The grand dame of Spanish cities really does have everything. There’s incredible art courtesy of the imposing Museo Nacional del Prado, baroque architecture and squares thronged with stylish Madrileños. And with more bars per capita than any other city in Europe, Madrid is a brilliant place to let your hair down.
Not everyone is a fan of whiling away the hours in a dusty corner of an art gallery but the Prado (Calle Ruiz de Alarcón 23) is far from being the average art museum. Here you’ll find work by Spanish masters, among them El Greco, Velázquez and Goya, as well as pieces by Titian, Tintoretto, Bosch and Botticelli to name but a few. Once you’ve had your fill of art, pop around the corner to the Naval Museum (Paseo del Prado 5), where you can see the oldest image of the Americas in existence, the Juan De La Cosa map.
With more bars per capita than any other city in Europe, it’s worth remembering to pack your party threads before flying out for a weekend break to Madrid from Glasgow Airport. Everyone, no matter how old, parties into the small hours on Saturday night, and there’s no shortage of places to choose from. Particularly lovely is the Lolina Vintage Café(Calle del Espíritu Santo 9) in the arty Malasaña district, which combines cold drinks with cool décor that references not one but three decades: the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Also worth a look is chic jazz bar CaféCentral (Plaza del Ángel 10).
While Madrid does do excellent tapas, the churro – a deep-fried doughnut stick – is the city’s favourite dish. Madrileños eat them for breakfast along with a cup of rich hot chocolate at one of the city’s many chocolaterias.