Tourist information

Madrid is the capital of the Kingdom of Spain. It is also the capital of the region of the same name (Comunidad de Madrid). It is Spain's largest city, with a population (city) of 3.228 million (July 2005) and 5.843 million (metropolitan area).

The small moorish village of Magerit, founded by Mohamed I of Toledo in the XI century, became the capital in 1561 under the reign of the king Felipe II. With a fascinating history, the current Madrid offers its broad, leafy boulevards, Renaissance neoclassical monuments, endless museums and a passion for nightlife. Spain´s first city welcomes a steady stream of visitors from quieter corners of the world. For example, Madrid was the European city of culture in 1992 and now it would like to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

At the cross roads between America, Europe an Africa, it has excellent connections by air with the main cities of the world.

Centuries of art and culture have endowed Madrid of 78 museums and some beautiful palaces. A city where the history, art and culture combine to offer a wide range of activities. Moreover, Madrid has managed to preserve not only its special places and the friendly nature of its people, but also the old traditions, which give the city its very own identity.

MADRID INFORMATION TOURIST OFFICE

Information about tourist and cultural offer in Madrid. This service includes: delivery of leaflets, planes and Opening Hours. Customer service available in Spanish, English, French, Italian and Portuguese.

Address: Plaza Mayor, 3
Opening Hours: From Monday to Saturday, 10 am to 8 pm. Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm.
Telephone: 91 588 16 36 / 91 366 54 77
Website: http://www.esmadrid.com

See also the Spanish Official Tourist Information Website: http://www.spain.info/TourSpain

GETTING AROUND

By metro
Using the Metro de Madrid (Madrid's Subway/Underground) is efficient and usually easier than using the buses, especially if one is new to the city. Single trip tickets with unlimited changes within Madrid city (zone A) cost € 1,00. If you plan to make at least six metro trips, think about buying the Metrobús tickets which offer a better value of 10 rides. You can buy these tickets at Metro stations, news-stands, and estancos (tobacconists'). They are valid not just on the Metro but also on city buses (the red ones), including the night bus network (the Búhos - night owls). Stamping the ticket one time allows you to use the Metro network as long and far as you like - make sure you stay inside the Metro zone, once you leave it, you'll have to stamp your ticket again. When travelling by bus, the ticket needs to be stamped each time you enter a bus.

Websites:
http://www.metromadrid.es/
http://www.ctm-madrid.es/

By bus
A single trip costs € 1 (buy ticket on boarding), or buy a Metrobús ticket in advance (see "Metro" above). There are special night buses (called Búhos "night owl"). All the Búhos start at Plaza de Cibeles, going to all directions from there. In weekends, there are also night buses following all of the metro lines and stops, though sometimes they don't stop straight in the metro exits due to the narrow streets surrounding some of them.

By taxi
Taxis in Madrid are cheaper than in other European cities but much more expensive than traveling by bus or Metro. They are widely available at all hours except Friday and Saturday night when they are difficult to catch due to diners and party-ers. Unlike in other European cities, there are few taxi ranks; just stand by the side of a major road or bus stop and wave your hand for a free taxi passing by. Available taxis have a green libre sign in the windshield and a green light on top.

Official Taxis are white, and have a red stripe and the flag of Madrid on the front door. The tariff is displayed on top of the car (a 1 during daytime, a 2 during the night). There are special surcharges if you go tosome specific places (as the airport) and for big luggage. A normal ride to /from the airport is about € 20-30.

SEE

Golden (art) Museum Triangle

Other Major Museums

Places of Interest

Bear and strawberry tree

10 THINGS YOU MUST DO BEFORE YOU LEAVE... (OR FOR THE NEXT TIME YOU COME TO MADRID)

(Now you are an authentic madrileño!)

SHOPPING

EATING

Madrid, as is the case for any European Capital of similar size, has a wide variety of restaurants serving both Spanish and practically all types of international cuisine. Both quality and prices vary tremendously.

Don't forget that the usual lunch time in Spain is 2 pm, whereas dinner is never before 8 or 9pm; many restaurants do not open until this time. You will have a wider selection if you wait until later in the evening.

Spanish dishes popular throughout the country are also widely served in Madrid, examples of which are the following:

GETTING OUT

Madrid is both a city and a region in Spain and as such has a number of sights within easy reach. Popular destinations include: