24 hours in Madrid
Madrid is not only a famous business hub, but also a city of great art and vibrant (night) life - with this guide you don't lose any of your precious time.
Assuming you arrive on a Sunday morning, you already made the right decision, as Sunday is the best day to get to know the city: visit the Rastro, Madrid's biggest flee market where every week thousands and thousands of locals browse through the stands.
Your next stop will be Plaza Mayor, the touristic center of Madrid where bullfights used to take place in the past. But today you mainly find overpriced restaurants and gift shops. However, nobody is forced to buy anything; you can also watch the jugglers and street musicians or otherwise hang out on the pedestal of the equestrian statue of Philipp III.
The Plaza de Oriente is another very fancy spot; however, if you decide to go "underground" (use the stairs for the underground car park, and take a right on the parking level), you will discover how the plaza got its name. Here you find the ruins of an Islamic guard tower from the 11th century - one of the few remains which recall Madrid's Moorish past.
After an hour-long tour through the royal palace you will know what baroque splendor means. After this visual overkill, head to Templo de Debod, which is thousands of years older (Madrid's oldest architectural building). it is an authentic Egyptian temple built in honor of the gods Amun and Isis. The best area for lunch (and siesta) is definitely the district Madrid de los Austrias, which owes its unofficial name to the Hapsburgs who with Charles V acceded to the Spanish throne in the 16th century. What they left was rather imperial splendor than savory snacks; yet here you will find the Taberna Almendro 13, one of the classics among Madrid’s tapas bars.
A visit to Madrid without experiencing its art and museums would definitely be a waste of time: The "Centro de Arte Reina Sofia" hosts the Spanish modernity, which is a highly recommended alternative to the premium attraction of Madrid, the Museo del Prado. However, there is almost no way around the Prado as it is simply a must-see attraction. But don't even attempt to get a glimpse at the complete collection (as it is just not manageable in one day); so rather pick out the most outstanding artworks like Velazquez' enigmatic "Las Meninas".Don't forget a short walk through the Retiro Park, and a stop at Fuente de la Cibeles - a fountain where people like to take a bath at the feet of the fertility goddess after one of the local football clubs (preferably Real Madrid) wins a game. Your next move is to jump into the notorious nightlife. The first stop of your club tour is El Junco, probably the best jazz club of the city, followed by the boozy and popular Huertas district. At the end of your night / trip, a culinary delight is awaiting you: Churros (Spanish doughnut) with a cup of melted chocolate at the Chocolateria San Gines.