Large & Cosmopolitan

The largest, busiest city in mainland Spain and also its capital for many centuries, Madrid is a cosmopolitan metropolis dating back to prehistoric times. It was built on the Manzares river, in the present Community of Madrid, which encompasses the capital and its surrounding area. During its long and turbulent history, the settlement was in turn occupied by Romans, Visigoths and Moors, absorbing diverse influences. Today, it is one of Europe’s central economic and cultural locations.

madrid cathedral

Travelling to Madrid irrefutably entails a visit to a number of key attractions, known across the globe for their impressive architecture, historical or artistic value, such as the three most notable art museums - Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza, some of the most visited in the country.

The National Archaeological Museum, the Museum of the Americas and the National Museum of Natural Sciences are also located there and constitute a captivating experience.

The Royal Observatory is also located there, besides other institutions of national importance, churches, cathedrals and monuments.

Besides the yearly celebrations held throughout the country, Madrid has instituted its own events, which enjoy consistent foreign attendance every time. Some of the most representative would be the Carnival and Festival Flamenco Caja Madrid held every February and the Fiestas del 2 de Mayo and Fiestas de San Isidro in May.

The beginning of summer is also eventful, with celebrations held in June in honour of San Antonio, San Lorenzo and San Cayetano. In terms of music festivals, a few notable ones are Festimad, Madrid Jazz Festival and an arts festival known as Los Veranos de la Villa, which includes music performances. A fringe and sometimes illicit yet tolerated and romanticised part of local culture consists of informal art displays and literary events such as poetry readings, all organised ad-hoc and with a rebellious, underground feel to them.

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