Madrid, Spain – Luggage Factory

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Madrid, Spain

One of the most radiant cities in Europe, Madrid’s golden charm pervades far beyond its architecture. The city of over 3 million people is always bustling with plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops, parks, and sites for every traveler. There’s beauty on every street and corner in Madrid, explore it today! 5 Must-See Attractions: Royal Palace of Madrid- One of the most eye-catching buildings in Europe, the Royal Palace in Madrid covers over 1.45 million square feet. The palace has thousands of rooms, including the throne room and an impressive Armory! Cybele Palace- An architectural feet symbolizing the power and artistry of Madrid, Cybele Palace divides the two primary districts of the city in stunning fashion. Temple of Debod- Originally constructed in 200 B.C., along the Nile River in Egypt, the Temple of Debod has since been moved to Madrid where it now sits near the Royal Palace. Plaza Mayor- A happening square in the middle of Madrid with a bevy of restaurants, bars, and outdoor activities along with beautiful architecture. Basilica of San Francisco el Grande- An enormous basilica containing some of the works of Francisco Goya and other famous artists, the Basilica of San Francisco Is a sight for anyone interested in art and architecture. 5 Great Sites for Kids: Parque de Atracciones- Looking for an adrenaline rush? Take the kids to Parque de Atracciones for rollercoasters and amusement! Santiago Bernabeu Stadium- Whether you are taking in a match, or just looking to tour the stadium, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium amazes as the home to one of the most famous football clubs in the world; Real Madrid (Also one of the world’s top players, Cristiano Ronaldo). Queen Sofia Arts Center- One of the largest displays of art in Europe, Queen Sofia Arts Center exhibits a variety of famous paintings including Guernica by Picasso, and a number of other famous works. Madrid Zoo- Zoos are always a fan favorite with kids, and the Madrid Zoo exhibits all the wild animals the world has to offer in well-kept enclosures. Naval Museum- Spain has a glorious history of naval prowess that has evolved through the ages. Each era of the navy is chronicled with scale models and artifacts present in that time. 5 Free Attractions: Retiro Park- A natural oasis amidst the bustle of Madrid complete with rose gardens, a lake, and a crystal palace, Retiro Park offers the perfect retreat for travelers looking to escape the city. Market of San Miguel- An enormous bizarre consisting of foods of every origin all displayed in a bustling marketplace filled with hungry patrons. Paseo del Prado- One of the main drags in all of Madrid, Paseo del Prado features plenty of architecture, sculptures, and other artistry in a promenade in the center of the city. Gran Via- If you’re looking for the ultimate window shopping spot in all of Madrid, then take a walk down “Spanish Broadway” for an smorgasbord of culture and consumerism. Madrid Rio- A Modern Park surrounding the Manzanares River with well-kept greens and an interesting bridge structure that’s as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional. 5 Great Restaurants: Taberna el Sur- A mix of traditional Spanish and Mediterranean food highlights a trip to Taberna el Sur. The salmon skewers and the filet mignon are fan favorites of local patrons. Chocolat- You really can’t go wrong with any sort of chocolate dish from Chocolat, but make sure you try the churros in addition to whatever else you order! The combination of their dough and chocolate sauce is amazing! Bacoa- Sometimes, even in the middle of a foreign destination with exciting food options, all you crave is a good juicy burger. Fortunately for travelers to Madrid, Bacoa exists to serve up huge burgers, fries, and all the toppings you could want. La Pizzateca- La Pizzateca is a small slice of thick crust Italian pizza in the middle of Madrid. With cheese as the base, and plenty of topping options, you’re sure to find an authentic Italian slice catered to your flavor. La Mallorquina- Perhaps the best bakery in Madrid, La Mallorquina dazzles visitors with scrumptious treats including chocolate palmeras that are to die for. 5 Great Nightlife Spots: Las Tablas- An exciting night of Flamenco dancing accompanied with dinner and drinks awaits travelers to Las Tablas. Loreto Coffee Bar- A laidback lounge atmosphere featuring excellent coffee (Go Figure!) and sweet desserts. The Irish Temple- The ultimate pub atmosphere with plenty of brews, excellent burgers, and a surprising range of delectable treats. Gin Tonic Bar La Ruleta- If drink quality is more important than drink quantity, then La Ruleta might be the place for you. Their cocktails are expertly crafted, allowing you to truly enjoy each sip. Pub Dreams- Another excellent spot for the concerned cocktail drinker. Pub dreams sports amazing bar tenders behind the counter. 5 Romantic Getaways: Sorolla Museum’s Gardens- A quaint garden attached to the museum perfect for holding hands and admiring the surrounding greens. Sabatini Gardens- Just off of the Royal Palace, Sabatini Gardens are beautifully manicured and yield excellent views for your date and you. The Crystal Palace- Located in Retiro gardens, the Crystal Palace offers serenity and a beautiful walking path along the lake, allowing couples to spend quality time together in Madrid’s most romantic spot. Happy Day Bakery- If you’re looking for dessert in a bright, yet cozy atmosphere, then take your date to the Happy Day Bakery for a huge assortment of cupcakes and other pastries! La Granja de San Ildefonso- Once used as a vacation spot for kings and queens, La Granja de San Ildefonso’s gardens and architecture is the perfect place to escape the city and spend some quiet time together. 5 Must-Try Foods: Churros- Often served with warm chocolate or another syrupy sauce, churros are a crispy tube of light, but oh-so-sweet dough. Tortilla Espanola- A kind of Spanish omelet filled with vegetables and other additives, but much larger and thicker than a regular omelet. Gazpacho- A traditional Spanish soup based with tomatoes and a range of other mixed vegetables. Paella- A Spanish rice dish consisting of chicken or seafood, rice, olive oil, spices, and more depending on the chef. Beer and Boquerones- Anchovies soaked in vinegar and oil seasoned with garlic and other spices, and served with beer. It’s a Madrid specialty. Climate: It stays fairly warm throughout the year, so planning for extremely cold temperatures is unnecessary. The summers in Madrid are very warm with temperatures often jumping into the 80’s and 90’s (Fahrenheit). Spring and summer temps are mild hovering a little above and below the 60’s, while the winter temps are a little cold, with averages in the 40’s and low 50’s. Precipitation is highest in the early months of the winter and almost non-existent in the summer time. The city experiences a high volume of sunshine year round, especially in the heat of the summer, so make sure to come prepared if you burn easily. Transportation: There are a number of public transportation options available for visitors to Madrid. The most expansive might be the metro. With 13 lines and over 300 stations, the metro can get you anywhere you need to go safely and quickly. There are also 170 different bus lines to take people around the streets and a tram for intra-city travel. For those traveling in and out of the suburbs around Madrid, another train, Cercanais, has 10 lines for quick passage. Safety Precautions: Madrid is a huge city and hot travel destination with lots of history, as such there are many pitfalls designed to trip up tourists. The city is relatively safe and does not experience a huge volume of violent crime, but pickpocketing, especially near historical areas, is common. Make sure to carry bags with tough straps, keep wallets in front pockets, and try not to bring all of your valuables (including all of your money) with you everywhere you go. Also, make sure to retain extra copies of personal identification just in case you lose them one way or another. As long as you’re smart, do your research, and avoid drawing undo attention to yourself, you should have a safe and exciting trip. Souvenirs: There are plenty of hand-made leather goods available throughout the city, particularly shoes and wallets. A small authentic tchotchke always makes for a great gift for those close to you when you get back home. Trip Highlights: The Royal Palace and the Temple of Debod hold a lot of architectural beauty and history, making for truly memorable sights from your trip. The flavor and bounty of amazing restaurants are also a major highlight. Documentation: U.S. citizens traveling to Madrid will need to obtain a passport before entering the country. You should also keep another form of personal identification and all trip itineraries on your person when traveling to the city. Air Travel Information: Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) connects Madrid to the rest of the world. Most major airlines including American Airlines, British Airways, Delta, United Airlines, and many more provide taxi services to and from the airport. To travel to and from the city, taxi, bus, metro, train, and car rental services are available for visitors in need of public transport.

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