Madrid, the energetic and enticing Spanish capital, makes a fabulous city break destination, or as the focal point for an itinerary taking in other Central Spain attractions. It has an impressive historical centre, beautiful sun-kissed squares, some lovely parks and a population of passionate people who infuse its streets, boutique bars and colourful cafes with their infectious lust for life.
Almudena Cathedral, Madrid, Spain
Located miles from the coast, some 700 metres above sea level, Madrid was founded as a capital in 1561, not for its topographic qualities but simply for its position at the centre of Iberia. Freezing in winter and superbly hot in summer, it's a wonder the capital survived, but its wealth of cultural attractions make visitors today glad that it did.
Retiro Park, Madrid, Spain
Madrid is especially noted as a European centre for fine art. The Prado museum has a vast collection - notably of Spanish works of which it has over 4,500 - including paintings by Goya, El Greco and Velázquez. Across the Paseo del Prado meanwhile is the Reina Sofia, Madrid's renowned modern art gallery and home to Picasso's iconic Guernica.