Madrid is the capital of Spain, the most populous city of the country with 3,284,110 inhabitants and 6,043,031 including the metropolitan area according to 2010 data; this positions Madrid as the third most populous city in Europe, behind Berlin and London.
As the state capital, Madrid is the seat of government, as well as the Parliament, ministries, institutions, and partner agencies and the official residence of the Kings.
Madrid became in 2006 the fourth most visited city in Europe; it doesn't have beaches and other attractions that may have other Spanish destinations, but due to its rich history, artistic heritage and culture the city hosts more than 3.5 million tourists a year.
Madrid has all kinds of transportation to visit the city without problems; it has an extensive network of buses, taxis, trains, usually the best option to visit the various populations of the community and the Madrid subway is the quickest and most efficient transportation to move around inside the city.
Its climate is Mediterranean continental with cold winters that reach temperatures below 4-5º C, causing snow and ice during this period. In contrast, summers are hot with annual averages ranging around 24º C, reaching over 35º C some days.
There are daily variations in temperature in the area of the urban periphery. Rainfall in Madrid is around 400 mm/year.
Madrid has many attractions both in museums and monuments, its streets and parks. The offer of places to visit and monuments is staggering, outstanding for their fame and interest are: The Royal Palace, Plaza de Cibeles, Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Gran Via, Plaza Spain, La Puerta de Alcalá Street, La Catedral de la Almudena. There are other must-see places such as the Plaza de la Villa, The Neptune Fountain, Temple Debod, Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, the Plaza de Toros de Sales, among many others.
Madrid has a vast array of museums, among which are outstanding:
The Museo del Prado, one of the most important museums worldwide, holds a large collection of masterpieces, centered in Italian, Spanish and Flemish painting, of pre-twentieth centuries.
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia has a number of paintings by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, among many others, focused on twentieth-century Spanish art, and has furthermore over 3500 sound recordings, 1000 videos and 100,000 books, devoted to art.
The Thyssen-Bornemisza is one of the largest private art collections in the world. Other outstanding museums are the Wax Museum, Museum of Natural Science and the National Archaeological Museum.
The most important green in Madrid are El Retiro Park, perhaps the most significant of the city and apart from the tranquility, visitors can enjoy a boat ride on the pond, or visit its interesting corners. The Casa de Campo, a large park where to get lost and which has an amusement park, a zoo and a cable car.
The city is particularly known for its nightlife and clubs, and the Avenida Gran Via, where you can have a great and varied range of theatre and musicals. There are as well other alternatives for leisure such as the amusement park and the zoo, located in Casa de Campo, Warner Park and Faunia.
In Madrid you will discover a number of skyscrapers; among the highest is the imposing Torre Caja Madrid, with 250 meters height and which belongs to the complex called Cuatro Torres Business Area; the tower holds the first position as the tallest building in Spain and fifth in Europe, other important buildings are: the Kio Towers, Tower España and Torres Blancas.
Finally, despite not belonging to the community of Madrid, is outstanding the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen, located in the Sierra de Guadarrama. In the east and south of Madrid are important Alcala de Henares and Aranjuez, declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO.
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