Madrid may not have the instantly recognisable landmarks of other Spanish cities, but the capital has more intangible delights to discover. With several world-class art galleries, beautiful parks and full-on nightlife, Madrid is the place to be.

The centre of Madrid is the Plaza Mayor, a grand square that is the stage for Madrid’s public life. The square has hosted everything from the beatification of saints and royal wedding celebrations to bullfights and executions. Nowadays events are more lowkey like an annual Christmas market but it’s a good place to hang out with a coffee and do some serious people watching. The labyrinthine alleyways leading off the square are also great for finding small bars, cafes and interesting shops – skip the more touristy ones and follow the locals to unearth hidden gems.

Madrid has no shortage of galleries and museums to keep even the pickiest culture buff happy. Check out the incredible collection at the Prado museum or keep it modern at the Reina Sofia Art Centre, where you can see paintings by Picasso, Dali and Miro amongst others. Find your own antique treasure in El Rastro, Madrid’s oldest flea market. It takes place every Sunday – go early for fewer crowds and first pick of the bargains.

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Read more on Madrid below with flight options, current weather, maps, and activities to try while you are there.

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