Palaces, parks and plazas
are the hallmarks of Madrid. The city’s world class museums include the Big Three – the Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia – all with vast and mesmerising art collections. When you've had your fill of Goya, Velazquez and El Greco, take a Sunday stroll with the locals in Retiro park, watching boats on the lake and demolishing an ice cream.

Browse through the boutique-y shops of the Salamanca district, then take a well-earned siesta before things get going again at dusk. Madrid has plenty of late-night buzz, with many clubs opening their doors at midnight. Madrilenos tend to eat late and party late, so don't bank on being early to bed.

The old walled city of Toledo makes a great day trip from Madrid, and it's easily reached on the country's high-speed rail network. Look out for hand-made lace and don't miss the beautiful cathedral.


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