The main tourist areas of Madrid:
Puerta del Sol is about 10 minutes from the Royal Palace via Opera. It's
also about a 3 minute walk from the Plaza
Mayor, which is
a must-see. You can also walk the area around the old City Hall near the Plaza Mayor. Actually, there are all sorts of things to do
and see in the area, which has been completely renovated with pedestrian-only streets and so on which really have transformed it into a first-class tourist destintion. There are also lots of shopping centres around the center and north of Sol and on the Gran Via. Check out this great site for 360 photos of the Gran Vía.
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 occasionally great CaixaForum.
More: Prado. There is an annual pass available for 35 euros or so.
The best of nature in Madrid:
The best party area in Madrid:
Between the Royal Palace and Puerta de 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. More on: Drink in Madrid on Wikitravel.
There are also plenty of clubs and discos in Madrid for night-lifers like: Joy Eslava, Radical, Sala La Riviera (Recent concerts: Jimmy Cliff, James Blunt, Whitesnake, B-52's, Christopher Cross,
Journey, Kansas) photos , Sala Heineken, Grupo Kapital (several discos ). Here are some Irish Pubs on: MadAboutMadrid. Personally, I prefer: The Irish Rover It's great for watching sports on the big screen.
Company Requires English Teachers
Opportunities at International House Madrid:
International House Madrid are now recruiting for:
· Opportunities at International House Madrid:
Cambridge Examiners - training days in January and February.
Teachers for General English and ESP for a new project teaching adults and young adults (under 25) from February to September.
Click here for more information on both projects: International
The best tourist area in the Community of Madrid:
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.
The second-best tourist area in the community:
The best of nature in the Community of Madrid:
The best shopping area in Madrid:
Rastro - You can find anything and everything at the Rastro from
left-over pieces of junk to beautiful works of art. And
in case you were worried about safety, it's usually crawling with
The best thing for kids to do while you visit:
The best up-to-date information on what to do (in Spanish):
Festivals and concerts at: El Mundo.
Tickets at: Elcorteingles.es, Ticktackticket, Telentrada. Tickets tend to be about 60 or 70 euros for superstars and maybe half of that for anybody else. Also, other events at: Madrid Espacios y Congresos and Madrid en Red. If you happen to be in the area, you can go straight to the ticket offices at the FNAC downtown at Callao or at the Corte Inglés at Puerta de Sol. Also, good local information can be found in print on Fridays as a supplement to the daily
El País: OnMadrid (don't waste your time on the online version). It's got what's going on in the next week, plus restaurants, etc.
The best of Sports in Madrid:
The best (and only) Amusement Parks in Madrid:
Swimming pools in Madrid, Aquopolis (Parques Reunidos Youtube Channel) - In the Community of Madrid there are two of those swimming-pool parks with all sorts of strange contraptions for people to torture themselves with (worse than the inquisition). I go to my local neighbourhood swimming pool which is just fine at 2.50 a head for the day. There are plenty of them around along with Sports Complexes where you can sign up to play sports like tennis and soccer. You may even be able to join the local leagues, it's all pretty well organized. A warning: I don't see the lifeguards at my swimming pool ever paying very close attention - just an opinion - and there were something like at least 20-30 drownings in the summer of 2008 on the beaches and in the pools.
Warner Park Madrid Tickets are 39 euros for adults (8 for parking) and they won't necessarily let you in with a backpack-full of food so you may have to buy something to eat there (1.60 for water, 2.80 for cokes, 10.50-13.00 for meals - 10 euros for a 180-gram burger, fries and medium coke). Otherwise, except for the super-hot August days and super-long waits on weekends, I'd heard nothing but positive recommendations about the cool rides and shows and now that I've gone myself a couple of times as well, I can sincerely say that I agree with them - it's fantastic! Oh, and by the way, the shows are all in Spanish which might be a bit frustrating for you if you don't speak the language. The train to Warner Park has been shut down (March 14, 2012).
Parque de Atracciones Tickets are a little cheaper at 27.50. There are loads of picnic tables and I've even seen people lugging around enormous coolers with their lunches. It's also inside Madrid and not out in the sticks. By the way, I'm not a big fan of Disneyland or anything, but I just love this amusement park. Except for the lack of good places to eat, it seems to be well-managed, well-kept-up, modern, etc. If you look at in the satellite photo in Google Maps, it doesn't seem to be as big as Warner Park and maybe it isn't, but bear in mind that it's got a lot more tree cover as it's a much older park and so you can't actually see as much of the park. Some of the rides are better in my opinion. The "rapids" ride here is longer and nicer than the ride at Warner and there are a couple of roller coaster rides including the Vertigo and the Tarantula, etc. that are different and pretty cool without getting too extreme.
The best in-English Newspaper in Madrid:
http://www.in-madrid.com - If you can't speak Spanish, there's no doubt at all that
"In Madrid" is the best "in-English" press around. If you
want to know what's in-fashion and happening in
Insiders Abroad - There are a few interesting articles here, but it's not Madrid-specific.
The best in-English cinema in Madrid:
Ideal This "original version" cinema (English mostly
and other languages) is a few hundred meters south of "Puerta
del Sol" on Calle Doctor Cortezo, 6 just off Plaza
de Jacinto Benavente. Warning: all cinemas in Madrid cost
6.50€ or more. More movies on El Mundo Cartelera.
If you want to watch something really cool in 3D, go to the IMAX Cinema . By the way, I went with my family in July of 2008 (33 euros for 3 people) and, in my opinion, the place needed renovating, especially the bulbs on their 2D projector which seemed all too dark at the edges. (There is at least one other one on the outskirts of Madrid.) While you're at it, you might stop in at the antiquated, but nice, planetarium next door.
The best music-related electronics shopping area:
say that the area to go to is about 500 metres north of
Calle Alcalá on Calle Barquillo just up the street
from Banco de España metro. The truth is that there
are a lot of shops here with stock that looks quite professional
so maybe you can find things that aren't generally available,
but prices seem the same to me for average cd players,
There are several instrument shops around the center. I've personally shopped quite happily at Union Musical Española on Echegarai.
The best PC shops:
PCBox - If you know what your doing, PCBox is probably the best
and cheapest shop for computer hardware in Madrid. Mediamarkt,
(their shops are on the outskirts), though it seems to me
to have a horribly abusive returns policy, usually has some
really good sales, but doesn't seem to me to be really focused
on PCs, and PCCity (near Metro Arguelles) is also a good solid choice. The
best reason to buy at El
Corte Inglés is because of their excellent financing and the guarantee
their brand offers (there's usually no problem at all returning
goods for whatever reason here). One of my students is the
head of the IT department in a French multinational which
buys many of their computer supplies online here: Bechtle.
There are plenty of other shops in Madrid to be wary of. The best PC magazine printed here is: PC Actual.
The best of Telecommunications in Spain:
The best mobile-phone and internet company overall is "Movistar-Telefonica." Their competitors Orange and Vodafone work just fine as well. The best thing to do is to go to their shops, which are all over the place, and compare current prices and offers.
The best music and films shop:
If anyone actually buys music or films anymore, which I have
to admit that I do, FNAC next to metro Callao is the best for music because of their
listen-before-you-buy system, and Mediamarkt has excellent prices on their videos (often 50% or less of
what others are asking).
The Best Art Supplies store:
Chopos art supply store is one of the best art
supply stores in Madrid and the materials are usually fresh. (I've
bought acrylic paints in other stores which had just about solidified.)
It's just east of Plaza de San Jacinto Benavente towards the Plaza
de Santa Ana.
The Best Chocolate bar in Madrid and Eating in Madrid:
The Best Hiking and Camping Equipment shopping in Madrid:
best area in Madrid to shop for camping equipment (i.e. backpacks,
hiking boots, etc.) is in the rastro. Decathlon is a sports-related department store located in various towns
on the outskirts of Madrid.
The best place for hiking maps and guides is: Tienda Verde.
The Best Video-Game Store in Madrid:
GAME - This store has many locations and loads of new and second-hand games. I find prices can be cheaper currently for both new and second-hand video games on Zavvi.es.
The Best Board-Game store:
X - Game store in Madrid which usually has a lot of board games
and comics in stock in the shop at Calle Puebla 15 and a playing area downstairs. The area just
south and east of this shop on Calle de la Luna (nearer to Callao)
has another game shop that has more miniatures for military games,
etc. Just west of this on this street there are plenty of comics
shops. Prices seem to be about 1.5 or 2 times more expensive than Stateside. There are various places where people get together to play games of all kinds, but you have to ask around as there doesn't seem to be much info on the internet. For example, elderly chess players regularly get together upstairs in the Café Comercial in Metro Bilbao.
Generally speaking, a lot of gaming in Spain is done within the family circle or closed groups of young friends and you're probably better off going online for Warcraft or Eve Online if you want to play with other people.
The Best Photography shop:
The best English book store in Madrid:
The Best in-Spanish bookshop:
Best bicycle shop (on Calle Atocha - a kilometre Southeast of Sol):
The Transportation Network in Madrid:
Get Around in Madrid on Wikitravel - The
mass transit system in Madrid is excellent in general. Specifically,
the metro and train system couldn't be better, but the highways
couldn't be busier either. It's usually faster during weekdays
to take the metro system anywhere within the city, especially
from about 06.30 - 09.30 and from about 15.00 to 19.30. Take this
into account when trying to get into the city from the airport
because you're likely to take much longer to get wherever you're
going if you take a taxi (they do sometimes like to take the "scenic
route" around here by the way.) Map of the metro system, Official site - City buses, metro and train transportation.
Trains - Renfe of Madrid now gets to the very centre of Madrid, the Puerta de Sol.
Apartment and Rooms information for Madrid:
Teachers tend to stay at a pension or hostal for a couple of months at first while they look for a regular place. It ain't easy to find a decent one cheap (i.e. 350 euros and up for a room, 650 and up for an apartment)
Idealista.com - loads of apartments, rooms, etc. You'll still have to do the footwork. (By the way, I read the Economist every week and if they quote them just once more, I'm going to start thinking that they own them.)
Sleep in Madrid on Wikitravel
Youth Hostel, Hostel World
MyHotelVideo.com - Search for "Madrid."
(Google Maps: Cat's Hostal, Mad Hostal, Bull's Hostal, Luis Velez Hostal, Los Amigos Hostal - bunk-bed style - other Madrid Hostals. Another possibility: United World Hostel).
Hostales en Madrid on Infohostal
Hoteles en Madrid on Booking.com
Apartment Rentals on Loquo, Room Rentals on Loquo - on classified ads site. Other: Apartamentos on Google Maps.
30 Madrid - Loads of Hotels, Hostals, Apartments, etc.
Scammed - English teacher Trent Brock writes about
getting ripped off of everything he had his first week in Madrid,
The best English teaching courses Madrid: