Europe's third largest city may not have a beach like Barcelona, but if you come on a city break to Madrid sunbathing is the last thing that'll be on your mind. Spain's capital is one bursting with culture and activities for tourists at every turn, with museums, art galleries and night after night of sexy flamenco.
Madrid's tourism board will proudly inform you that the city has more bars per square metre than anywhere else in Europe. When it comes to appearances Madrid is hard to beat too, having retained much of its historic and regal flair seen in its wide boulevards, elegant fountains and royal parks. And for those of you who are bad with your bearings, don't worry, despite the size of this metropolis, Madrid's centre is surprisingly small. It has one of Europe's best metros too.
Soak up the autumnal colours along the Manzanares river and in the Casa de Campo park by hiring bikes and a picnic from the Matadero, a former slaughterhouse that is now one of Madrid's most happening cultural spaces.
Flamenco continues to thrive in the Spanish capital, and while there are plenty of tourist based options, for something a little more underground head to El Juglar on Sunday nights, where up and coming local talent struts its stuff on a tiny stage (37 Calle de Lavapiés, Metro Lavapiés).
One of Madrid's most multicultural and up-and-coming neighbourhoods, Lavapiés, plays host to a tapas and music festival this October that is bound to get your taste buds tingling. The area will host 67 concerts during Tapapies, with a diverse blend of music including rumba, blues, retro, swing, funky, afrobeat and samba. There will also be a children's theatre and street circus performances. 15-25 October.
The stunning Roman Aqueduct in the nearby city of Segovia has to be seen to be believed. In fact, if you have a decent camera you'll want to spend all day getting the perfect shot of it. A hard morning's snapping deserves a decent feast though, and what better than the city's specialty of roast suckling pig?
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