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Stephanie Murray, Senior Short Break Specialist

"Live music, art galleries, awe-inspiring architecture, and an enticing cuisine draw visitors to Madrid with as much vibrancy as the city’s attractive skyline. Walk down the bustling Gran Vía to get a true taste of the city. This kilometre long road reaches from the statue crowned Metrópolis building to the popular grand square of Plaza de España with plenty to see and buy along the way."

Madrid at a glance

Madrid boasts an intoxicating zeal for life reflected in its world-class museums, art galleries, delicious cuisine and unbeatable nightlife.  With a celebrated history as the Spanish capital since 1561, the city holds a fierce pride for its culture and traditions while equally embracing an ever changing modern world. A vibrant atmosphere offering much to see and do, Madrid is a fantastic short break destination not to be missed. 

Empire building nations influenced Madrid early on, leaving it with a lasting impression of grandeur in its regal palaces, majestic squares and impressive cathedrals. There is also an impressive number of art galleries and museums in the city, thanks in no small part to the Spanish royalty who had an affinity for the masterpieces of their time. Many of the city’s museums and art galleries are built from their original collections that span from the 12th – 19th century. 

Despite its hearty connection with its past, Madrid is also a global city placed among the largest metropolises in Europe and holds a worldwide influence on current art, culture, fashion and education. Ranking as one of the most visited cities in Europe, it comes as no surprise that Madrid is home to the World Tourism Organisation and the International Tourism Fair.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Art and culture
  • Stunning architecture
  • Vibrant nightlife

Getting around

Madrid has the second largest metro network in Europe. Single and multiple journey tickets can be purchased from ticket machines which provide instructions in a number of languages, including English.  

There is also a public bus network which operates on the same set fare for any single journey. 

Metrobus tickets can be purchased for use on both the metro and bus.

Dining in Madrid

Madrid’s cuisine takes Spanish food to a whole new level with innovative fusions based on regional dishes and the latest in gastronomy trends. 

The world’s oldest restaurant, Sobrino de Botín, is situated in the heart of Madrid. In operation since 1725 the restaurant uses an original wood fire oven to prepare its most popular dish – suckling pig.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Cocido – a meat based stew with a variety of vegetables including cabbage, chickpeas and carrots
  • Patatas bravas – cut and fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce
  • Teja – a fondant shell filled with dulce de leche and dried fruits or nuts

Shopping in Madrid

Madrid is packed with designer boutiques, branded retailers and shopping malls for all your shopping needs. Gran Via, the main street abounds in recognisable brands such as Zara, Mango, Primark and H&M. The Calle Fuencarral which is less commercial, still makes for an interesting shopping experience. Buzzing food markets are also dotted around the city, such as the Mercado de San Miguel and Mercado de San Anton which are both fabulous for tapas. Madrid’s department stores include ABC Serrano, Las Rozas Village, Dreams Palacio de Hielo and Madrid Xanadu which also boasts an indoor ski slope!


Whether you want to sip cocktails at a glamorous club, dance the night away at a live music venue or get an authentic taste of the city at a tablao where you can enjoy tapas while watching live flamenco dancing, Madrid is the place to be for some of the hottest, high energy nightlife in Europe.

Osprey Holidays top tips

Mix with the Madrileños on a Sunday morning at El Rastro – one of the world’s largest flea markets lining the streets south of the Cathedral. The craft stalls are a great place to shop for inexpensive souvenirs and gifts.

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Madrid designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Madrid hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 3,265,038
Languages Castillian
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for UK citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

Many of Madrid's museums and art galleries have free entry at certain times during the week. Check online before you visit.

Distance from airports
Madrid-Barajas 12 km
Railway stations
Madrid Atocha

Things to do in Madrid

  • Plaza Mayor: This impressive town square is the heart of Madrid’s imperial and political life.
  • Museo Del Prado: One of the world’s great art galleries, housed in a magnificent former palace.
  • El Rastro Market: The place to be on a Sunday morning, this excellent flea market has food stalls selling tapas and a host of second-hand bargains.
  • Parque del Buen Retiro: Elegant gardens that are peaceful during the week and lively at weekends.
  • Estadio Santiago Bernabéu: The home of Real  Madrid, and one of the world’s most famous and prestigious football stadiums.
  • The Palacio Real: The Royal Palace is Madrid's largest building and the largest palace in Western Europe.
  • Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena: Principle church of the Diocese of Madrid, started in 1883 and was only completed in 1993.
  • Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía: A treasure-trove of contemporary and modern art, many of its works having been moved from the Prado.
  • The Debod Temple: An authentic Egyptian temple dating from the 2nd century BC.
  • B tin Restaurant: The oldest restaurant in the world, dating back to 1725.

Tours and Excursions

Prado & Reina Sofia Guided Tour

With your expert guide, and priority access, explore Madrid’s top art galleries. The Prado Museum is home to masterpieces by Bosch, Goya, El Greco and Velazquez, while the Reina Sofia features Spain’s finest 20th century artists, including Picasso and Dali. 

Madrid Highlights & Bernabeu Stadium

This tour combines highlights of the city, featuring Medieval, Baroque, Neoclassical and modern architecture, with a visit to the famous Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, home of Real Madrid. In the stadium you will have access to the tunnel, locker rooms, the pitch and even the presidential box. You can also visit the Trophies Exhibition and as the tour finishes here, stay as long as you like.

Madrid Highlights Tour with Royal Palace

Take a tour by air-conditioned coach to see the main sights of the city with stops at highlights such as Plaza Mayor, Barrio de la Moreria and Las Ventas Bullring. Skip the line to visit the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish royal family.

Madrid City Tour Hop-On Hop-Off   

Explore this incredible city by open-top double-decker bus. Enjoy the flexibility to get on and off as you please at stops located around the city.  Take in all the sights including the Royal Palace, Almudena Cathedral and Plaza Mayor.


We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.