Madrid, the Spanish capital is a rare combination of tradition and modernism, art and entertainment. Ten places that should be a priority while visiting this cosmopolitan center are:
1. The Royal Palace (Palacio Real) - Italy's pride, the Royal Palace is used for state occasions. Some must-sees in this palace are the Reception Room, the State Apartments, the Armory, and the Royal Pharmacy which still retains royal art treasures and antiques like the diamond clock and King Juan Carlos' throne.
2. Wax Museum (Museo de Cera de Madrid) - Though not as popular as Madame Tussauds', Spain's very own wax museum has a collection of almost 450 lifelike wax figures including those of Columbus, and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
3. The Zoo Aquarium - This is a favourite among kids and adults with its dolphinarium, walk-through shark tank, 520,000-gallon tropical marine aquarium and a parrot club. It also has over 3,000 animals in simulated natural habitats from around the world.
4. Prado Museum (Museo del Prado) - While paintings from the Spanish school are the highlight of this world famous art museum, it has a collection of over 7,000 paintings by the crème de la crème of the art world.
5. Casino Gran Madrid - Fun is essential in any trip. Madrid's largest gambling ground, the Casino Gran Madrid is appealing even for non-gamblers with its electric ambience and multi cuisine restaurants, bars and nightclub.
6. Santiago Bernabeu - A must visit for soccer fans, this stadium has seen the likes of Brazil's Ronaldinho and Britain's Beckham play here. Madrid's largest stadium, it has a capacity of 75,000 spectators.
7. Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza) - With a chronologically arranged collection representative of each major art movement, it is value is estimated to be between $1 billion and $3 billion and is the world's most extensive privately owned collection of paintings equivalent only to the legendary holdings of Queen Elizabeth II.
8.Sunday Bullfights - A must see in Madrid, these popular bullfights take place at Madrid's premier bullring, the Plaza de Toros de las Ventas on Sundays. Bull fighting is a sport that has raised many controversies but is a unique part of the 'Spanishness' of the city.
9. Goya's Tomb (Ermita San Antonio de la Florida and the Panteón de Goya) - Close to River Manzanares, Goya's Tomb had created fury in the noble circles with Goya's outrageous paintings until it was approved by the monarch, Carlos IV. A domed hermitage, it was built between 1792 and 1798.
10. Parque de Retiro - Testament to the fact that Madrid is one of the greenest cities in the world, the park covers over 350 acres of land and boasts of beautiful fountains and statues along with its huge pristine rowing lake and the lakeside monument erected in 1922.