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The capital of Spain, and perhaps the most important city in the country's history, throngs with remnants of its imperial past. Madrid's architecture is a reminder of just how powerful this city once was and visitors are spoilt with abundant palaces, churches and cathedrals, all handily laid out on the city's grid-like road network. Madrid is particularly alive at night-time since it has the more bars and restaurants than any other city in Europe.
The largest palace in Europe, Palacio Real, dominates the centre of the city. Visitors can take a tour of the palace to view its extensive collection of historical weaponry. Directly opposite is the Almundena Cathedral, the site of many Spanish royal weddings. The Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol are vast squares where classical music concerts are often put on. The Golden Museum Triangle features three celebrated art museums which showcase paintings by some of the world's most renowned artists.
Visitors will be struck by just how many UNESCO World Heritage sites are close to Madrid. With car rental in Madrid, these sites are very accessible. Toledo is perhaps the most famous excursion since its medieval walled city is a UNESCO World Heritage site with many Jewish, Christian and Muslim influences. Other nearby heritage sites include Alcala de Henares, Aranjuez and Avila.
Best time to visit
Madrid can be stiflingly hot in the summer (June to August), making this an uncomfortable time to take in all the attractions. The spring and autumn months are far more moderate in temperature and a jumper will be enough to keep warm. Being a predominately Catholic country, Spain sees the run up to Christmas well celebrated, with many cultural events held in Madrid at this time.
Car rental in Madrid
Car hire in Madrid is found at the airport and in the city centre. Compare car hire online to find the best deal. A car is not necessary in the city itself since it has excellent public transport, but to reach the surrounding UNESCO World Heritage sites, a rental car is the most efficient mode of transport.