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.
Visit the monthly farmers market, where producers from around the Madrid region come to the Matadero arts centre to sell their wares and hold tastings and demonstrations. It's great place to pick up excellent olive oil, honey and beer, among many other things. 18, 19 February; 25, 26 March. http://mercadoproductores.es/
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
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
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 .
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