"Madrid has turned into the fable of Europe. It's called the capital of joy and of happiness. Describing our city in such terms, means that it's hospitable, cordial, free, peaceful and universal".
This definition of how the Capital of Spain is today is taken from a manifesto of Enrique Tierno Galván, best-loved Mayor of Madrid who died in 1986, summarizes the prevailing atmosphere in the city, by cultural extension.
Enrique Tierno Galván
Madrid, located in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula and right in the centre of the Madrid Community is a welcoming city, formed by those who came here, from a variety of places to make their home, where nobody feels out of place because...
nobody is foreign in Madrid !!!
Now, let us talk about why you would want to come.
Our city has always known how to be nice and amiable. Its environment, its bustle and its happiness to be alive are contagious.
Anybody who arrives in Madrid and remains in the city for some time, finds it difficult to leave.
Madrid is the center of both worlds, old and new. There is daylife and nightlife. Its resources of interest to tourists - nature, art, history - and its forcefulness and personality, turn Madrid into an unforgettable city.
In addition to old buildings of historic interest, there are other modern ones of great value as well, consisting of different centers that are clearly different from each other and have a personality of their own. Madrid could be divided into several areas:
Madrid of the Austrias
Madrid of the Bourbons
But, there is also Madrid of the 19th. century - Plaza de Oriente and the Madrid's Opera House belong to that period - and Madrid of the 20th. century, - at Castellana Avenue, you will find the most impressive works of this century -; there is the picturesque Madrid of the Rastro, - A sort of flea market, that takes place each Sunday morning in Ribera de Curtidores. Here you can discover new typical facets of this city, and perhaps find one or another bargain - and Madrid of the bullfighters, of the flamenco dancers, of the antique dealers, of the artists, and so many others more...
We have plenty of reasons and, some of them are so old, that we ask you not to touch them. These are kept in the many museums that we have in our city. The most famous and important is:
Museo del Prado (Prado Museum)
- where we have kept masterpieces from the 6th century to the 19th century -
But do not forget to see:
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Queen Sofia National Museum)
Museo Thyssen Bornemisza (Thyssen Bornemisza Museum)
But, if you get tired of walking in the museums, we have beautiful parks in the city where we can take nice afternoon or evening walks, and we know you will like them as well. The most famous and important is:
Parque de El Retiro (Retiro Park): Named for its relaxing effect, is the largest and most beautiful of all Madrid's parks. It has 130 hectares of woodland which form a green, tree-clad island in the middle of an asphalt sea, where you could rent a row-boat or attend shows, or even see art expositions.
But do not forget to see:
Parque de la Casa de Campo (Country House Park): It is an extensive estate, bought by King Felipe II, and reforested at his orders in 1559. The present park has not only a lot of woodland, but also a large lake where boats can be hired. There is also a large Amusement Theme Park and a Zoo, with species of African, Asiatic, European and Australian wildlife.
Parque del Oeste y La Rosaled (West Park and The Rosegarden): They are an ideal playground for children, with their spacious stretches of lawn, their shady trees and sandy paths. There is a large rose garden at the bottom of the hill, where a rose show is held each spring, with international awards given to the finest blooms.
Jardín Botánico (Botanical Garden): This garden, founded by King Carlos III, contain about 30,000 different species of trees and plants from all over the world, and they are beautiful in bloom.
Add to the list the following:
Jardines de Sabatini (Sabatini Gardens)
Jardines del Campo del Moro (Moorish Camp Gardens)
Jardines de la Fuente del Berro (Watercress Fountain Gardens)
and again, the list goes on.
The city is connected within itself by an intrincate net of subways and buses, which makes it possible to travel throughout the city in public transportation, but if you prefer to take a more direct route, you can just get into a cab/taxi. If you would like to get out of the city, but you do not want to travel very far, Inter-City trains and buses are available too.
In fact, the city of Madrid is surrounded by a lot of cities and places, which are full of sights of historic interest. Some of which have been included by the UNESCO in the list of places considered as "HUMANITY HERITAGE", and all of them, lie within about 100 Kilometers from La Puerta del Sol, such as:
Alcalá de Henares
You could also take a train to any part of the country or even to Portugal or France. But if you think that the train takes a long ride, then just come to our international airport of Madrid-Barajas and fly to any part of the world.
But, do not get the wrong impression, we just do not spend our days walking about. Madrid is a thriving city, where some of the most important corporations and companies of the world maintain headquarters. Where main streets are bustling with people and traffic in a hurry to keep appointments. Really!.
We do not have the luxury of taking a siesta, but do not get nervous, we would not dream of interrupting yours. Go ahead!. And when you are ready to leave, SO ARE WE!
Copyright © 2002 by JLL & FWF
All rights reserved.