Photo: Madrid's Gran Via

Madrid’s Gran Vía buzzes with activity 24/7, fronting shops from high-end to gritty and hotels for all budgets. Along the Vía you’ll also find grand cinemas that host Spain’s red carpet film premieres.

Photograph by Guido Cozzi/Atlantide/Corbis

Like the best tapas bars, Madrid offers a selection of delights so tempting it reduces even the most seasoned traveler to giddiness. On one glorious stretch of boulevard, it houses three of the world’s greatest art museums. It boasts Western Europe’s largest Royal Palace and its most audacious gay pride parade. Get lost in the 16th-century cobblestoned streets around Plaza Mayor, the über-trendy boutiques of Chueca, the upscale chic of Salamanca, and the medieval elegance of La Latina. Dine on cutting-edge cuisine in a world-famous culinary temple or join locals in a gritty corner bar where the simple tapas come in huge portions and everyone throws their napkins on the floor. Begin a night out at 10 p.m. with a heart-stirring flamenco performance and finish at 6 a.m. with pulse-racing techno. Madrid is a city that locals proudly claim never sleeps. Except, that is, during siesta. Do like they do and take a nap—it is key to truly living la vida madrileña.

Madrid Photos and Quiz

Related Features

  • Picture of a restaurant in Madrid, Spain

    48 Hours in Madrid

    Spain’s capital city takes the prize with artwork, tapas, and nightlife.

  • Photo: A person holds a churro dipped in chocolate at San Gines in Madrid

    Top 10 Places for Chocolate

    From all-you-can-eat cocoa-driven buffets to Madrid's favorite late-night pick-me-up, here is our guide to chocoholic heaven.

  • photo: Red shoes in Berlin, Germany

    Your Photos of European Cities

    Travel to the stylish streets, historic quarters, and cultural delights of some of Europe's most beloved cities with these photos submitted to My Shot by users like you.

  • Photo: Riders on horses in the Plaza Mayor

    Madrid Must-Dos

    Our experts recommend the top attractions in and around Madrid—with advice on how to get the most out of your visit.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Join Nat Geo Travel's Communities

Travel Photos From Your Shot

See More Your Shot Galleries »