Madrid, Spain

Palacio Real - MadridThe city of Madrid is the capital of Spain and among the most famous cultural centers of Europe. Because of this it continues to be one of the leading tourist attractions the world over. There are many attractions to be enjoyed in Madrid and most of them are centered around the three districts of Arganzuela, Retiro, and Salamanca. There are also some other hotspot locations on the outskirts and close to Madrid.

Downtown Madrid is where you can visit the "Golden Triangle of Art", an unofficial title that includes the Prado National Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Inside Prado you will get to see several masterpieces from famous artists such as Durer, Goya, van Dyck, Velazquez, Rubens, and Breughel. The Thyssen-Bornemisza offers many paintings and sculptures from various art periods including modern such as Cubism, Post-Modernism, Pop-Art, and Surrealism. The Reina Sofia Museum is most famous for "Guernica", the masterpiece by Picasso. This painting is very iconic in its nature and depicts the tragic fate of the citizens in the Basque village of Guernica who were blanket bombed by Hitler during the 1937 Spanish Civil War.

After visiting the museums you can enjoy the two big parks located close by. The Retiro is the largest and most popular recreational area in Madrid. The other is the Royal Botanical Gardens, which will be well appreciated by nature lovers who can see many species of plant life there. The Retiro park is free for everyone but the Royal Botanical Gardens charges a small entrance fee for adults.

Another area of interest in Madrid is the Plaza Mayor located around the town square. This is where you can go to enjoy a drink or some Spanish cuisine or have a cup of coffee in one of the cafes. A few steps from the Plaza Major is the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) where the Spanish Royal Family resides. There are 50 rooms open to tourists and the palace itself is surrounded by the Campo del Moro garden where you can relax after a day of visiting other locations in the city.

Madrid is also well known for its sports activities. The Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is home to the Real Madrid soccer team where you can either go to watch some of the best teams in Europe compete against one another or just simply buy souvenirs. Soccer is the most popular sport in Spain apart from bullfighting (Madrid has a world famous bullring called "Las Ventas").

If you like to ride or jog then you should visit the Casa de Campo park that also houses the Zoological Garden.