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An insider look at Spain’s capital city

Anyone who is planning on visiting Spain would be seriously missing out if they chose not to take some time to see Madrid. The capital city is known for a number of things, but perhaps none more so than its wild nightlife and fantastic food.

To get a true look at how the city functions and how locals live everyday, USA Today Travel writer Kitty Bean Yancey dove right into the middle of the action.

She and her travel partner rented a two-bedroom apartment right in the heart of the city, but believe it or not, that's what a lot of U.S. tourists chose as their accommodations of choice. She booked her flat from an online apartment rental firm called Spain Select. Caroline Rees, reservations manager for the company, told the source that roughly 70 percent of her clients are American travelers.

For food, Yancey said she visited local coffee shops and restaurants called tapas bars. These venues serve three-course meals for as little as $15, she explained. One place she recommended was the Casa Alberto or Lateral, which has both affordable meals and wine that's less than $3.50 per glass.

By night, the two found themselves watching a European Champions League semifinal football – or soccer – game, drinking gin and tonic. After a bite to eat, they checked out one of the city's popular flamenco clubs.

Travelers who are looking for a high-class experience can expect no signs of the economic hardships that have recently plagued the country. She explained that while Spain's unemployment rate is flirting with 25 percent, there wasn't an overabundance of beggars or struggling businesses.

To get around Madrid in style or for fine, reliable airport service, travelers can make a quick reservation with Hermes Worldwide next time they travel to Spain.