An up-to-date map is an essential tool for getting around the city. One of the most detailed is Madrid Ciudad , in foldup format with a street index, available in book-shops and at newspaper kiosks. Easier to use but harder to read are the maps issued free by El Corte Inglés. The tourist offices and transport agencies have free bus and metro maps.
The main city tourist office is in Plaza Mayor. It is well stocked with maps, brochures and other information. The staff will help with accommodation but not book it for you.
This office covers the Greater Madrid area (Comunidad de Madrid ) including the city itself. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable.
There are smaller tourist offices at Atocha and Chamartín railway stations, Plaza de Cibeles and Plaza del Callao. Barajas airport has two information centres in Terminals 1 and 4. In addition there are yellow information stands at strategic points in the various terminals.
From July to September the Plaza Mayor Tourist Office organizes a number of walking tours in English, for example Habsburg Madrid, covering the Royal Palace, major churches and monasteries of the Old Town, and Legends of Old Madrid, an informative and entertaining introduction to the city.
The monthly bilingual brochure, En Madrid What’s On is the best
guide for listings information and events and has a metro map at the back. Available free from tourist offices. InMadrid , also published monthly in English, is an entertainment guide aimed at young people with listings on concerts and venues, as well as background articles on the Madrid cultural scene. Available free from tourist offices, the Casa del Libro bookshop (Gran Vía 29 ), most Irish bars and some cafés in the centre. Visitors arriving by plane should look out for the glossy leaflet, Madrid Barajas , which has useful tips and addresses, a map and background articles. It is bilingual, monthly and free.
Two official sites are the City Tourist Office (www.esmadrid.com) and the Regional Tourist Office (www.esmadrid.es). Both have good information in English and Spanish. Also try the official site for the whole of Spain (www.descu-bremadrid.com). Many major tourist attractions have their own sites.
If you can read Spanish, most daily papers such as El País and El Mundo have a supplement on Madrid including listings.
Foreign newspapers and some magazines such as Time are available on the day of publication from kiosks. The kiosk at the western end of Puerta del Sol is open 24 hours.
Spain has tourist offices in most major cities abroad, including London (2nd floor, 79 New Cavendish St, London W1W 6XB , Tel: 020 7317 2011 ); Canada (2 Bloor St West, 34th floor, Toronto, Ontario M4W 3EZ , Tel: 416 961 3131 ) and the USA (666 5th Ave, New York, NY 10103 , Tel: 212 265 8822 ).