So I had the luxury recently of going to Madrid for a few days. Even better, I had one of my best friends with me who used to study in Madrid and speaks Spanish. This meant I had a very good insight into Spanish culture and someone to recommend the best food. Essentially, Madrid is a beautiful city and here are some things you should do if you ever get the chance to visit:
If you’re staying in the centre of the city, everything worth seeing is in walking distance. It saves you money on the metro (although it is a lot cheaper than the underground in London!) and you get more of a feel for the city. The streets are narrow and full of really cool places to eat and drink.
Eat churros at Chocolatería San Ginés
It was crazy busy when we went there but we managed to find a table. These churros will be one of the greatest sweet treats you will ever experience. Why here? It is one of the most popular places in Madrid and is very reasonably priced. You can sit inside or out to enjoy the yummy goodness. Beware: you may feel unable to walk after eating these. But it is so worth it.
Enjoy views of Madrid from the roof of Círculo de Bellas Artes
For 4 euros, you can go up to the roof terrace here. They serve drinks and you can take in the beautiful views of Madrid. We were very fortunate with the clear skies and warm weather when we went. It is a really peaceful place in the midst of a busy city. There are places to lie down so you can get very comfortable while looking at views like this:
Visit The Sabatini Gardens
These are in the grounds of the royal palace and are really lovely to walk around. There’s statues and fountains and plants everywhere. It was the perfect place to sit comfortably and read a book. Plus, you get to see the grandness of the palace which is pretty impressive.
Eat Spanish Omlettes
I had never tried them before and I fell in food love. I feel as though I can never eat an ordinary omlette again. My favourite was from a small cafe near where we were staying which had regular and sweet potatoes in. I never took a photo of this or noted the name of the place. I was too excited. I will be dreaming of the food for a long time.
Walk through the Parque del Retiro
There are so many beautiful things to see in this park including the lake, which you can take a boat out on. We had no time for this but we did get to sit and enjoy the sun next to the lake. There is also the Crystal Palace which is beautiful and has another lovely lake next to it. It is made almost entirely of glass and is often now used for art exhibits. Walking through the park, we were met by lots of saxophone and trumpet players asking for money… they were all playing the same few seconds of the same couple of songs. The beauty of the park was not ruined by this though.
Walk along the Manzanares river
We did this as the sun was setting and it was especially lovely. You can see the Royal Palace from the river and it is just generally a quiet and calming place to walk through. There are lots of places to sit so I imagine it would be perfect for a picnic spot in warmer months.
Visit the Temple de Debod
This is really cool. It’s an old Egyptian temple that was dismantled and moved to Madrid. It is in the centre of a nice park, at the edge of which, are more wonderful views of the city.
Madrid is a city that I quickly fell in love with. It has cheap bars and great food. The people are all very friendly (even though my Spanish is terrible.) There’s also plenty of galleries and museums around if that’s what you’re into.
Most importantly, if you do go, enjoy the Spanish culture – bars/restaurants are open much later, lunch breaks are long so lots of places close in the afternoon, people are welcoming and will feed you as much as possible. It was a great place to disconnect and properly relax.