Art roams free in the golden circle of museums and galleries in central Madrid.
For centuries, the elite monarchs of Madrid have curated a rich array of Italian, Spanish and Flemish masterpieces that earned the city its renown as a mecca for arts. Today, it invites visitors for a visual feast among the most celebrated works of the Renaissance. A series of well-groomed parks and sublime squares constitute leisurely gathering spots beyond sightseeing and artistry. Wherever you go in Madrid, you will find the afternoons peacefully drowsy and the evenings filled with life.
Paris has the Eiffel, Rome has the Trevi, but none of these European capitals has such an astonishing collection of artwork like the Museo del Prado. The chief gallery of Spain boasts over 7,000 paintings—only a quarter currently on display—and is an absolute must-visit in Madrid. For the social scene, head to the buzzing Puerto del Sol or Plaza Mayor. These spacious hubs host casual cafes, vernal fountains, and alfresco restaurants regaling visitors with Spanish cuisine. Inspiring historical attractions of smaller size also adorn the boulevards. Among them are colossal structures like the Royal Palace or the Almudena Cathedral, all in the city’s heartland.
Although life is fairly organized in Madrid, nights are ladened with an exciting cacophony of haste, chatter, and leisurely entertainment. The intimately jammed streets host the wildest bars and nightclubs in the region, taking on an entirely different mojo when darkness falls. If you wish for a more moderate evening, the plaza squares are perfect for enjoying a glass of wine with delicious tapas. For an even more peaceful atmosphere, grab some churros and stroll in one of the parks surrounded by ethereal city lights.