As a member of the European Monetary System, the accepted currency in Spain is the Euro (€)
Madrid is on Central European Time, GMT + 1 hour (+ 2 hours during Summer time from the last Sunday in March to the last Saturday in October).
There is a Tourist Travel Pass, which is a personalized transport pass. This entitles the holder to make an unlimited number of trips, using the public transport system operating within a chosen zone.
To use the pass, you must carry a ticket with the valid zone and time period. The ticket must also contain the passenger identification number (from Identification Card, Passport, etc.), written on it at the time of purchase. Any tickets without this information will be invalid.
This pass can be bought at :
• Transport consortium offices
• All metro (subway) stations
• Metro passenger information Office, in Airport T1-T2-T3 metro station
• Certain tobacco shops
• Municipal tourist offices (address: Plaza Mayor, 27)
• National and international tour operators
• Spanish travel agencies
There are 7 Tourist Travel Passes: passes for 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 days. According to the age, there are two types: normal and children and two different zones: zone A (it has same limits as the regular fare zone A and corresponds almost entirely within the Madrid city limits and zone T (covers the entire area where Travel Passes are valid).
Vehicles drive on the right side of the road. The traffic system in Madrid is complex and demands careful planning if you are not familiar with the city. The legal age for driving is 18 years. Do not use a cell phone while driving because it is against the law, unless it is a hands-off phone. Everyone in the car has to use their seatbelt. This includes people on the back seats. The driver will be fined if one of the passengers is not using his safety belt. And, also children who are under 12 years cannot use the front seats. If you are an EU citizen, you need your national driving license, and, in case you are not from an EU country, the International Driving Permit which is usually valid for one year.
European type 2 pin sockets with 220 volts AC at 50 cycles are used. Visitors from the UK will need an adapter for electric appliances, and US citizens need a converter/transformer as well in order to use their 110/125V appliances.
Art and culture are central to Madrid life. The city has 73 museums that cover all fields of human knowledge. Of these ones, the most important are the Prado Museum, one of the world's greatest art galleries; the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum with more than 800 paintings, sculptures and tapestries that go from the earliest Dutch masters to the most avant-garde trends; and the Reina Sofía National Art Centre, which is dedicated to Spanish contemporary art, with works by Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí and Juan Gris among others.
If there is one thing, however, that characterizes Madrid, it is the deep, contagious passion for life reflected in its friendly, welcoming people. Madrid boasts concerts, exhibitions, ballets, select theatre productions, and the latest cinematographic releases. You can sample a wide variety of the finest Spanish and international cuisine or be enchanted by its bars and taverns. These are just some of Madrid's leisure alternatives, alongside tempting shopping in the most traditional establishments and world-famous outlets stocking the finest international brands.
Sights & Monuments:
If you only have one day to visit Madrid, we recommend you find a space in your diary to come back again with more time; we promise you that you will love the city so much that one day will be far too short. However, if 24 hours is all you can spare, then you should take a look at this selection of top activities for the morning, afternoon and evening. Do not try to do them all; just pick the ones that you most fancy and have fun!
Considered by many to be the best art gallery in the world, the Prado Museum exhibits the old royal collections, including works by such artists as Van der Weyden, Hieronymus Bosch, Rubens, Fra Angelico, El Greco and Titian. But what really makes the Prado stand out from all other museums in the world is its impressive collection of paintings by Velázquez and Goya, the great masters of the Spanish school.
El Rastro flea market, on Ribera de Curtidores Street:
Every Sunday, Madrilenians and tourists flock to the city's most popular and long-established flea market. They say that if you cannot find what you are looking for in El Rastro, then it simply does not exist. There are so many things on sale, from clothes, CDs and books to antiques and old knickknacks that we suggest you go there with an open mind, ready to find what you are not looking for.
Crystal Palace - Retiro Park:
Once a space reserved for Spain's royalty, the Retiro Park is a popular spot among people from Madrid and visitors to the city. Many come here for sporting activities, to go boating on the lake, to skate or to relax with a drink in one of the outdoor cafés. A natural oasis in the heart of the city, it is home to a number of beautiful pavilions, made of ironwork and crystal, which host exhibitions all year round.
From Plaza Mayor to the Royal Palace and San Isidro Basilica:
You will never be tired of strolling through Madrid, especially in the Hapsburg District, filled with palaces and convents dating back to the 17th century when Madrid was the centre of the Hapsburg Court. Put your map away and let your senses guide you. You will wind your way along narrow streets and stumble upon such treasures as San Miguel Market, the Royal Palace and the Teatro Real.
Castellana avenue runs from the city's main train station in the centre to the four towering skyscrapers in the north. The 7-km long avenue is home to an array of museums and landmarks, including the National Library, Bank of Spain, Bernabéu Stadium and Cibeles Fountain. As it is several kilometres long, we suggest you take a public transport bus, like no. 27, or hop on to route 2 of the Madrid City Tour.
Take a stroll through Madrid's bustling city centre which plays host to all kinds of events throughout the year, from concerts and festivals to the Three Kings Parade and Gay Pride celebrations. Start off at Puerta del Sol and its Kilometre Zero, continuing up Calle Preciados, which is packed with shops. At the end of Preciados is Gran Vía avenue boasting a plethora of cafés, nightclubs, cinemas and theatres.
Banks are usually open from Monday to Saturday, 9:00 am to 14:30 pm. Sundays and holidays are closed. Most shops and businesses open from Monday to Saturday, 10:00 am to 14:00 pm and 17:00 pm to 20:30 pm. Big shopping malls such as La Vaguada and department stores like El Corte Inglés remain open non-stop from 10:00 am to 20:30 pm. On Sundays and holidays almost all businesses are closed. MUSEUMS – 9h00 to 20h00. PHARMACY – 9H00 to 14H00 and 15H00 to 20H00 (except the 24hours ones). SHOPS – In the city center like Gran Via area shops are open daily and from 9h00 to 21h00, otherwise they open from 9H00 to 14H00 and 15H00 to 20H00. ATM machines (Cajero) – you can find them everywhere in the town
In Spain, tipping is not compulsory but always appreciated. A tip of between 5 and 10% in restaurants and hotels would be fine.
The weather in Madrid is mainly dry. But that does not mean that rain can be ruled out, especially in the winter months. September is a pleasant month, with temperatures back down to around 25 degrees Celsius (77°F). October is also still quite warm with an average daytime temperature of 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) Average Temperatures: