Madrid isn’t just the largest city in Spain but this historic city is also the capital, and with its reputation as the countries political, economic and cultural centre it is no wonder that visitors flock here in their thousands.
Unashamedly lively, Madrid is a centre of excellence for all those that want a little more from their city break, grand historic buildings rub shoulders with some of the best nightlife in Europe, staying up for the party is an essential part of the experience and may call for more than the occasional siesta.
Madrid has an excellent choice of accommodation and can suit any budget, from cut price hostels to the very grandest of hotels all are represented in this great city; there are many mid priced hotels that offer comfort and a great base to see the glory of the city but for those with an unlimited budget there is the Hotel Orfila. This grand 19<sup>th</sup> century Palace has been converted to a hotel of the highest standard – situated in a beautiful residential area the hotel screams class at everyone that walks through the doors; not understated in the least but proudly opulent and loudly luxurious this hotel really is the place to stay.
Of course most people have a far more realistic budget and few hotels can match the location and the charm of the well priced Moderno Hotel, small enough to be friendly but not so small as to be overbearing this family run hotel has one of the best locations in the city right in the heart of the action on the Puerto del Sol Plaza – if you are in Madrid for the nightlife then this is the perfect hotel to enjoy all that the city has to offer.
The cosmopolitan feel of the city extends to the varied cuisine, whether you want cheap and cheerful Spanish cuisine or world class fine dining this city can provide it; the best way of course to sample the local food is to eat like the locals, the Chueca region in the north of the city has some of the best tapas restaurants in Spain, the heady smells and vibrant colours enticing you to try all that the menu has to offer.
If you want to sample the fine wine choice that can be found in Spain then Lavinia Espacio Gastronomico is the place to dine, the food is good but the real draw is the extensive wine cellar that stocks over 4000 labels, the food is simple but perfectly prepared and does a more than adequate job of soaking up the copious amounts of wine of offer.
There are many must see sights in Madrid and not least of these is the Basilica de San Francisco el Grande, not only the largest dome in Spain but also home to numerous amazing frescos including work by Goya, if this gives you a taste for the art of Spain then head to the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia which holds works by Picasso and Dali – a truly inspiring voyage of artistic discovery.
Madrid very much has a bull fighting culture with fights taking place daily during the ‘San Isidro’ festival from mid May until early June, whilst this is a main draw to the city for some for others it may be a period when they wish to avoid visiting, what is certain is that bullfighting whilst not to everyone’s taste remains a huge part of the culture of Madrid.
Madrid has a distinctly Mediterranean climate with colder winters than may be expected, this is due to the reasonably high altitude which also contributes to the snowfall that may be seen during the winter months.
Summers are long and hot with rainfall rare between the months of June and September; although cooler and wetter spring and autumn are great times of year to visit, with warm days, cool nights and a freshness that can be lacking during the arid summer months.