By day, Madrid is a city of extravagant palaces, majestic plazas and stately parks; by night, los gatos (the cats), as the city’s inhabitants are nicknamed, prowl the historic avenues until the early hours indulging their passion for decadent nightlife.
There is more than a grain of truth in tales of Madrileños heading straight from a late-night club to the office, so don’t be surprised if that guard watching over the treasures of Velázquez, Goya and El Greco in the Prado Museum looks a bit bleary-eyed. If you have the stamina to keep up, Madrid has enough excellent shopping, fabulous cuisine, glittering galleries and lively bars to keep you going well past any respectable bedtime.
Don’t go in August, when the city turns into a ghost town with most people closing up shop and heading for the beach. Winter may cold but the sun still shines brightly. Spring and autumn are ideal as the weather is mild and the city hosts several festivals during these seasons.