The Community of Madrid is one of the 17 autonomous communities of Spain. It is located in the centre of the Iberian Peninsula, and of the Central Plateau (Meseta Central). Its capital is the city of Madrid, which is also the capital of the country.
The Community of Madrid is bounded to the south and east by Castilla–La Mancha and to the north and west by Castile and León. It was formally created in 1983, based on the limits of the province of Madrid, which was until then conventionally included in the historical region of New Castile.
The Community of Madrid is the third most populous in Spain with about 6,7 mln inhabitants mostly concentrated in the metropolitan area of Madrid. It is also the most densely populated autonomous community. In absolute terms, Madrid’s economy has been, since 2018, slightly bigger in size than that of Catalonia. Madrid has the highest GDP per capita in the country.
After overcoming the throwback suffered in 2009 due to the economic recession and the fluctuations that followed in the next years, the economy has grown robust recently. In the same line, the population living in the region are the wealthiest in the country and among the most thriving in the EU. Since it enjoys a stable position, Madrid has increased its attractiveness as pole for the establishment of national and foreign companies.
Apart from the strength of the economic activities developed in the region and its location, the major drivers of Madrid are its research & development (R&D) expenditures, high development, low unemployment and its high added-value services.
The Madrid autonomous community roughly coincides with the drainage of the Jarama, Henares, and Manzanares rivers off the southern slopes of the Sierra de Guadarrama. On the monotonous Meseta Central the terrain is a bare, typically Castilian landscape of yellow soils and open cereal fields; it was the scene of several decisive battles during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). Pine forests, preserved on the mountain slopes, attract a new style of summer suburbia for residents of Madrid city (the provincial and national capital) and provide ski facilities in the winter.
Only along the Henares and Jarama do irrigated lands give ribbons of green, intensive horticulture; on the outskirts of Greater Madrid are poultry and pig farms interspersed with the development of villas or factories along the main highways. Well-endowed with building materials, the region has granite quarries in the Guadarrama and clays to the south.
Tourism and main attractions
The tourism sector has become one of the most thriving activities in the Madrid economy. The community was visited by 8,651,891 tourists in 2006, 9.41% more than the previous year. With this figure, the highest in the history of Madrid tourism, the region surpassed the number of visitors to countries such as Brazil, Croatia, Switzerland or Egypt.
The region contains three World Heritage Sites: the Monastery and Royal Site of El Escorial, the University and historic centre of Alcalá de Henares, and the cultural landscape of Aranjuez.
TOP 10 places to visit
Alcalá de Henares – a UNESCO site
Nuevo Baztán and its historic center
The castle of Villarejo de Salvanés
Museum of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Puerto de Navacerrada ski resort
Festivals and culture
The Community of Madrid celebrates its festival on May 2, in commemoration of the heroic acts that led to the War of Independence in 1808.
Among the most prominent festivals in the region, those of a bullfighting character stand out. The bullfighting festival in the Community of Madrid has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. The San Isidro Fair, which is held in May in the monumental square of Las Ventas, is one of the most interesting events in the bullfighting world.
For their part, the San Sebastián de los Reyes bull runs are considered the second most important in Spain, after those of San Fermín in Pamplona. Its origin dates back to the 16th century.
Alcalá de Henares has three festivals declared of Regional Tourist Interest: its Holy Week, Don Juan Tenorio and October Cervantino. Likewise, it has some Popular Fairs and Festivities that date back to 1184, the patrons of Los Santos Niños on August 5 and 6, the patrons of the Virgen del Val on the third Sunday in September, San Antón in January and Santa Lucía in December.
The city of Madrid has hosted a celebration of LGTB Pride since 1978 when it was promoted by the Homosexual Liberation Front of Castilla. It is one of the largest in the world, bringing together more than a million visitors each year.
How to get to?
Madrid is served by Barajas International Airport. Barajas is the main hub of Iberia Airlines and consequently serves as the main gateway to the Iberian peninsula from Europe, the Americas, and the rest of the world. Current passenger volumes range upwards of 52 million passengers per year, putting it in the top 10 busiest airports in the world.
Distance by car to the capitals of the Spanish Communities:
To Barcelona (Catalonia) 6 hr 11 min (625 km) via AP-2 and A-2
To Valencia (Valencian community) 3 hr 37 min (360 km) via A-3
To Murcia (Murcian community) 3 hr 47 min (405 km) via A-30 and AP-36
To Seville (Andalusia) 5 hr 16 min (529 km) via A-4
To Merida (Extremadura) 3 hr 7 min (338 km) A-5
To Toledo (Castile-La Mancha) 1 hr 4 min (74.3 km) via A-42
To Zaragoza (Aragon) 3 hr 31 min (322 km) via A-2
To Valladolid (Castile and Leon) 2 hr 19 min (193 km) via AP-6 and N-601
To Santiago de Compostela (Galicia) 5 hr 52 min (604 km) via A-6 and A-52
To Oviedo (Asturias) 4 hr 30 min (449 km) via A-6
To Santander (Cantabria) 4 hr 34 min (458 km) via A-67
To Vitoria-Gasteiz (Basque community) 3 hr 48 min (365 km) via A-1
To Pamplona (Navarre) 4 hr 32 min (397 km) via A-2
To Logroño (La Rioja) 3 hr 58 min (335 km) via A-2 and N-111
Area: 8021,80 km²
Coordinates: 40°25′31″N 3°41′26″W
Population: 6 779 888
Time: Central European UTC +1