Madrid is often bypassed in favour of Barcelona, its coastal sister, or some of the romantic Andalusian cities south or foodie capitals of the north.

Take the lovely El Retiro park in the heart of the city, its lake and rowboats welcome respite from all that art-admiring in the three extraordinary museums that make up the city’s Golden Triangle of Art: the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza.

The city’s sweeping tree-lined avenues, bordered by exquisite architecture, contrast with the narrow streets of Old Madrid, where arcades and markets jostle cobblestones and ancient street signs.

The arcades lining the sweeping Plaza Mayor, the city’s ancient main square, have seen much history, from inquisitorial tribunals and public executions to bullfights and second-hand markets. Today, the arcades are home to typical tapas bars and traditional restaurants.

Madrid is one of those cities whose beauty can also be seen from above, from viewpoints such as the Mirador of the Palacio Cibeles, the restaurant of the Eurostars Madrid Tower, or the top of the Círculo de Bellas Artes just above the Gran Vía, Madrid’s traditional shopping street.

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