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How To Get Flights to Madrid

by Susan Renolds

The only difficult part of shopping for an inexpensive flight to Madrid is making a choice from the range of options. At the time of this writing, no less than 9 UK and Irish airlines were offering direct flights to Madrid from 15 airports. Take your choice:

Airports: Aberdeen,Belfast, Bristol, Bournemouth, Dublin, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Shannon.

Airlines: British Airways, EasyJet, Aer Lingus, Ryannair, Aireuropa, BMI British Midland, Iberia,Avro.

Because Spain is the top destination for UK travelers, low fares are easy to find. Currently, fares on the low-cost carriers range from 88 to 120, so Madrid makes a great holiday destination, even for travelers on a budget. Plan your trip to avoid summer in Madrid. October is an ideal time to visit the city if you like great weather, cheaper flights and lower hotel rates. If you enjoy cultural attractions and ski resorts, winter is a great time to visit.

Madrid’s airport, Madrid Barajas International Airport, MAD, is Spain’s busiest airport with more than 40 million passengers a year. It is located 13 km from central Madrid, and the Metro can get you there in 30 minutes, but you can also take one of the frequent shuffle buses or a cab. Keep in mind, traffic is usually bad, so the ride could be close to an hour.

Once in Madrid, the Metro and bus services are fast and inexpensive, as are cab services. It is best not to drive yourself in Madrid because of the dangerous traffic conditions. However, you can hire a car to drive out of town at the airport. Spain is a favorite holiday spot for more reasons that just affordability. The combination of Spanish charm, culture, art, nightlife and costal entertainments contribute to its popularity. Except for beaches, you can find attractions for all of these elements in Madrid.

Madrid is Spain’s capital and its largest city. Geographically located in the center of the Iberian peninsula, it has been the political, financial and administrative heart of the country for centuries. King Philip II established his royal court there in 1561. Successive kings contributed to Madrid’s grandeur by commissioning places, cathedrals, public buildings and monuments.

Some attractions to consider: For starters, the world-renowned Prado, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia for modern art and the newly public collection of Thyssen-Bornemisza are top attractions for art lovers. There is also the little-known Monasterio de las Descalas Reales, an elegant convent built in the 16th century for aristocratic nuns. Now a museum, you can see the priceless works of art and religious relics new nuns donated as part of their dowries.

For history buffs, visit the San Nicolas de las Servitas, believed to date back to 1085. For shoppers, El Rastro is one of the best flea markets in Europe. For culture/sport junkies, bull fights are held on Sundays and holidays throughout the year.

Experience Madrid’s unique night life by visiting tascas, pubs that serve tapas – Spanish appetizers ranging sausages to snails and always including good wines. Flamenco music is the soul of Spain, so plan to visit a flamenco tavern to experience these gypsy folk songs and dances. Remember, when in Madrid, start late and finish later when you’re going out. The food, drink and dancing often last until breakfast the next day.

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