Best Time to Visit
Most visitors tend to visit the Spanish capital in the mid-summer, when it’s at its hottest and most unbearable. So instead, either visit in Autumn when the parks are pleasant, or better still, go in May when festivals such as the San Isidro see the locals take to the streets in traditional costume.
What to Pack
Madrid is a walking and has its fair share or cobblestones, so be sure to bring comfortable footwear. A Spanish phrasebook will be handy as English isn’t ubiquitous, and bring light smart-casual clothing, Madrid is neither a casual beach spot nor a dressy city like Milan.
The Spanish capital boasts a Golden Triangle of Art, a trio of museums in close vicinity on the Paseo del Prado boulevard. The most essential is the Prado Museum, holding the world’s best collection of Spanish art. Highlights include multiple works by Goya, Velazquez and Bosch. The Thyssen Bornemisza Museum was once the second largest private collection in the world, and contains 1,600 works from eight centuries. The Reina Sofia focuses on 20th Century art.
Other highlights for visual arts include the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, The Royal Palace of Madrid with the world’s most complete collection of Stradivarius creations, and the CaixaForum Madrid designed by Herzog & de Meuron.
In performing arts, the Teatro Real hosts the best opera in the city, and is also home to the Madrid Symphony Orchestra. The Spanish National Orchestra play at The National Auditorium as do various touring and local orchestras.
Madrid’s major contemporary art fair, ARCO takes place in late February, with the segmented Estampa art fair following in October and arts and antique fair Feriarte held in November.
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