Travel Guide of Madrid for: The Westin Palace, MadridHuertas, Madrid, Community of Madrid
- Easy to explore by foot
- World-class museums, like El Prado and the Reina Sofia
- Beautiful historic architecture and sleek skyscrapers
- Diverse dining scene
- Great nightlife
- Beautiful parks, like the Retiro and the Parque del Oeste
- Wide array of accommodation options
- Great shopping
- One of the best, newest subway (metro) systems in Europe
- High-speed railway system hub (2.5 hours to Barcelona; 2.5 hours to Sevilla)
- Petty theft around the tourist areas, especially in Sol and Gran Via
- Difficult to find a parking spot, and traffic jams during rush-hours
- Crowds in the city center
- Unbearably hot, dry summer months (especially July and August)
What It's Like
The capital of Spain is a vibrant, multicultural city located right in the center of the country. The Cuatro Torres business area's additions to the city skyline (four sleek towers, including a hotel and corporate offices) give an idea of what Madrid is rapidly becoming: a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city -- albeit one that preserves its century-old traditions.
Los Austrias neighborhood, with its narrow cobblestoned streets and beautiful 17th century churches, oozes history, but is also home to a vibrant nightlife and wonderful restaurants. Malasaña and Chamberi are the traditional neighborhoods, with old-style, low-rise buildings and small shops. Salamanca, the most affluent area in the city center, boasts top-notch boutiques, tree-lined streets, and some beautiful mansions, while the northern end of the Castellana, the main north-south artery, has some of the most recognizable buildings of Madrid’s skyline. All these very distinct neighborhoods are sprinkled with a myriad of green areas -- from small patches of grass with a few benches, to huge landscaped parks like El Retiro, also known as "the lung of Madrid."
You won’t run out of things to see in Madrid, a city known for its world-class museums - -- including El Prado, the Reina Sofia, and the Thyssen Bornemisza -- its beautiful architecture, hopping nightlife scene, and lively ‘tascas’ (or small bars), always full of people enjoying one of the hundreds of different tapas, or watching a Real Madrid game.
Where to Stay
The city center is full of hotels, be it small, cheap pensions or larger, luxurious hotels, and is an ideal location for those who want to be within walking distance of popular tourist attractions, shops, and the great nightlife. For more exclusive hotels and easy access to the high-end boutiques, stay in the area around Goya and Serrano. If you’re traveling for business, you might find the hotels around Cuzco and Plaza de Castilla convenient.