Madrid is, for most, the ideal summer destination, known for its inviting sunny weather. However, the capital rejoices all year round with the colours of the seasons painting memorable sceneries waiting to be captured by the most curious eyes! Whether you wish to soak in the city’s artistic and cultural identity or just admire its stunning architecture, Madrid will prove to be a versatile destination worth visiting any time of the year.
Today, we invite you to dive deep into this destination’s allure, ranging from its mouthwatering gastronomy to its singular architecture and valuable museums!
The combination of classical and contemporary constructions makes Madrid the perfect hub for architecture lovers. Different styles punctuate the city’s landscape, where the old and the new come together. Visitors flock to the streets of the vibrant capital to capture this unique and magnetic identity!
Gran Vía is probably one of Madrid's most photographed points of interest. Also referred to as the city’s Broadway, this iconic street showcases a mix of architectural styles ranging from Art Deco to early 20th-century modernism. Stroll along the lane to admire the buildings’ intricately ornamented façades. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Metropolis building – a construction known for its French style defined by a cupola and slate dome with gold leaves!
Spain’s royal past of cultural, military and political influence is perfectly embodied in the Royal Palace. Completed in 1755, this construction has become a beacon of attention in Madrid, particularly loved by tourists who seek to dip their toes into the Spanish monarchy’s history. The granite and white stone on the façade guide the overall neoclassical style inspired by Greek and Roman architecture. Note the domes adorned with compelling sculptures.
From the more classical constructions to the contemporary designs of buildings such as the Four Towers and the Torres Blancas, Madrid reveals a visual feast of seamlessly intertwined architectural styles that make its scape evermore unique.
Find some of the best art museums in the world
After architecture, art is another character in Madrid’s play of colour. The Spanish capital boasts a collection of impressive museums that make it a worldwide leader of artistic display.
While in Madrid, a visit to the illustrious Prado Museum is obligatory. This outstanding institution harbours an ensemble of masterpieces from the 12th century to the 1900s, including paintings, sculptures and drawings from the likes of Titian, Van Dyck and Rembrandt. At Prado, you have the unique opportunity to see Velázquez’s ‘Las Meninas’ !
Reina Sofia is another world-class museum in Madrid. Split into four different venues, the works of Francis Bacon and Salvador Dalí adorn the walls with their ingenious creativity. Amidst a collection of modern and contemporary works, the true showstopper is the incomparable “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso – a portrayal of the tragic Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).
All in all, the magic of Madrid is a defining part of the city’s allure as a celebrator of creativity and artistic expression!
Churros, croquetas e cocido madrileño
Madrid’s food scene is a dynamic tapestry of traditional and modern culinary practices that make the city an ideal destination to taste the flavours of Spain. The tapas culture dominates the scene with its bite-sized delicacies, such as the patatas bravas, the jamón ibérico and the croquetas – small, deep-fried dough balls filled with a creamy béchamel sauce and cured ham. You can try these celebrated staples at Madrid’s markets, like Mercado de San Miguel.
Spain’s favourite stew comes right from the capital. The cocido madrileño is a traditional recipe known for gathering friends and families around the table. A dash of history embellishes this dish consisting of vegetables, meat and primarily chickpeas soaked in a rich savoury broth. Some historians believe this recipe was prepared by Sephardic Jews before the Sabbath, and evolved through time with the addition of products, including blood sausage, ham and bacon.
Breakfast with churros is a cherished tradition that dates back as far as the 1800s. This sweet treat, also popular in fairs, is acclaimed for its crispy texture sprinkled with sugar decadently delicious with the combination of another sweet, chocolate. The entire delicacy is made only from fried dough and is perceived as an integral part of social gatherings, whether those happen early in the morning or late at night. In Madrid, you can find this match made in heaven in most cafés!
Exciting outdoors to escape the city bustle
Despite what one might think, Madrid is also home to exciting outdoor spaces, where nature overtakes the city’s concrete and stone buildings. Parque del Retiro comes up as one of the top places to enjoy nature. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the garden marvels with its impressive 125 hectares of land. The Glass Palace, a structure made of glass plates and cast iron, alongside the artificial lake, are among the highlights, perfect for relaxed late afternoon strolls in the Spring, Summer and even Winter!
On the west side of Madrid, you can find another park, Casa de Campo. This space dates back to the 1500s when it was exclusively used by the Spanish royal family. Today, this is one of the largest public parks in the country and it has a handful of spaces to explore in family, with friends or even solo! From the Madrid Zoo to the Aquarium, the cable car and the outdoor public pool, there is something for everyone here to enjoy another side of the city!
Detours to Toledo or Segovia
The ultimate upside of a trip to Madrid is its proximity to other, equally exciting, Spanish destinations. With a small ride on a train or car, you can step into transporting new towns where the history of Spain and its ancient culture are present in every corner. So, while in the capital, why not venture on an exciting day trip?
Toledo is one of the most popular detours from Madrid. A mere 30-minute train ride takes you from the cosmopolitan capital into what once was the Kingdom’s Imperial city, home to the iconic Dom Quixote de la Mancha. The medieval architecture epitomised by the encircling ancient walls takes you on a journey across about 2,500 years of history, where the multiculturality lived under the Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Christians define the town’s main landmarks – the Alcázar and the Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo.
Segovia, located in the Castilla y León region, unearths a veil of standing relics from the town’s past during the Roman Empire. An imperious aqueduct of 167 arches crosses the town making long-gone eras a living memory of the town’s early foundations. Start at Casa de Piedra, this structure guides you along Segovia’s key monuments, such as the San Antonio el Real Convent, before you reach the treasured Alcázar, a fairy-tale-like castle from the Middle Ages.
Other popular day trips from Madrid, include the magnificent San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Ávila and Sigüenza!
Enjoying Madrid all year round
As the capital of Spain, Madrid rejoices in the well-rounded and deeply rooted Spanish culture. The delectable tapas and soulful cocido madrileño are the doorways to a festival of colour, beauty and welcoming culture that makes you feel part of the capital’s cosmopolitan charm. With a rich collection of outdoor spaces and artistic sites to visit, Madrid is an ideal destination to visit all year round! So, what are you waiting for to start planning your trip to Spain?