Madrid is Spain's capital and largest city and the European Union's third most populous city. It is on the River Manzanares in the centre of the country. Due to its location, wealth and history, it is considered one of the Iberian Peninsula's financial centres, along with Lisbon.
The city centre is quite compact, so visiting its attractions is done easily on foot. Alternatively, public transport is first-rate.
Madrid has an ever-evolving range of things to see and do and an almost obscene number of museums and galleries. The Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reine Sofia offer hours of enjoyment. The buildings are as intriguing as their exhibits.
Madrid is Europe's lushest capital, with loads of parks and open spaces which locals make the most of.
There is another side to Madrid. It is the nightlife capital of Europe. It reputedly has more bars per person than any other city. Locals work, siesta, eat a late dinner (as late as 10.30pm) and then hit the nightspots.
It's hard to know where to start but our crew began its big night at Café Belen, a place of chill-out music, dim lighting, a low-key crowd and a great range of drinks. On the fringe of Chueca, its mojitos are as good as you will find. The traditional Cuban cocktail, a concoction of mint, rum, sugar, lime juice and soda water, is the "in" drink right now.
Las Tablas Flamenco Club is a comparative newcomer to Madrid's flamenco scene, but has quickly earned a reputation for quality performances. It is highly recommended by aficionados. You can go for food and floorshow or just the show.
Teatro Joy Eslava nightclub is an old Madrid dance club in a 19th-century building. It has been open every day for 25 years and thrives on a mixed bag of music and patrons.
After a night of cocktails and dancing, many night owls head off for chocolate and churros. Maybe even as late/early as 5am, it's the traditional way to end a night on the town.
At Chocolateria San Ginés there will be crowds around marble-topped tables dipping churros (fried pastry-based snacks) into steaming cups of thick hot chocolate and talking about their night on the town. People of every age, size, class and colour converge there in the small hours.