Madrid, despite being the capital of Spain, is the lesser known Spanish city destination to Barcelona or Seville, but is undoubtedly worth a visit. I had a fabulous short break here exploring the sights and immersing myself in all things Spanish. Having not visited Madrid since an art trip at school many years ago I was keen to rediscover the city. Here are some highlights from my trip I think you shouldn’t miss if you choose to visit.
I started the day in Malasaña and soaked up the atmosphere and decor as much as the food at Ojalá. I then wandered the colourful streets of the area. Malasaña is located around Plaza Dos de Mayo. The Metro stations in the neighbourhood are Tribunal (Line 1 and 10) and Noviciado (Line 2). Talking of the Metro, it is incredibly easy to navigate, probably more so than the London Underground! I picked up a three day unlimited travelcard from the airport. The Spanish are far more sociable on the Metro too, lots of chatting and even buskers singing and playing instruments to entertain you between stops! Great streets to explore in Malasaña are Calle del Espiritu Santo and Calle del Pez, plenty of creative shops and great street art.
After a wander around Malasaña I headed to the Palacio Real - The Royal Palace. This was a 10 minute walk, as the weather was beautiful I decided to walk and not get the Metro. The great thing about Madrid is it is a fairly compact city, so it is pretty achievable to walk between many of the sites.
This beautifully impressive Palace was a lovely spot to sit and soak up the atmosphere, there are pretty gardens to sit in, I sat on the steps at the adjacent Catedral de la Almudena. I didn’t tour inside the Palace, but it was undoubtedly a popular thing to do, with queues snaking around the sides to get in.
After enjoying some time at the Palace, I walked on to the amazing Mercado de San Miguel food market - wow, it was busy and so incredible seeing the food on offer - fresh tapas, sea food, patisseries, the list goes on. Absolutely worth a visit for any foody lover.
After the bustle of the food market we walked to the central square - Plaza Mayor. The Plaza is a busy square with restaurants at every turn serving some beautiful Spanish dishes. A great spot to stop for lunch or just grab a drink and enjoy the atmosphere.
From there I walked across the city and passed some truly impressive buildings on my walk towards the Parque de el Retiro.
We then went for a beautiful walk around the Parque de el Retiro, it is the most tranquil calm away from the bustle of the city. Lakes, ornamental gardens, tree lined parks and an impressive glasshouse - Palacio de Cristal, with ever changing art exhibitions greet you as you explore.
Later I headed with my Spanish friend and host for a post work drink at a great sky top bar - NH Collection Casa Suecia, with 360 degree roof top views of the city at sunset, a truly memorable evening. We then walked to the Chueca area of the city for dinner at B&B Babel.
The next day we had brunch at Marieta and then explored the streets around Velazquez. We went to the most incredible chocolate shop, La Duquesita, opposite that I got very distracted by the most amazing plant shop, full to the brim with every type of cactus and succulent you could imagine!
On my first afternoon in Madrid I visited the street murals of La Tabacalera - an old tobacco factory, now operating as a cultural space. The urban art and murals that cover the walls are an impressive site to visit.
I walked on to The Reina Sofia Art Gallery. Art Galleries in Madrid have a great system of offering free entry from 7-9pm. I enjoyed exploring the gallery spaces, seeing a current exhibition of Russian Dadá and also contemporary sculptures by Eusebio Semprere. The inner garden atrium is a wonderful calm away from the busy road behind. The gallery bar offers great tapas too and you can admire the magic mix of old meets new architecture that forms the structure of the gallery.
So, there are the highlights from my short but incredibly enjoyable stay in Madrid. A city that is certainly worth exploring. Check out BON Instagram stories to see more from my adventures in Madrid too.