Madrid is located in the very heart of Spain and acts as the country’s heart in terms of art and culture as well as location. The city became the epicentre of the country when Philip II of Spain moved his court from Valladolid to Madrid in 1561. This action by the royalty sparked the beginnings of how Madrid looks today as monastic buildings were erected, the city became more wealthy and began to flourish. Madrid is now currently the third largest city in Europe and pulls in visitors from across the world due to its architecture, food and perhaps most importantly, its art. . p>
Madrid is a modern city that only began to fully thrive around five hundred years ago; however, what it lacks in terms of Medieval castles or Renaissance bridges, it far makes up for in its art and its culture. The nightlife in the city of Madrid is varied and lively, but has a strong focus on jazz and other live music and is usually accompanied by tapas and cocktails. Classical music is another strong force in Madrid and the city has several opera houses and classical music venues. A trip to Madrid with Swiss Holidays gives the opportunity to see the bohemian side of Spain standing together with the traditional. .
Perhaps the best starting point for any holiday in Madrid is the Plaza Mayor, located in the old part of the city. The Plaza Mayor is one of the city’s most iconic buildings and was originally built in the 16th century, however due to a number of reconstructions, most of the building visible today is from two hundred years later. Historically, the plaza was used for bullfighting, markets and even executions. .
To fully experience Madrid, it is important to see the artwork put on display by the city and one of the best galleries for this is the Reina Sofía which is located on the “Art Walk”. The museum holds works by Spain’s most famous artists such as Salvador Dalí and Antoni Gaudí as well as works by many international artists. Only a short walk from the Reina Sofía, art enthusiasts will also find the Museo del Prado and the Museo de Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza. .
Tapas is generally a snack which is served alongside wine or beer; legend has it that Kind Alfonso the Wise ordered owners of taverns to serve small meals with their alcoholic drinks to prevent their patrons from getting too drunk. Over time this evolved into a Spanish tradition that can still be enjoyed in most of Madrid’s bars and taverns. To truly eat and drink like the locals do, venture slightly out from the centre of town and watch the night go by from one of Madrid’s many tapas bars. .
Madrid’s foot markets are famous for both being ornate and tasty. San Miguel Market for instance is almost one hundred years old and is housed in a giant cast iron, greenhouse styled building which is full of some of the country’s finest foods. San Antonio Market on the other hand looks like a state of the art shopping centre and houses an array of cuisines as well as its own wine bar. .
Madrid is often cited as Spain’s capital of Flamenco and shows can be found any day of the week for those that look for it. Shows take place in a variety of different establishments, from large theatres to bars and restaurants. For the most authentic experience, search out flamenco bars which are locally called Tabalos. .
Book a holiday to Madrid with Swiss Holidays for your experience of the heart of Spain and experience everything that the Spanish capital has to offer. .