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What's new in Madrid

Heading to the Spanish capital? From its most famous museum turning 200 to where to eat and sleep — check out what's new in Madrid

By Helen Warwick
Published 8 Apr 2019, 23:39 BST, Updated 15 Jul 2021, 15:46 BST
Museo del Prado.

Museo del Prado.

Photograph by Alamy

Culture vultures are invited to make a beeline for Madrid this year, specifically its cultural crowning glory: the Museo del Prado. This formidable art gallery — with its extensive collections of Italian Renaissance and Spanish works — turns 200 in 2019 and is pulling out all the stops to celebrate. It kicks off with a commemorative exhibition (until 10 March), with a thorough chronicling of the museum's history. Also on the bill is a roster of temporary exhibitions featuring works by Rembrandt and Goya, as well as cultural workshops, film screenings inspired by the Prado, and music performances. The anniversary heralds the opening of its hotly anticipated new exhibition space in the Salón de Reinos (Hall of Realms), formerly a wing of the Buen Retiro Palace that's had a transformational facelift. It's not all happening in Madrid either. Travelling exhibitions, meanwhile, will host some of the museum's collection in 30 different cities across Spain. 

Ginkgo Sky Bar, the innovative bar in the new hotel VP Plaza de España Design is causing a stir. For starters, there's a glass-bottomed pool, as well as inventive cocktails and a terrace with dreamy 360-degree views. The verdict? This place is set to be a corker. 

The Ibizan hotspot of Sa Brisa is synonymous with stunning fusion dishes, and head chef Gonzalo Aragüez has brought the same epicurean extravagance to Madrid's resurgent Retiro district. Try the sharing plates while working your way through the chic cocktail menu. 

It's late-night parties and fashion shows at BLESS Hotel Madrid in Salamanca, with Michelin-starred chef Martín Berasategui at the restaurant. For a more classic affair, the Gran Hotel Inglés has been recently dolled up with bags of 1920s panache.   

There's another major Madrilenian anniversary going on next year, too. The city's Metro turns 100 in 2019, and the 'Centenary Line' exhibition strung out along stations on Metro Line 1 celebrates the system's history. 

Fan of the silver screen? Check out some seriously cool cinematic spruce-ups in the Spanish capital. 

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Published in the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK) 

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