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Madrid Travel Guide


Madrid Introduction


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Madrid, Spain, strikes a balance between constant, almost chaotic motion and uncompromising leisure. Madrilenos, as Madrid's residents are called, seem always to be on the go, except when they're taking long breaks to eat, drink and enjoy life. The competing urges to move or sit for hours are cleverly reconciled in the Madrid institution known as ir de tapas, which entails leisurely hopping from one tapas bar to the next.   Click here to see the full Madrid travel guide on Travel42 »

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Madrid Geography


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Madrid sits roughly in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula and occupies a plateau (2,165 ft/660 m above sea level) that makes it the highest capital in Europe. Though the city covers a large area, travelers will be glad to know that most attractions lie in the central part of the city, known as El Centro. Roughly speaking, this area is bordered by Retiro Park on the east, Palacio Real on the west, Gran Via on the north, and Rondas de Atocha and de Toledo on the south. El Centro is less than 1 mi/1.6 km wide, which makes it relatively easy to rely on your feet for transportation.  Click here to see the full Madrid travel guide on Travel42 »

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Madrid History


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The first town of any size in the area now occupied by Madrid was an Arab enclave named Mayrit, or Magerit, established in the 800s when Muslims ruled most of the Iberian Peninsula. The city wasn't considered important until the 1400s, when it was occupied on several occasions by the kings of Castile. In 1561, Philip II moved his court to Madrid, and the small city became the kingdom's capital.   Click here to see the full Madrid travel guide on Travel42 »

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Madrid Sightseeing & Things to Do


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As you walk the streets of Madrid, you never know what you'll find around the next corner—a festive tapas bar, a wedding party spilling out of an old church, even a pack of meandering troubadours. The most indelible sight in the city is likely to be a spontaneous one, so keep your eyes open.   Click here to see the full Madrid travel guide on Travel42 »

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Madrid Nightlife


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Madrid is a nocturnal city: There's almost more to do in the early hours than in the daytime, and traffic jams at 4 am aren't unusual. Bars tend to shut down around 3 am on weekends, but some discos and clubs are open until after breakfast time. During summer months, terraza bars spring up throughout the city center and along busy Paseo de la Castellana and Paseo de Recoletos, especially close to Plazas de Colon and de Cibeles, and are open until early morning.   Click here to see the full Madrid travel guide on Travel42 »

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Madrid Restaurants & Dining


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Madrid overflows with dining options, from sophisticated restaurants specializing in cocina alta (haute cuisine) to intimate tabernas and small eateries serving a full plate of Spain's regional specialties. International cuisines are also well-represented.   Click here to see the full Madrid travel guide on Travel42 »

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