Madrid; the capital and largest city of Spain, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that is home to the Spanish monarch and is also the business and political center of Spain. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and is famous for its great cultural and artistic heritage, architectural wonders, historical marvels and world famous restaurant culture.
Some of Madrid’s famous sites, located in the center of the city are Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real and Plaza de Colón. Palacio Real is one of Madrid’s largest buildings and possibly the most beautiful. Located next to the Plaza de Oriente Square, it is the largest palace in Western Europe. It is also known as the Royal Palace and is the official residence of the Spanish royal family, although used only for state functions. The castle was built on the site of the old Alcazar, the Moorish castle which was destroyed due to a fire; however the old city walls may still be seen.
The Palace gardens called Campo del Moro are also worth visiting as is the square nearby where many sculpturs of the monarchs can be seen. Palacio Real is therefore a must-visit attraction when in Madrid. Some other attractions tourists could visit include Madrid’s many museums; the city has three main museums clustered along Paeso del Prado, these include Museo del Prado, Thyssen Bornemisza and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. These are just a few of the many must-visit sites for tourists visiting Madrid. Activities and attractions for travelers with kids would include a visit to the Casa de Campo Zoo and Aquarium at Faunia, Madrid Amusement Park and Parque Warner Madrid. Buen Retiro Park is one of the largest parks of the city and is home to many statues.
Madrid is home to a sizeable Muslim population and therefore offers a wide array of Halal restaurants as well as a few mosques that serve the Muslim community of Madrid. These facilities are conveniently located and can be used by Muslim travelers as well. The Islamic Cultural Centre is one such mosque. It is the largest mosque in Europe that is modern in style yet has traditional aspects to it. The mosque includes within its premises a college, library, ritual bath house, gym, cafe and an Arabic restaurant. The restaurant serves some traditional and authentic Arabic food at very reasonable prices, while the cafe serves varieties of tea, coffee and Arabic sweets. Another prominent mosque in the city is the Madrid Central Mosque which is also called Abu Baker Mosque. This building consists of four floors and is located in the Cuatro Caminos neighbourhood of Tetum District. The building houses within its premises a mosque, nursery, school, library and a shop. Al Iman Masjid is another mosque where local Muslims as well as travelers could offer their prayers. When traveling to areas where mosques are not available Muslim tourists are advised to pray in their hotel rooms if possible.
For Muslim travelers, an essential part of travel is being able to find Muslim-friendly facilities. This includes finding Halal food. The city of Madrid has a variety of cuisines that travelers could choose from. Some local favourites include paella, gazpacho, pisto, tortilla espaniola, croquettes and calamari. A large part of the Spanish flavour experience would also include tapas; which is a wide variety of appetizers or snacks that originated in Spain. Tapas come in many different forms and vary from town to town. Churros are another yummy snack served with hot chocolate. Due to its large immigrant Muslim population, visitors can also find authentic Middle Eastern food as well as restaurants serving Pakistani and Indian dishes. A few of the restaurants that Muslim travelers can dine at, include; El Califa, Suriana, Al Hama, El Basha and Bombay Palace. The first four serve delicious Middle Eastern cuisine and the last serves authentic Indian food.
Madrid is a city with great food, numerous attractions, friendly people and so much more. It is definitely a city worth visiting. So what are you waiting for?