Madrid

Madrid Travel Guide

Having started in the Middle Ages, El Rastro is a rambling 3,500-vendor market in the old streets of Madrid. The market begins at 9 a.m. on Sundays and holidays, but gets busiest by 11 a.m.

Spanish pop, rock, and jazz performers, from the truly local to national favorites, take the stage every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at this two-level bar-lounge and concert venue, possibly the coolest thing downtown.

Regarded by critics as the missing link between other Spanish art collections, the Thyssen’s pieces, purchased by the Spanish state from a private collector in 1992, represent a tremendous breadth of European painters from the 14th to 21st centuries.  Temporary exhibitions are frequently conducte

The Festival Internacional de Madrid en Danza (011-34-91-720-83-45), in April, brings dancers from all mediums and a myriad of countries to city theaters.

Counting DJ’s and bartenders among its owners, this casual corner bar is open all day, helping Madrileños ease the transition from coffee to caipirinha.

An eclectic crowd, including pilgrims bound for Compostela, visits this L-shaped bar for irresistible matrimonio sandwiches: roasted peppers, salted anchovy, and anchovy in vinegar on a cottony soft bun ($2.20).

An ongoing exhibition of children’s artwork is displayed throughout all the airport’s terminals (the airport hosted more than 150 visits last year from schools and kids’ cultural centers).

The six million specimens at the National Museum of Natural Sciences range from dinosaurs to Mediterranean flora. Founded by Carlos III in 1771, the original collections were displayed in the Royal Cabinet of Natural History.

Located off the typical tourist route in Salamanca, the little-known Museo Lázaro Galdiano displays more than 12,000 works of art formerly owned by the eponymous Spanish collector José Lázaro Galdiano.

A sprawling duty-free emporium, Les Boutiques stocks watches and jewelry from Cartier and Bulgari; Ferragamo purses and leather goods; and signature tartan-print totes, scarves, and umbrellas from Burberry.

Additional Locations in the Madrid Barajas International Airport:

Opened in 1897 and still featuring its original wooden counter and zinc roof, Calzados Lobo sells simple, inexpensive espadrilles, high-heeled shoes originally worn in the Pyrenees, in a mass of colors.

This emblematic bar madrileño has old rock ’n’ roll posters on the walls. It’s been around forever.

At The Showroom, interior architect Isabel López-Quesada designs sophisticated rooms using neutral tones, bold patterns, and metallic accents. Her studio, a two-story building that’s behind plant-covered garden walls, is located on a one-way street in the Salamanca district.

Handmade espadrilles are stacked floor to ceiling by size in this simple shop, a Madrid mainstay since 1863. The rainbow of colors, materials, and designs range from plebian day wear to delicate white lace-up-the-leg versions fit for royalty (the princess wears them).

Madrid’s Barajas Airport’s 2006 Terminal 4, by Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, is like an extra-long cathedral, an unending vault supported by a colorful procession of buttresses.