“Madrid is a city filled with life!” exclaims Madrilenian Javier Muro, recent graduate of the University of Turku.

The capital of Spain is also a city filled with options. “If you like the arts, you should go to the El Prado and Reina Sofía museums, it’s worth visiting both of them even if you don’t understand much about paintings,” says Muro. The cultural visit may continue with a stop by Almudena Cathedral, the most important religious and stunning building in Madrid. In front of the cathedral, you will find the Royal Palace built in 1764, former residence of the Spanish royal family, another must see of the culture and history of the city.

San Lorenzo de El Escorial is another landmark worth visiting. It was built between 1563 and 1584 and includes, among others, a royal palace, a library and a monastery and the enclosure is one of the most remarkable pieces of the Renaissance in Europe.

After these cultural visits, any bar in the centre is good for recharging your batteries, and you should definitely try a bocadillo de calamares (calamari sandwich), the specialty of every Madrilenian bar. Another Spanish must is the “caña y tapa” combo, which consists of ordering a beer and getting a small appetizer with it. You can’t choose the tapa!

Once you’ve eaten, “taking a stroll in the old centre and The Madrid of the Austrians, which have plenty of alleyways, is totally worth it! These narrow streets are labyrinthine, pell-mell and they also have a long history”.

If you are tired of walking in the city, you can enjoy a natural and relaxing environment in the city centre, in the Retiro park and the Arganzuela park, near Manzanares river.

One of the most unknown places to tourists of this big city is the nature landscapes surrounding it. Madrileans like to escape from the frenetic pace of the city during the weekends and enjoy the nature and fresh air in la Sierra Norte (the Northern mountain range). Bus and train connections from the city are very good and getting to know the culture of a typical village of Madrid offers something off the beaten path, explains Muro.

Madrid is energetic and lively, especially at night, when the locals take to the streets to have a drink, dance and meet friends in one of the thousands of pubs and clubs that fill the city.

Life is fast in Madrid – pay a visit and follow its rhythm!

Pilar Díaz
Image: Harald909