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Madrid, the capital of Spain since 1561 and its largest city, is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third largest in the European Union after London and Paris.
The city is located on the river Manzanares, bordering the autonomous communities of Castile and Leon and Castile-La Mancha.
Its many squares and parks invite the visitor to relax, after visiting one of its many first-class museums, or strolling through its romantic neighborhoods.
Madrid, capital of Spain, is a cosmopolitan city with a great cultural and artistic heritage, a legacy of centuries of exciting history.
Strategically located in the geographical center of the Iberian Peninsula at an altitude of 646 m above sea level, Madrid has one of the most important historical centers of all major European cities.
The historic center, also known as "Madrid de los Austrias" (referring to the Habsburg monarchs), and the spectacular Plaza Mayor are a living example of the city's rising splendor in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Near the Plaza Mayor the area known as the "aristocratic center", where the jewel of the crown is the Royal Palace, an imposing building dating from the seventeenth century with a mixture of baroque and neoclassical styles. Next to it is the Plaza de Oriente, the opera house Teatro Real, and the modern cathedral of La Almudena, which was consecrated in 1993 by Pope John Paul II.
The Puerta del Sol square is surrounded by a varied and select area of ​​shops and businesses, the Paseo del Arte art route, whose name derives from its world-class museums, palaces and gardens, are other elements in a matrix of monuments that includes in particular the building of the Bank of Spain, the Palace of Telecommunications, and the sources of Cibeles and Neptune.
Art and culture have a fundamental role in the cultural life of Madrid. The capital has more than 60 museums, covering all fields of human knowledge. Among the highlights are the Prado Museum, one of the most important art galleries in the world, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, with over 800 paintings ranging from primitive Flemish artists to avant-garde movements.
The Queen Sofia National Art Center, dedicated to contemporary Spanish art and containing works by Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí and Juan Gris, among others.
From Madrid, extensive and well-tended parks and gardens, such as Retiro Park, formerly a leisure property for Spanish monarchs, Casa de Campo and Juan Carlos I Park, offer residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy the sun, line in its lakes or feed the squirrels in one of the greenest capitals of Europe.
The lively nightlife of Madrid is another major attraction of the Spanish capital, due to its variety and the exciting atmosphere of its bars, pubs, clubs and flamenco halls. Other outdoor daytime entertainment options include traditional dances, folk festivals and the San Isidro bullfighting festival, considered to be the most important in the world.
In this city, the gastronomy is culture, leisure and business. There is a wide range of culinary variety in Madrid to be able to find, from traditional homemade dishes to more innovative and creative cuisine.
Going out for tapas is one of the most pleasant traditions of the city, like squid, cod, guts, etc.
Discover the most typical dishes of Madrid, "baked", sea bream and corns, but also traditional sweets such as torrijas, waffles and holy bones.
When you are in the city, you will appreciate the local gastronomy and try typical dishes from other parts of Spain.
Gastronomy has always played an important role in the life of Madrid, as can be seen from the number of restaurants in the city that have been serving traditional local dishes and wines of the region for more than 100 years. Never leave the capital without having dined in one of them.
Built in 1916, this market is the best example of cast iron architecture in Madrid. Today it is a temple of gastronomy, home to 33 stalls selling mouth-watering products and selected ingredients, offering food to take home or to consume right there on the spot.
A box of surprises is what can be found in Chueca from San Ant'on Market, one of Madrid's oldest markets with three floors full of traditional shops, and takeaway stalls, an art gallery and a restaurant with a roof stunning view on the terrace.
Recently, more and more restaurants promoting vegetarian cuisine have opened in the city offering elaborate preparation recipes that produce innovative and very tasty dishes, combining basic ingredients such as fresh fruits, vegetables, seitan or tofu.
The climate of Madrid is continental, mainly dry, with a typically hot and dry summer, sometimes quite extremely dry, with plenty of sunlight.
Winter can be quite cold, with frequent frost at night and occasional snowfall. Spring and autumn are mild but also more rainy.
 Spring and Autumn are definitely the best times to visit, especially the months of April, May, June, September and October. There is very little rain during the summer and also less rain during the winter.
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