If there is a kind of tourism that contradicts passing your holidays at a beach it has to be Madrid in the summer. Only a few hours away from all the Spanish beach destinations either by train, road or plane, Madrid is as far away as you can be from the ocean and sea in the Iberian peninsula.
And it is hot, it is a city of extremes a boiling dry summer and a continental winter. Not too many snowfalls but they do get some. But Madrid is made for walking so either rain or snow, any bad weather even extreme heat waves will take away many of its charms.
Apart from the world class museums, the Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyssen and many others, some of the big attractions in Madrid may no be so obvious.
There is of course a big obvious one, sorry, and Madrid’s name is a big part of it, despite the recent successes of its main rival in the capital, Real Madrid seat of power is worth a visit. You can tour the installation and if you are lucky and with money to spare you may get to see the team play an European or national rival in many of the competitions it takes part during most of the year, the summer months are not a good time to visit if seeing the players in the flesh is your thing.
The Retiro park is a also a very popular destination. It includes many secluded spots, a pond/lake, a grotto (very, very small), peacocks, some exhibition halls, outdoor concerts and the whole urban fauna that populates it, last but not least it has one of the few statues devoted to the fallen angel… Lucifer. Close to it, is one of Europe’s oldest and quaintest botanical gardens, right next to the Prado Museum.
And in front of it on the other side of the beautiful boulevard you find Caixa Forum, a charming art center right in the middle of the walk from the Reina Sofia Modern Art Center and The Thyssen Museum.
Another not well known little walk will take close to another popular destination, if the Royal Palace, the Opera and the Sabatini gardens are well known, you may not be aware of the Temple of Debot, an Egyptian temple gifted to Spain for its help saving many of Egypt’s treasure from the rising waters of the Asuan dam.
Of course many hours can be spent shopping or walking around Gran Vía, the street of Fuencarral or the Palacio de Telecomunicaciones in front of the Banco de España, the central bank and fountain of Cibeles where the Real Madrid fans celebrate. You can use the Metro network, the underground service, to take you further away. To the mentioned Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid’s home stadium, and Plaza de Castilla for some of the best views of Madrid’s most recently built skyline.