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Enjoy 5 star holidays in Madrid

It's official: more people are booking cheap flights to Madrid than ever before. According to Spain's National Statistics Institute, over 730,000 tourists visited the city in May - an all-time monthly record.

The figure was undoubtedly boosted by the city's hosting of the 2010 Champions League final, which was contested at Real Madrid's imposing Santiago Bernabeu stadium. During the course of the month, Madrid's Barajas Airport became the busiest airport in Europe in terms of flight operations, beating the likes of those in London, Paris and Frankfurt.

This is quite an achievement, but a look into Madrid's charm and its range of attractions helps to explain why the Spanish capital has become such a sought-after destination. On first glance, tourists would be forgiven for thinking that there aren't any must-see sights and granted, Madrid does lack the great monuments of other European capitals.

But city breakers can use this to their advantage and really immerse themselves in this most Spanish of Spain's cities. Such is the quality of accommodation in the capital that visitors can enjoy 5 star holidays during their stay, using the city as base for a wider exploration of this most fascinating of southern European countries.

High up on many people's to-do lists is the Golden Triangle of Art, which accommodates the world-renowned Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Museum - three of Spain's most important cultural institutions.

Some of the works on show at the Prado include Tintoretto's Christ washing the Disciples' Feet, Fra Angelico's The Annunciation and Rogier van der Weyden's The Descent from the Cross, which many visitors stare in awe at. The Prado Museum is huge, but city breakers needn't worry about being overwhelmed - the museum has organised particular routes to follow depending on how much time you have to explore the relics it contains.

If shopping is more your thing, your first port of call should be the Gran Via, Madrid's equivalent of Oxford Street. If you want something a little more Spanish however, then head to the El Rastro flea market, the largest outdoor market of its kind in Europe and one very well attended by the locals.

El Rastro is also an excellent place to practise your Spanish and have a go at haggling, and visitors are always amazed at the range of products that can be bought here.

It sometimes feels as though Madrid contains a surprise around every corner, so why not see how much you can discover?

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