A Madrid vacation is one of the most affordable trips you can take. Since so much of Spain’s wellbeing depends upon its vital tourist dollars, government plans and tourism incentives have been ramped up to entice foreigners with a few dollars to spend. Even if you feel you don’t have much money socked away in the bank, it’s hard to say “no” to a $579 round-trip flight from www.bt-store.com or pass up on a $19/night room at an exciting backpacker’s hostel. If hotels resorts are more your taste, you’ll be happy to know you can find a fully furnished Manhattan-style apartment for less than $80/night too! Here you’ll find some travel information to ensure you get the most from your trip.
Eating is a crucial component of any vacation and Madrid travel is no exception. The Spanish are known for their use of spices like saffron, pinchitos, paprika, bouillons and sea salt. They use some of the world’s best olive oil to cook their dishes and combine rice with meat and vegetables in sumptuous feasts. The Spaniards are also very good at using every part of an animal, much to the chagrin of visitors with sensitive stomachs. Those with adventurous palettes and strong stomachs may want to try local favorites like Oreja (pig’s ears) Callos a la Madrileña (tripe with beans), Sopa de Ajo (garlic soup), Bacalao a la Madrileña (salted cod in a sauce) or Rabo de Toro (stuffed cow or bull’s tail). Madrid novelties aside, you won’t want to leave the city centre without trying manchego cheese, manzanilla wine or croquetas and Madrid dipping oil.
Naturally, after eating all that rich food, you’ll need to walk around and see the sights of Madrid. At the ultra-modern Cosmo Caixa (science museum), you’ll catch a glimpse of how the Earth was created, how tornadoes work and play with interactive exhibits that will keep the kids busy for hours. Visit a zoo, an amusement park, a garden and a bullfighting school at Casa de Campo, which is the “Central Park” of Madrid. At Casa de América you will see stunning 19th century architecture and, the locals warn, you may even see a ghost! Capricho de la Alameda de Osuna is one of the most tranquil settings in bustling Madrid. As a hideout for Napoleon’s soldiers, these well-manicured gardens are fit for a duchess (the Duchess of Osuna, to be exact). Nuestra Señora de la Almudena is a neoclassical cathedral built in the 19th century, which tops many Madrid travel plan itineraries. Similarly, the art museum at Basílica de San Francisco el Grande cannot be missed.
According to the Travel Channel’s travel tips, there are a number of excellent tours you can add to your Madrid vacation. If you want to see many of the sights in a short amount of time and gain a general understanding of the Madrid layout, bus tours are the way to go; visit www.madridvision.es/en/index.php or www.madridguidedtours.com for more information. If you’d rather get some fresh air and exercise, a walking tour might be more your speed; check out www.walksofspain.com, www.esmadrid.com/descubremadrid_en/portal.do or www.madrid-museum-tours.org. Many travelers highly recommend Segway tours as a unique and fun way to see the city; the most popular tours are from www.madsegs.com. Lastly, you can hook up with a tapas tour to taste your way around the city through www.walksofspain.com, www.madridguidedtours.com or www.madrid-museum-tours.org.
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