Read more about Madrid and Spain on GoNOMAD
Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid… with so many deeply cultural and wildly fun cities beckoning you to experience Spain, the biggest travel difficulty becomes choosing your destination. Truly though, while many areas in Spain boast sparkling beaches and undiscovered locales, Madrid is the undisputed center of the country in every sense, whether you are referring to geography, economy, or culture.
It is also the most easily accessible of the major cities in Spain due to its proximity to Madrid Barajas International Airport, Europe’s fifth biggest airport and home to a newly convenient direct flight to and from Boston.
On your way into Madrid, try and make time to stop and visit Alcala de Henares. This quaint town will give you a pleasant introduction to the region’s many architectural and historical draws.
While there is some dispute within Spain as to the actual birthplace of Don Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, it is generally accepted that he was born in Alcala de Henares. You can explore his origin by visiting the Museo Casa Natal de Cervantes, his first home which has been converted into a museum, or Los Universos de Cervantes, another small museum dedicated to Cervantes which exhibits written proof of his birth in the city.
However, the greatest draw of the city is the Universidad de Alcala, a university that currently houses 20,000 students in various fields. Alcala de Henares’ location within the autonomous community of Madrid and less than an hour’s drive from the Madrid city center keep it current without letting it be washed away in a tide of modernization.
Upon arrival in the actual city of Madrid, you may find yourself slightly overwhelmed with where to begin. After all, you are in the capital of Spain, the third largest city in the European Union (after London and Berlin), and home to more than three million inhabitants.