No matter your football fidelity, whether it be towards the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga or Ligue 1, there is no disputing that as a football fiend you will unequivocally be on the edge of your seat (and if turns out to be a goal fest then quite possibly off it as well!) for the grand finale. With a paltry 68,000 seats on offer inside the stadium, only a privileged few will experience the once in a lifetime prospect of witnessing the grand spectacle live. If you happen to be one of those blessed few or are in Madrid in general, here’s a city guide that will ensure you cover the most significant facets of the fourth most-visited city in Europe, while having a ball might we add.
- The Champions League Final takes place at Estadio Metropolitano, Madrid (home of Atlético de Madrid)
- Timing – 21:00CET, Saturday 1st June
Fun Facts About Madrid:
- It is the sixth largest city in the EU region, with a populace of around three million
- It is also the largest city in the Iberian peninsula
- Madrid is the capital city of Spain and the fourth most visited city in Europe
- The Manzanares River (Real de Manzanares) runs through the heart of Madrid and has provided a source of fresh water for the city since its foundation
- Madrid is not only a city but a state as well
- It’s the place of birth for Penélope Cruz, Enrique Iglesias, Fernando Verdasco, Carlos Sainz and David De Gea, to name a few
Getting Around in Madrid:
- The bustling Madrid–Barajas airport is not far from the Estadio Metropolitano (4.6 km away and about a five min drive depending upon traffic)
- A crucial commuter hub, the city has an outstanding high-speed rail network
- There are splendid road links to Portugal and France
- The city is served by an exceptional public transport system with its extensive metro system and buses ensuring travel is easy without a car
The Spanish capital as a city is so full of culture and life that a few paragraphs do not do it justice, however, here’s an attempt at consolidating the history, culture and nature of the fine city of Madrid:-
Erected in the mid-1700s for King Philip V, the Royal Place is housed on the site of Madrid’s Moorish Alcázar fortress-palace, which was engulfed in flames and wrecked in 1734. The Spanish Royal Palace also owns the title for being the most enormous royal palace in western Europe.
Once inside, prepare to be left astounded by the frescoes and royal collections which includes works by Goya, Caravaggio and Velázquez as well as sublime watches and silverware.
In the interiors also lie the only string quartet of Stradivarius instruments in the world as well as the personal weapons used by Charles V in the 16th Century.
Spain’s heart is green and constitutes a bounty of lush gardens, with the marvellous Retiro included among them, up until the 19th century the park was a part of the royal property after which it was opened to the public.
The glass pavilion built in 1887 is glorious and growing in the adjacent pond are bald cypresses, swamp trees that alter into a lovely golden brown in summer.
The oldest tree in the city is not too far from here as well, a Montezuma Cypress planted in 1633 is encircled within an iron fence.
A requisite mainstay in every tourist’s itinerary, the Prado is conceivably the most recognized art museum in the world. Featuring a formidable collection of masterpieces by baroque and renaissance masters.
Eminent artists such as El Greco, Rembrandt, van Dyck, Titian, Carvaggio and Botticelli feature among several other prominent names. A must see is David with Head of Goliath by Carvaggio and Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.
Puerta Del Sol
This grand square alongside the Post Office Building is a known meeting place, enriched with meaning for both country and city. As every Spanish person will acknowledge the clock atop the Casa de Correos (Post Office) as it features in the televised countdown on New Year’s Eve.
While also situated within the square is the El Oso y El Madroño statue which acts a symbol for Madrid since the Middle Ages.
Santiago Bernabéu Stadium
Irrespective of you being a supporter or not, the reality remains that Real Madrid is Europe’s most successful football team, having attained a record-breaking 13 Champions League titles.
So whether football fan or not, regard the Bernabéu as a pilgrimage site and visit their monstrous 85,000-seater stadium where history has been broken and rewritten season after season, year after year.
A tour would encapsulate visits to the dugouts, the dressing room, the trophy room, the presidential box as well as panoramic vistas of the stadium and the pitch itself.
Mercado San Miguel
This fetching art nouveau marketplace dates back to 1916, a gastronomic setting to purchase the crème de la crème that Spain has to offer, such as saffron, cava and paprika.
In the locale is a host of tapas bars that dish out classics such as gambas al ajillo, boquerones and patatas bravas which can be accompanied alongside a glass of beer or rioja (a wine region in Spain) to wash it down.
Seeing as the list goes, chop-chop, you don’t have a minute to squander and there are tons of sights waiting for you to grace your eyes upon!