Tag Archives: spain

Madrid, Spain

 Madrid is the capital and largest city in Spain. It is the third most populous municipality in the European Union after Greater London and Berlin, and its metropolitan area is the third-most populous in the European Union after Paris and London. The city is located on the river Manzanares in the centre of both the country and the Community of Madrid.

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 Madrid is considered one of the top European destinations concerning art museums. Best known is the Golden Triangle of Art, located along the Paseo del Prado and comprising of three museums. The most famous one is the Prado Museum, the most popular Golden Triangle of Art member known for such highlights as Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas and Francisco de Goya’s La maja vestida and La maja desnuda. The other two museums are the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum, established from a mixed private collection, and the Reina Sofia Museum. This is where Pablo Picasso’s Guernica hangs, returning to Spain from New York after more than two decades.

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 Madrid hosts the largest Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Spain, Las Ventas, established in 1929. Las Ventas is considered by many to be the world centre of bullfighting and has a seating capacity of almost 25,000. Madrid’s bullfighting season begins in March and ends in October. Bullfights are held every day during the festivities of San Isidro (Madrid’s patron saint) from the middle of March to the middle of June, and every Sunday, and public holiday during the rest of the season. Madrid is served by Barajas Airport. Barajas is the main hub of Iberia Airlines. It consequently serves as the main gateway to the Iberian peninsula from Europe, America and the rest of the world. Current passenger volumes range upwards of 52 million passengers per year, putting it in the top 20 busiest airports in the world. Given annual increases close to 10%, a new fourth terminal has been constructed. It has significantly reduced delays and doubled the capacity of the airport to more than 70 million passengers per year. Two additional runways have also been constructed, making Barajas a fully operational four-runway airport.

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 Casa de Campo is an enormous rural parkland to the west of the city, the largest of all Madrid’s green areas. It is home to a fairground, the Madrid Zoo and an outdoor municipal pool, to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the park and city take a cable car trip above the tree tops.

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Tenerife

Tenerife is the biggest and best-known Canary Island, with over 10 million visitors a year, and finally the word is out that the landscape, sights and attractions here go way beyond beaches, lap dancers and the best bitter on tap.

The potpourri of experiences includes 350km of coast; tropical-forest walks and designer-shop struts; dark forays into volcanic lava; traditional Canarian cuisine and (if you must) egg and chips. As for the drama, this is where Tenerife really does soar high and above its neighbouring islands. At 3718m the Pico del Teide is Spain’s tallest peak, surrounded by a moonscape of rock formations and intense volcanic colours. It’s fabulous walking territory; pack your lace-ups. Tenerife is also diverse enough to allow an authentic Canarian experience. Simply put, the further you head away from the southwestern resorts, the fewer tourists you find. For example, the capital, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, is delightfully untainted by camera-wielding coach loads, although Carnaval gets packed with a clued-in crowd here for an experience second only to Rio in terms of raw fiesta spirit. The same cannot be said for Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Américas & Costa Adeje in the South where neon lights and over-sunned northern Europeans abound amidst the shimmering white sands of this resort-heavy area. In stark contrast, Parque Nacional del Tide in the Centre offers a bit more elbow space, at least by Tenerife standards.

Putting pleasure before business is an appealing quality of the Tinerfeños, which means there is plenty of nightlife choice, ranging from spit-and-sawdust local bars to big bad discos with international DJs and foam parties.

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