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This area of Community of Madrid contains some 3,300,000 people.
If you want to start off with the most renowned attractions, the Prado Museum and Plaza Mayor should be at the very top of your list.
Parque Warner Madrid and Aquopolis are magical places to enjoy some time with your children. For more family fun, continue on to Heron City and the Madrid Wax Museum.
You'll find a range of local and exotic species staring out towards you as you explore the Madrid Zoo Aquarium and the Faunia.
Whether you want to try your luck at poker or just enjoy the excitement in the air, you can find what you're looking for at the Casino Gran Madrid, the Casino de Madrid and the Casino Gran Via.
Spend a couple of hours looking at the diverse selection of plants on show at Crystal Palace. The Royal Botanical Garden and the Jardín de la Fuente de las Ranas are also worth a visit.
On a fine day, grab something for lunch and head out to one of the picturesque green spaces, such as El Retiro Park and Parque Norte. You'll also find plenty of space to laze about at the Sabatini Gardens and El Capricho Park.
With a heap of pamphlets and maps on hand, Tourist Information Centre is a great place to find out what's happening in Madrid.
Want to escape the stresses of city life? Head on over to Juan Carlos I Park and El Raso Lagoon. Lovers of nature will also enjoy El Soto Lagoon and El Picon de los Conejos Lagoon.
The area's exhibition spaces are a treasure trove of tales of human endeavour and achievement. The Museo Naval and the Cervantes Birthplace Museum offer a range of displays and collections that are bound to spark your curiosity. CosmoCaixa Science Museum and Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo are also worth a visit.
The eclectic exhibit of scientific contraptions and innovations at Madrid Planetarium should be enough to keep science enthusiasts captivated for a good while. But if you're looking for something more, Madrid Planetarium is another fascinating science museum worth discovering.
From the second you arrive, it is plain to see that the collections of the Museum of Natural Sciences and the Museo de America are the product of an obsession. Gazing back from behind protective glass, these striking specimens will spark your imagination. The National Archaeological Museum of Spain and the Regional Archaeological Museum are also well worth a visit.
Madrid is a frenzy of artistic activity, with galleries and exhibition spaces everywhere you look. Immerse yourself in the cool 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 a look.
History lovers can immerse themselves in the past at the Museo de Historia de Madrid and the Museo Postal y Telegrafico. The San Isidro Museum and the Royal Armoury of Madrid are also worthy choices.
Learn more about this area's past with a trip to the Complutense University of Madrid or the University of Alcala, just two of the historic buildings and sites here. When it comes to bygone times, there's always more to discover. Spanish Senate and the El Oso y el Madrono are also great places to stop by.
Providing safe passage of the city's rivers, Puente de los Franceses and Puente de la Reina Victoria offer a nice view of the rushing water underneath. Don't leave before you see one more historic example of civil engineering, Segovia Bridge.
When it came to designing 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 magnificent homes that have their share of stories to offer.
Hop into the pages of a storybook and appreciate the formidable architectural design of Castillo de la Alameda.
The region's spiritual side is evidenced at Almudena Cathedral and Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Valley of the Fallen and San Isidro Church are also intriguing holy places.
Madrid's most celebrated sights often overshadow its less known, yet equally fascinating activities. The National Library and the La Casa Encendida are some interesting options. If you can squeeze it in, also visit the Teatros del Canal and the Teatro Fernan Gomez.
Before you leave home, check out Expedia's Madrid hotel guide for outstanding deals on the capital's numerous accommodation options.
Discerning travellers with a taste for the good life can choose from the Hotel Villa Magna, at Paseo de la Castellana 22, and the Hotel Ritz, at Plaza de la Lealtad 5. Alternatively, The Artrip, at Calle de Valencia, 11, and the Hotel Francisco I, at Calle Arenal, 15, are some properties worth considering if you're travelling on a budget.