Madrid is one of the most beautiful cities Spain has to offer. It’s home of many historical places and has an amazing nightlife. It’s the perfect place to travel but there are a few things you should know before you travel to Madrid.

First thing you should know is SPANISH! If you aren’t already a Spanish speaker, then I suggest picking up essential phrases such as ordering food(Lo quiero…/I’d like…) How much you’re about to pay for something:( Cuanto Cuesta?/ How much?) When is the bus/train(Que hora el es proximo autobus/tren?) Or if you’re in trouble (Necesito ayuda) “I need help.” I’m not saying study the whole language if you don’t have the time, but learn some phrases to get you by. In the central tourists area’s there are people who speak different languages but if you decided to explore outside of it, Spanish is essential.

If you’re not from  Spain, get used to late lunches and dinners. Here in Spain, lunch isn’t until 2pm or later and dinner is starts 9:30-10pm at night. Common rush hour at restaurants is between 2-5pm and around 7pm, they are usually really slow. If you’re not from here, and want to enjoy food with the locals, get ready to start eating later.

If money is a bit tight on this trip, public transportation will be your new best friend. It’s fairly cheap to get around also it’s very clean and easy to navigate. Taxis are really expensive and known to be a total rip off, so while you’re here, buy a 10-trip pass for 12,50 euro. It’ll save you loads of money and help you see all the beautiful bits that Madrid has to offer.

Always have some cash on you. You can bring your pay card to get around since a lot of the high tourist places except debit/credit cards, but a lot of the smaller businesses in the outside districts of Madrid don’t accept credit cards.

Exchange before you leave! Trust me, this will make everything so much easier and one less thing you have to worry about. Exchange rates are really high in Madrid and it’s very difficult to find places in Madrid that exchange money for the cheapest rate. Don’t exchange all your money, but exchange about 90% of what you plan on spending so when you go home, you have some money left over.

There is WIFI in most places all over Madrid with most hotels offering free Wi-Fi included in the stay. Restaurants will have their Wi-Fi and password on the napkin holders and menus.

Be prepared for noise! In Madrid, locals like to party especially on weekends. Most clubs and night establishes opens around 11pm and don’t close until 6am when the metro reopens! If you’re in your hotel, and hear lots of music and noise, it’s normal. Just a bunch of people trying to have a good time on a night out! If you are out late and the metro closes, don’t worry; there are plenty of things to do to pass the time!

Look up the weather before you fly in! Summertime in Madrid, it’s in the high 90’s F/30’s C almost everyday! Bring cool clothes with you, shorts and sunglasses. If you burn easy, don’t forget the sunscreen! You will need it! In the winter, it’s so cold! Bring jackets, gloves and cover every inch of your body.

When traveling to Madrid in the summer, be sure to bring a water bottle with you. With the heat, your body will sweat more and you’ll be thirsty all the time! Water will be your favorite accessory item.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to try the food. You can’t go to another country with out trying the food. Go to a bar, order tapas and a pint of beer! It won’t hurt unless you try it.