Madrid is the capital city of Spain, and one of the most popular city destinations for a summer holiday in the entirety of Europe. This is no surprise; Madrid, and indeed Spain in general, is an immensely culturally rich place to visit. There is something new around every corner, though there are a handful of standout places that are absolute must-visits.
Of course, you might feel that you don’t quite have the funds to visit Madrid. After all, international holidays can be pricey things. But with the right approach to planning, you can bring costs down and take yourself on the cultural trip of a lifetime. All the better if you work in healthcare, as a TUI NHS discount could see you save considerably on flights. On-season or off-season, though, these are some of the best places awaiting you when you land…
Parque del Retiro
Parque del Retiro is sometimes referred to as Parque del Buen Retiro, and often just El Retiro; whichever way you choose to call it, it translates to ‘retreat’, and for excellent reason. It represents around 300 acres of incredible city-centre green space just east of the city centre. It has roots in the Spanish monarchy, but has been a beautiful public park since the 1800s. This is the perfect place to stop for a moment of reprieve from the bustle of the city centre, and to enjoy some of the city’s most beautiful statues and waterworks.
Museo del Prado
On the western edge of El Retiro, you will find the Museo del Prado. This is the official national art museum of Spain, and home to some of the great European works. Art enthusiasts, history buffs and aesthetes alike will find this to be a European mecca of creative sensibility, as the museum boasts a wide-ranging collection like no other. Come for the Goya, and stay for Rembrandt, Caravaggio and van Dyck!
Paintings are by no means the only artworks for which Madrid is known. Indeed, the landlocked city is perhaps best known for its Flamenco scene – flamenco, of course, being the emotionally charged form of extravagant dance that has had worldwide influence. Flamenco theatres stipple the city, and several evenings can be made from simply bouncing from one to the next.
Catedral de la Almudena
The Catedral de la Almudena is an edificial Roman Catholic cathedral in the centre of Madrid, and one with a surprisingly recent history. Despite plans for such a cathedral dating back to the Byzantine Empire, the cathedral only began construction in the 17th century – and was only completed as recently as 1993.
Still, it is a feat of engineering and a sight to behold. It is home to an eclectic collection of artworks, and the final resting place for many of Spain’s royal family. Its history alone makes the place worth a visit, if not its eccentric interior.