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____As the official travel partner of the UEFA Champions League, we've journeyed to the homes of the clubs through to the last 16 to give you the lowdown on the hotspots for your next away trip. For this article we head to Madrid home of Real Madrid FC and Club Atlético de Madrid.____

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It goes without saying that Real Madrid CF is one of the world's most successful football teams, while relative underdog Club Atlético de Madrid has plenty of bite, beating its derby rival to lift the UEFA Super Cup in 2018. When it comes to fan enthusiasm, however, it's an even draw - and that passion for football isn't confined to the stadiums.

From tiny squares to tapas bars, the streets of Madrid are packed with fans on match days, with the atmosphere nothing short of electric whenever either team wins a title, signs a new player, or even scores a goal.

With stadium tours, supporters' bars and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, it's easy for visiting football fans to join in the celebrations, too. Make like a Madrileño and discover the best places to see and things to do in Madrid, local-style!

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Image Credit: Tourism Media

It goes without saying that Real Madrid CF is one of the world's most successful football teams, while relative underdog Club Atlético de Madrid has plenty of bite, beating its derby rival to lift the UEFA Super Cup in 2018. When it comes to fan enthusiasm, however, it's an even draw - and that passion for football isn't confined to the stadiums.

From tiny squares to tapas bars, the streets of Madrid are packed with fans on match days, with the atmosphere nothing short of electric whenever either team wins a title, signs a new player, or even scores a goal.

With stadium tours, supporters' bars and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, it's easy for visiting football fans to join in the celebrations, too. Make like a Madrileño and discover the best places to see and things to do in Madrid, local-style!

Meet the teams: Real Madrid CF and Club Atlético de Madrid

Real Madrid CF

Real Madrid CF is a sure thing when it comes to lists of the world's top clubs. Many would argue it's the best team in the world (especially the fans). Its trophy haul is second only to Barcelona FC in Europe, and it holds more UEFA Champions League titles than any other team. Few would doubt the credentials of those who have graced the field wearing the all-white strip: former players Roberto Carlos, Zinedine Zidane, Luís Figo, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, current player Sergio Ramos...

FUN FACT

The current moniker was established in 1920, when King Alfonso XIII added the word 'real', meaning 'royal' (and a crown emblem became part of the team's shield).

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Image Credit: Tourism Media

Club Atlético de Madrid

The city's 'second team', founded in 1903, has achieved some pretty big wins, too. Club Atlético de Madrid's 2018 victory over Real Madrid CF in the UEFA Super Cup was the team's third time lifting that particular trophy.

Among the biggest names to don the distinctive candy-striped shirt are Christian Vieri, Sergio Agüero, Fernando Torres and Diego Costa, who returned to the club in 2018 after a three-year spell with Chelsea FC. More illustriously, perhaps, King Felipe VI of Spain is a fan and has been the club's honorary president since 2003.

FUN FACT

One of the club's many nicknames is Los Colchoneros, or 'The Mattress Makers', because the stripes apparently bear resemblance to old-fashioned bed toppers!

Rayo Vallecano de Madrid

That's right - Madrid counts a third team among its impressive football heritage! It might lack the silverware of its bigger rivals, but Rayo Vallecano de Madrid's fans ('Rayistas') are certainly committed, with the club yo-yoing between La Liga and the Segunda (second) División. Rayo Vallecano de Madrid's stadium, Vallecas, is located in the working-class district of the same name, south-east of Madrid's city centre and has a capacity of around 15,000.

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Image Credit: Tourism Media

Visit Madrid's football stadiums: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and Estadio Metropolitano

Plan your Estadio Santiago Bernabéu stadium tour (MSV 320) in Chamartín district

The air around Real Madrid CF's stadium is electric even on non-match days. It's the third largest in Europe, seating more than 81,000 fans, and has three hospitality areas. Visitors can take a self-guided tour with an interactive audio guide, seeing exhibits on the club's history, admiring the silverware, and even peeking into the locker rooms and royal box. Tours are discounted for season ticket holders, while match tickets can be purchased online or at the gate - though the biggest games, during big tournaments or on derby days, do sell out.

Getting there: It's a 20-minute drive from the centre and 15 minutes from the Madrid Barajas International Airport. By Metro, catch line 10 and alight at Santiago Bernabéu.

Where to eat and what to do in Chamartín

You'll want to spend a bit of time in the area before and after the match, and not just because it will be buzzing with fans. The Chamartín district is dotted with tapas restaurants and cute bars, and there are several hotels in the vicinity.

Long-standing steakhouse Asador Donostiarra[1] is a popular Real Madrid CF haunt, just 15 minutes' walk from the stadium. Or look out for players, and their glamorous other-halves, in the shops and restaurants of Salamanca, one of Madrid's poshest areas and a short walk away from Chamartín district.

Asador Donostiarra, Calle de la Infanta Mercedes, 79, 28020 Madrid

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Image Credit: Tourism Media

Visit Club Atletico de Madrid's new stadium, Estadio Metropolitano, in San Blas-Canillejas district

Club Atlético de Madrid's stadium opened in late 2017, and was quickly announced as the host of the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final. The brand new stadium can welcome around 68,000 spectators. Visitors can tour the stadium, which has a striking wavy roof and bright red seats, with or without a guide. Match-day tickets can be purchased from the club website or on the gate, though big games often sell out - so it's worth buying in advance if you can.

Getting there: Around 20 minutes from the city centre by car or catch Metro line 7 to Estadio Metropolitano. You'll have to change lines when coming from the city centre. It's a five-minute drive from Madrid-Barajas airport.

Where to eat and what to do in San Blas-Canillejas

The area is industrial and up-and-coming, so it's worth making time for a trip into central Madrid if you have enough time. If you don't manage to get tickets for a game, the Madrid Wax Museum is 'home' to football legends including Zidane and Ronaldo - definitely worth a visit! If you're looking to grab something to eat before the match, head into the northern part of San Blas-Canillejas district and enjoy traditional Spanish fare at El Goterón, a local neighbourhood restaurant.

El Goterón, Calle Aliaga, 12, 28022 Madrid

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Image Credit: Tourism MediaPartying in Madrid after the match

Celebrating after the match: Madrid's fountains

When either team has a victory, the bars will be buzzing and impromptu street parties will erupt throughout the centre. To find your team's firmest fans, though, you need to know which fountain to head to. That's right - dancing and splashing about in fountains is the fans' celebration of choice, with mini water parties occurring whenever there's a major (or even a minor) victory.

Real Madrid CF supporters gather around Cibeles Fountain, by the City Hall, while Club Atlético de Madrid fans prefer Neptuno Fountain, overlooked by a statue of Neptune. For Rayistas, it's the fountain outside the Assembly of Madrid. However, when the Spanish team wins, local rivalries are set aside and all fans gather in the central Plaza de Colón!

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Image Credit: Tourism Media

Going out in Madrid

The concentration of nightlife options increases as you head south down Paseo de la Castellana, towards the city centre. If you can't get a stadium ticket, there are plenty of alternatives with just as much (and sometimes more) atmosphere on game days. In the centre, Sol's pubs and wine bars fill up fast with lively fans craning to see the nearest screen, while Barrio de Las Letras, the Literary Quarter, is a (slightly) quieter option.

Practical information

You can fly to Madrid from several UK airports. It's a 2.5-hour flight from London or Manchester, and a three-hour flight from Edinburgh. In terms of accommodation, the best option might be to stay in a hotel close to one of Madrid's stadiums, especially if you've got tickets for a match. There are plenty of hotels close to Estadio Santiago Bernabéu and Estadio Metropolitano.

So, are you ready for your football trip to Madrid? From fancy hotels and bustling bars to quiet cobbled streets, the Spanish capital has it all. The only question is, which team will you support?

Want to learn even more about visiting Madrid? Check out our insider's guide to Madrid!