Business Travel Guide

The best hotels, restaurants and activities for Madrid business travelers.

It’s hard to think about work when you’re in one of Europe’s most vivacious capital cities. Located on the elevated Castilian plain, practically in the center of the Iberian Peninsula, Madrid is one of the few places where mixing business and pleasure is not only encouraged, it’s compulsory. Doing business in Madrid is inextricably bound to partying — usually done over a late, elaborate lunch or dinner in one of the city's convivial restaurants or a tapeo, or during an after-work pub crawl involving tapas bars or cervecerías. But the Madrileños also know how to make money.

The economy in Madrid is built on a largely diverse roster of important companies representing industries such as petroleum refinery, telecommunications, utilities, construction and textiles. There’s also a strong banking culture in Madrid. In addition, the city boasts a thriving trade fair tradition with the IFEMA Feria de Madrid Convention Center, which has been hosting trade fairs, conventions and forums since 1980. The center and fairgrounds have undergone several architectural and infrastructural improvements over the years, which today make them rapidly accessible from both the airport and the heart of the city. A metro stop also links the center to the rest of the underground Metro network.

What makes Madrid so magical is its pulsating culture, which traces its roots back to the Arab invasions in the ninth century. And although most of the Moorish architecture in Spain is concentrated in the Andalucia region, examples of the graceful arabesque style can be seen throughout Madrid. More common are the magnificent medieval and Renaissance palaces and squares that populate the center of Madrid, namely the sprawling 17th-century Plaza Mayor whose ornately spired buildings are living testimony to the grandeur of the Hapsburg Dynasty. Madrid is also characterized by its flamboyant fountains and baroque buildings, which were erected under the Bourbon monarchs in an effort to beautify the city during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. This is also the period in which neo-classical architecture flourished in the form of monuments and the Royal Palace.

Madrid is equally appreciated for its wide avenues and thoroughfares, which are a result of the urbanization of the city in the 19th century. One such street is the Gran Vía, a busy shopping and business district lined on either side by Belle Epoque and Art Deco edifices. The landscape of contemporary Madrid is perhaps the most captivating, as current Spanish architects have been given the liberty to create original, modern structures among the great architectural vestiges of Madrid's rich past. The successful blend of old-fashioned grandeur and modern whimsy, not only in architecture but in the culinary, film and fashion worlds, are what keeps the city new, alive and irresistible.

If you're fortunate enough to be traveling to Madrid on business, then take a look at GAYOT's travel guide for essential information on the city's best hotels, restaurants and attractions.

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GAYOT's Complete Guide to Madrid