Madrid has stepped out of the shadow of Barcelona as the true Spanish capital for stylish señors and señoritas. A proud, lavish and rather grand city at the heart of the country, the formerly small Castilian town was chosen to be the capital by Felipe II in 1561.
The Madrid metropolitan area population is calculated to be around 6.5 million and its metropolitan area is the third-largest in the European Union after London and Paris.
While Madrid possesses a modern infrastructure, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighbourhoods and streets. See: Historic Centre.
Madrid is the true city that never sleeps. The energy in this nocturnal town, where even grandmothers jostle for taxis at 4 a.m., is infectious.
The Madrid urban area has the third-largest GDP in the European Union and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, environment, media, fashion, science, culture, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities.
Due to its economic output, high standard of living and market size, Madrid is considered the major financial centre of Southern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula; it hosts the head offices of the vast majority of major Spanish companies, such as Telefónica, Iberia or Repsol.
Madrid is the 10th most livable city in the world according to Monocle magazine in its 2010 index. Madrid also ranked among the 12 greenest cities in 2011.