Madrid City Guide

Madrid is Spain's largest city and the capital of the country. It is located right at the heart of the peninsula, and has a population of more than three million people. It is the headquarters of the Spanish Government, Parliament and the home of Spain's Royal Family. Madrid is also the business center, with major banking and industrial sectors. Aside from that, Madrid is also culturally and historically rich, with intense artistic activity and night life. Madrid's origins can be traced back to the early A.D.s, during the time of the Arab Emir Mohamed I, responsible for spearheading the construction of a fortress on the west banks of the Manznares River. The city later became a major subject of dispute between the Muslims and the Christians until Alonso VI conquered the place in the 11th century. Huge walls and grand architecture were being constructed over the centuries, which now become reminders of the former glory of Madrid and the vast political power it holds over Europe centuries ago. Getting in and around the city To get to Madrid, you can travel by plane. The nearest airport is the Barajas International Airport, some 15 to 20 minutes from the city. There are several trains that go in and out Madrid, from destinations like Barcelona, Paris, Portugal, Switzerland and Italy. It can also take you to other cities of Spain such as Sevilla, Valencia and Barcelona. Madrid also has eight huge inter-city and international bus stations. Most of the international buses depart and arrive at the Estacion Sur de Autobuses, which is also connected to the rest of the city. Buses to and from Bilbao and Barcelona are located at the Avenida de America Bus Terminal, also connected to the rest of the city. Unlike other European cities, Madrid has fewer taxis to go around, and they can be short especially during party nights or rainy days. Wave your hand to hail a taxi. Make sure that the taxi is available, which you'll know if they have a green 'libre' (free) sign and a green light on top of the taxi. Hotel & Accommodations From the very cheap to the very expensive, Madrid offers hotels for the different types of travelers and their budgets. Your choice of hotel is dependent on your motives for your Madrid trip: are you in Madrid for business reasons? Honeymoon? Shopping? Or do you simply want rest and relaxation? Hotels, hostels, and accommodations are practically located all over the city. Just be sure to pick a hotel that is near to many tourist spots, museums, sites, etc. Try busy districts like the Plaza Mayor, Huertas and Puerta del Sol. If you're here to party, Chueca is a good place, for it is really quiet by day, and active by night. If you prefer luxury and opulence, there is of course the Hotel Ritz and the Westin Palance. For something that's more modern and chic, you can stay at the new Hotel Urban located in Puerta del Sol. Madrid Climate For most of the year, Madrid is pleasantly warm, averaging about 20 to 32 degrees Celsius. Towards August, the temperature can get very hot, even during evenings. September and October are also warm months, with an average temperature of 20 degrees Celsius. These months are a most agreeable time to visit Madrid. Madrid weather is predominantly dry, but rain comes from time to time especially during the winter season. There is noticeable temperature drop during the winter season, averaging about 9 to 12 degrees Celsius on November and December.