The capital city of Spain is at the almost exact geographical centre of the country, and is home to over 3.2 million inhabitants. Madrid has been the capital of Spain since 1561 when King Phillip II moved his court from the nearby sword-making town of Toledo.
When in Madrid there are many fascinating sights to see and places to visit to learn more of its history. The Golden Triangle of Art - comprising the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum - together offer a full tour of Spanish art from throughout the ages.
Elsewhere the world-famous Plaza Mayor is Madrid's largest plaza a staggering 129 metres long surrounded by 237 balconies and nine arched entranceways. The nearby Puerta del Sol is the bustling heart of Madrid and is the point that marks the centre of the Spanish radial road network.
The Parque del Buen Retiro provides a sometimes welcome escape from the bustle of city life. Spanning 350 acres and close to the city centre, El Retiro is Madrid's largest and most popular park, containing a large boating lake and Palacio de Cristal, a glass pavilion designed to mimic London's Crystal Palace.
Owing to its abundant parks and leafy lined roads, Madrid has the highest number of trees and the most green space of any city in Europe.
Another historical Madrid institution has to be its football club; Real Madrid are deemed the most successful club in the world with nine European cups. Their current squad is one of the most talented in Europe, and their stadium the Bernabeu, is an architectural feat in itself and one of the city's most popular tourist destinations.
Owing to its high altitude, inland location, Madrid experiences a high contrast in weather with warm dry summers and cold winters. Temperatures peak throughout the summer months with an average daily maximum temperature of 34 °C in July, while in winter the average daily maximum drops to 11 °C throughout December and January.
Last updated: 14 March 2014
Spain has three main climate zones with the south and east coasts characterised by a Mediterranean climate, the vast inland areas of the central plateau experience a continental climate while the north and northwest regions are classified as an oceanic climate.