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Ever-evolving Madrid just keeps getting better and better
Ever-evolving Madrid just keeps getting better and better
If there was ever a train ride that felt like a blink of an eye, the journey from Barcelona to Madrid on the Spanish high-speed AVE deserves every accolade that it can get. The three and half hour trek will leave you longing for more with its spectacular views and cozy ride. You’re introduction Madrid will be the Puerta de Atocha station. Filled with palm trees and topped with a glass ceiling, the building is airy and comfortable. Before exiting, stop and say hi to the turtles.
The Atocha Station is connected by frequent rail service (passes valid) to the “other” main station, Madrid Chamartin, taking about 10 minutes. And for use of the city’s buses and subway, be sure to get a Madrid Tourist Travel Pass.
The capital of Spain is a real city. At the stately, 17th century Plaza Major (main square), you’ll find outdoor cafes and bars filled with locals and travelers. If not to eat or shop, it’s a great place to people watch.
When hungry, be sure to try the famed Serrano ham. On Carrera de San Jerónimo a flashing neon sign’ll beckon you. This is no roadside novelty but the Museo del Jamón – the ham museum. Enter into this bastion of bacon and find hundreds of hams hanging from the ceiling. The “museum” is a chain, but this is the original.
For a sweeter treat, enjoy a breakfast or late night snack of chocolate con churros. And the best place to have this thick cup of heaven with long fried dough sticks is San Gines Chocolateria. For over 100 years, this place has been churning out chocolate goodies better than anywhere in Madrid.
Visit the Prado Museum, the most visited in all of Spain and home to treasures seen only in art history books. With the Madrid Card, you can enjoy priority access.
Two of the country’s prized artists : Velasquez and Goya, are well represented here by their most iconic paintings. Velasquez’ Las Meninas (meaning the servants) was meant to portray the king and queen in a positive light. Instead, the artist paints himself at work, along with their daughter – a princess, who watches her parents pose. The painting has stirred the soul of Spain and the world for centuries and is considered one of the finest pieces of art – ever.
Francisco de Goya was Spain’s official court painter who became a liberal, political painter. His paintings The Second of May and The Third of May are also on display at the Prado, and shows how Goya sympathizes with the common man as a victim of war.
For more history, go beyond the canvas into the smaller towns that surround Madrid. With a Eurail Spain Pass, you can easily take day trips and be back for a tapas dinner.
One of the more enriching side trips is a visit to Toledo. Just 30 minutes away on the AVE, you’ll explore a triumvirate of religions that lived side-by-side in peace. Visit the Christian Cathedral, the Jewish Sinagoga del Tránsito del Segovia and the Islamic Mezquita de Cristo de la Luz. For a souvenir, purchase a famed steel Toledo sword if only to use for opening mail. You can also take our Excursion to Toledo, for a fully guided tour of the city.
Come to Spain. See Madrid. And so much more thanks to a high-speed train network that can bring you to see more history, more ham, more hermosa. And thankfully, a siesta.
Spain is a land of fine food and its capital city, Madrid, is an excellent place to discover the traditional tapas bars, marisquerias (seafood bars) and relaxing cafes. One of the best way to do so, is to go to the beautiful Cava Baja, the epicentre of the historic La Latina neighbourhood. There, tapas bars are lined up, serving Madrid’s signature ‘creative cuisine’. You can also find new eateries in Chueca neighbourhood, north of bustling Gran Via. Enjoy beers and snacks in one of Plaza Santa Ana’s oak-panelled cervecerias or bar-hop in Madrid’s trendy Malasaña district.
A wonder city like Madrid is an invitation for shopping. Calle Fuencarral, north of Gran Via, is lined with trendy fashion stores while Spanish high-street brands cluster around Puerto del Sol. For designer labels, visit Calle Serrano in the upscale Salamanca district or head to La Latina, south of Plaza Mayor, which transforms into a sea of stalls selling art to antiques at Sunday’s El Rastro market.
Madrid Visitors and Convention Bureau
Plaza Mayor, 27 28012 Madrid
Tel : (+34) 91 701 22 10
The city’s tourist office has a helpful personnel, insider information and tips as well as handy maps and brochures. The city’s tourist office also arranges tours and excursions and is a focal point for local accommodation.
Getting to and from Madrid
|From San Sebastian||05:18|
|From Jerez De La Frontera||03:27|
|From Ciudad Real||00:52|
|From Castellon De La Plana||02:56|
Trains are convenient way to reach any town and city in Europe. All main towns have a railway station, while major cities have more than two railway stations. Nearly all railway stations are located in the city centre. Check our map to locate railway station(s) in Madrid.
Madrid city guide
"We took another train journey from Madrid to Malaga and return and I have to say it is the most comfortable way to travel. We find the service clean, punctual and above all the staff friendly. We would recommend this to flying or driving. "
"fast, comfortable and departed on time. had a good sleep on train. "
"It was our family first time travel in Europe by train as we usual drove wherever convenience. This high speed train was very impressive of its comfort, steady and speedy. We were surprised to the hospitality, food, drink offered, and have to say thank you to those assistants although one of them was not very friendly when I asked for a sparkling wine. The other lady was pleased to send me the drink when I requested again. Overall was V Good. "
"Very nice "
"From Malaga to Madrid to watch football at Santiago Bernabeu the train was superb. Travelled turist-class and were satisfied with that. Verry good seats. Never been in trains over 300 km an hour. Fun ! "
"This is the first time I was travelling first class on Renfe and I must say it was quite an experience. The breakfast was wonderful and so was the ambiance of the coach, which includes the soft, spacious seats. Since a lot of tourists use these trains, I would suggest Renfe offer up a few English newspapers along with the Spanish papers. "
"I had forgotten how nice it is just to sit back and not have to buckle that seat belt and put seat upright. For short trips the train beats the plane and with the bus station right there in Malaga,very convenient. "
"Excellant !!! When the train was delayed I was compensated by 50% (approx) A Grenat deal !! "
"Four of us flew into Madrid, and took the RENFE to Sevilla. Online reservations were easy. We took advantage of the inexpensive luggage check to tour the Prado before our train left. After a long flight, it was great to be able to move around on the train. "