The main tourist areas of Madrid:
The best museums in Madrid:
There are three of the world's greatest museums within walking distance of each other here in Madrid. - My personal favorite is the Thyssen Museum,
but you may prefer to visit the Prado
Museum just across the street or the Reina
Sofia Museum just 10 minutes down the street across from Atocha train
most recent addition to the area is the also great CaixaForum.
The best of nature in Madrid:
The best party area in Madrid:
Between the Royal Palace and Puerta del Sol in the West and the Prado Museum area in the East, my favourite area in Madrid for both day and night time fun
is called Huertas and runs along Calle Huertas from
the Plaza de Santa Ana to the Prado museum. There are plenty
of bars and restaurants throughout the area and you can just
take your pick. Huertas is part of a tourist area with very little vehicle traffic permitted in it. You can walk on pedestrian-only streets from Recoletos at the Prado Museum all the way to the Royal Palace.
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More info on International
House Madrid on MadridTeacher, and more info about IHMadrid's TEFL Course.
The best tourist area in the Community of Madrid:
Escorial to the northwest of Madrid in the Sierra de Guadarrama of Madrid.
It's an UNESCO world heritage site and it deserves to be. I recommend
the walk up to "Felipe's Chair" (Silla de Felipe)
for a magnificent view of everything.
The "other" best day-trips outside of the Community of Madrid:
Just outside of the Community of Madrid there are some other wonderful places to visit, At the top of the list is Segovia. It's also an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Roman-built aqueduct is one of Spain's best known monuments, but you've probably seen the fairy-tale "Alcazar" castle at right as well.
While you're in the area, try to find the time to visit La Granja de San Ildefonso and have a picnic at Boca del Asno park.
Other nearby places you just have to go to are Toledo, Aranjuez, Ávila and, a bit farther away, Cuenca (It actually may be faster to go to Seville by high-speed train than to go to this last one.) For a lovely one-day excursion, visit Sigüenza, an authentic medieval village (1.5 hours from Chamartin train station).
If you can get access to a car, you might also consider going to Arenas de San Pedro in the mountains of Gredos, 2 hours southwest of the
Community of Madrid.
La Granja de San Ildefonso (Segovia):
La Granja de San Ildefonso is about 20 km from Segovia and about an hour's drive to the northwest from Madrid on the other side of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains. Make sure to climb up to the lovely little lake. It's not such a long walk.
La Granja de San Ildefonso
Boca del Asno (nearby)
The best of nature in the Community of Madrid:
The best place to go to in Madrid for a bit of fresh, crisp, mountain air is the Sierra (in the Spring, Summer and Fall for hiking and in the Winter for skiing or sledding. The best easy trails to hike are the Camino Schmid in Puerto de Navacerrada, Camino Puricelli to Las Dehesas park and then the old Roman road (Calzada Romana) to Fuenfria Pass (Puerto Fuenfria) which meets up with the Camino Schmid, the waterfalls at Cascadas del Purgatorio (Rascafria). A bit more difficult is La Pedriza. If you really miss the lush forests of cooler moister climates and you can't make it to Asturias or Cantabria in the north of Spain, why don't you go have a look at the: Hayedo de Montejo in the northeast of the Community of Madrid?
On Youtube: Cascadas del Purgatorio, Rascafría, Madrid.
Laguna de Peñalara