Madrid is a great holiday destination for foodies. There are many traditional tapas bars, ethnic restaurants and a variety of clubs and discos. The city offers many affordable dining options for those on a budget and those willing to splurge. Tapas are appetizers that are served with each drink ordered in most bars. Each bar has its own version of tapas, from large aceitunas olives and croquetas croquettes to platters of jamón ibérico and tortilla de patatas potato omelet.
Those on a budget can explore one of the city's many markets. Near the centric Puerta del Sol area visitors will find the historic Mercado de San Miguel Market. A short walk away are the Antón Martín Market and the San Antón Market. There are tapas bars in most markets where visitors will be able to enjoy a traditional breakfast and a dinner. The markets have stalls selling fresh fruit, vegetables and a selection of cheeses, dried fruit, fish and meat.
After a filling tapas dinner visitors will be able to join the locals and explore the city's nightlife. In the centric Barrio de las Letras area there are many bars and clubs. The Plaza de Santa Ana square is located in this area and there are many traditional terraces where visitors will be able to enjoy a caña beer and a tinto de verano, a wine based drink with fruits. A short walk away from the city center is the La Latina district, which has many tapas bars and clubs where visitors will be able to party until dawn.
Walk around the city center
Madrid is an historic city that can be explore on foot. The centric Puerta del Sol square is where the city's symbol, the statue of a bear with a madroño tree, is located. This square leads to the Plaza Mayor, another ancient square filled with street artists and terraces. A short walk along the cobbled streets built during the reign of the Hapsburgs lead to the city's Palacio de Oriente, the Royal Palace. Visitors will be able to explore more than forty of the palace's two thousand rooms. Guided tours are offered around the Throne Hall, and many of the ballrooms are decorated with paintings by Velazquez.
Near the centric Atocha train station visitors will find the city's main three art museums. The Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum are located in this area. There are many other museums in the city, including a Naval Museum and a Wax Museum.
Climb up one of the observation decks
The Communications Palace is a large Gothic white buildings that is one of the city's main landmarks. The palace used to be the city's central post office and is known part of the town hall. There is a lift in the central tower that takes visitors up to an observation deck that has views towards the Cibeles fountain and several wide, main streets. The nearby Círculo de Bellas Artes, a cultural center dedicated to the fine arts, has a cafeteria on its top floor that is used as an observation deck.
Enjoy an afternoon in a park
After touring the city's main sights visitors will be able to enjoy a stroll in one of the city's parks. The centric Retiro park, located near the city's three main art museums, has many paths lined with statues. There are several squares decorated with fountains. Visitors will be able to rent a rowing boat and row in the lake.
A short walk south of the city center leads to the Madrid Rio park, located on the banks of the Manzanares river. This park is known for its multi-sport pitches and has a bike rental service.
To the west of the city is the ancient hunting estate of the Casa de Campo. This park is connected to the city by public transport, several roads and the cable car that covers the distance between the park and the Moncloa district, near the city center. The park has a lake and there are many jogging paths and picnic areas. The city's Parque de Atracciones amusement park is located in the park, and next to it the the aquarium and zoo.
(Photo #1 by KyleTaylor via Flickr) (Photo #2 by hiddenloop via Flickr)