Peace & Quiet
Essence of Madrid
Madrid is one of the world's great capital cities, with inhabitants who are intensely proud of their traditions. They order cocido madrileño (a classic Madrid stew), stroll in the Retiro park on a Sunday morning and dance the chotis in the street during the festival of San Isidro. Most of all they love to stay up late, eating dinner at 11, and chatting in the terrazas (open air cafés) until dawn. While the days are devoted to boring essentials such as working, Madrid really comes to life at night - if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
The 10 Essentials
If you only have a short time to visit Madrid, here are ten essentials, which together create a portrait of the city:
Buy the special Bonoarte ticket and visit all three great art galleries: the Prado, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Tour the Palacio Real, the monumental royal palace.
Drink a fino sherry at La Venencia or a vermouth with soda at Casa Alberto.
Order a cocido madrileño (a Madrid-style stew), cooked in an earthenware pot by the fire at La Posada de la Villa.
Sip hot chocolate and eat churros (like doughnuts) at the Chocolatería de San Ginés.
Do what madrileños do on Sunday morning: wander among the stamp and coin stalls on the Plaza Mayor, search for a bargain in the Rastro flea market or stroll through the Retiro park.
Go and watch a football match at Real Madrid's Bernabéu Stadium, or at the Vicente Calderón stadium, home of rival Atlético Madrid.
Go shopping, or window shopping, on Calle de Serrano to see how the other half spends its money.
Take a siesta; that's the only way you can stay up late.
Sit out at a terraza (an open-air café), along the Paseo de la Castellana until three in the morning.