Madrid, the capital of Spain, is the country’s largest city. It is also the capital of the autonomous region and province of the same name.
It is the third-most populous municipality in the European Union after Greater London and Berlin, with around six million inhabitants. Its metropolitan area, with an estimated four million, is the fourth-most populous urban area in the European Union after Paris, London, and the Ruhr Area.
Although Madrid lies as far north as New York City and Chicago, its weather is mild most of the year. Winters in Madrid are temperate because the Gulf Stream brings warm ocean water down along the western coast of Spain and Portugal, and prevailing winds draw mild air inland.
Geographically, Madrid is almost in the exact centre of Spain. It is the nation’s main transport hub and administrative centre. Its commercial and industrial life is rivalled in Spain only by that of Barcelona. Besides its many manufacturing industries, Madrid is a centre for banking, education, printing, publishing, tourism, and motion pictures. Many corporate headquarters are located there.
Madrid is modern city with wide boulevards and fashionable shopping areas, but the old quarters still retain their picturesque streets. Its landmarks include the vast royal palace; a restored 1850 opera house; the Buen Retiro park, opened in 1631; the imposing nineteenth-century building housing the national library (founded 1712), the national archives, and an archaeological museum; and three superb art museums, namely, the Prado, which houses one of the world’s finest art collections, the Queen Sofía Museum of Modern Art, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, housed in the refurbished Villahermosa Palace. Also noteworthy is the modern university city.
Some useful guides to visit Madrid
Other places of interest near Madrid