Portray of the Destination
Business centre, administrative capital and seat of the government, Madrid shelters diverse
cultural features, proud of its magnificent and imperial heritage and melting pot of
cosmopolitanism, that is expressed in the diversity of its inhabitants and visitors... Madrid has
the unique quality of being all of this at the same time which is the best gift it could give to
its three million citizens.
The renaissance of the Spanish economy took place in Madrid and is, since long ago, the
business centre of the country. This globalized business vocation is complemented with the presence
of the Spanish authorities and, also, the King Juan Carlos I and his family. This materialistic and
hectic life has its counterbalance on its cultural activities that transform it in an important
scale of a wide range of concerts, recitals, presentations and performances. If this is not enough,
it is supported by the splendour of its monuments, in sites such as Puerta del Sol, the Cathedral,
the Calle Mayor, or the Plaza de Cibeles, and the invaluable contribution to the culture of the
Madrid is a meeting point, with a great gastronomic and night life, that, generously, opens
its doors to every visitor and is an example of what the visitor can find in the whole of Spain.
We would like to thank the "Patronato de Turismo" office of Madrid for the text and
The geography that surrounds Madrid is, mainly, plain. However, the Mountains of Guadarrama are
nearby, but they are not the highest of mainland Spain. These mountains divide the great plain into
two sides. The result is a continental climate, with extreme temperatures both in Summer and
Winter. Furthermore, the Manzanares river separates the city by the middle.
Madrid is located in the middle of a plateau extended in a great part of the Iberian Peninsula.
Winters are usually gentle but reaching very cold temperatures in high regions whereas summers are
very hot and sometimes temperatures reach even 40ºC.
When to go
The climate of Madrid is in general quite sunny, it determines that there is no best time during
the year to visit the city, maybe the best time is during their traditional festivals. May, for
example, gathers important festivals that could be very interesting for the visitor. On the other
hand, during spring is when the temperatures are more pleasant and not hot like it could be during
Madrid showed quite early its vocation as a capital even though, at one time, the country was
divided in different kingdoms and the city was just a small village. In fact, the Arabs were the
first to make the city grow when, in the 9th century, decided to build a fortress that they called
Al Mudaina and a Royal Palace. In 1083, Madrid was conquered by the Hispanic troops led by Alfonso
VI. Several kings of the Trastamara Dinasty (like Enrique III, Juan II or Enrique IV) reached the
city and transformed it into a holiday village where to practise hunting.
However, it was not until 1561 that Felipe II moved the imperial capital from Toledo to
Madrid. The 16th and 17th centuries represented a great importance for Madrid when it became the
great capital of the Spanish Empire. The city began to stand out in the field of art, becoming the
residence of great artists such as Cervantes, Quevedo, Góngora, Velázquez, Lope de Vega and
Calderón de la Barca.
The second period of splendour took place with the monarch Carlos III, from the Bourbon
dynasty, who was known as "Mayor of Madrid", due to his dedication to the embellishment and growth
of the city. It was not until the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th
century that the city began to show its modern look maintaining, very proud, some of its
magnificent monuments, but suffering the consequences of the commercial and industrial increase. In
the last decades, Madrid has reinforced its cultural vocation, standing out for its world business
As everywhere in Spain, Madrid shows a balanced alchemy between modernity and tradition. The first
one is marked by its commercial and industrial busy life, whereas the second one by its monumental
heritage, nowadays an attraction for tourists. Moreover, it is also present in what is considered
an Spanish trademark: the popular fiestas. The most important one is celebrated the 2nd May and
commemorates the uprising of the city against the French domination, an episode occurred in the
19th century. The 15th May, Saint Isidore's Day is also celebrated, a popular festival for its
called Feria de Toros (Bull Festival), where the world best bullfighters march in the Plaza de Las
In fact, Madrid gastronomy is not very rich in terms of its own regional dishes. Its most typical
dish is the called Cocido Madrileño (stew of Madrid): it is a menu of three courses that starts
with soup, legumes and vegetables as second course and meat at the end. Despite the fact that the
city does not offer many exclusive dishes, it provides a great variety in its more than three
thousand restaurants within its territory where to taste the best cuisines from all over the world
and, also, the best Spanish regional specialities. Oddly enough, Madrid consumes a wide variety of
seafood: the city receives a thousand tons daily. In addition, there is also a very spread habit
which is tapear, consisting in tasting appetizers or snacks in the bars, a great variety, but in
GOOD BYE: adios
GOOD MORNING: buenos días
GOOD AFTERNOON: buenas tardes
GOOD NIGHT: buenas noches
PLEASE: por favor
SORRY: lo siento
THANK YOU: gracias
NUMBERS: 1: un. 2: dos. 3: tres. 4: cuatro. 5: cinco. 6: seis. 7: siete. 8: ocho. 9: nueve.
10: diez. 11: once. 12: doce. 13: trece. 14: catorce. 15: quince. 16: dieciséis. 17: diecisiete.
18: dieciocho. 19: diecinueve. 20: veinte. 21: veintiuno. 22: veintidós. 30: treinta. 40: cuarenta.
50: cincuenta. 60: sesenta. 70: setenta. 80: ochenta. 90: noventa. 100: cien. 1000: mil.
DAYS OF THE WEEK: MONDAY: lunes. TUESDAY: martes. WEDNESDAY: miércoles. THURSDAY: jueves.
FRIDAY: viernes. SATURDAY: sábado. SUNDAY: domingo.
COMMON WORDS: BIG/SMALL: grande/pequeño. HOT/COLD: caliente/frío. OPEN/CLOSED:
abierto/cerrado. GOOD/BAD: bueno/malo. NEW/OLD: nuevo/viejo. PUSH/PULL: empujar/tirar.
ENTRANCE/EXIT: entrada/salida. LADIES/GENTLEMEN: señoras/señores. FAR/NEAR: lejos/cerca.
LEFT/RIGHT: izquierda/derecha. TAXI: taxi. BUS: autobús.
MEALS: BREAKFAST: desayuno. LUNCH: comida. DINNER: cena. MENU: menú. WINES: vinos. DESSERT:
postre. THE BILL: la cuenta.
COMMON SENTENCES: DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?: ¿Habla inglés?. I DON'T UNDERSTAND: no entiendo.
WHERE IS IT?: ¿donde está?, HOW MUCH IS IT: ¿Cuánto es?, WHAT TIME IS IT: ¿Qué hora es?,
COULD YOU HELP ME: ¿Puede ayudarme?
The official currency is the Euro. The banknotes are of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Euros. Also coins of 1 and 2 Euros, 50 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. It can be changed in any Foreign Exchange office, although it is advantageous in any bank.
1 EUR (Euro) = 1.20 U$D (United States Dollar)
1 EUR (Euro) = 0.66 GBP (Sterling Pound)
In comparison to other countries in the European Union and maybe due to its tourism vocation, Spain
is one of the cheapest countries to visit. Obviously, the prices vary depending on the season, the
highest being during the Summer and the lowest during the Winter.
Kingdom of SpainTime Zone
+1 GMTOfficial Language
60,708 square kilometresPopulation
3,167,424 inhabitantsPolitical Regime
Constitutional MonarchyPublic holidays
1st January: New Year's Day
6th January: Epithany
1st May: Labour Day
2nd May: Day of the Community of Madrid
15th May: Festival of Saint Isidore
5th August: Our Lady of Asunción's Day
12th October: Our Lady of Pilar's Day
1st November: All Saint's Day
6th December: Day of the Constitution
8th December: Our Lady of Inmaculada Concepción's Day
25th December: Christmas DayReligion
As in all Spain, Madrid is, in the main, Catholic and this can be seen reflected on the festival
calender of the city. This goes without saying the cosmopolitan condition makes it look intense,
also with the coexistence of other worships due to the intense immigration. Therefore it is easy to
see Synagogues, Mosques or Evangelist Churches.Religion
90% Catholics, 8% Muslims, 2% JewsArrival / Departure
The Barajas Madrid Airport is one of the most important air traffic centres in Europe in such a way
that can be considered a perfect and obvious entrance gate to Madrid. The same situation can be
said about the service of long distance buses, that arrive and depart from the South Bus Station
and, also about the trains that operate from the stations of Chamartín and Atocha. Regarding the
road network, the Spanish capital counts on six converging national motorways (and respectively
connected to Burgos through the N-I, Barcelona N-II, Valencia N-III, Andalusia N-IV, Extremadura
N-V and La Coruña N-VI).Safety
Taking into account the importance that tourism has in Spain, the security of the tourists is a
true priority for the country. However, some general recommendations are given to the visitors like
taking the required money when going out and not the total amount of the holidays, also precautions
need to be taken in busy places to prevent any problem.Visa
Countries within the European Union do not need a visa to enter into Spain. Neither those citizens
of the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and the rest of the Latin American countries,
though a return ticket must be bought. Travelers from Australia, Anguilla, Bermuda, Canada, Cyprus,
South Korea, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Israel, Japan, Macao, Malaysia,
Montserrat, New Zealand, Saint Helena, Singapore and Turk & Caicos do not either need visa
provided that they do not stay more than 90 days in Spain.Clothing
It is advisable to go out always with a coat, although being a thin coat. Like everywhere in the
centre of Spain, in Madrid the temperatures are quite extreme.Electricity
220 volts, 50 mhz. The plug sockets usually in use are of two round sockets.
Radio and Television
The main radio stations are: Radio Nacional de España (AM 585), Cadena COPE (AM 999), Cadena Ser
(AM 810) and Onda Cero (98.0 FM). Special stations are the Radio Clásica (98.8 FM) that broadcasts
classic music every day.
Television main channels are Antena 3, Telecinco, Cuatro, Televisión Española and TeleMadrid.Telephone
The Spanish phone code is 34 and the Madrid one 91. To make a phone call to another country you
must first dial 00 and then the international code of the country you would like to call to and
finally dial the subscriber phone number. For phone calls within Spain an special code in not
required. The mobile phone technology used in the Spanish territory is GSM but, in many cases, it
is not compatible with some of the technologies used in other countries like the United States and
Japan, for example.
The most important mobile phone operators are Amena – www.amena.com-, Movistar/Telefónica
Móviles -www.movistar.tsm.es- and Vodafone-www.vodafone.es-. Telephone booths are very common along
the streets and they work with coins or phone cards. There are also the called locutorios, that is
establishments with many phone booths, where coins or cards are not needed, just pay in cash the
phone call after the conversation. In many of this kind of places it is also possible to send and
receive faxes and there are computers with internet connection as well.Police
092, 112Fire Brigade
112Tourist health care services
080Newspapers and Magazines
Madrid, as it is the Spanish Capital, many regional media and national press coexist. Regional
newspapers: “El Boletín”, “Madridiario”, “El Telégrafo”, “Hispanidad”. National newspapers: “La
Razón”, “ABC”, “El País” and “El Mundo”. There is also a wide range of magazines, in general the
most important ones are: “Época”, “Semana”, “Interviú”, “Primera Línea” and “Tiempo de Hoy”.Postal Service
The Spanish Postal Service is efficient, letters within Europe should take between 3 to 5 days.
Special delivery costs a minimum of 2.50 Euros. The opening times are from 8.30am to 20.30pm.
Saturdays, from 8.30am to 13.00pm. In Madrid are located the headquarters of the Spanish Postal
Service in the Palacio de las Comunicaciones in Plaza de Cibeles, Tel: (0034) 913 962 733. There
are 75 branch offices around the Madrid region. Their location can be found on www.correo.es or
telephone (0034) 902-197-197. Also it is possible to use international postal services such as
Fedex or UPS.Health Care Services
The Spanish Health care services are in general good. Just, be careful with the sunshine which can
cause heatstroke. Spain counts on an extensive number of health care centres where first-aid is
given as well as specialized assistance.Airport
The Barajas Madrid airport is the one that concentrates the largest amount of flights, and is also
the most important within Spain, a true gateway to Europe, especially for Latin America citizens.
It is located 12 km from Madrid, in a strategic position in the centre of mainland Spain -Address:
Avenida Hispanidad s/n. Tel: (0034) 91-305-8343/ (0034) 91-305-8344/(0034) 91-305-8345/(0034)
The airport has its own underground station, three perfectly sign-posted taxi stops and a bus
stop where the bus number 200 links the Barajas airport with Madrid.Public Transport
The public transport in Madrid is efficient with a great number of bus routes. These cover a vast
portion of the capital and they even connect the city with the outskirts. Also there are special
bus lanes on the roads that prevent traffic-jams. Furthermore, Madrid has an excellent Underground
network. In fact, it is one of the most developed ones all over the world with 12 lines and operate
until 1.30am. Also, 13 railway lines link Madrid and the outskirts.Railway
Madrid counts on two large train stations: the Atocha station is the south terminal and it is
located in the Avenida Ciudad de Barcelona s/n. Tel: (0034) 915 273 160. www.renfe.es, and the
Chamartín station which is situated in the north of the city on the calle Agustín de Foxá s/n. Tel:
(0034) 913-231-515, 913-232-121. www.renfe.es.
Both stations are the destination of many long distance railway services and also those
trains linking the city with the nearest towns. International lines goes to the Chamartin station
from Portugal and France and the high speed trains connecting Madrid and Seville arrive to the
Atocha station. For more information dial: (0034) 902 240 202.Bus
Madrid counts on three important bus terminals. The most important one is in the Sout located in
Calle Méndez Alvaro (Tel: (0034) 914-684-200). Also there are other terminals such as the one in
the Avenida América (Tel: (0034) 902-302-010) and Conde de Casal (in the Fernández Shaw 1. Tel:
As in every capital city, Madrid has a traffic volume that sometimes and in some areas of the city,
it could become slow. In total, there are six motorways connecting the capital with the rest of the
country. Furthermore, there are some ring roads around the city. The smallest one is the M30
motorway followed by the M40 (that goes by Vicálvaro, Alcobendas, Villaverde, Vallecas, Fuencarral,
the Parque Juan Carlos I, and the IFEMA fairground), the M45 and M50. There are also other
motorways such as the R2 and the R5 which links Madrid with the towns of Guadalajara, Arganda del
Rey, Ocaña and Navalcarnero.Ship
There is no access by ship to MadridDestination Tourism Office in Spain Spanish embassy in the destination Taking pictures See climatewww.worldweather.orgCurrency converterwww.xe.com/uccA dinner
From 30 EurosA coffee
0.90 EurosThe Bus
1.15 EurosThe taxi
The meter starts running at 1.65 Euros, depending on the tariff, from 0,75 and 1 Euro per km.The Underground
1 EuroThe train