Fodor's To Europe!

slideshow | map
Days 1-2
Next stop: Zaragoza Return to full itinerary »

Vibrant Madrid, like New York, is a city that never sleeps. Yes, it's home to world-class museums and palaces, but any visitor needs to experience the nightlife as well. Get out there and do like the locals do. Pull up a seat at a tapas bar, sip wine, and forget about beauty sleep. Nightlife doesn't really get going until after midnight. If you need to clear your head, then a visit to the nearby countryside should do the trick.
Learn more about Madrid »

  • Nightlife
  • Shopping
  • Art and Culture


  • No trip to Madrid is complete without a visit to the Prado museum, home to masterpieces from Goya, El Greco and Velázquez.
  • The 18th-century Palacio Real features over 2,000 opulent rooms. Visitors can see the throne room and private apartments.
  • Get into the madrileño way of life; nibble on tapas, sip wine in a bar along the Cava Baja, and party 'til dawn at a nightclub.


  • The performing arts are celebrated with deep discounts during the Night of the Theatres in March.
  • During the Salón de Gourmets, held in Madrid each April, you can sample the best of Spain's food.

Side Trips

  • The Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial (31 mi/50 km northwest of Madrid) boasts an impressive art collection.
  • Long the spiritual capital of Spain, Toledo perches on top of a rocky mount. These days most people come for the art. Toledo is where El Greco came into his own, and his paintings can be found in many churches here.

Learn More