Madrid has served as Spain’s capital city since 1561, when King Philip II moved there from Toledo. Although he didn’t officially declare the move, Madrid became the home of the seat of the court, making the city Spain’s de facto capital which it remains to this day. But many ask if Madrid is worthy of such an honor. It most definitely is, and here’s why.
It’s a big city
Madrid is Spain’s largest city with a population of 3.2 million – the surrounding metropolitan area, the Community of Madrid, has 6.5 million. The city is surprisingly larger than most other European cities – it’s the third largest after only London and Berlin. It also happens to have the third-largest metropolitan area in the EU, behind only London and Paris. Whereas bigger doesn’t always mean better, in this case, we think it does.
Taking it back in time
A powerful city
Spain’s government resides here, as well as the royal family of Spain, making it a city with a powerful political position. Not to mention Madrid has three soccer teams in Spain’s first division, La Liga: Real Madrid C.F., Club Atlético de Madrid and Club Deportivo Leganés. The city is also considered to be the financial center of Southern Europe, home to corporate offices of many important companies like Telefónica, Santander and Iberia.
Overflowing with culture
A hub for music, cinema and the arts, Madrid is full of culture. Home to world famous art museums like the Museo de Prado and the Museo Reina Sofía, the city houses some of the most incredible masterpieces in the world from Goya to Picasso to Dalí. Foodies will love the many tapas restaurants and food markets. Madrid lacks for nothing in the culture department, with so many offerings related to fashion, architecture, literature and more.
Museo del Prado, Paseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain, +34 913 30 28 00
Madrid has all the cultural offering and cosmopolitan vibes of a capital, but still manages to retain its Spanish charm. Cobblestone streets and traditional restaurants line the beautiful, monument-filled city, making Madrid a comfortable and welcoming place to live and to visit.
Madrid is the geographical center of Spain, and this is shown quite literally through a plaque in the Puerta del Sol plaza which is called the Kilometer Zero. Supposedly, stepping on this plaque puts you in the very exact center of Spain, so it only makes sense the capital city would be smack in the center.
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.