Madrid is the central capital of Spain with elegant boulevards and large parks very well cared for, such as the Buen Retiro. It is famous for its rich collections of European art, with works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters in the Prado Museum. The heart of the old Habsburg Madrid is the Plaza Mayor lined with porticoes and close by is the Royal Palace and the Armory, which exhibit historic arsenals.

In the 1970s, Madrid became the epicentre of La Movida, a burst of expression in art. The Prado forms a "golden triangle" with the Museo de la Reina Sofía (which houses Picasso's "Guernica") and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. The Sunday flea market "El Rastro" is located in the medieval neighborhood of La Latina and is popular for its nightlife, theater and tapas bars. The central plaza Puerta del Sol houses the statue of the Bear and the Madroño of the city's coat of arms, while the National Archaeological Museum exhibits an extensive collection of historical artifacts. Real Madrid, the dominant football team, plays at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.