Madrid, Spain's capital city, is a popular destination for weekend breaks and longer stays. It has a host of architectural treasures, history, museums, cuisine and cultural attractions in its compact but vibrant city centre. Madrid is designed around the Puerta del Sol and the roads radiate out from there. This is the most historic part of the city and is where you will find the main Tourist Information office – a good place to start any visit to Madrid.
This is a great way to see Madrid with a guide as you glide past sights such as the Plaza Mayor, the Royal Opera and the Egyptian Temple. Segway tours take about 3 hours, including a little practice time on these two-wheelers first.
Once of the mainstays of Madrid's culture is bullfighting. The huge arena in Madrid seats 25,000 and there are bullfights almost every day from March to October.
Museums in Madrid include many art galleries and they are all housed in magnificent buildings. There are sure to be some amazing museums close to your South Madrid holiday rental. Enjoy the National Archaeological Museum, the Naval Museum or the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. The El Prado Museum has one of the leading collections of fine art in the world.
This neo-classic basilica has a huge dome to rival that of St Peter's in Rome and is one of the most beautiful churches in Spain. The inside of the dome and the seven chapels inside the basilica have some wonderful paintings, including one by Goya.
The Royal Botanic Gardens are an inspiration to garden lovers and offer a quiet retreat from the bustling city. Madrid has many parks and green spaces such as the Casa de Campo and the Parque del Oeste. The well named Retreat Park (Parque del Retiro) is a scenic area to stroll around or hire a rowing boat and unwind on the lovely lake.
Also known as the Palace of the Orient, this magnificent royal palace was begun in the 9th century, on the site of an earlier Alcazar. The present sumptuous building was built in 1738 by King Philip V after the original palace burnt down. It is the largest in Europe, covering 135,000 square meters which are full of fabulous furnishings, tapestries, mirrors, chandeliers, and valuable objets d'art.
You can enjoy a holiday rental in South Madrid at almost any time of year. Madrid has a Continental Mediterranean climate although the winters are surprisingly cold due to the altitude. Average temperatures in January are 9°C (49°F) while summer days range from 30-40°C (86-104°F). The city has very little rainfall and is semi-arid.
Getting to Madrid is easy as the busy Madrid Barajas (MAD) International Airport has many cheap flights from all over Europe. It is 13km north of the centre of Madrid. Getting into and around the city is also very easy, using the local Metro train system.