Last month I spent a long weekend in Madrid with my sister and cousin, as I was only there for 3-4 days I’ll keep this shorter than my India post. If you haven’t read that yet you can read that one here: here . A long weekend was the perfect amount of time to get a feel for Madrid I found, we walked to and from most places and weren’t very strict on following the shortest route, which meant we walked through quite a few different neighbourhoods. My favourite was definitely the old town with the small windy roads, and something to see around every corner. If you are thinking of exploring the old town make sure you when all the churches are open, you can pop in about out of all of them. This will give you an idea of how important religion still is to the country.
Before I start I thought I’d quickly mention a couple more things. Whilst we were in Madrid the Palace was not open to the public unfortunately, I would have loved to see the palace as it’s in a beautiful location overlooking a big part of the city and I can only imagine the decadence if the outside was anything to go off.
Secondly the Metro system in Madrid is very good, and easy to use. We flew into Madrid airport and got straight on to the Metro. I would recommend looking up your route before you arrive (You have to change to get to the main road), but you can get the tickets in the metro station at the airport and there were people helping at the ticket machines.
Now on to my favourite 5 Things about Madrid
1. Cathedral de la Almudena
The cathedral next to the palace, is hand down one of the most beautiful cathedrals I have ever seen. When we were young we visited quite a few cathedrals and old churches around Spain, France and Italy. This was unlike any religious building I’d ever seen and I think that was largely due to the fact that it was only completed in 1993, giving the place an almost modern feel. I found this was reflected best in the bright an colourful paintings on the ceilings.
2. Vintage shopping around Tribunal
Shopping is great in Madrid, the Home of Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull&Bear and many more high street retailers, Spain is a great place for high street shopping. The main road, Gran Via, has more shops than you can cover in a day and there is a great Mango outlet just off the main road with up to 60% off the entire range (guess who had to buy an extra bag for the way back….)
However, if you do decide to dedicate some of your time to shopping I would highly recommend paying a visit to the area around the Tribunal Metro stop. The area is very arty, with graffiti and intricate shop displays, which makes it a very fun place to wander around. The shops around here quirky vintage shops, with a better and most affordable Vintage collection than I’ve ever been able to find in London.
3. Walking around the old town
4. Retiro Park
On Sunday we decided to walk up to Retiro park rom the centre and have a bit of a chilled lunch time to compensate for all the walking we did the day before (over 11km!) Unfortunately the weather that day wasn’t great, but the park is still lovely and from what I’ve heard all the locals assemble there on Sundays for a family lunch in the sun.
5. And finally, the food
You might start seeing a trend here, but once again the food was one of the highlights of my trip away. We ate continuously throughout the days, and Spain is the perfect place to do this. We tried to eat as authentically as possible, so a lot of tapas and cured meats. By doing this we ended up in possibly my favourite diner place on the last evening. It was a very small place in the Tribunal area, full of locals.
Some of the other highlights for me were:
San Miguel Market
The San Miguel Market is an old school, covered market just a short walk away from the Palace. We went there multiple times, as it’s the perfect place to try lots of little dishes or just have a quick snack between meals. Most of the stalls serve Tapas Style dishes including paella, fresh mozarella, croquettes etc you can eat at communal tables in the middle.
While you’re in Madrid you have to try a Bocadillo, the sandwich is traditionally made with fried squid, however my favourite was with Jamon, I ended up buying an extra one to take on the plane back with me.
If you want any specific recommendations for cocktail bars or restaurants let me know in the comments below! I hope you enjoyed this, or have been a bit inspired to go to Madrid. My next post will be in a couple weeks about South Africa so keep an eye out.
Speak soon xo