Madrid city guide – practical information
Public transport, money and prices, opening and closing times, bank holidays... get essential Madrid travel and visitor information and tips for tourists
Fri Apr 25 2014
All the practical information you need to know about Madrid you'll find in this city guide: public transport, what you should expect to pay for basic items and accommodations, timetables of shops and museums, what the weather's like in each season, useful phone numbers... Getting around in Madrid was never so easy!
From 35ºC in summer to the winter cold, a look at the weather in detail in the Spanish capital Forget the umbrella, pack only short sleeves in summer, and bring a good coat and scarf in winter. That's about the sum of the weather in Madrid, at 655 metres above sea level. In general it's a dry climate, with little rain throughout the year, and extremely hot summers change quickly into fairly cold winters. Spring and autumn go practically unnoticed, and locals get the feeling they're wearing flip-flops one day and boots the next.
The cost of living in Madrid is not particularly high in comparison with other European capitals. Transport and accommodation are cheaper than in London and Paris. As you might expect, prices are lower in suburban neighbourhoods than in the city centre, though they tend to be exorbitant in the more touristy areas. Leisure, especially cinema and theatre tickets, can be quite expensive. But don't despair – there are days and specific times when museums, and even films, are free. Though in Spain tipping isn't obligatory, if you've received good and friendly service and you want to leave a tip, or you're from a culture where you just can't get your head round not leaving anything, it's common among those who do tip to leave between 5 and 10 percent of the bill. To give you an idea of how much things cost, we've compiled a list of the prices of some popular activities and items.
Madrid’s long opening hours let you shop all day and into the night, visit a museum after the sun goes down, or stay out in a bar until the sun comes up Unlike other European cities, supermarkets are open until 9pm, and sometimes even later. Since opening hours are not regulated, every establishment can decide when it opens and closes. Opening times are usually from 10am to 9pm, but can be even longer depending on the area.
Everything you need to know about getting around in Madrid Madrid has an extensive public transport system, and it’s the best way to get around the city. The metro, buses and local trains are the forms of transport that are most widely used by people in Madrid to get to work. Those than still choose to drive have to face traffic jams on the M-30 motorway, which is the main access route to the centre, and the numerous parking meters. Bicycling is a good alternative for exploring Madrid, and daring tourists have other options such as Segways, skates and GoCars.
To help your time in Madrid be worry-free, we've compiled a list of important phone numbers you'll want to have to hand just in case. Tourist information, hospitals, emergencies... We hope you don't have to use them, but it's always a good idea to be prepared.
From local traditions to major sporting events and massive music festivals, Madrid's yearly calendar is packed Madrid has such an extensive cultural calendar that it's practically impossible to list all the festivals, fairs and events that the city hosts year round. From the traditional fiestas of patron saint San Isidro to specialist fairs of video games and antiques, and even festivals on urban trends, the Spanish capital is in a constant state of creativity and celebration.And something that always puts the locals in a party mood is the prospect of a long weekend. Every January, we cast anxious eyes over the yearly calendar and the days to the next public holiday. Though they vary depending on decisions made by political institutions, these are the main public holidays in Madrid.