Madrid is a Vibrant 24 hour city with an array of fun things to do, both day & night.
It’s filled with lots of great neighborhoods (Chueca, Latina, Lavapies, Malasaña, Chamberi, Arguelles, Pacifico, Salamanca), delicious cuisine, friendly locals, beautiful gays, bisexuals, heterosexuals, women… welcome to one of the most open European Capital. Madrid is also unbeatable for its nightlife scene.
Welcome to the Capital of Spain, in the center of the country.
Take the high-speed train (called AVE) to the west, in 2:30 you’re in Barcelona. Take AVE to the south, and in 2:30 you’re in Málaga & the famous gay city of Torremolinos. In 3:00 southern, you reach Sevilla! Madrid is not land locking at all, on GoMadridPride, we advise you where to swim when summer is hot. So have fun and enjoy this wonderful city of Madrid, we give you here all the practical tourism information, this is our survival guide to Madrid for gay travelers!
Madrid shares roughly the same latitude as New York: 40°26’N, 3°42’W.
At 635 meters (2100 ft) above sea level, Madrid is one of the highest capitals in Europe.
It’s surrounded by “Sierra de Guadarrama”.
Its highest peak is Peñalara, 2428 metres (7966 ft) in elevation.
MADRID TIME ZONE
Spain is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) UTC/GMT +1 hour.
Daylight savings time is observed late March to late October, making it UTC/GMT +2 hours.
So Madrid has the same time as Paris, Rome or Amsterdam, one hour more than London.
MADRID COST OF LIVING
Madrid is far less expensive than London, Paris, Rome, Berlin or Amsterdam, for transportation, hotels, food, drinks, parties, and everyday shopping or services. Luxury goods and services will be same priced as any European Capital (musicals, upscale restaurants, luxury wines…).
If you’ve received good and friendly service, we usually tip 5 to 10%.
Some prices: Coffee (1,5€), Pastry (1€), Fresh Orange Juice (1€), Draught beer (caña: 1€, large: 3€), Gin Tonic or Cocktail (6 to 8€), MetroTicket (10 trips: 12,20€), Taxi Ride in the city (5 to 12€), Taxi to the Airport (30€), Typical lunch menu (10-12€), film ticket (8€), Museum ticket (8€), Lucky Strike cigarettes (4,45€).
MADRID WITH CREDIT CARDS
Major Credit Cards are accepted almost everywhere: shops, bars, taxi, clubs, hotels. Including at Club’s door, you can purchase tickets by Visa o Mastercard. You’ll find ATM everywhere in Madrid, and rarely out of order.
American Express is not commonly accepted, except in luxury stores, bars, restaurants. Pay by Phone like Apple Pay is not spread yet.
In some supermarkets and many others, you can pay from credit cards from 1 euro only.
During World Pride Madrid, due to the number of tourists in the streets, we recommend you to withdraw cash just in case ATM get out of cash.
Madrid weather is dry and sunny all year. We have only a dozen of cloudy and rainy days concentrated in October/November and March/May. The Wind is not common at all, a rare thunderstorm in the summertime can surprise tourists.
Winter: 10-15°c (50-59°f) in the afternoon thanks to the sunny sky, 3 -8°c (37-47°f) in the evening, and it might drop bellow 0°c (32 °f) in the middle of the night. Snow is fairly rare.
Summer: June to mid-September, we rarely get below 30°c (86°f) in the afternoon and 20°c (68°f) at night. Heat is livable as it’s dry, you hardly ever get wet. Heat waves are common; temperature can climb up to 40 °C (104 °F). You’ll love air conditioning in that situation!
Madrid has an extensive public transport (Metro, Bus, Train) super clean, super safe with air-conditioning and bargain. That’s why it is widely used by people.
Metro Madrid is the 8th longest metro in the world with 294 km, 301 stations, 1698 escalators, 522 lifts. Very Modern then;) You can buy an individual ticket for 1,5€, or 10 journey ticket for 12,20€ (better!). Service is available 7/7 from 06:00 to 01:30. Average waiting time between two trains is short (2 to 10 min).
Bus system is very cool, just jump in and pay at the bus driver directly. Regional trains are called Cercanias. Main stations are Atocha, Chamartin, Principe Pio. Just check on Renfe Website the timetable for your destination.
MADRID PUBLIC BIKES
BiciMAD is the new public bike rental service in Madrid.
It is supplied by 100% electric white bicycles: 1560 electric bikes distributed among 123 stations. This service is available 24/24, 365 days a year, for resident and tourist.
To rent occasionally from one of the stations, choose a free card covering a 1, 3 or 5 day period. To secure the card, you pay a 150€ deposit with a credit card – this amount is then adjusted according to how much you’ve used the bikes at the expiration of your card.
1st hour: 2 euros, 2nd hour: 4 euros. Service is limited to 2 hours. For exceeding the 2nd hour you’ll be charged 4 euros.
BiciMad is really cool just try it!
Taxis in Madrid are numerous, they can be found everywhere throughout Madrid, day & night. Hail the taxi driver as in NYC when you see one passing with the “green light” on. Taxi drivers are friendly. Mostly Men and Spanish, they take care of their car, they love to talk but they don’t really speak English.
Taxis are less expensive than many other European Cities. A typical ride inside the city will be around 5 to 10 euros. A trip to/from the airport is 30 euros (flat price).
As Madrid is a safe city, most taxis do not carry the Plexiglas barrier separating the passengers from the driver. Treat your taxi driver with respect and kindness and they’ll always return the sentiment!
MADRID PUBLIC TOILETS
Walking in the street, you may search in a hurry. Well, it has been voted, but from GoMadridPride, you are not sure it will be ready for WorldPride Madrid 2017.
Public toilets are almost nonexistent in Madrid and it’s not really the done thing to go into a bar or cafe solely to use the toilet; ordering a quick coffee is a small price to pay for relieving the problem.
Otherwise you can usually get away with it in a larger, crowded place where they can’t really keep track of who’s coming and going. Another option is the department stores of El Corte Inglés that are dotted around the city.
We are quite sure the city will provide a solution for that, as it is disgusting for neighbors and for everybody of course.
All foreigners have the same right as Spanish Citizens to emergency medical treatment in a public hospital. EU citizens are entitled to the full range of health-care services in public hospitals free of charge, but you’ll need to present your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC); ask for it at your national health service before leaving home.
Even if you have no insurance, you’ll be treated in an emergency, with costs in the public system ranging from free to €150 for a basic consultation. Non-EU citizens have to pay for anything other than emergency treatment – one good reason among many to have a travel-insurance policy. If you have a specific health complaint, obtain the necessary information and referrals for treatment before leaving home. Several pharmacy & drugstores open 24/24.
SMOKING IN MADRID
Some of you will be surprised to see so many smokers everywhere in Madrid.
In Madrid you can smoke everywhere outside (including terraces) but it is strickly forbidden inside (metro, restaurant, clubs). Some places have a membership licence as a “Private Smoking club”, in that case, you’ll see a lot of people smoking while dancing.
Buying cigarettes is cheap, about 4 to 5 euros a packet of Lucky, Marlboro or equivalent. Shops are called Estanco some of them are closed on Saturday and Sundays, others are open 7/7, 24/24 (especially in Chueca).
You can also buy 7/7 at El Corte Inglés department Store. Last but not least, many restaurants, bars and clubs have automatic machines where you can buy packets with an extra charge of only 0,50 cts.
You are encouraged to use public ashtrays available on top of every street rubbish bin.
MADRID PUBLIC SAFETY
Madrid is particularly safe, but as in any large European city, keep an eye on your belongings and exercise common sense.
Just be aware of pickpockets on transport and around major tourist sites such as Museo del Prado or Parque del Buen Retiro. Empty dark streets at night are rare in Madrid, but cruising in Parks in the middle of the night could put you in danger.
You will rarely see a fight in the street or in the club, we are lucky people here are going out to enjoy a good night, not to get into trouble, even if they might be totally drunk!
So enjoy, be nice with the others and don’t be paranoid about safety!
MADRID INTERNET ACCESS
In Madrid Barajas Airport you can connect to the Internet with your laptop, mobile phone or any other device with WiFi technology, via WiFi for unlimited time and for free (supported by advertising).
Madrid is fully equipped in 4G+, so the Internet connection is fast and reliable. Many Bars, Restaurants or Hotels offer Free WiFi Connection. Just ask for “Do you have WiFi?” as they usually do not advertise for it (Why? we do not know!).
We do not have public WiFi from the city though.
If you book a flat, you might have a very good ADSL connection, or Fiber connection (up to 300mbs).
MADRID CAR RENTAL
In addition to Madrid’s public transportation, and public bike rentals, you”ll find of course in Madrid all the major car rental companies. Unless you’re picking up the car directly at the airport or at Atocha train station, The top 5 based are the European classics: Hertz, Europcar, Avis, Sixt and GoldCar Rent.
We recommend you to book in advance during World Pride Madrid 2017. Finding a car park in the center will be just IMPOSSIBLE: city center (Chueca, Puerta del sol) is almost 100% pedestrian.
So if you’re staying few kilometers way, this won’t be a problem, otherwise just rent it to go visiting around one day like Aranjuez, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Alcala de Henares or other close sites!
MADRID BANK HOLIDAYS 2017
- January 1 – New Year
- January 6 – Epiphany
- March 20 – Monday following the feast of St. Joseph
- April 13 – Holy Thursday
- April 14 – Good Friday
- May 1 – Labour Day
- May 2 – Feast of the Community of Madrid
- May 15 – San Isidro
- August 15 – Assumption of the Virgin
- October 12 – National Day of Spain
- November 1 – All Saints Day
- November 9 – Our Lady of the Almudena
- December 6 – Day of the Spanish Constitution
- December 8 – The Immaculate Conception
- December 25 – Nativity of the Lord
Madrid has a unique timetable to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, aperitif, drink, club and sex. Let’s make it simple: if your coming from Paris, just add +2 hours, from London +3 hours, from united states +4 hours.
Ok to make sure we put it well: true breakfast is at 10:30; true lunch is from 14:00 to 15:30, even later weekend days, dinner is from around 22:00, bars are like by 23:30, club between 01:00 & 03:00 depending the party. It might sounds late for many of you.
But remember: Spanish people are finishing work late, and in the summer sun is hot at the end of the day, so people are not used to be in the street earlier than 21:00. But this is true, during World Pride Madrid 2017, as many of you are here, streets will be packed earlier for sure. Except for clubs: don’t go there before 00:30 like minimum!
After 3 days you should be without any jet lag, just take a nap that’s the Spanish secret to the nightlife.
MADRID PLUGS & ELECTRICITY
If you are bringing any electrical appliances to Spain you might wonder “What is the kind of plug and voltage?
Well like in France, Portugal, Belgium or Italy: Spain uses the 220V voltage, 2 round pins (see the image). Plug adapters are available everywhere in case you’re coming from London or the USA or other countries.
But as a Gay Traveler worldwide, sure you have yet one no?!