#EuroAwayDays: The heart of Spain, Madrid is oh so easy to love

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It’s crunch-time in Europe this week, but while Manchester City focus on defeating Real Madrid at the Bernabeu to land a first-ever Champions League final spot, travelling Citizens can relax, unwind, enjoy, divulge or dance the night away in Spain’s wonderful capital city.

Madrid has been the country’s capital since the 17th century, and is the third-highest capital city in Europe, after Krusevo in Macedonia and Andorra la Vella in Andorra.

Where it rules the roost however is with its weather, boasting the most cloudless days of any European capital.

So all being well, City fans making the trip across should have some glorious blue skies under which they’ll be enjoying all of Madrid’s finest delights.

We can hear that tummy rumbling already, so let’s start with the local grub…

Food

One of the best places to be seen for dinner in is Platea, a stunning restaurant/bar in an old 1950s style cinema.

Serving everything from Tapas to Michelin-starred dishes, this unique venue also boasts a trio of cocktails bars to kick-off the night in fine fashion.

Madrid favourites include Cocido Madrileno, the city’s own take on traditional Spanish stew, while Casa Lucio is the place to go for some huevos roto – the old favourite of eggs and potatoes.

And if you’re stuck in the middle of town and aren’t sure what to go for, the Plaza Mayor is the home of Bocadillo de Calamares, Madrid’s celebrated fried squid sandwich.

And of course, if you’ve had a few beverages there’s always the renowned churros.

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 23: People enjoy freshly fried Churros at the San Gines Chocolateria on October 23, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. The ridged crunchy fried dough pastry called Churros are a typical Spanish snack that found it's origin in Madrid. Churros are eaten for breakfast, or as a snack, dipped in hot chocolat or cafe con leche. With it's popularity growing, the snack spread to many other countries such as the United States, Mexico and Brazil. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

Like most of Spain, Madrid loves some churros

Drink

Madrid loves a sherry, or Jerez, and one of the best places to enjoy a glass or two is La Vanencia.

Originally a favourite for anti-Fascists (and Ernest Hemingway) during Spain’s Civil War of the 1930s, a step into La Venencia will take you flying back in time.

The bar has remained largely unchanged in 80 years, and still plays by its original rules today, so no photography – seriously – and you must hold your sherry (Jerez) by the stem, lest you reveal yourself to be a spy.

Stick to the rules though, and you’ll easily enjoy a quiet hour or two.

Nightlife

A night out in Madrid can match any in Europe and it’s believed the city is home to more bars per capita than any other capital city on the continent.

It’s not cheap, but Corral De La Moreria is arguably the most famous flamenco club on Earth

Everyone from Pablo Picasso and good old Hemingway to Mariah Carey and Hugh Grant have popped in since opened in 1957 and you can’t fail but be encapsulated by it all.

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 23: People enjoy freshly fried Churros on the terrace of the San Gines Chocolateria on October 23, 2009 in Madrid, Spain. The ridged crunchy fried dough pastry called Churros are a typical Spanish snack that found it's origin in Madrid. Churros are eaten for breakfast, or as a snack, dipped in hot chocolat or cafe con leche. With it's popularity growing, the snack spread to many other countries such as the United States, Mexico and Brazil. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

With the most cloudless days of any European capital, dining al fresco is the norm in Madrid

We could probably fill a whole article on Madrid’s nightlife,  and the city will make it oh so easy to while away the early hours.

Venues like El Sol, the ThunderCat Club, Barco and the mammoth Kapital (it has seven floors) will mean 6am seemingly arrives sooner than anywhere else.

Culture

Those seeking a hefty dollop of Spanish history and architecture are spoilt for choice.

Home to one of the finest, and largest, collections of art on Earth, the Museo del Prado is unquestionably the place to go for lovers of Spanish art.

With collections dating back to the 12th century, the museum houses work from Diego Velazquez, Titian and El Greco among others.

The Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofia are also well worth-visiting, with the three colloquially known as the golden triangle of art.

If you want to go a little off the beaten track however, the Sorolla Museum is much less hectic, featuring the work of Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla in what was his former home.

And if you think your Instagram profile is getting a little neglected, the Royal Palace of Madrid ought to sort that right out thanks to some stunning architecture.

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 19: King Felipe VI of Spain and Queen Letizia of Spain appear at the balcony of the Royal Palace during the King's official coronation ceremony on June 19, 2014 in Madrid, Spain. The coronation of King Felipe VI is held in Madrid. His father, the former King Juan Carlos of Spain abdicated on June 2nd after a 39 year reign. The new King is joined by his wife Queen Letizia of Spain. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Just like Buckingham Palace, the crowds descend on Madrid’s Royal Palace

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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