One bit of advice that you should take about Madrid is: Do it late. People go out late, they eat late, they go out drinking late. Don’t even think of going to a nightclub before 1 in the morning. One wonders how anyone holds down a job.
The only city that comes near to Madrid for sheer energy is New York. Madrid, however, is much friendlier. A good night out might start around 9 pm in a bar around the Puerta del Sol. This is the heart of the city. The classic student meal of potatoes with chorizo goes down beautifully with a beer or a ‘copita’ of sherry. You’ll probably find yourself talking with your neighbours and maybe a bit of impromptu flamenco will start. Much later you could head to the super-cool Malasana district made famous by the films of Pedro Almodovar. The spirit of Almodovar infuses the city at night: It’s outrageous, energetic and - most importantly - fun. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing until the sun comes up. Before bedtime, remember to stop in for Churros and chocolate at the Chocolateria San Gines.
The challenge is to resist the urge to spend the next day in bed. You could go bargain-hunting at the flea market, El Rastro, where Almodovar used to work before he became famous. Or visit the Prado with its masterpieces by Goya and Velasquez. Don’t even try to see everything. It’s too vast. Afterwards we recommend you go to the Reina Sofia to see Picasso’s Guernica.
Madrid is also blessed with some of the largest and most beautiful parks of any European city. Try the Parc de Retiro near the Prado where you can hire boats or take a well-earned nap. You’ll need to have some rest anyway because there’s another long action-packed night ahead of you. Madrid is truly the city that never sleeps. Book flights to Madrid and experience it yourself.