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Madrid

Madrid is the capital of Spain and its largest city. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be around 6.5 million. It is the third-largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third-largest in the European Union after London and Paris. The city spans a total of 604.3 km2 (233.3 sq mi).

The city is located on the Manzanares river in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid (which comprises the city of Madrid, its conurbation and extended suburbs and villages); this community is bordered by the autonomous communities of Castile and León and Castile-La Mancha. As the capital city of Spain, seat of government, and residence of the Spanish monarch, Madrid is also the political, economic and cultural centre of Spain. The current mayor is Ana Botella from the People's Party (PP).

Palace of Communication by Carlos Delgado (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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When visiting Madrid don't forget to see and experience the museums, galleries, Bars, Lounges, Restaurant and vibrant cafe society of this area!

What to see

Madrid is a vibrant and energetic city, which is the ideal destination for a holiday filled with culture, beauty and great entertainment. As the capital city of Spain, it is a cosmopolitan and colourful place that has something on offer for everyone.

Despite the presence of all of the modern conveniences that you could ask for from this thriving capital city, Madrid is in fact an ancient region that has been inhabited for centuries. There are beautiful feats of architecture that demonstrate this far-reaching and illustrious past, as well as the energy and colour that the city is renowned for. Madrid is also a hot-bed for arts and culture, where you can find a plethora of art galleries and theatres. It is also a destination renowned for having a great time, with a huge stock of bars and clubs that make for an impressive nightlife.

Top Places to Visit

If you are a visitor of Madrid, the traditional Flamenco dance is one of the city’s attractions. You can find many more places of attraction after visiting Madrid in Spain. Annual festivals like the famous La Tomatina Spanish tomato party are celebrated by tourists from all over the world.

If you are starting your trip in Madrid, the wonderful attraction known as Puerto Del Sol is the place where the radical highway begins. The statue of the bear which is standing against a tree is another important attraction and landmark. This statue is famous in the way that it is the Madrid’s coat of arms.

Every place is known for its history. An association of past and present makes the destination interesting. Palacio Real is the Royal Palace situated in Madrid which is also one of the important places in the city of Madrid. The royal palace is open to the public and tourist to view with an entry fee. You will be very happy to view the beautiful formal garden associated just beside the palace.

Most of the people come from far countries to Madrid of Spain just to view the bull fights. It will be utter foolishness to move away from Madrid without viewing the bull fights. Very few people coming from other parts of the world has hardly viewed the bull fight before. There is a particular season for bull fight in Madrid. Generally, the season in the city of Madrid starts in March and ends in October.

Parque Del Buen Retiro: You must have viewed the picture of this wonderful tourist spot over the internet. This is a very bid park along with statues, central lake, pleasant walkways and fountains. If you want to get away from busy environment of the city during the week end, this is the ultimate place for you. People can get a relaxing atmosphere after spending a long stressful week. You can easily hire a boat and get a wonderful ride over the lake.

Another important tourist destination in the city of Madrid is known as Gran Via. This will show you beautiful architecture in different styles of buildings. Even the Broadway streets were beautifully architecture.

At Plaza de Colon, people can easily view the beautiful monuments of Columbus. The cultural centre is also associated with the exhibition room and the concert hall. A wall of water is another tourist attraction that hides the centre.

Entertainment

Unlike many of its European counterparts, Spain has no licensing laws so it’s little wonder that its capital is overrun with drinking establishments. Just about every corner of the city has a bar on it and as a result the locals never stay in one watering hole for more than one or two drinks as there is simply too much to see and do. As well as this their drinking is not at all restricted to the weekend which is good news for those of you holidaying in the city. For those who live there, it really must be a struggle getting up for work in the morning. 

One thing that you will note, however, is that despite the fact that the native Madrilenos can be found in the pub every night of the week, their drinking habits are quite unique. They rarely get drunk, unlike the residents of some other European capitals, but wander from bar to bar sampling tapas and socialising in a most relaxed and civilised fashion which is testament to the easy going mood which seems to descend over the whole city in the evening.

As you can appreciate, there are whole host of party zones in the Spanish capital but there are a few which any true reveller simply must check out. The area between Puerta del Sol and Plaza de Santa Ana is eternally popular, particularly Calle Huertas which is lined with pubs, traditional tavernas and theatre cafés. The local pubs around Plaza de Santa Barbara are another hive of activity after dark and during summer the terraces in Paseo de la Castellana are thronged with those out to have a good time. Regarded by many as Madrid’s most exciting area, day or night, Gran Via is another part of the city which you won’t want to miss. Others include Malasana, a great place to check out some authentic flamenco and Plaza del Dos de Mayo.

And finally, for up to date information on venues which you should seek out after dark check out Guia de Ocio which is published every Monday or the daily listings in El Pais.

Eating Out

While the most famous dish which has made its way out of Spain and into restaurants all over the world is paella, you’ll soon find that the variety of food on offer in Madrid involves a lot more than the aforementioned rice specialty. This is not to say that you shouldn’t at least sample paella while you’re there but there is a whole lot more on offer in this city which seems to specialise in delicious cuisine.

A veritable melting pot for cuisines from throughout the country, the city also has a host of its very own dishes. Cocido Madrileno is the most widely known traditional Madrid dish and is a type of stew which consists of chickpeas, cabbage, celery, carrots, turnips, and chicken, beef or pork. Callos is another typical Madrid dish and is made using tripe. Finally, Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup), Tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) and Busego al horno (baked bream) are among the other favourites enjoyed by the locals.

Despite its distance inland, the seafood on offer in restaurants throughout the city is also well worth sampling. Delivered fresh every day from ports all over the country, Madrid has the second biggest fish market in the world, second only to Tokyo. You are guaranteed that any seafood or fish dish which you order is going to be one of the best you will ever eat.

For the less adventurous among you it’s easy to find cuisine from right around the globe being served in the multitude of restaurants on offer. From Argentinean to South African and Chinese to Mexican, you will find that each continent is well represented in eateries throughout the city.

Facts

The population of Madrid generally increased from when the city became the national capital in the mid-16th century and stabilised at about 3 million from the 1970s.

From around 1970 until the mid-1990s, the city's population dropped. This phenomenon, which also affected other European cities, was caused in part by the growth of satellite suburbs at the expense of the downtown. Another reason might have been the slowdown in the rate of growth of the European economy.

The demographic boom accelerated in the late 1990s and early first decade of the 21st century due to international immigration, in response to a surge in Spanish economic growth. According to census data, the population of the city grew by 271,856 between 2001 and 2005.

As the capital city of Spain, the city has attracted many immigrants from around the world. About 83.8% of the inhabitants are Spaniards, while people of other origins, including immigrants from Latin America, Europe, Asia, North Africa and West Africa, represented 16.2% of the population in 2007.

The ten largest immigrant groups include: Ecuadorian: 104,184, Romanian: 52,875, Bolivian: 44,044, Colombian: 35,971, Peruvian: 35,083, Chinese: 34,666, Moroccan: 32,498, Dominican: 19,602, Brazilian: 14,583, and Paraguayan: 14,308. There are also important communities of Filipinos, Equatorial Guineans, Bulgarians, Indians, Italians, Argentines, Senegalese and Poles.

A study made by Unión de comunidades islámicas de España demonstrated that there were about 250,000 inhabitants of Muslim background living in Madrid as of 2012, accounting for 8% of the total population of Madrid. The vast majority was composed of immigrants and descendants originating from Morocco and other African countries. More than 130,000 (52%) of them had Spanish nationality.

Districts that host the largest number of immigrants are Usera (28.37%), Centro (26.87%), Carabanchel (22.72%) and Tetuán (21.54%). Districts that host the smallest number are Fuencarral-El Pardo (9.27%), Retiro (9.64%) and Chamartín (11.74%).

The Madrid metropolitan area comprises the city of Madrid and forty surrounding municipalities. It has a population of slightly more than 6.271 million people and covers an area of 46,097 square kilometres (17,798 sq mi). It is the largest metropolitan area in Spain and the third largest in European Union.

As with many metropolitan areas of similar size, two distinct zones of urbanisation can be distinguished:

Inner ring (primera corona): Alcorcón, Leganés, Getafe, Móstoles, Fuenlabrada, Coslada, Alcobendas, Pozuelo de Alarcón, San Fernando de Henares

Outer ring (segunda corona): Villaviciosa de Odón, Parla, Pinto, Valdemoro, Rivas-Vaciamadrid, Torrejón de Ardoz, Alcalá de Henares, San Sebastián de los Reyes, Tres Cantos, Las Rozas de Madrid, Majadahonda, Boadilla del Monte

The largest suburbs are to the South, and in general along the main routes leading out of Madrid.

Useful Links

Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) / Car Hire Pickup Location: Terminal 1 Terminal 2 Terminal 4 
Madrid Visitors & Convention Bureau

Video Intro


Madrid(CLOTXA) / CC BY-SA 3.0

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