These are exciting times to be an Atletico Madrid fan. Under Diego Simeone, the club is enjoying an impressive run of success. Last season was bookended by two major triumphs, the 4-1 crushing of Chelsea in the European Super Cup and the dramatic 2-1 win over rivals Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey final.
The new season will see Atletico embark on a Champions league campaign, but for many visitors the big domestic games will be the season highlights. One of the first big clashes of the new season will see Atletico face champions Barcelona in the traditional Spanish Supercup curtain-raiser, with the first leg on 21 August and the return leg in Barcelona a week later. Atletico’s new signing David Villa will be keen to make a mark against his old club. The Madrid derby at the Vicente Calderon on March 2 2014 will be another season highlight for visiting fans.
Madrid is an ideal destination for a long weekend of sightseeing, tapas sampling and football. With many budget flights to the Spanish capital, and plenty of inexpensive hotels, a football package doesn’t have to put too much strain on the credit card. Once you have identified your preferred match, book the flights well in advance for the best prices. Late holiday deals can occasionally be a bargain, but in general the longer you leave it the more you pay.
For matches at the Vicente Calderon, a central hotel would be perfectly suitable. The stadium is just a 30 minute walk from the main Plaza Mayor, or you can use metro line 5 to nearby Piramides station.
As a capital city, Madrid has so much to offer on a weekend break. Take in some culture at the Prado gallery, packed with masterpieces from around the world. In the evening follow the local madrileno habit of wandering from bar to bar in the narrow streets around the centre, sipping a sherry or a beer and sampling the tapas on offer. It’s the perfect preparation for a night of passion – at the stadium, of course.