BARCELONA may have the glamour as far as Spanish cities go but there's more to Madrid than meets the eye, discovers WILL METCALFE
THERE is an expectation among many that a capital city will be the most invigorating, most exciting part of a country with the biggest, brashest attractions – but that is not always the case.
For London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam this could be said to ring true but in Spain all eyes are on Catalonia, leaving the capital Madrid, in the heart of the desert, often overlooked.
That’s a shame, because with its gentle hills and meandering streets it makes a great location for a chilled break.
Best known for its football teams, Madrid is as much a city of food and drink as it is sport.
Visually it is a stunning city, the Gran Via – the cities main artery – is lined with multi-story architecture that points to a different Europe.
Where it’s southern European counterparts are packed with hustlers and tourist traps there is something about Madrid, stranded in the middle of the Spanish peninsula, that remains hassle free.
Even in its busiest squares, and in the packed shopping streets, you can wander worry free.
In terms of sights, sport vies with culture for centre stage.
North of the city sits the stunning Bernabeu – home to Real Madrid, the most successful football team in European club history – while their rivals and Spanish league champions Athletico Madrid play across the city at the Vicente Calderon with a somewhat more chequered ...