The Spanish capital is a cultural and social behemoth that attracts visitors from around the world and they keep coming back for more. Madrid has something to tempt every traveler and will have many of them dancing until sunrise thanks to its thriving nightlife.
With architectural wonders, world-class gastronomy, famed art museums and even an Egyptian temple within the city limits, Madrid offers sights and attractions to satisfy all visitors. Here are 11 experiences not to be missed when you get there.
Madrid’s "Golden Triangle of Art" consists of three renowned museums, the Museo del Prado, Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza, which are home to some of the world’s most valuable art collections. Even if you’re not typically the gallery type, a stop at one of these venues is an essential Madrid experience.
The Prado houses several masterpieces by Spanish artists Diego Velázquez, Francisco Goya and Francisco Zurbarán. Arguably the most famous work people flock to see is Velázquez’s Las Meninas, an oil on canvas considered among the most important paintings in Western art.
The Reina Sofía is the Spanish national museum dedicated to 20th-century art, exhibiting impressive collections of Surrealist and Cubist masters Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso, including Picasso’s huge anti-war oil painting Guernica.
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, once the private art collection of Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and his son Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, showcases nearly 1000 paintings of the world’s most celebrated European and American artists from the 13th to the 20th centuries. It’s a real feast for art fans.
Tapas hopping, or ir de tapas, is a national pastime and a satisfying prelude to dinner, which in Spain is typically eaten between 9pm and midnight. A tapa is a small plate of food usually paired with a glass of wine, caña (a small glass of beer) or vermút, Madrid’s popular aperitif.
You can join locals after work any day of the week, hopping from one tapas bar to the next to sample a selection of Iberian hams, charcuterie and cheeses.
Planning tip: Sunday afternoons are the best time to visit Cava Baja, a popular street in the historic La Latina neighborhood with vibrant little bars, taverns and restaurants that are perfect for a laid-back tapas crawl.
Every Sunday and on public holidays, you can take part in a 400-year-old shopping tradition at El Rastro flea market. Open from 9am to 3pm, El Rastro stretches along the La Latina neighborhood’s Plaza de Cascorro, La Ribera de Curtidores and Ronda de Toledo and features a labyrinth of open-air stalls peddling clothes, souvenirs, handicrafts, antiques and all the bric-a-brac you can imagine.
Planning tip: Many of the vendors only accept efectivo (cash). Get some
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Beyond the hippy days and techno raves, the best things to do in Ibiza can be attributed to the island's staggering natural beauty of windswept beaches, coves, rocky red cliffs and pine forests. Spend your days swimming and snorkeling, hiking, or renting a boat to explore hard-to-reach bays. Away from the beaches, visit the cute villages and town squares that make this Balearic Island beat, each with its unique vibe but full of local cafes, restaurants, and shops. With a Phoenician settlement founded in 654 BC, much of the island is steeped in history, with UNESCO heritage sites of ancient settlements dotted around. Spend some time traipsing around Ibiza Town, a labyrinth of bustling shops and restaurants with an ancient past seen in its cobbled stone streets and castle that looms large over the island. Here, we share a snapshot of things to do in Ibiza, including what to see and explore to get to know this mythical island.
Forget Paris in spring: Rome is both warmer and cooler in the first few months of the year. The locals are in their winter black rollneck jumpers, accessorised with equally noir-ish sunglasses. With an average of 17C by March, it’s warm enough to sit outside cafés and bars, but not hot enough to fall foul of the “no shorts” rule enforced in Rome’s oldest churches.
It's hard not to fall in love with Hong Kong at first sight, a disarmingly high-rise metropolis in the dreamiest of island settings. Then you start to discover just how memorable the food scene is, how vibrant the nightlife is, how incredible the shopping is – and game over, you're smitten.
Vermont—home of the Green Mountains, fantastic cheese, and Noah Kahan. The state is a haven for artisans, makers, and bona fide New England yankees looking for a quieter pace of life, and a rich tapestry of well-known scenery and hidden gems to explore. Ask ten visitors which part of Vermont they love most and you’re likely to get ten different answers—but pretty much everyone can agree that in the winter, it’s all roads lead to Stowe.
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