A Weekend in Madrid
The cosmopolitan capital city of Spain is not just a business centre and home to the Spanish Government and Royal Family, it also makes an exciting location for a city break. Getting There Madrid's Barajas Airport is about 8 miles from the city, and has great connections to the city centre. The metro is the best option, and takes less than half an hour-head to Nuevos Ministerios from where you can connect to the nearest metro station to your hotel. There is also an airport bus to the city centre, dropping you off at Plaza de Colón in the city centre, or if you want to be dropped to your door, you can take the AeroCITY minibus or get a taxi. These are the slower options however as traffic is notoriously heavy. Travelzoo is a good place to find cheap flights and holiday deals to Madrid.
Where to Stay To get the most out of a short stay in Madrid, book yourself into one of the many centrally located hostels or hotels (although Madrid is fairly compact and easily navigated by metro, so you won't be too far from the action wherever you stay). If you do want to stay central and you are on a budget there are plenty of hostels to choose from including Hostal Acapulco, which is one of the best, or Hostal América, which has a roof terrace where you can look out across the city. For a little extra you could try Ateneo Hotel, which is quieter and rooms have private balconies, or for that more luxurious stay there is the five star Hesperia Hotel. What Not to Miss A weekend in Madrid wouldn't be complete without a visit to at least one of the many art galleries it has to offer.
Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, in the Atocha district, is the place to see some great Spanish contemporary art and pulls in the crowds with work by the likes of Picasso and Dalí, and it houses sculptures and modern media artwork such as photography and film as well as paintings. For lovers of more traditional works, the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) has opened its doors and has a good display of paintings by Rubens, Velázquez, Goya, El Greco and Caravaggio among others. There are also Tiépolo frescos to see in the palace.
Madrid of course is also famous for bullfighting, so for the not so fainthearted (and if you condone it) head to La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas. Or, for a slightly less bloodthirsty sport, head to see one of the world's greatest football teams in action and catch a Real Madrid home game if you can. If your trip doesn't coincide with the football season you can still take a tour around the Bernabéu stadium and visit the trophy room, and have a stroll on the pitch. You can fly directly to Spain with Fly Monarch, who offers cheap flights to Spain, as well as flying to other Spanish destinations like Barcelona; the country's capital may make a useful starting point for a Spanish trip.