Madrid Visitor information
Madrid is the third largest municipalitty in the European Union. The city is located on the river Manzanares and as the capital city, it is also the seat of government and residence of the Spanish monarch. Despite its rather modern infrastructure, it has preserved the historic look and atmosphere of many of its neighbourhoods and streets. The Atocha Railway Station is home to a distinctive indoor garden a huge variety of tropical plants, maiking it an extremely popular destination for plant enthusiasts, with more than 500 species of plant life. A trip to Madrid would not be complete without a visit to the ecological theme park Faunia, which is a combination of a natural history museum and a zoo. It contains eight distinct eco-systems, ranging from tropical rain forests to polar regions, and over 1,500 animals, most of which roam freely. Madrid also hosts the largest Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Spain, Las Ventas, established in 1929, which has a seating capacity of almost 25,000. Madrid's bullfighting season begins in March and ends in October.
Accommodation in Madrid's hostels
It should be understood that these are not designed for people expecting a high level of luxury. However, with this in mind, the hostels do meet a level of comfort that we expect most visitors to be happy with, and we will welcome any feedback where this is not the case.
Getting around Madrid
Madrid is served by Barajas Airport, which is located about a 20 minute drive from Madrid city centre with excellent bus links. The fastest way to get around Madrid would be the Madrid Metro, which is one of the most extensive and fastest-growing metro networks in the world.
Despite the fact that the site of modern-day Madrid has been occupied since pre-historic times, during the Roman times it was a very basic rural community. The origins of the modern city come from the 9th century, when Muhammad I constructed a small palace on the site that is today occupied by the Palacio Real. Around this palace was built a small citadel, which slowly grew towards the north. Despite the fact that historically, Seville was favoured as the capital, it was King Philip II who moved the court to Madrid in 1561. During Spain’s Golden Age, during the 16th and 17th centuries, Madrid bore little resemblance to other European capitals, but it nonetheless expanded dramatically and became one of the most powerful European cities. More recently, during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), Madrid was one of the most heavily affected Spanish cities – it was a stronghold of the Republicans from July 1936 and it was during this time that it became the first European city to be bombed by airplanes. During the dictatorship of Franco, in particular during the 1960s, the south of Madrid became highly industrialised, which saw massive migrations into the city from the more rural areas. After the death of Franco, in order to stabilise the political situation, emerging democratic parties accepted King Juan Carlos I as both Franco's successor and as the heir of the historic dynasty. This led Spain to its current position as a constitutional monarchy, with Madrid as its capital. The city has benefited from increasing prosperity during the 80s and 90s and has thus consolidated its position as one of the most important economic, cultural and technological centres of Europe.