Spaniards will tell you that while the rest of the world lives to work, they work to live. Nowhere is that more evident than in the capital, where the free-spirited
Madrileños (Madrid's denizens) provide the main attraction for visitors. The unrivaled number of bars, cafés, discos, restaurants, and live music venues, combined with the locals' enthusiasm for enjoying themselves, make this the place to come for fun. Although Madrid may not have as many historical sites as Paris, Rome, or even Barcelona, you'll still find plenty of intellectual stimulation at some of the best museums in Europe like the
Reina Sofía, and
The heart of it all! You should start your tour...
Interesting Facts About Madrid:
- Little known fact: Madrid's first permanent settlers were the Moors, who called the town Magrit.
- Popular fact: Madrid is the third-most populous city in Europe, the most visited city in Spain, and the fourth most visited city in Europe.
- Fun fact: Madrid's inhabitants are known as cats (gatos)–a nickname owed to a Christian soldier who stealthily climbed the Moorish wall and replaced the flag.
- Fast fact: Kilometer Zero in Madrid's Puerta del Sol is the point from which all Spain's highways are measured. It's also a popular local meeting spot.
- Ironic fact: The bad blood between two of Spain's literary greats, Miguel de Cervantes and Lope de Vega, was well known. Yet Lope de Vega's former house, converted into a museum, is located on what is now known as Cervantes Street. And Cervantes was buried at the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians, which is located on what is now Lope de Vega Street.
- Useful fact: It occasionally snows in Madrid in the winter.
- Interesting fact: Said to have died for Spanish liberty, Manuela Malasaña was a young seamstress killed by French troops during the May 2 Uprising in 1808. The neighborhood where the events took place was renamed in her honor: Malasaña.
- Weird fact: Madrid's beautiful Plaza Mayor (Main Square) was once used for bullfights, public executions and Inquisition trials.
- Unusual fact: The city of Madrid is sometimes referred to as Los Madriles.
- Historical fact: In 1561 Felipe II made Madrid the base for his court, creating the status as Spain's capital city that Madrid has enjoyed ever since.
- Random fact: The tallest building in Madrid and Spain is the Caja Madrid Tower with a height of 250 meters.
- Contemporary fact: More than 15% of Madrid's residents are foreign-born.
More Madrid descriptions
Things to Do
Your feet will grow weary before you make your way through the masterpieces of the Prado. The collection rivals that of the Louvre, with works from around the world, but since you're in Madrid you may as well focus on the rich collection...