Top 5 Must Do's in Madrid

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• Try Spanish tapas. Little platefuls of food typically shared between diners, tapas is becoming increasingly fashionable worldwide, but in Madrid you’ll be getting the real deal. There are tapas bars and restaurants across the city, and it’s a wonderfully sociable way to eat. You might need to keep your phrasebook handy as there are some varieties of tapas that are not for the faint-hearted, such as tripe and intestines. More tempting tapas includes tortilla  - slices of cooled Spanish omelette; marinated cubes of cheese; spiced potatoes, stuffed olives and slices of sausage. In many of Madrid’s bars, a little plate of tapas is given to clients free of charge when they buy a drink, so if you’re planning an evening’s bar-hopping you’ll have the opportunity to try quite a few dishes without having to pay for a sit down meal.

• Hit the shops
. Madrid is a sleek, stylish city and the locals like to dress to impress. Chic and sophisticated, the locals know how to put a look together, and there are countless smart boutiques and shopping centers dotted around Madrid for those who want to be as stylish as the natives.

• Visit the Prado Museum
. Madrid’s most visited attraction, this art gallery is home to stunning works from masters such as Rubens, Goya and Raphael. The paintings are displayed to dazzling effect in a beautiful 18th Century building set in pleasant gardens. There is plenty here to interest art fans of any age, but very young children might start to kick up a fuss if the grown ups linger too long over the paintings.

• Follow in the footsteps of Hemingway
. Legendary American author Ernest Hemingway famously spent several years in Spain, and Madrid was one of his favorite stomping grounds. Many of the bars have plaques on the walls declaring that Hemingway was a regular customer (also keep an eye out for the bar with a plaque that boldly declares ‘Hemingway Never Drank Here’), and he was certainly a regular spectator at the bull fights that take place regularly in the city.

• Catch a Real Madrid game. Football (soccer to any US readers) fans shouldn’t miss the chance to catch Real Madrid, one of the world’s greatest teams, on their home turf. Visitors lucky enough to be in town when a game takes place at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium should be quick to snap up tickets, as you’ll have the chance to see some truly world class players at a UEFA-classified Elite Stadium.
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