Madrid is without doubt Spain’s art and culture capital and the Prado is the jewel in its crown. Here you’ll find more than 7000 works, although only about half that amount is on display at any one time. Even if you don’t know that much about the Spanish masters you will be wowed by the extensive coverage of the heavy hitters including Goya, El Greco and Velazquez and the sheer size of this place is sure to take your breath away.
Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
Europe’s top modern Spanish art museum, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia is a pleasure to visit. Housed in a the remains of an 18th Century hospital you can catch the glass elevator up to the top floor for a breathtaking view of the city before you start ogling the art. Once inside you’ll find examples of Spain’s top modernist artists including Picasso’s Guernica, a moving condemnation of the horrors of war. Don’t miss the works by Dali, May Ray and Miro too
Shop till you drop
From leather shoes and handbags to designer duds, Madrid’s effortless cool means it’s a great place to pick up a bargain or nab a quirky one-off. Head to Chueca for edgy fashion or Salamanca if the glitzy designer stuff is more your bag. Even in the centre of town around Centro and Sol you’ll find cool shops selling original fun stuff. Madrid is also the place to shop if you’re a fan of Zara or Camper – both Spanish brands which are significantly cheaper if you buy them on home turf.
Madrilenos boast they’ve got the best night life in Europe and, quite frankly, who are we to argue. Whether it’s a lively drink in the afternoon sun or a full blown night on the club floor, there is something crazy waiting for everyone, regardless of tastes, in Madrid. The locals go out late and you should too while visiting their fair city. Don’t even think about dinner until about 10pm, but be aware that a lot of kitchens will stop serving about midnight or 1am. Madrid is perhaps the best city on earth to go for a tapas crawl – a form of eating where you move from bar to bar and eat and drink small portions along the way.