LOCATION


Conference Venue

The 2007 Book Conference will be held at the Spanish National Research Council, from 20-22, October 2007.

ADDRESS: Calle Serrano, 117 - Madrid (Spain)

Travel Information

Arrival by Air

Most visitors will travel to Madrid by plane and arrive at Madrid's Barajas airport. From there the easiest and most comfortable way to get to any of the hotels located in the city centre is to take a taxi from outside the Terminal building. The ride should cost about €20 (from Terminals 1/2/3) or €25 (from Terminal 4), which includes a €4.50 surcharge for trips from/to the airport. Tourist rip offs are extremely rare but have been reported, so make sure that the taxi meter is on and refuse to pay if the driver charges significantly more than €20-25.

A much cheaper and slightly less comfortable way to get to the city centre is to take the Metro, which is located just outside Terminal 2. From Terminals 1 and 3 you can walk there following the signs, from Terminal 4 you have to take a shuttle bus, which leaves every few minutes. A single trip to the centre costs €1 but it is more economical to buy a "Metrobus" ticket, which is valid for 10 trips and sells for €6.40. Take line Number 8 to Nuevos Ministerios, the Terminal stop of this line.

Arrival by Train

If you are arriving by train, you'll be in either of Madrid's two mainline train stations - Chamartín or Atocha. There are taxi stands outside both of them and the ride should cost, depending on where the hotel is located, no more than €10-15. Both stations are connected with the Metro system. A single ride to any station within Zone A of the Madrid network costs €1 or buy a Metrobus ticket for €6.40, which is valid for 10 trips.

Transport in Madrid

Taxis

Except on busy nights before weekends and bank holidays, taxis can be found very easily. There are a few taxi stands (paradas), for example, at the airports and mainline train stations, on the Plaza de Colón and on the Plaza de Sol. The most common way to get a taxi is to hail one in the street. Taxis are always white and have a green light on top, which is illuminated when the taxi is available. In most hotels, receptionists will of course be happy to call a taxi. Standard rates are below €1 per kilometre so that the cost of usual ride within central Madrid rarely exceeds €10.

Public Transport

The Metro system in Madrid is very reliable, safe, clean, inexpensive and, in general, the best way to travel around Madrid. Trains run from about 6AM to 1:30PM and at intervals of approximately 4 mins (at night the frequency is lower).

A single ride on the Metro to any destination of Zone A (all stations a typical visitor will use are located within Zone A) costs €1. For most travellers it is advisable to buy a Metrobus ticket, which is valid for 10 trips on both the Metro and buses (as its name suggests). For many destinations there are also buses available, particularly at night when the Metro doesn't run there are night buses (all lines start from the Plaza de la Cibeles). A single ride on the bus is €1. Metrobus tickets have to be bought at a Metro station.

Safety

Madrid is a very safe city, especially considering its size and socio-economic and cultural heterogeneity. Reports of crime involving violence are very rare and thus it is almost always safe for both men and women to be anywhere in Madrid, even at night. However, incidences of petty crime such as pickpocketing and the theft of wallets, purses, handbags, coats, cameras and mobile phones are relatively frequent, and it is therefore advisable to take the usual precautions such as zipping up one's bags, keeping handbags close to the body, not leaving belongings unattended in restaurants, bars and public places and so forth. In restaurants, never leave your bag on the back of a chair. Special care should be taken in the busy and touristy areas around Sol, Plaza Major and Gran Vía, as well as on busy Metro carriages and buses. Also note that pickpocketers sometimes work in groups with one or more persons distracting the victim and another one doing the pickpocketing. Thus take special care when someone brushes up against you or runs into you seemingly by accident.

Food

The selection of restaurants Madrid offers is among the best in the world and ranges over many different tastes and budgets. There are too many good places for lunch and dinner to recommend just a handful here, but if you go to one of the following areas, it should be easy to find something you like: Plaza Major (Metro Opera, known for many very traditional Spanish restaurants, including the oldest restaurant in the world), Huertas (Metro Sol), La Latina (Metro La Latina), Chueca (Metro Chueca), Malasaña (Metro Bilbao), Plaza Olavide (Metro Quevedo) and Salamanca (Metro Velazquez).

Especially for visitors from abroad it is highly recommended to try a restaurant from one of Spain's many regions at least once. Famous for their food in particular are Galicia (try the pulpo a la gallega, a kind of octopus, and caldo gallego, a hearty regional soup), Asturias (known for its fabada, a heavy stew with beans), the País Vasco (txipirones, in Spanish chipirones, baby squids in their own ink are wonderful), Valencia (known for rice dishes such as paella and the noodles fideuá) and Castillia (known especially for meats such as cochinillo, roast suckling pig, and chuletón, the Spanish version of prime rib steak).

Outside of Spain, tapas are often thought to be the epitome of Spanish cooking. But in fact tapas (literally "lid", which refers to the saucer or small plate on which the food is served) are small portions of food that accompany drinks in a bar. Usually thus tapas, which range from a basket of crisps or chips over pinchos (slices of bread with a topping) to quite elaborate dishes such as boquerones fritos (fried white anchovies) or albóndigas (meatballs in tomato sauce) are a part of pre-dinner drinks and do not normally replace a proper meal. Good areas to find nice tapas bars are La Latina (Metro La Latina) and the Plaza Santa Ana (Metro Sol).

Cultural life

Madrid is the capital of Spain, after London and Paris the third biggest city in Europe and one of the major world cities. It is not surprising thus that Madrid is host to a number of world famous museums, a famous opera house, countless theatres and various concert halls for life music of all denominations. The Prado, contains one of the world's best collections of European art from the 14th through the 19th century. For information, click here. The Museo Reina Sofía is home to one of the world's finest collections of modern art. Its most famous exhibit is Picasso's Guernica, painted after the Nazi bombardment of the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. For information on the museum, go to their webpage. Note that the entrance to the Prado is free on Sundays, to the Reina Sofía on Saturday afternoons. Another must is the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, which contains the collection of the Baron Hans-Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza and comprises oeuvres from all epochs between the renaissance and the 20th century. Click here for more information.

Around Town

If staying for a few more days, it is worth considering taking a short trip to one of the small towns just outside Madrid. Especially significant are Toledo (the medieval capital of Spain and home to an amazing variety of churches, synagogues and mosques), Segovia (an UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a 728m long and 29m tall Roman aqueduct), Aranjuez (known for strawberries and a magnificent Palacio Real) and El Escorial (in the town, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, you can visit a spectacular monastery, and the nearby Valle de Los Caídos hosts an enormously impressive monument of the Spanish dictator Franco built to commemorate the deaths of the Spanish Civil War).