The massive Spanish capital and the most central metropolis in the country, Madrid is an enticing travel destination for those like their cities too creative and adventurous to be typecast. As smooth and sophisticated as an old-school Humphrey Bogart, Madrid is a long-defining cultural center of Spain that includes iconic landmarks like the Puerta del Sol, the world renowned Prado Museum, the official Palacio Real, and the Plaza Mayor. Now, if only Mr. Bogart's films had included dancing in flamenco tablaos, tapas binges in Cava Baja, or a meal in the world's oldest restaurant (here's looking at you, Botin).
Madrid has long kept its international allure as other cities have gained and lost their cosmopolitan reputations. The neighborhoods at the heart of the city (Centro, La Latina, Salamanca, etc.) have maintained their grand boulevards, intimate flamenco performances, bustling squares, crammed tapas bars, decadent palaces, and all of the people who flock to see such things. Have we mentioned the culturally relevant bullfights of the Plaza de Toros or the El Classico dogfights had by the Real Madrid football team? It's well worth browsing our culture and cuisine pages for a less-than-literal taste of Madrid's place as Spain's representative city and a quite literal taste of the aforementioned tapas or Spanish favorite paella.
Lest we get too caught up in the flowing fountains and stately structures of Madrid, let us remind you that its geographical setting allows for proximity to plenty of the country's most intriguing adventures. You could feasibly feast on many national and natural parks, from the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountains to the Iberian forests of Cabañeros, or just stroll through the many parks within the city limits (Parque del Retiro, Casa de Campo, Parque el Capricho). There are plenty of hikes to be had near this land-locked city, while skydivers can head to nearby Lillo, climbers can scale the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains, kayakers may dart through the gorges of the Arribes del Duero, and adventurers of all sorts will have experiences to match the culture that thrives within this metropolis of 6.5 million.
If it hasn't been made plain quite yet, Madrid is the Humphrey Bogart of international cities. And of all the gin joints in town, you may as well walk into this one. It's got heart, energy, and a whole lot of history. Just ask those who've been there or take a look through our activity listings.