Madrid is the third largest city in the European Union, but it feels even larger in real life. Take a random walk down the endless avenues and wander into grand plazas, punctuated by skyscrapers, museums, and quiet cafes where a bittersweet espresso can always be found (except during the siesta). When we visited El Retiro -- Madrid's famous park -- we felt time itself slow down as we walked around in the sun. If anything, the action is magnified at night, when locals can be found splitting tapas in the cool nighttime air: Madrid never sleeps, and our selections reflect the frenetic, gleaming energy of this center of finance, culture and fun.

Editor's Picks


Death In The Afternoon

Ernest Hemingway

Death in the Afternoon is a vivid and detailed look at the practice of bullfighting, penned by one of the most celebrated writers of the modern era, and as such would be well worth reading as a historical treatise alone. But it is also an examination of fear and courage and what matters, as represented by the matadors under the heat of the Spanish sun. Hemingway's deep affection for Spain and its culture is evident in his detailed descriptions of Madrid as he knew it in the 1930s.

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Literary Fiction

Leaving The Atocha Station

Ben Lerner

Madrid from the perspective of an American poet: dazzling, bright and disorienting in a way that will make you look up and see the city for the very first time.

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The Infatuations

Javier Marias

A thought-provoking and thrilling murder mystery set in present-day Madrid, as told in the first-person by Maria Dolz, a strange and compelling bystander who finds herself more and more embroiled in the crime. Written by a celebrated native son of Madrid and translated to perfection.

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