Things to do
The Don Quixote monument in Plaza de España, one of the few Madrid attractions to appeal to kids. Unfortunately the buildings surrounding the Don are stunningly unattractive and uninteresting mini skyscrapers.
• Wander around the Old City (el Centro). Start perhaps at the old city gateway, Puerta de Alcala, passing various wildly over-decorated buildings and stumbling through the city’s heart (Puerta del Sol), soul (Plaza Mayor), wallet (Royal Palace) and brain (Plaza de España, Quixote monument). Some parts will be traffic free, others will not.
• Visit the ‘Golden Triangle’ museums of del Prado and Reina Sofia for great Spanish works and then relax in the lush Royal Botanic Garden.
• Stroll the back streets looking for funky tiled buildings, odd monuments and markets.
• Eat late, very late, and try at least Spanish ham and tapas, drink sherry and vino roja in a thousand little bars and cafés, but don’t bother with the frequently dry and disgusting paella. Madrid is not a coastal town so sea food is unlikely to be fresh or cheap.