Madrid skyline with the mountains behind

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A capital city set high on the plains of Spain, Madrid is the country's largest city. Renowned for its vibrant nightlife, it's also packed with things to see and do, with attractions like the Prado, Thyssen Boremisza and the Reina Sofia, to the Palacio Real and the Real Madrid football stadium.

Why go?

This vibrant city boasts something for everyone, whether you're a culture vulture, shopaholic or just want to explore a new and exciting city. Here's why to go...

For art lovers, the city is stuffed with museums and galleries such as the Prado, which houses more than 7,000 paintings, the Thyssen Bornemisza and the Arts Reina Sofia. Here, you will find pieces by Dali, Rubens and Picasso.

Madrid is the venue to see both Real and Atletico Madrid, two of Spain's most famous football teams. The city is also home to some notable architecture including Goya's Tomb and the Royal Palace (Palacio Real).

The Plaza Mayor is one of Madrid's central plazas. Designed in 1576, the plaza is surrounded by three storey residential buildings, from which 237 balconies overlook the square - truly a sight to behold. For walks and boating, take a stroll through the Parque del Buen Retiro (the Park of the Pleasant Retreat). This is the city's most popular park, which belonged to the Buen Retiro palace and served as a retreat for the royal family. It still boasts two of the original palace buildings, one of which houses the Museo del Ejército (army museum) and you will also find scenic lakes, promenades and even street performances in peak times.

As a centre for shopping Madrid is renowned, whether you're looking for high street fashion or designer labels. The Gran Via is one of the city's busiest and most popular shopping areas. In addition, you'll find traditional craft shops, boutiques and flea markets such as the Rastro; a great place to find vintage clothing, antiques, books, records and artwork.

The Huertes district is renowned for its nightlife, but don't think of leaving this city without sampling Madrid's most famous beverage - sherry - or sampling the tasty delights of tapas, Spanish chocolate and churros.
Travellers seeking thrills and wild entertainment should visit the Parque de Atracciones in La Casa de Campo de Madrid. This theme park and zoo in the city is one of the largest of its kind in Europe. Separated into six adventure zones, it includes everything from nature and automation to tranquillity zones, infant facilities and a celebration of the virtual world.

Farther afield, you'll find Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca and the Warner Brothers theme park - destinations worth travelling for and well connected by the public transport network. Plan your trip to the Spanish capital and book Madrid flights today. Find cheap flights to Madrid Barajas MAD by using TravelSupermarket's price-comparison tool.

How to get there

Getting to Madrid is quick and straightforward from the UK. Find out the best way to get there for you...

Madrid's tourist season peaks in May when there is a non-stop party atmosphere for the city's biggest fiesta. However, flight prices also peak around this time so it is best to book in advance. If you're looking for cheap Madrid flights, consider the early spring months and October when there are fewer tourists around but the weather remains warm and pleasant.

You can fly into Madrid Barajas MAD from a number of airports around the UK. A flight from London to the Spanish capital takes two hours and five minutes, so within just a short time you can be enjoying the warm climate, culture, excitement and passion of Madrid. A flight into Madrid Barajas MAD lands you close to the action of this bustling metropolis; just 13 kilometres (eight miles) North East of the city, with its historic Spanish colonial architecture and more modern skyscrapers.

Getting to and from the airport

Once you land, you'll want to find the most convenient transport for your onward journey. Here are some options...

There are a number of ways to make your way from the airport to the heart of the city, with four terminals all conveniently connected by road or rail. Travellers looking to save their Euros can use the underground system rather than travelling by taxi or hire car. An innovative, automatic underground train, known as the APM, transports passengers between the four airport terminals, while the Madrid underground can be easily accessed too. From the Madrid underground you can connect with national and suburban train networks for journeys beyond the city.

It takes only around half an hour in a taxi to get from Madrid Barajas MAD to downtown Madrid. Larger parties or families with children may find this method of transport more convenient than the underground and it certainly isn't a long or arduous journey. If you are unsure about how to get from the airport to your destination, a taxi can offer the ideal solution.

For drivers and frequent travellers to the city, Madrid Barajas MAD also offers seven car parks boasting more than 10,000 parking spaces, as well as airport car rental. For the best deals and to guarantee a suitable vehicle for hire, contact the rental company before embarking on your trip.

Where to stay?

Madrid has a wealth of options when it comes to places to stay, whether you're looking for a budget bed or high-end luxury. Here are your options...

If you're looking for accommodation which is right in the hub of things, Puerta del Sol is in the centre of Madrid. This area is packed full of bars and restaurants and is busy 24/7 with a great nightlife. If you're looking for busy and bustling, this is definitely the right area for you.

Plaza Santa Ana is south of Gran Via and is a fantastic small square with plenty of eateries and bars. It is a good base for travelling the entire city and you will be within easy reach of attractions such as the Museo del Prado, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and the beautiful Retiro Park. Here you can enjoy time out in the rose garden, hire pedalos on the lake, watch street entertainers and enjoy the market at the weekend.

One of the most exclusive areas of Madrid is Salamanca where designer shops and tree-lined boulevards will greet you. Meat-eaters will enjoy the restaurant El Buey where you order your beef raw by the pound and then fry it yourself on hot stones. From here, you are also not far from Bernabéu Stadium if you want to visit Madrid's home of the beautiful game.

If you're looking to stay in authentic Madrid, head to La Latina. A lot quieter than Gran Via, it is still a bustling neighbourhood full of narrow streets where you can get some of the best tapas in the city and enjoy a flea market every Sunday.