Know this before visiting Madrid

Europe is by far the most diverse and culturally rich place you can visit. All across this old continent, tourist are offered numerous attraction that will tell them the stories of the past and give them a glimpse of the future, all that while having the time of their life mingling with the friendliest and most interesting people of the world. One of the best cities for catching the pulse of Europe is Madrid.

Madrid is the capital city of Spain, home to 3.3 million people and one of the richest places on earth when it comes to cultural and historical heritage. But Madrid is more than landmarks and history. In this article you will discover a little more about the city that fascinates millions of tourists every year and you will understand why this location should be a must on your list of places you just have to see in the short time you have on this planet.

Even if Spain is widely consider a country when the sun shines warm all year round, Madrid is situated in the center of the Iberian Peninsula. This position gives it a diversified weather throughout the year, with hot and dry summers and cold frosty winters. If you want to explore the city and not worry about being too hot or too cold, visit Madrid in the spring (April, May) or autumn (September, October).

Madrid is easily reachable by plane, since is the most important city of the peninsula and destination for airlines from all seven continents. In case you are backpacking throughout Europe, Madrid can be reach by train through direct trips either from France or Portugal. Also for the backpackers, Madrid represents a great starting point for an itinerary that includes all major cities of Spain. The transport in Madrid can get crazy during rush hours, so the Metro system is the simplest alternative for exploring the city.

The people of Madrid are not known for their English, and only the younger generations will be able to carry out a conversation in other language than their native one. However, they are really friendly with the tourists, so even if the indications will sound funny, you’ll manage to find help getting around Madrid.

The night life of Madrid is lively and affordable. Since is one of the most popular university destinations, you will be able to party all night long together with Spanish and foreign students and also with other tourists who are looking for a good time. Clubs are opened all night and the local mentality is permissive, so you won’t have troubles if you’re too loud or up till early in the morning.

When it comes to the cultural side of Madrid, so many things can be said that we would could fill the pages of a book trilogy. By the way, you can find landmark guides all across the city, at vendors such: gas stations, newspaper stands, book shops, coffee shops or tourist hotspots. The landmarks you need to remember are the three major plazas (Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor and Mercado de San Miguel) and also the Museum Triangle. The Museum Triangle is another name for a district of the city that’s dedicated to museums and culture. Five major museums can be found in this district, but 15 others are scattered all across the city. When visiting Madrid during peak season, remember to book tickets online, if you want to avoid long lines.

Madrid has too many things to offer, so we can’t talk about all of them in a single post. However, stay tuned to our blog and we’ll let you know more about each and every aspect of the perfect holiday in the very heart of Spain.

My adventure in Mallorca

Last summer I spent a whole month exploring the Island of Mallorca. But after a year of hard work, I wanted to spoil myself for a while, before going on my Mallorcan adventure. So I decided to spend the first week of my vacation in Palma the Mallorca.

As soon as my plane landed on the Son Sant Joan International Airport, I caught a cab and went to the villa i have booked on booking mallorca. Because I love the sea, the first thing I wanted to do is go for a swim. Before I left home, I packed my swimming briefs at the top of my luggage. So after checking-in, I grabbed my briefs, and before anything else I went to the closest beach, which is Ca’n Pere Antoni. That’s a really popular beach and I even made a couple of friends, with whom I decided to spend my first night on the island.

The night-life of Palma is just awesome! It combines the traditional fiestas with the modern parties, so I had a wonderful time. All clubs are open till early in the morning during mid-season and the prices are surprisingly convenient. I spend a weekend in Ibiza a couple of years ago, where a drink cost two or three times more than it does in one of Palma’s clubs or pubs. After the first 24 hours on the island I needed a full day of rest and the facilities of the resort I was checked-in were just what I needed.

The next day’s weren’t that wild, i hired a car on Car Hire Mallorca and i went to discover the island. Since I’m a passionate of both architecture and history, I made a list with the major landmarks of the city and started to cross them off one by one. The landmark which impressed me the most is La Seu Cathedral. This gothic masterpiece was built over a mosque, after the fall of the Arab domination, which was built over a Roman temple. The multicultural amalgam of this city is fascinating.

Whenever I got hungry from wondering the streets, I just entered the first restaurant that popped up my way. Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed at all, not even once. Some people must check on yelp reviews before eating somewhere, but not me. All the food I enjoyed during my stay in Palma was delicious and the prices were fair.

Bottom-line, if you want to have a nice experience in Palma de Mallorca, you must let yourself carried away. This city will take great care of you!

Prado Museum (Madrid)

The Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, is one of the largest in the world and one of the most visited (the eleventh in 2010).

Uniquely rich in paintings by European masters from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, its main attraction is the large presence of Velázquez, El Greco, Goya (artist most widely represented in the collection),  Titian, Rubens and Bosch, from which has the best and most extensive collections that exist worldwide, and other very important authors like Murillo, Ribera, Zurbaran, Raphael, Veronese, Tintoretto and Van Dyck, to mention only the most relevant .

For chronic limitations of space, the museum exhibited a selection of high quality works (about 900),  so it was defined as “the greatest concentration of masterpieces per square meter”.

With the expansion made by Rafael Moneo,  it is anticipated that the selection exposed will increase by 50%, with 450 works new additions.   Besides the paintings, the Prado Museum  has around 950 sculptures, 6,400 drawings, 2,400 prints, 800 decorative art objects, 900 coins and 800 medallas.

Like other major European museums, including the Louvre in Paris and the Uffizi in Florence, the Prado owes its origin to the hobby collector of the ruling dynasties over the centuries. It reflects the personal tastes of the Spanish kings and their network of political alliances and enmities, it is an asymmetric collection, unsurpassed in particular artists and styles, and limited in others.

Opening times

Tuesday to Sunday and Public Holidays: From 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

24 and 31 December and 6 January: From 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The museum is closed: 1 January, Saint Friday, 1 May and 25 December.

 

Tickets and prices

General entrance ticket: 6 €.

Reduced price entry: 3 €.

Free entry: People over 65 years old, Retired people, Children under 18 years old, Citizens of the EU who are officially unemployed, EU students under 25 years old, Members of the Foundation of Friends of the Prado Museum and Cultural and educational volunteers.

Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)

The expiatory church of the Sagrada Familia, known simply as the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) is a large Roman Catholic basilica in Barcelona (Spain), designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí.

Launched in 1882, is still under construction (January 2012). It is the masterpiece of Gaudí, and the greatest exponent of Catalan modernist architecture.  More than 4 million visit this pleace each year, it is the most visited monument in Spain.

The construction began in the Gothic style, but, assuming the project Gaudí, in 1883, was completely rethought. According to standard procedures, from general sketches of the building construction improvised as he went.  He get in charge of the construction with only 31 years of age, dedicating the rest of his life to its construction, the last fifteen exclusively.

One of his most innovative ideas was the design of high circular conical towers. The temple, when completed, will have 18 towers,  four in each of the three entrances and as a domes mode, will have a system of six towers, with the central dome tower dedicated to Jesus, 170 meters height, and the four around it, dedicated to the evangelists, and one dome dedicated to the Virgin.

Gaudí died in 1926, only one tower was built at that time.  The building project plans were badly damaged during the Spanish Civil War.

This monument is a must see in Barcelona.

 

Palma Cathedral

The Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, more commonly referred to as La Seu, is a Gothic Roman Catholic cathedral located in Palma, Majorca, Spain, built on the site of a pre-existing Arab mosque. It is 121 metres long, 55 metres wide and its nave is 44 metres tall. Designed in the Catalan Gothic style but with Northern European influences, it was begun by King James I of

Aragon in 1229 but finished only in 1601. It sits within the old city of Palma atop the former citadel of the Roman city, between the Royal Palace of La Almudaina and the episcopal palace. It also overlooks the Parc de la Mar and the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1901, fifty years after a restoration of the Cathedral had started, Antoni Gaudí was invited to take over the project. While some of his ideas were adopted – moving the choir stalls from the middle nave to be closer to the altar, as well as a large canopy – Gaudí abandoned his work in 1914 after an argument with the contractor. The planned changes were essentially cosmetic rather than structural, and the project was cancelled soon after.