Madrid oozes charisma and it’s apparent from every angle. Immediately upon arriving from your Madrid flight, travelers will be captivated by this Spanish city’s charm. The third largest city in Europe and Spain’s capital city, Madrid has something for everyone. Take part in one of Madrid’s famous fiestas or cultural festivals, study at one of the city’s top universities, and explore the ancient city center lined with Spanish architecture and packed with museums and monuments. Book flights to Madrid to see it all.
Summer and fall months host the largest festivals, so travelers booking Madrid flights during those times should plan to party. Carnival, Veranos de la Villa and Festival de Otono are among the top three all year. For the truly eccentric traveler, book a flight to Madrid in May for the San Isidro Festival, which signifies the beginning of bullfighting season.
Take time out from the fiesta and hit Madrid’s fashionable shopping district. If your flight to Madrid is for business purposes head straight to the Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid’s business quarter, where skyscrapers shape the landscape and the international headquarters of multi-million dollar companies make corporate history. Don’t despair – there will be time for fun outside the office. After a long day in the boardroom, head to Spain’s largest bullring at the Plaza de Toros where regular bullfights still take place.
Whether your flight to Madrid is for overseas studies or you found cheap airline tickets to Madrid for a long weekend full of arts and entertainment escapades, this exciting Spanish city bids you un tiempo bueno.
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In May through October, Madrid’s weather is usually warm and dry. The spring brings some of Spain’s most spectacular fiestas, starting with Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter. Madrid’s biggest holiday is the feast of San Isidro, the city’s patron saint, which begins on May 15. It’s a popular party, so book well in advance.The plateau on which Madrid is sited is high enough for clear skies and dry air. Summers are very hot (often over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), but it’s a dry heat. And the warm summer nights are a great pleasure. The winters are quite cold.
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- Madrid has a wealth of art museums. In addition to the world-renowned Prado, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia for modern art, and the formerly private collection the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, there is a little-known jewel, the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales. This elegant convent was built in the 16th century for aristocratic nuns. Each new arrival brought a dowry, many of them priceless works of art. Now open as a museum, the convent has a superb and eccentric collection of religious relics and art, including works by Rubens, Breughel, and Titian. Tours are led by a nun; they are in Spanish, but if you had a couple of years of high school Spanish, you’ll be able to understand a lot of it.
- The Museo Sorolla exhibits the work of Spain's most important impressionist painter, Joaquin Sorolla, in the house where he lived and worked for most of his life. The house and the gardens are charming. In addition, the Museo Sorolla is one of several museums that host occasional concerts under the Ministry of Culture’s program called Tiempo de musica en los Museos.
- The tower of the church of San Nicolas de las Servitas is one of the oldest buildings in Madrid, believed to date to 1085. The exhibits in the church are devoted to the Moorish history of early Madrid.
- Madrid has many lovely parks, of which the foremost is the Parque del Retiro. Originally the private gardens of King Philip IV, the park consist of 350 acres of formal gardens, fountains, lakes, sculpture, playgrounds, and outdoor cafes.
- El Rastro is one of the best flea markets in Europe. If you like flea markets, you’ll find bargains here.
- If you’re interested in bull-fighting, Madrid gets the best matadors in the country. There are fights on Sundays and holidays throughout the year and for longer periods in the spring, especially starting with the feast of Madrid’s patron San Isidro, which begins on May 15.
- Much of Madrid’s nightlife is unique. In the summer, cafes spill out onto the terrazas, and the eating, drinking, and partying often go on till dawn. For a typical Spanish experience, visit several tascas, the pubs that serve tapas, those wonderful Spanish appetizers. Each tasca has its specialties in tapas and wines. And you will find the soul of Spain in flamenco music. At a flamenco tavern, you can experience these haunting gypsy folk songs and dances.
- Unlike Daylight Savings Time in the U.S., Spain’s time change is on the first weekend of spring. Be aware of the local time so you don’t miss a flight
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