore Madrid - Viva España
Madrid has a unique flair, typical Spanish architecture, and is definitely worth a visit. See the stunning Royal Palace, check out the Bernabéu Stadium of the top Spanish football club Real Madrid, or wander through the old town—Madrid is peppered with fascinating sights and beautiful squares.
The Spanish capital has experienced a lot in its long history. This is where the past and present of different cultures, religions, and worldviews meet. You can still feel the Moorish influence in the architectural style, in the cuisine and in the mentality of the people and the citizens of Madrid are proud of the city's character. If you're going to take a trip to Spain, this is definitely the place to start. Those looking to do a multi-stop European vacation may want to check out our pages on city trips, and particularly Barcelona, a must-see on a Spanish vacation.
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For Spaniards, a night out starts much later than for Americans. It's practically unheard of to arrive at the club before 11pm during the week. On the weekend, the parties only really start at midnight. Additionally, the nightlife in Madrid is different from other big cities, as many people will start their night hanging out out on the street. In neighborhoods like Huertas, you will see tons of people on the streets every night, mingling and enjoying the fresh night air. By the time the weekend rolls around, it becomes downright crowded.
Those who want to live like a true Madrileño will start in a tapas bar. One of the best choices is La Mancha en Madrid, which has a large selection of small snacks, as well as a refined if somewhat peculiar atmosphere. Many Spaniards will start their evening here with two or three draft beers and a mix of tapas to prepare for the night. For the younger set, there is the popular bar "Los Gabrieles", perhaps most famous for its disreputable past as a brothel. Today, the only remnants of its former purpose are the tiles in the interior with representations of Bacchus.
If you want something more chic and stylish, head to the Viva Madrid, a trendy bar with glittering tiles.
By 11pm, its time to leave the tapas bars and make your way towards the clubs. One of the most recommended clubs is Pacha, a club that specializes mainly in heavy techno music and is popular with the locals.
If you want to mingle with Madrid's high society, the Palacio de Gabiria is an excellent choice. This club, which is frequented by many tourists as well as local celebrities, offers a variety of music and an excellent atmosphere. Another good club is Gabanas, where you can rub shoulders with national and international celebrities. If you can afford the steep prices, you're sure to have an unforgettable evening.
If you want to celebrate in a big group, you should leave the parties in the street behind and venture into the "factory". This large-scale disco offers space for 5,000 party-happy people, and is almost always full, at least on the weekend. A powerful sound system, fog machines, and excellent DJs make this an amazing party atmosphere.
If you want to end the night properly, you should try to rock up to Chocolatéria San Ginés between 6 and 7 in the morning. Locals gather here for a serving of "chocolate con churros", which is hot chocolate with cinammon and sugar pastries for dipping. After that, it's time to get your beauty sleep for the night to come!
What are the must-do activities in Madrid?
Madrid offers a variety of activities and attractions. Here are some top picks:
- Free entry to these museum: The Reina Sofia and the Prado museums offer free admission at specific times.
- The Prado: Monday - Fridays from 6pm - 8pm and Sundays from 5pm - 7pm
- The Reina Sofia: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm - 9pm and Sundays from 1:30pm - 7pm.
- The Royal Palace: The official residence of the Spanish Royal Family not only looks stunning but is also open to visitors. Unfortunately, you will not get to meet the royal family, as they actually live in the Palacio de la Zarzuela, but every Wednesday you can enter free of charge.
- Mercado de San Miguel: In this covered market hall, you can experience the culinary diversity of Spain.
- Parque El Retiro: Perfect for a walk amongst the greenery or a coffee on the lake, where you can go on a leisurely boat ride.
- Santiago Bernabéu: From just €18 you can visit the sanctuary of all Real Madrid fans. The tour leads you through the VIP area, the press area, the cabin section, and even the benches and the pitch.
- Casa de Campo: If you have a few spare hours, you should enjoy this park in peace. The huge park offers everything from green areas and a lake to an amusement park and a zoo.