Madrid is the capital city of Spain and one of the largest cities in Europe. Set along the Manzanares River, the city itself is the largest in the country and is ranked third in Europe, only slightly smaller than Greater London and Berlin. Its metropolitan area is also third largest, ranked, again, behind London and also Paris. As a travel destination, Madrid is full of interesting monuments, museums, parks and more. The city has, fortunately, managed to maintain much of the charm and uniqueness of its different neighborhoods as well as some of its oldest historical and cultural buildings.
El Prado Museum
El Prado Museum is a must on any cultural tour of Madrid. This massive museum not only houses great works from some of the most renowned Spanish painters such as Goya and Velázquez but also works from other recognized greats such as Raphael, Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Dürer, Bosch and many more.
La Plaza Mayor
Madrid's Plaza Mayor is one of the quintessential plazas in all of Spain and certainly one of the largest. What is today home to concerts and fairs was, in the past, the crown jewel of the Hapsburg Dynasty in an era from 1500 through to about 1650 when Spain was a dominant world power. Even today, a stroll around the Plaza Mayor will lead visitors to discover some fine Baroque churches and some of Madrid's old convent buildings.
This enormous city park was royal property until part of that property was destined to be made available for public enjoyment in the 19th century. This is the perfect place for a stroll, especially on the weekends, to see Madrileños in their "salsa," as the Spanish say, doing what they enjoy most on a sunny day in their capital city.
Royal Palace of Madrid
Madrid's Royal Palace is, without a doubt, one of Europe's most impressive royal residences. The 18th-century building was built by Italian architects Juvarra and Sacchetti to house the kings of Spain. The Bourbons live there (and other places, as well, of course) to this day.
One of Picasso's most famous and terrifying paintings, "Guernica" tells the story of the town by the same named which was bombed into oblivion during the Spanish Civil War. Picasso's rendition is largely recognized as one of the most powerful anti-war pieces of art ever created. This amazing and very large painting is housed in the Reina Sofía Museum along with other works from Picasso himself, Dalí, Miró and others.