Get plenty of sleep before you touch down in Madrid - this is a city that likes to stay up late, and we think you'll want to join in. The bars and nightlife are renowned, but there's much more to this fun, tapas-fuelled city.
Icelandair offers regular cheap flights to Madrid from Iceland and North America for action-packed nightlife, and days filled with world-class art, flamenco, football, and flea markets.
Before you lose sleep to the all-night treats of the Spanish capital, do you fancy being kept awake by awesome natural phenomena in a tiny but cool Nordic capital? When you book flights to Madrid with Icelandair you have the opportunity to add a stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.
Start your people-watching and planning over drinks in a panoramic plaza. There are a few classics to choose from: Plaza Mayor, Plaza de Cibeles and Puerta del Sol are all prime options. Decisions, decisions: should you tour the treasure-filled royal palace, Palacio Real, or the dazzling art collections of the Museo del Prado or Museo Reina Sofia? Spanish artistic heavyweights like Picasso, Goya, Dalí and Velázquez shine.
If football's your thing, make a beeline for Real Madrid's ground, the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Try for a ticket to a game to cheer alongside 80,000 fans, or simply tour the ground. A little afternoon siesta can't hurt - El Retiro is a glorious park for a pit stop. Evening cultural options abound: consider going local with a flamenco show or a controversial bullfight.
Ready to delight your taste buds? Take a grazing tour around the buzzing tapas bars of La Latina neighborhood - head to the street called Calle de la Cava Baja for a bumper bar selection that swings from traditional to modern.
Other great neighborhoods for mealtime exploration are Malasaña, Chueca and Salamanca. Look for the city's signature dish of cocido madrileño, a chickpea-based stew. It's heavy and loaded with meat and vegetables - best enjoyed as a winter warmer.
Markets and food halls make for more delicious belly-filling. The traditional Mercado de San Miguel is an ageless beauty, while Platea in Salamanca is a glamorous restored theater that's home to a stellar selection of restaurants and bars, plus a stage hosting cool live performances.
A browse around El Rastro is a favored Sunday morning pastime - this sprawling flea market is a trove of both treasure and junk. If you like a bit more gloss to your retail hunts, head for the Salamanca district, where you'll find department stores and Spanish high-street fashion brands vying for attention, plus designer boutiques oozing style (hello shoe stores!).
Calle de Serrano is the prime street for restocking your wardrobe, and things get exclusive on Calle de José Ortega y Gasset.
There are cool local finds to hunt down in the Malasaña, Chueca and La Latina neighborhoods. Great local souvenirs can be found in the gift shops of the big-name museums, and there's no shortage of local delicacies to cart home (ham, wine, cheeses, olives and more).
Helpful information for travelers to Madrid
Due to the scorching summer heat, the best time to visit Madrid s in the shoulder seasons of March-May and September-November. Weather tends to be clear most of the year, however, so if you’re after some winter sun you’ll enjoy the cooler months too.
Madrid is home to a convenient and easy-to-use public transport system and you can get around easily by metro, train and bus. Why not buy a Tourist Travel Pass to make getting around even easier during your stay?
Madrid enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and dry, hot summers.
Spanish is spoken throughout Madrid, and although several people understand English, the locals really appreciate it when visitors attempt their lingo.