The capital city of Spain, Madrid is history, culture, and modern amenities.
Mix in brilliant sunshine, crystal blue skies, and cobblestoned courtyards that are a feast for the eyes, and the warmth of the city will win your heart.
For many visitors the first stop for experiencing the very heartbeat of Madrid is in the Puerta del Sol for people watching at one of the city's busiest plazas. Then, it's off to Plaza Mayor (only a few minutes' walk away from Puerta del Sol) for a bite to eat or for browsing the many shops that line this huge urban square.
Other must-sees include some of the best Madrid flamenco dance performances at Cafe de Chinitas and - although not for the feint of heart - a traditional bullfight at the Las Ventas bullring
With more than a few days to spend in the capital, memorable day excursions from Madrid include the short train hops to beautiful and historic Toldedo and the ancient Roman walled city of Avila. Both are classified as UNESCO world heritage sites and well-worth the trip.
DID YOU KNOW? Madrid Travel Fun Facts
Spain's ugliest building?
• The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Spain's modern art museum, was once called "the ugliest building in Spain" when it opened in 1992. Today, it is home to Picasso's masterpiece 'Guernica' and other important works by 20th century artists.
• Madrid is located on a plateau 650 metres above sea level and it is the highest capital in Europe.
• Bernabéu, located in Chamartín (north of the city), is the home stadium of the world's most famous soccer team, Real Madrid.
• Restaurant Botin is the oldest restaurant in the world, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Opened in 1725, the Madrid establishment has served famous patrons ranging from Spanish artist Goya to writer Ernest Hemingway and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.
More about Madrid tourist attractions around the Web:
Man's Yankee Home Page - One Yankee's tribute to this city will give you a taste of why visitors want to return. The site is a showcase for the best of Madrid.
Madrid Travel Guide - Beautifully designed and illustrated guide to where to go, what to do, with feature articles on suggested itineraries and listings to museums, night life, shopping and more.
Madrid Virtual Tour - A roving photographer guides visitors around the city's many attractions via an interactive slide show with quick factoids on each to complete the picture.