When I first thought of visiting Madrid, I didn’t know what to expect. I had heard it was a great place to go for a relaxing break, full of fun under the Spanish sun. I guess it was this that inspired my inner curious traveller to discover interesting things to do whilst I was on my travels there.
I fully agree with everyones views on it, as it truly was a gorgeous place to visit. It is a city full of stunning architecture and the truest Spanish culture. Sangria and wine is on tap, left right and centre along with some of the most authentic tapas places making you leave at least 5 pounds heavier.
Since I wasn’t given any ‘to do in Madrid’ tips, I’m sharing my 10 favourite things to do whilst visiting Madrid.
1. Rowing in Parque del Retiro
Rowing on Parque Del Retiro was one of the amazing experiences that was mentioned during my research about Madrid. From pictures it looked absolutely gorgeous but it was even more picturesque in person. I had never rowed before, so I was super excited to try something new amongst a beautiful view too. Not only did I learn a new skill, but I kept myself cool with all the splashing I did the ores. Win-win!
2. Rooftop drinks at Azōtea, Círculo de Bellas Artes
Madrid is a city where people simply don’t sleep, seriously. Everyday is a good time to drink and eat for the Spanish, where most of the rooftop bars are open until 3am – even on a Sunday. Us Brits left Azōtea at 11pm on a Sunday night, but the vibe was still very alive and the drinks were flowing until the early hours. My favourite thing about Azōtea was that we were not expecting it to be super luxe and we went for the convince aspect. However, it surpassed my expectations with a lovely bed area, very reasonably priced drinks and waiter service. Not forgetting the gorgeous views of Madrid too… 😍
3. Visit the Royal Palace of Madrid
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family, but it is only used during ceremonies. Other times of the year, this grand palace is open to the public to explore and feel like royalty for a day. I especially loved the architecture of the outer side of the building.
4. Eat Churros at San Ginés
The Spanish food scene is know for is sweet delicacies including the famous churros. I certainly couldn’t leave Madrid, the capital of Spain without trying some for myself. We found a famous churro shop and restaurant that is dedicated to making only churros. Total dream right? The portions were so large, so we shared one between the two of us. It was served with the silkiest, delicate warm chocolate sauce to dip your churros into. My mouth is just salivating thinking of it!
5. Walk along the Gran Vía
Gran Vía is the main street in Madrid that is known as the ‘Spanish Broadway’. It provides all the glitz and glamour to the city, with plenty of designer shops and the most nightlife in the whole of Europe. It had one of the grandest and multi-storeied Zara’s that I have ever seen. If you know me, I can’t walk past a Zara without popping in. Even more so, in the country where the clothes store was founded in the first place.
6. Check out Puerta de Alcalá monument
Puerta de Alcalá is one of the famous monuments in Madrid. It is known to be one of the first modern, post roman triumphal arches to be built, even before the the Arc De Triomphe in Paris. If you get up close to it you can see marks from when multiple sharp fragments that were released when cannon balls were fired around the area. However, the moment itself still stands elegant and strong.
7. Visit The Plaza Mayor
The Plaza is another monumental place in Madrid that is surrounded by three long resident buildings and then it is completed by the Casa de la Panadería where only the cellar and ground floor of the building are still in tact. The decoration that is seen on the building today is the result of many restorations of the building and may not have looked the same when the building was originally built. Instead, the murals on the facade are a tribute to the mythological figures that connect to the history of Madrid.
8. Tour around Almudena Cathedral
The history behind this cathedral is monumental, but I think the part that stands out to me the most is before the cathedral was built, the land was occupied by Madrid’s first mosque. The Neo-Gothic style cathedral that now stands as a major tourist attraction of Madrid, where many people come to pray too.
9. Eat and drink your way around Mercado de San Miguel
The San Miguel market is one the famous food markets in Madrid, serving the best Spanish tapas until 2am. The extensive market has various individual stalls with everything you could possibly want including sangria, Padron peppers, paella, churros & patatas bravas. I would say it is a must visit for all those that food authentic and traditional Spanish tapas.
10. Check out Plaza Cibeles
Plaza Cibeles has become an icon of Madrid. It was named after the goddess of nature and is known to be the protector of the city. Real Madrid fans congregate around the plaza to celebrate any major victories of their football club. The plaza also has a viewing platform that boasts stunning panoramic views of Madrid.
What are your favourite things to do in Madrid?
Until next time…
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