It Rains In Spain

Madrid

Madrid City Guide      Alcala de Henares      Aranjuez      El Escorial

Guide to Madrid Spain. It Rains in Spain Guide.

Madrid City Guide

Introduction      Don’t Miss in Madrid     Recommended Hotels Madrid

No one could argue that Madrid pretends to be something it isn’t. It’s geographical position represents all that some see as wrong , and conversely all that some see as right. Centrally located in the heart of Castilla, Madrid stands as a symbol of centralism and a unified Spain. To those seeking autonomy in the North and the East, Madrid is an arrogant headmaster figure, dictating terms and enforcing cohesion. To the staunch supporters of her, Madrid represents conservatism and the status quo.

Yet, if one looks past the politics – as most visitors do, Madrid is a buzzing, chaotic city that breathes life and exhausts any newcomer. She is a contradiction in terms – the nightlife is riotous and free-spirited, yet public transport runs with unequalled efficiency. One could say that the Spanish capital is like a 1930’s aristocrat – conservative, image conscious yet undoubtedly looking for a good time. It’s a city that knows how to lose control and then how to tidy up and regain it again.

Madrid is a relatively under appreciated European capital city. The majority of Spanish mini breaks head for the Mediterranean or Andalucia, and it still remains problematic to get to the Spanish capital from many major cities. This is no criticism, and as Madrid still feels like an odd choice for a weekend break, you’ll feel free of tourist hassle and Rome style queues.

Your regular guide book will espouse the golden triangle of art galleries, the Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol and the Retiro park. They are well worth seeing, but what truly makes Madrid is the street life, the chaotic nights and the cafe culture days. Madrid is understated elegance, friendly locals, and the only capital city left in Western Europe where the two hour lunch break is still largely practised (financiers and lawyers are starting to buck the trend).

One key point to note about Madrid is that timing your visit is key. Winters are fresh, cold and bright, whilst the Summers are oppressively hot. For some Madrileños, August is a serene month as many locals take holidays and the terrazas are open long into the night. Yet as a visitor, Madrid in late July and August presents a very different face to the Madrid of all year round. The local government often takes the opportunity to get road works and major updates done, so choose your time carefully.