If the Autonomous Community of Madrid is known for something around the world, it is, first of all, for its cultural opportunities, capable of satisfying the requirements of the most refined public, thanks to the presence of more than 200 theaters. Large, medium and small stages of the capital and adjacent municipalities offer throughout the year the best works of theatrical, musical and dance art, with stage performances that take the viewer into magical worlds created by the imagination of great directors and choreographers.
Good examples of such venues are the Teatros del Canal, the Teatro de la Abadia, the Corral de Comedias theater in Alcala de Henares or the Teatro Coliseum Charles III in San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
It is also no coincidence that the Madrid region hosts significant theater festivals that are the hallmark of the culture of the Autonomous Community of Madrid in the world, such as the Madrid Theater Festival (Festival de Otono a Primavera), which brings together the best representatives of the international artistic and theater community; the International Madrid Dance Festival attended by the most famous dancers and dance groups in the world; International Performing Arts Festival for Children and Youth – Teatralia; The Clasicos Festival in Alcala is the very essence of classical theatre; Surge Madrid, a festival that focuses on independent and small-format venues, or Suma Flamenca, which turns the Madrid region into the most important flamenco dance region. All of them have the richest variety of productions,
In addition, Madrid also hosts the Night of the Theaters, a very colorful event dedicated to the International Day of Theater, during which a great variety and richness of performing arts can be seen on various stages of the Autonomous Community of Madrid. The program includes theatrical performances, ballet, puppet theater performances, musicals… and many other events
Lovers of the fourth of the classic seven arts can immerse themselves in the world of musical sounds and notes any day of the year, as Madrid offers the widest range of musical events to suit all tastes. In the field of classical music, three objects of international importance stand out in particular: the Royal Theater (Teatro Real), where you can see the most outstanding opera performances in the world; the Teatro de la Zarzuela, a unique center created for this genre of lyrical Spanish theater, which also has an excellent program of concerts; and finally the National Music Auditorium, a temple of classical music that offers, in its two halls, the Hall of Symphony and Chamber Music, the very best examples of the international musical panorama.
Such a dynamic region is bound to host various big festivals, such as the International Festival of Religious Arts in February and March, which showcases such diverse musical genres as classical, jazz, folk, rock and electronic music. Another treasure for music lovers is the Aranjuez Early Music Festival, which is held in the most beautiful architectural ensemble of the Royal Palace and Gardens of Aranjuez.
With the onset of summer, the Clasicos en Verano (Summer Classics) Festival offers more than 100 concerts in the walls of the best architectural monuments of the Madrid region, for example, in the Manzanares el Real castle, and the Summer Festival in San Lorenzo de El Escorial – this is one of the must-see events in the sierra of madrid.
The region is also home to a large number of live music auditoriums. Of particular interest are festivals such as Galapajazz and JazzMadrid, or various indie initiatives that have already matured into solid events such as Mad Cool, Tomavistas, DCODE or Festimad.
And we haven’t mentioned Madrid Broadway yet! The century-old Gran Via, which, as soon as night falls, is lit up by the sparkling lights of theaters and late-night cafes, while its pavements fill with the public, eager to watch the most popular musicals or see for themselves Madrid’s ability to organize significant musical events.
If you want to know the other side of life in Madrid, then its intense nightlife will not disappoint you thanks to the abundance of bars and discos in all districts and municipalities of the city.
Streets and squares
Madrid is one of the most active cities in the world. It is enough just to let yourself get lost in the always busy streets and feel the life of the boulevards and verandas of numerous cafes to feel the energy. In addition to the diversity of culture, the quality and richness of the gastronomy and nightlife make Madrid one of the most lively cities in Europe.
The main arteries of the city are Paseo de la Castellana and Gran Via. On these streets are the famous fountains of the goddess Cybele (Cibeles) and Neptune, buildings and palaces of the early 20th century, such as the building of the Bank of Spain, the House of America (Casa de America) or the new city hall building, as well as the verandas of numerous cafes, office skyscrapers, theaters, restaurants and hotels.
No less enjoyable is a walk through the streets and squares of the old city, where you can discover a piece of Spanish history in every corner. Between the Puerta del Sol and the Royal Palace is the so-called Austrian Madrid, an area where famous buildings such as the Royal Monastery of the Barefoot Nuns (Real Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales) or the Monastery of the Incarnation of the Lord (Convento de la Encarnacion) are located. And the most significant and characteristic building of Bourbon Madrid is, of course, the Royal Palace itself. A walking tour is the best way to discover all the charm of these areas of Madrid.
Also stands out is the most interesting Literary Quarter (Barrio de las Letras), which is located in the area of Huertas Street and Plaza Santa Ana. Both of these areas are pedestrian. The most famous literati of the Spanish Golden Age lived in this area, such as Miguel de Cervantes, Francisco de Quevedo, Gongora or Lope de Vega. At one time, the first Madrid Corrales de Comedias were also founded here – theaters equipped in the courtyards of buildings, as well as the printing house of Juan de la Cuesta, where the first edition of Don Quixote of La Mancha was printed (in 1604). Monastery of St. Ildefonso de las Trinitarias Descalzas (San Ildefonso de las Trinitarias Descalzas), where Cervantes was buried.
Literature continues to be very important to the people of Madrid and the Night of Books held in the city is a good demonstration of this fact. During this event, readers have the opportunity to meet writers and participate in various activities such as workshops, readings, debates, signings, etc. throughout the Autonomous Community of Madrid.
If you’re looking for peace, Madrid has plenty of parks and gardens, such as the Retiro, the Royal Botanical Gardens, the neoclassical El Capricho Park, or the recently laid out Madrid Río Linear Park.