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Whether you're after a short break or planning a longer vacation, Madrid is a fantastic destination.

The population of this area of Community of Madrid is roughly 3,300,000.

World-famous attractions like the Prado Museum and Plaza Mayor are just one part of what makes this destination unique.

Hang out with the kids at Parque Warner Madrid and Aquopolis. Want more? Heron City and the Madrid Wax Museum will ensure that the good times keep rolling.

Housed in exhibits along the pathways of the Madrid Zoo Aquarium and the Faunia, a wide variety of critters will keep your group enthralled for hours.

Ready to place a bet? Head over to the Casino Gran Madrid and the Casino Gran Via.

Spend some time feasting your eyes upon the plant species at Crystal Palace and the Royal Botanical Garden.

Pack some lunch and take it easy for a while in the leafy surroundings of El Retiro Park and Parque Norte. There's also plenty of space for a game or two on the grass at the Sabatini Gardens and El Capricho Park.

Turn your phone off and give yourself a break from the stress of the modern world at Juan Carlos I Park and El Raso Lagoon. El Soto Lagoon and El Picon de los Conejos Lagoon are also recommended by nature lovers.

Schedule a visit to some of the many cultural institutions nearby. The Museo Naval and the Cervantes Birthplace Museum offer a range of collections that are sure to capture your interest. Also worth considering are the Museo Tifologico and the Madrid Railway Museum.

Some people think of natural museums as a place to take the children, but the curious specimens of the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Museo de America prove that there's plenty to keep the grown-ups interested as well. The National Archaeological Museum of Spain and the Regional Archaeological Museum are also well worth a visit.

An oasis for art connoisseurs, this area is home to an impressive range of spaces in which amateur and professional artists can display their work. Immerse yourself in the creative atmosphere at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. If you can fit them in, the CaixaForum Madrid and the Cerralbo Museum are also well worth your time.

The past comes alive at the Museo de Historia de Madrid and the Museo Postal y Telegrafico thanks to their range of thoughtful exhibits. The San Isidro Museum and the Royal Armoury of Madrid are also worthy options.

To learn about the area's rich and colorful past, make sure you visit at least one of its many historic structures and monuments. Start the local history tour at the Complutense University of Madrid or the University of Alcala. You might also like to take a few photos at Spanish Senate and the El Oso y el Madrono.

Leave time to have a look at Puente de los Franceses or Puente de la Reina Victoria, two majestic structures that arc across these waterways. Anyone interested in civil engineering will also want to get a few photos of Segovia Bridge.

When it came to designing and building Royal Palace and Royal Palace of El Pardo, you'll see that money was not an issue. Archbishop's Palace and Velazquez Palace are two more stately dwellings that have their fair share of history hidden in the walls.

The area's spiritual side is on display at Almudena Cathedral and San Isidro Church. You may also like to explore the Temple of Debod or San Antonio de la Florida Hermitage.

After touring all the major attractions in and around Madrid, consider visiting a couple of its lesser-known gems. The National Library and the La Casa Encendida are certainly worth a look. If you can fit it in, also think about visiting the Teatros del Canal and the Teatro Fernan Gomez.

Guide to Exploring Madrid

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