With the holidays looming on the horizon, many travelers are looking for a change of pace and scenery. Now is as good a time as any to plan a vacation to Europe. In fact, those wanting to get away from it all will find a true gem in Madrid, Spain's capital and largest city. With landmarks ranging from the Royal Palace of Madrid to the city's National Library, and such revered museums as the National Archaeological Museum of Spain and Prado Museum, this place truly brims with history and culture. The city has gained prominence as a major hub for international commerce, making it an ideal place for the business-minded. Nightclubs, theaters, parks and galleries abound, offering something to fit pleasure seekers' unique tastes as well.
A great way to reach the heart of the city is via Paseo de la Castellana, one of Madrid's longest avenues. Various financial buildings and government offices lie along this tree-lined stretch, as does Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, which is slated to host the 2010 Union of Football Associations (UEFA) Champion Leagues Final. After a busy day of work or sightseeing, travelers can call it a night at the nearby Hotel Hesperia Emperatriz, which features rooms decorated in a classic style. Also gracing La Castellana is the posh Hesperia Madrid. Designed by Pascua Ortega, who's also credited with designing the renowned Royal Theater, this 5-star retreat is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.
Madrid's city center is heralded for its striking architecture, and travelers know a visit to Spain isn't complete without taking pictures of the area's awe-inspiring buildings. Even H10 Villa de la Reina, a 4-star property on Gran Via, sports 20th century architectural details. Hotel El Coloso is also easily accessible, offering a restaurant, social lounges and business area.
Head northeast and you'll reach the district of Salamanca. One of Madrid's wealthiest neighborhoods, it is yet another great place to immerse yourself in history, not to mention shop at fashionable stores and boutiques. Once travelers are ready to put the shopping bags down and unwind, they can stay at the modern Hotel Zenit Abeba. Further, Confortel Suites Madrid is also convenient to Salamanca and lies in close proximity to the M-30 motorway and Juan Carlos I Exhibition Center.
Whether you're a history buff, avid shopper or simply in need of a refreshing alternative to the daily grind, there's no question that Madrid rivals and is included among the world's must-see destinations.