Online resources, guidebooks and other publications are readily available on Madrid.
Embarking on Madrid travel is an opportunity to see some of the most beautiful, historic and evocative places in the world. Madrid lives up to its reputation as the cultural and political center of Spain, a country known for its food, bullfighting and an unparalleled love of futbol, which is known as soccer in America. When planning a trip to Spain's capital, visitors have a seemingly endless variety of online travel planners, guidebooks and other publications to help them find the best hotel recommendations, restaurant reviews and places of interest. Sorting through the information can be tiresome, but by focusing on a few mainstays of the travel industry, most travelers can find the information they need without getting lost in the details.
There are a variety of easy, flexible ways to plan a trip to Madrid online. Websites of travel publishers like Frommers have information on every step of the trip-planning process, including exchanging money, booking a hotel, deciding what to see and arranging transportation and guided tours. The site also suggests itineraries for travelers visiting other sites in Spain. Madrid, the city's official website, also provides a very thorough list of the city's highlights, history, demographics and more.
Delta Airlines and Iberia Airlines are two carriers offering nonstop flights to Madrid. Flights leave daily from major hubs like New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Conventional trip-booking sites like Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity also have tools for planning transportation to and from Madrid. Travelers who want to book a flight and hotel room at the same time can often save money by purchasing packages through these vendors.
Because they allow travelers to ask questions and post advice as they go, discussion forums are one of the best sources of up-to-date information about Madrid. Lonely Planet hosts the Thorn Tree Travel Forum on its website, which has a section devoted to Spain containing many threads on Madrid. More specific to Madrid, perhaps, is the forum hosted by Trip Advisor, where travelers can find answers to all sorts of relevant (and occasionally irrelevant) questions. Travelers should take recommendations and advice posted on these sites with a grain of salt, however, the people giving them may not be experts on travel and often only speak from their own personal experiences.
Guidebooks are extremely useful resources and, in some cases, hold enough information to get travelers through the trip without other help. Even when using online resources, a Madrid guidebook is handy to have along on the trip to look up restaurants and tourist information. Not only do these handy volumes review hotels, restaurants and activities in Madrid, but they also provide an intimate look at the city's history, culture, traditions and quirks.
Two of the biggest publishers in the travel industry are Lonely Planet and Fodors, both of which produce excellent guidebooks to Madrid. Each guide has its own style and perspective on the city. According to the Wall Street Journal, Lonely Planet has more appeal with curious, low-budget travelers, but they both cover Madrid's entertainment, dining, accommodations, shopping and sights in exhaustive detail.
Berlitz and Rough Guides are the two other major publishers in the travel market that offer guidebooks to the Spain and Madrid.
Thumbing through the newspaper and travel magazines are a leisurely way to get current advice and tips. The New York Times, for instance, maintains an online guide to Madrid that features insightful and well-written reviews of the city's best spots. It also maintains an expansive list of accommodations, restaurants and things to do, with editorial ratings, user reviews and contact information for each.
Like newspapers, many magazines have published detailed write-ups and reviews of Madrid and its attractions. Travel + Leisure offers an insider's look at the city's hidden culture and secret spots. National Geographic reviews Madrid's best restaurants, night-life spots, seasonal festivals and entertainment. The magazine has also created two excellent photo galleries on its website, showing off the unique flair of the city's art, architecture and people.