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Madrid, Spain: Blending Old World charm with a vibrant cosmopolitan charisma.

Madrid is a city of transformation. As the Spanish capital, it maintains an enviable position as the heart of the country’s economics and financial structure. That standing guided the creation of a world-class cosmopolitan center, enhanced its Metro and train transportation, revitalized its historic neighborhoods and streets, and led to the expansion of new districts (barrios). Madrid is also known as one of the “greenest” cities in Europe, celebrating nature in its botanic gardens, tree fountains, and moorland. Meandering medieval alleyways and historic squares still remain at the core of Madrid’s center. The famous square Plaza Mayor in the heart of Madrid is one such example. This “aristocratic centre” proudly presents the Royal Palace, a nod to its 17th century Baroque and classical architectural styles. A collection of classic monuments and buildings are nearby including: Plaza de Oriente (square), the Opera House, and the Puerta del Sol, a square surrounded by specialty shops. Madrid’s passion for the arts and culture resonates loud and clear with 73 museums scattered throughout the city. You can get your fill of history at some of the best museums in Europe like the Prado, one of world’s greatest art galleries; Reina Sofia National Art Centre, dedicated to Spanish contemporary art including Picasso; and the 800 paintings, sculptures and tapestries at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. The free-spirited Madrilenos work to live, so it’s no surprise that the number of bars, cafes, discos, flamenco clubs, restaurants and live music venues are there to keep the locals and travelers entertained for many days and nights. La Latina, next to Madrid de los Austrias, offers one-stop entertainment with an diverse mix of bars, cafes, restaurants and shopping. The Rastro, the country’s largest outdoor flea market, is also located here. Accommodations range from hostels to luxury hotels, with a room for every budget. Whether your preference is the 5-star Westin Palace, located in the Plaza de las Cortes square near the Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia Museums, or the cheap rates and bustle of a municipal youth hostel in the heart of the city, you’ll find a good night’s sleep. Hundreds of daily flights connect Madrid on major airlines to international destinations throughout the world. Budget airlines, such as Iberia and Spainair, provide affordable flights within the country. Major train lines depart from two main stations for convenient and affordable connections to Madrid throughout Spain and extending into Europe and the United Kingdom.

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