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Paris, Rome, Venice, and Barcelona are among the top-visited destinations in Europe. Beyond the Old World, New York City, Toronto and Whistler await shopping, dining and skiing enthusiasts, as well as businessmen and students. Quality accommodation is always in demand, and nowadays travellers have the freedom to choose not only hotels, but also apartment rentals.
Conveniently located and fully furnished, apartments of Sweet Home Abroad are excellently suited for short-term rentals and could be your next great vacation! All apartments are meant for travellers looking for comfort and independence regardless of their activities of interest. Beach lovers could opt for an apartment rental in Israel or rent a villa in Spain. Lovers of outdoor winter activities like skiing and snowboarding will find Whistler, located in Canada, a great destination: the co-host of Winter Olympic Games in 2010, Whistler is perfectly equipped to provide you with great skiing and riding trails, impeccable customer service and top-notch long-term accommodation. History and culture buffs will enjoy a great selection of accommodation we offer in Paris, Prague, Madrid, and, of course, Barcelona.
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Practical info

When to go to Madrid

Madrid is located in the heart of Spain, and its continental climate is characterized by low precipitation, dry hot summers and temperate winters. When planning to visit Madrid, you should decide if you can tolerate dry heat, and if yes, then almost any time is a good time.

Spring (April, May) and early fall (September, October) are usually the best choices, since daylight hours are long, days are warm, nights are cool, and the weather is conducive to long walks and city exploration. Most sights are already/still open late. In winter, the temperature during the day drops to +9-10°C, and at night it can get as cold as +2°C, so even though you are headed to Spain, pack some warm clothes.

Despite the common advice of avoiding southern cities in summer due to the heat, summer in Madrid may be a good idea, especially if you can go in June, when the heat is still moderate (+28°C), and all museums, galleries, restaurants are open long hours. In July and August the temperature can reach up to +40°C, and even though the low humidity makes it bearable, travellers who are heat-sensitive should consider a cooler alternative.

It is worth noting that Spaniards still like to close their businesses and head somewhere for a vacation in August, but it is less common now than it once was. You are likely to encounter a few closed cafés and restaurants, but don't let it stop you from heading to Madrid when you want, there are still plenty activities and places to visit!

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Getting to Madrid

Getting to Madrid internationally: As is increasingly true with most European destinations, getting to Madrid is easiest by plane, even if you are flying from the neighbouring countries - Madrid is located in the dead centre of Spain, making any bus or car ride tedious and long. Train service is worth looking into, if you have time to spare before the trip, as some planning is required to get the connections right and catch some bargains (last-minute train fares in Europe can rack up prices higher than plane tickets). If you are headed to the capital of Spain from North or South America, Asia, Australia or New Zealand, flying is your only option (which you probally already know yourself). Madrid Barajas airport is the busiest airport in Spain, servicing over 50 million passengers annually.

Getting to Madrid from within Spain: RENFE trains run to Madrid from all major Spanish cities, including the high-speed trains (AVE) from Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia, Zaragoza and some others. The train service from Barcelona to Madrid offers several departures to Madrid daily, as well as one slower overnight train. AVE, the high-speed option, takes only three hours and costs between 40€ and 150€ one way depending on how far in advance you are buying your fare (the earlier the cheaper). Estrella, the overnight train that takes eight and a half hours to complete the journey, has both seating-only cars (usually 45€ per seat) and sleeping cars (usually 58€ per berth, but those sell out quickly).
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Districts of Madrid

Madrid is divided into 21 districts and 128 wards, called barrios in Spanish. The districts from the first to the seventh plus the ninth form the true hub of the cultural, architectural and sports attractions of the capital. Here, the most prestigious apartments in Madrid and the majority of sites worth seeing are found.

The numbering of districts begins at the center, so the first district Centro is the physical and psychical center of Madrid. It is far from being large – barely 6 square kilometres, bus is nonetheless very densely populated, as here reside almost 150 thousand madrileños! Among the principal sites and sights worth visiting are the Gran Via street, unofficially the principal road of Spain, the Royal Palace of Madrid (His Highness Juan Carlos and the royal family do not reside here though), Almudena Cathedral, the Royal Basilica of San Francisco el Grande, Puerta del Sol, the Kilometer Zero of Spain where celebrations on the New Year's Eve take place.

The second district is called Arganzuela. At its western part the Atlético Madrid football club has its stadium. The Vicente Calderón stadium is named after the famous president of the club. To the east of the district you can find a lush green area – Parque de Enrique Tierno Galván.

The third district Retiro, named after the palace of the same name, borders the Centro from the east. The remains of the palace and its wonderful gardens form the Buen Retiro park, officially endorsed as the main park of Madrid and its "green lungs". The Spanish National Observatory and the El Prado museum, where one of the best art collections of Europe is housed, can also be found here.
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  • Where to stay in Madrid
  • Where to eat in Madrid
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    Salamanca is the fourth district in the northeastern part of the central Madrid. It is an upscale and prestigious area, with big properties and big money paid for the real estate. The National Archaeological museum here is worth a visit.

    The fifth district of Chamartín is the business area of the capital. The business park with four tallest skyscrapers of Madrid and the Gates of Europe – two twin office towers inclining towards each other – form the skyline of the area. On the weekends numerous supporters of FC Real Madrid come to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium on Avenida Concha Espina to cheer for their team.

    The sixth district Tetuán is also considered an important commercial area. The population here is quite diverse, with a lot of immigrants from South America and sub-Saharan Africa settling here. The seventh district of Chamberí is rich in parks and is one of the greenest areas of Madrid.

    The greenest one, however, is the eighth district of Fuencarral-El Pardo, and not only it is the greenest, it is also the largest district of Madrid. Presently it is declared the royal hunting estate as well as the bird sanctuary. It is interesting to note that before that the royal hunting grounds were located to the southwest of the district, in the ninth area of Madrid – Moncloa-Aravaca, if exactly, in the park of Casa de Campo (literally, "The country house"). The park is the largest one in the western part of the city, as its area exceeds 17000 hectares. The Zoo and Aquarium of Madrid make Casa de Campo a popular weekend getaway.

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    Where to stay in Madrid if you...

    … want to go shopping
    Depending on what kind of shopping you like, consider Salamanca (Eastern Madrid) for upscale shopping promenades and expensive brands, or El Rastro (Southern Madrid) for the most famous Sunday market experience in Spain. Cuatro Caminos in the west and Bravo Murillo in the north are also great choices for a memorable shopping experience in Madrid.

    … love art
    You should stay in the heart of Madrid, in El Centro, through which runs Paseo del Prado with its three most famous museums in the city: Museo del Prado, Museo Reina Sofia, and Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.


    CaixaForum, Madrid. Photo source: Luis Zueco

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    Search for accommodation in the centre of Madrid

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    … are a party animal
    Centro is your best bet, as this is where the concentration of best bars, tapas restaurants, pubs and clubs in Madrid is the highest. Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, Madrid de los Asturias, Malasaña, La Chueca (the gay district of Madrid)... If you like to party all night, in Madrid you are spoiled for choice!

    … prefer living like a local
    If you want to stay more off the beaten path and escape some of the tourist crowd in the low season, consider staying in El Retiro (Eastern Madrid) – you will have the Retiro park close by, as well as the most pleasant Calle Alcalá for evening walks. In the southern Madrid, Lavapiés is as authentic as it gets in the capital: it is a popular place for thinkers, bohemians and intellectuals with plenty of little cafés and unique bars.


    Lavapiés, Madrid. Photo source: Victor Ferrando


    … are feeling posh
    Salamanca, located in the eastern Madrid, is the most prestigious, elegant and prosperous area in the capital, with expensive real estate, upscale shopping and Michelin-level dining. It is well-suited for the most discerning traveller. Check it out!
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    Find a place to stay in Salamanca, Madrid

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    … are a businessman
    If you are visiting Madrid on business, you are likely to find yourself in the northern part of Madrid at least at some point, as it is replete with modern office centers, executive-level hotels, and high dining, especially in the area called Capitán Haya.


    Feria de Madrid Convention Centre. Photo source: www.meadow.se

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    Advantages of apartment rentals in Madrid

    There is a lot to be said about the advantages of apartment rentals over hotels. Rent an apartment for more than three days and it will save you money, provide you with a more logically organized and comfortable living space, the one that is adaptable to your needs. It is not surprising that the numbers of travellers renting an apartment in Madrid keep rising. Space, savings and comfort are obvious perks, but there are other advantages to apartment rentals in Madrid, likewise in other cities of Spain, that you may not have thought about.

    Pay only for what you will use
    Apartment rental fees in Madrid include all the taxes (except for the miniscule tourist tax) and utilities, so you do not have to worry about doing laundry often or leaving the light on for your kids, as long as you stay within reason. You will know beforehand if the apartment you are renting has Wi-Fi and if it is included in the price. If you are required to pay extra, it will be a flat fee, typically only 15-20€ for the whole stay. The same goes for the amenities that many hotels have and charge more for: gym, spa and swimming pool, and especially the expensive hotel breakfast. Do not pay for amenities you do not use! Rental apartments in Madrid allow to do just that.

    Travel with small children
    Travelling with children is a great adventure that can start at a very young age. When your family arrives to Madrid, where would you rather stay – in a hotel room with or without a baby cot or in a comfortable apartment with a baby cot and a kitchen provided? Taking care of your infant is easier in a rental apartment, thanks to the home-like living space. Furthermore, possible baby noises cause no trouble in an apartment, unlike in hotels with possibly thin walls and grumbling guests. If your children are older, in an apartment they will have more space to play, eat and rest in a separate room.

    Follow your diet
    The most commonly cited advantage of a rented apartment is the kitchen that every studio or flat will have. Even if you are dining out every evening, it is convenient to be able to buy some groceries for breakfast, store milk and beverages, make a quick snack for the afternoon or pack a picnic. However, having a full kitchen becomes doubly important if you have dietary restrictions, be it for health or lifestyle reasons. If you are gluten-intolerant, vegetarian or vegan, you will be able to control what goes into your food and be less worried about not finding suitable food choices for yourself. While Madrid is a fantastic city with numerous restaurants, Spain in general is a meat and fish lovers' society, and vegetarian/vegan dining options are much harder to find than in North America. The well-established chains of organic ecological supermarkets like Origen, Macabeo and Naturasi are more common and will allow you to buy suitable groceries and prepare them any way you need at your rental apartment in Madrid.

    Manage your allergies
    By the same token, if you are allergic to certain household products, like cleaning supplies or laundry detergent, renting an apartment will allow you to control the presence of such products in your home. How? First of all, before checking in, you may notify the owner of your allergies, and the likelihood of her paying attention is much higher than in a large hotel where maids use cleaning chemicals that are given to them. Second, you can do your own laundry with the detergent you choose yourself (the ecological supermarkets like the aforementioned Origen and Macabeo sell eco cleaning products too) or bring a travel-size detergent with you.

    To sum it all up, apartment rentals in Madrid are a great option for a customizable unique holiday, when you want all the flexibility and independence you can get for the most reasonable price. Is it not a great thing that you are always free to choose your accommodation in Madrid yourself?

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