Swashbuckling Madrid is truly a city that never sleeps; heading out to dinner well past most people's bedtimes is the norm. On this visit the emphasis is on the royal side of the city, with stops at the Prado and Queen Sofia museums. Once you've had your fill, recharge in the city's biggest park—and get out of town to explore nearby mountain villages.
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- Natural Beauty
- You'll see plenty of royals depicted at the legendary Prado museum, which features masterpieces by Goya, El Greco, and Velázquez.
- The Palacio Real was commissioned by Felipe V in the 18th century and has more than 2,000 opulent rooms. You can see the throne room and private apartments.
- The Queen Sofia Art Center is all about modern art, and the showpiece is Picasso's Guernica. There are also works by Goya, Miró, and Dalí.
- Parque del Buen Retiro was once the private playground of royalty and is now a vast expanse of green, perfect for strolling.
- The performing arts are celebrated with deep discounts during the Night of the Theatres, in March.
- Sample Spain's best food at the Salón de Gourmets, held in Madrid each April.
- Chinchón, 33 mi/53 km southeast of Madrid, seems stuck in time—400 years ago.
- Visit the mountainous Lozoya Valley (62 mi/100 km north of Madrid), home to the Monasterio de El Paulor, built by King Juan I.