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.
Ride the Navibus, the city's Christmas bus that takes passengers on a tour of Madrid's glistening Christmas lights and trees. Theres's no better way to soak up the Christmas atmosphere!
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.
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.
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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