GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT MADRID
The capital of Spain is Madrid, a city truly worthy of the title of the country’s main city. Imperial, majestic and respectable. The political, economic and cultural center of Spain. Located in the center of the country and belongs to the region of Castile.
The best time to visit: spring and early autumn, because it’s too hot in the summer (Madrid is even called a “stone bag” for this), and in the winter it’s damp and dank.
AREAS OF MADRID
The central and at the same time the most suitable tourist areas of Madrid are:
– Centro, or the historic city center, is conventionally located between the three main squares: Puerta del Sol, Spain and Major. Puerta del Sol is known throughout the world and is the hallmark of Madrid thanks to the monument “Bear by the Strawberry Tree.” The second most popular is Plaza Mayor, where for a long time the main ceremonial events, knightly tournaments, as well as executions and other unpleasant things were held. Today in Plaza Mayor one can see performances by street musicians and dancers, various kinds of shows;
– Retiro, an area with the same park, calm and quiet, has a leisurely study of the capital;
– Salamanca, considered the most prestigious and fashionable area of Madrid, there are concentrated luxury brand stores, as well as the most expensive hotels;
– Chamartin, famous for its landmark “Gateway to Europe”, is also considered one of the most expensive business districts of Madrid, the architecture is mainly composed of modern buildings and skyscrapers;
– Universidad, as the name implies, is a student district, it is here that there is a cluster of nightclubs and bars open until the morning. A bustling youth district, which has another name – Malasanya, here you can find housing at affordable prices;
“Argansuela, the district of Atocha Central Station, is a bit fussy and a little messy, like any station area.” It is quite convenient for living, especially if you plan to travel around the country.
HOTELS IN MADRID
The first thing you need to decide on the area, based on their own needs. The most expensive are hotels in the areas of Salamanca, Chamartin and Retiro. But the Atocha district and the center itself can please with a good price-quality ratio.
The average price of a double room in a 4 * hotel will be in the range of 60-100 euros, during off-season or on a special offer you can live cheaper. In general, Madrid can be called quite democratic in comparison with other major European cities – tourist centers.
TRANSPORT IN MADRID
Madrid’s extensive public transport network consists of metro, buses and taxis.
The Madrid Metro System is the tenth longest in the world, i.e. You can get to almost anywhere in the city. It consists of 6 sectors, the peculiarity is that you need to make a transfer at the border between sectors, even if you continue to go along the same line. Actually, for an ordinary tourist this is just reference information, as he is unlikely to leave the central zone.
As in any large city, a special lane is allocated for unhindered access to buses, so at first glance metropolitan traffic jams are not so scary for this type of public transport.
All buses are equipped with a ramp for strollers and straps for convenience, as well as air conditioning, which makes the trip comfortable.
This type of transport in Madrid is very developed, taxis can be caught literally anywhere in the city. Look for white cars with a red stripe, as well as the city emblem on the front door. All cars are equipped with counters, be sure to ensure that it is turned on. The following extra charges may apply to standard rates:
On New Year’s and the night before Christmas (22.00-06.00) – 5 euros; when boarding a bus or train station – 2.75 euros, at the airport – 5.25 euros, at the exhibition complex “Park Juan Carlos Park” – 2.20 euros.
All these margins, as well as standard tariffs are indicated in the table that is in each car.
WHAT TO SEE IN MADRID
The main square of the country (since it is located in the main city). Plaza Mayor deserves your attention. Charming square in the center of the old city with a memorable building with a frescoed facade – Casa de la Panaderia. Undoubtedly, this square will remain in your memory as one of the images of Madrid.
The main museum of the country. A must visit if you are unevenly breathing in the visual arts because you have collected an impressive collection of works by Spanish authors such as Velazquez, Goya, El Greco and many others. Today, about 2 thousand paintings are exhibited; German, French, Italian masters, as well as the best examples of sculpture and even jewelry from different times, have also been added to the Spanish painters.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., on weekends and holidays until 19 p.m., the ticket price is 14 euros, it is possible to visit the museum for 7 euros or completely free of charge.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
The main stadium of the country, forgive me fans of FC Barcelona. A must visit if you are a football fan and, moreover, a Real Madrid fan.
If you can’t attend one of the matches, you can watch the legendary stadium from the inside with an excursion where you can feel like a spectator and a player, walking from panoramic elevators to entering the field and, in fact, hitting the field itself. What else could a “soccer player” want on the sofa side of the screen? I know: put on your favorite player’s shirt … And this can be done: at the end the group ends up in a store with the Real Madrid branding.
Bernabeu Tour price – 19 euros for adults, 13 euros for children under 14 years old (children under 4 years old – free of charge). If you are a member of the Madridista Fan Club, then the tickets will cost less.
Fans of history and art should go to Escorial, known for its 16th century palace and monastery of the same name. The monumental, luxurious and at the same time gloomy architecture creates the special spirit of the place, which the words of T. Gauthier most accurately speak of: “In the Cathedral of Escorial you feel so stunned, so crushed, so prone to melancholy and crushed by unbending power that prayer seems completely useless.”
Escorial is located outside of Madrid, about 50 km away, so you can get there in two ways: the first (convenient) – by bus from the bus station, and the second (less convenient) – by train from the railway station. When planning your visit, remember that Monday is a day off.
In addition to the above, we recommend visiting Retiro Park, one of the most pleasant places for a mini-picnic or a simple walk; The Royal Palace is the official residence of the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, which, however, only happens here during receptions; San Miguel Market is a mecca for tourists who are inclined to gastronomic delights: here you can find all the variety of Spanish products.
SOUVENIRS IN MADRID
In the old city you will not walk a hundred meters, so as not to stumble upon a souvenir shop.
What do tourists offer as symbols of Madrid and Spain?
– Accessories for flamenco: fans, castanets and even costumes;
– Antiques: the main place to buy interesting things with history is the Rastro flea market;
– Jamon: this Spain-famous product in Madrid is everywhere, don’t be surprised to see the name “Jamon Museum” on the sign. This is a specialized store with a good pair of three dozen varieties of jamon, from the simplest to the most seasoned and expensive. Take an interest, try and choose the one that is more to your liking;
– bullfighting posters with your name.
SHOPPING IN MADRID
The main shopping places in Madrid include Gran Via, the neighborhood of Puerto del Sol, as well as the Salamanca district, where you will find luxury brands. Do not forget about the El Corte Ingles department stores, which by the way provides tourists with an additional 10% discount (the card is issued at the information desk upon presentation of a passport).
If you prefer outlets, then you should visit one of them in the suburbs of Madrid – Las Rozas Village. You can get in several ways: order a shopping express on their website, or use the bus and train. All this is described in detail on the website.
When shopping, do not forget about the possibility of VAT refunds; in Spain, the minimum purchase amount for tax free registration is 90.15 euros.
If you plan to use mobile communications in Madrid, then the following information will be useful. There are 4 main operators in Spain: Vodafone, Movistar, Orange and Yoigo.
In addition, there are about 40 virtual operators that do not have their own equipment, but use someone else’s and offer services under their own brand. The largest operators include Lebara (focused on international communications and mobile Internet, runs on Vodafone equipment), MasMovil (also focused on international communications, runs on Orange equipment), Happy Movil (low-cost operator, runs on Orange equipment).
How to understand these networks? First of all, you should know that in Spain there are 2 types of tariffs: Contrato (Contract) and Tarjeta (card). For tourists, only Tarjeta tariffs are available, which are actually prepaid, while Contrato tariffs are provided only to residents of Spain upon conclusion of a contract for 12-18 months.
What should I look for when choosing an operator and tariff? First of all, these are a few key points:
– the cost of a minute of conversation (logically, yes?);
– connection cost (payment for each call is added to the cost of traffic);
– whether VAT is included in the price (“con impuestos” or “iva incluido” means that VAT is included).
HOW SAFE IS MADRID
The situation in Madrid is much safer for tourists than in Barcelona. And now I’m talking about pickpockets in the first place, because attacks on tourists here are generally out of the ordinary. In this case, of course, you need to be guided by common sense and behave the same as in any other large city. The Spaniards as a whole are a very responsive nation and are ready to help all they can. If you have any, even the smallest, problems, contact the police. In addition, in Madrid there is a special service for foreign tourists SATE, tel. 902-102-112.
If there was such a nuisance as a loss of a passport, you need to contact the nearest police station as soon as possible and record this fact.
No matter how many days you plan to visit the capital of Spain – Madrid, this city is sure to leave a good impression. For me personally, this is one of the most pleasant and interesting cities in the country. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Have a nice trip!