Spain's capital is full of landmarks, unique attractions, and museums El Prado being the most notable but many tourists find that their favorite way to pass the time is by strolling the city streets, eating in little no-name restaurants, and chatting with locals. This is because Madrid, in spite of being a big, busy city, is also a very beautiful one with extremely charming citizens. And, of course, the nightlife is outstanding.Plaza Mayor is the main city square, and Puerta del Sol Square is generally agreed to be the center point of the city. The two squares are within walking distance of each other and smack-dab in the middle of everything. Nearby landmarks include the Royal Palace, Gran Via, and the Reina Sofia. For a bird's-eye view of the city, ride the Teleferico (the cable car that picks up near the Arguelles Metro station and goes above several parks and landmarks before winding up at Casa de Campo Park).
The Spanish capital since 1561, Madrid is Spain’s largest city and one of Europe’s most magnificent. Although its history stretches back to the Roman Empire, Madrid emerged in the 17th century as a grand example of Spain’s imperial power and enormous wealth -- today, the city seems even more glorious as it pulses with youthful energy. Its landmarks include the Palacio Real (the official residence of the Spanish royal family) and a trio of top art museums that include the Museo del Prado, highlighted with works by Goya and Valazquez. Be sure to explore the city’s spirited nightlife: stroll the streets, savor sherry and tapas, sway to the rhythms of flamenco.
Which is the real Madrid? It seems the city isn't just one homogenous area, but a conglomeration of many Madrids, with culturally and historically distinct areas linked together.
You could speak of the historical Madrid, with the last gasp of the Moorish Quarter and the elaborate churches of Montserrat and Santa Barbara. There's also the Orient Palace, which looks out over a magnificent panorama of the gardens of La Casa de Campo, the Museum of El Prado, the Cas¢n del Buen Retiro and Villahermosa Palace.
Then there is the cultural Madrid, with museums like the world-famous Museo del Prado and its Goya and El Greco holdings. Royal Madrid is typified by the magnificent 18th century Palace and its botanical gardens.
Finally, there is the modern city of Madrid, a thriving city filled with booming businesses, world-class restaurants, happening bars and metropolitan locals.
Whichever Madrid you visit, you'll probably focus most of your attention on the town's center. Here, the Puerta del Sol is the center point of a line that connects most of the city's important sites, like the Plaza Mayor, Madrid's Ciudad Antigua, and the convents of Descalzas Reales and Encarnaci¢n.
On the eastern end of that line is the Museo del Prado in El Retiro park, and on the west lies the Palacio Real, separated by little more than a mile. Even the Museo Arqueol¢gico Nacional, filled with archeological displays of Spain's history, is nearby. This lucky proximity will make your sightseeing easier, welcome relief since the narrow streets are often cramped with traffic.