- Madrid is the capital of Spain and the fourth most-visited city in Europe
- The city is home to the current UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League holders
- The environmentally-friendly Estadio Metropolitano has a capacity of around 68,000
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Madrid is ...
• The capital city of Spain and the fourth most-visited city in Europe.
• The third largest city in the European Union (after London and Berlin), with a population of around three million.
• First referred to in the middle ages as 'Magerit' – meaning 'place of plentiful water' in Arabic.
• The birthplace of Plácido Domingo, Julio and Enrique Iglesias, Fernando Verdasco, Penélope Cruz and Raúl González.
• Twinned with Abu Dhabi, Melbourne, New York, Rabat and Tripoli, among others.
• The second city to host its fifth European Cup final after London, the Santiago Bernabéu having staged the match in 1957, 1969, 1980 and 2010.
Where is it
On the River Manzanares, in the middle of Spain, Madrid is the largest city in the Iberian peninsula. It is just shy of 3,000km from last season's final venue, Kyiv, and around 2,750km from the 2020 final host city, Istanbul.
• The newly-reconstructed stadium replaced the Vicente Calderón as home of three-time UEFA Europa League winners Atlético Madrid.
• It is named in honour of the original Estadio Metropolitano – Atlético's home until 1966.
• It opened to the public on 16 September 2017 when Atlético faced Málaga in the Liga; Antoine Griezmann scored the stadium's first goal in a 1-0 home win.
• Located on the Avenida Luis Aragonés (named in honour of Spain's UEFA EURO 2008-winning coach), it has a capacity of around 68,000.
• Built with environmental concerns in mind, the stadium's LED lighting and solar panels reduce energy consumption, while recycled rainwater irrigates the pitch.
• Located in the north-east of Madrid, it is easily reached on subway line seven (staion: Estadio Metropolitano).
Getting to and around Madrid
The busy Madrid–Barajas airport is not far from the Estadio Metropolitano, while the city is also served by an excellent high-speed rail service, and has good road links to France and Portugal. A major commuter hub, it also has a well developed local transport network, with an extensive metro system and buses ensuring that it can be easily navigated without a car.
Where to stay
A major business and tourism hub, Madrid has accommodation options for all budgets, from luxury hotels to basic hostels. See Useful Links below.
What to see
For culture: The Paseo del Arte (Art Walk) connects three of the world's greatest museums: the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Reina Sofia, while the city's Planetarium and Science Museum are recommended too.
For atmosphere: The Puerta del Sol and the central Plaza Mayor give a great flavour of Madrid's historic grandeur, along with the gigantic Royal Palace – which stands alongside the Campo del Moro and Sabatini Gardens.
For fresh air: Madrid has plenty of green space, with the central El Retiro Park boasting spectacular buildings too. Madrid Río on the banks of the Manzanares is great to visit with children, while the city's zoo is in the spacious Casa de Campo.
Eating and drinking
Madrid has a dizzying number of eating options, with plenty of local favourites to try, not least a Cocido Madrileño (Madrid stew) featuring vegetable, chickpeas, pork and chorizo sausage. Bocadillo de calamares (fried squid sandwich) may be the keynote snack food, while vegetarians can enjoy tortilla (Spanish omelette) and sweet churros con chocolate. Beer and tinto de verano (summer wine) are cheap and refreshing. Look out for the Menu del Día at local restaurants – a three course set lunch usually priced at €10-15 which will set fans up for the whole day.
Football in the city
Supporters of Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid make up over half of all of Spain's football fans, and the two are giants in European terms too. Real Madrid started the 2018/19 season having won 33 Spanish titles, and 19 Spanish Cups in addition to 13 UEFA Champions League/European Cup titles and two UEFA Cups. Atlético's achievements are almost as mighty: ten league titles and Spanish Cups, plus a Cup Winners' Cup and three editions of the UEFA Europa League. Plenty of other clubs play in the city (Getafe, Rayo Vallecano and Leganés are in the top flight too), but there is only one Madrid derby that the world talks about.
Get out of the city
Around 40km from Madrid, Aranjuez is where the Spanish royal family traditionally spend the spring, and boasts a royal palace, a historic centre and magnificent gardens. Those wishing to tilt at windmills might prefer a trip to Alcala de Henares, birthplace of Don Quixote-author Miguel de Cervantes; the writer's former home is now a museum. The Royal Site Of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is another imposing palace, also within an hour's train journey of the capital.
Visit Madrid: https://www.esmadrid.com/en
Lonely Planet: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/madrid
Estadio Metropolitano: http://en.atleticodemadrid.com/atm/features
Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF): http://www.rfef.es/