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Madrid Sightseeing


Atlético de Madrid vs FC Barcelona - Two of Spain's footballing Goliaths face off on October 15 in Atlético's new home, the Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

Catch the final leg of La Vuelta de España, Spain's biggest cycle race, as riders finish the epic, 21 day slog by doing a nine lap cycle around Madrid. The race ends at the Plaza de Cibeles, where the final red jersey will be handed to the victorious rider. (September 10)

La Latina, one of Madrid's oldest neighbourhoods, celebrates La Virgen de la Paloma, one of Madrid's most famous festivals in August (12-15). The outdoor bars, dancing and general fiesta atmosphere (including lots of locals in traditional dress) are centred around Plaza de la Paja and surrounding streets.

Suma Flamenca, one of the most important flamenco festivals in the world, takes place from June 6

Madrid's patron saint, San Isidro is celebrated in mid-May with parties, dancing and shows centred around La Latina, home to some of the best tapas in the city. (May 11-15)

Semana Santa or Holy Week (April 9-16) is a huge deal in Spain, where every town and city holds huge processions led by local brotherhoods, decked in hooded cloaks. Madrid will hold several processions in the run up to Easter Sunday, with festivities centred around Plaza Mayor.

Running until March 26 is a retrospective of American photographer Philippe Halsman, famous for his photographs of jumping celebrities and Life magazine covers. He also had a long working relationship with Spanish surrealist painter, Salvador Dali. Highlights include his fantastic series of photographs of Marilyn Monroe. It's on at the CaixaForum, http://www.esmadrid.com/en/whats-on/philippe-halsman-surprise-me-caixaforum-madrid

The Three Kings parade. Forget Christmas Day, Spanish children traditionally receive their presents from the Three Kings on January 6th, the Epiphany. Madrid holds a huge Three Kings parade every year on January 5th, with dancers, floats, and of course, Balthazar, Melchior and Caspar, who throw sweets out to the children in the crowd.

Renoir: Intimacy. Don't miss the chance to see some of the French impressionist's most famous works at Madrid's Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, one of the city's ‘golden triangle' of art galleries. It is showing 70 of Renoir's works this winter, focusing on his depiction of intimacy in all its guises. Until 22 January, http://www.museothyssen.org.

Key Areas

Madrid Oktoberfest 2017: Madrid's WiZink Centre plays host to the capital's take on the classic Munich Oktoberfest from October 5-7. Expect typical German lederhosen, traditional music and classic German snacks. Wurst anyone? http://madridoktoberfest.es

The capital's best vintage market takes place in Madrid's Railway Museum on September 9-10. Browse the stalls, enjoy some street food and hopefully snap up some bargain vintage clothes, records or furniture.

August in Madrid calls for one thing: a rooftop pool. Head to the glamorous terrace of Room Mate Oscar in trendy Chueca for an unforgettable afternoon dip, complete with an unrivalled view over the rooftops of the city. The entry price comes with a complimentary glass of cava. Don't mind if we do.

Cool off from Madrid's sizzling temperatures at Lago, a public complex of two swimming pools located in the Casa de Campo park. Easily accessibly by public transport, it is a family-friendly spot and a great place for a refreshing dip.

This month don't miss the Madrid derby between arch-rivals Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeau stadium on April 9.

Explore some of the world's most classic cars at ClassicAuto Madrid 2017, held in the glass pavilion of Madrid's Casa de Campo park from February 24-26. english.classicautomadrid.com

Get your sweet fix at Casa Mira, which has been making the Spanish Christmas classic turrón a nougat like sweet since 1842. The turrones are all hand-made and cut and bought by weight, a perfect traditional gift from Madrid.

Day Trips

Take the 40 minute bus to Manzanares el Real, a town nestled in the Sierra de Guadarrama, from where you can embark on a range of hikes. The town is home to a medieval castle and some local bars where you can enjoy a cold beer and some tapas after a day soaking up the beautiful scenery. Buses leave from Plaza de Castilla, for timetables visit: http://crtm.es/datos_lineas/horarios/8724H1.pdf .

The Puerto de Navacerrada ski resort is just 60km from Madrid and accessible via public transport. Make the most of the wintery weather and spend a day or two on the pistes of the Sierra de Guadarrama.

Pay homage to the ‘Spanish Shakespeare' and author of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes, by visiting his hometown this year, the 400th anniversary of his death (ironically, the very same day as Shakespeare). Alcalá de Henares is 30 minutes from Madrid and is also renowned for its free tapas, so go hungry!

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