I am recently only back from a trip away to Madrid and I loved it! I had a few people ask a few things while I was there so aswell as vlogging my trip I have decided to do a blog post as it is easier to share all the information and recommendations.
Madrid is often overshadowed by its neighbour Barcelona but the capital of Spain deserves its own spotlight of fame! If you’re looking for the perfect city break destination, then Madrid has a bit of everything for everyone and perfect for exploring. We went for 6 nights as we wanted a city break but also a sun holiday, we were delighted we went for that length of time because we got to enjoy it and not shoving everything in. We went in July so if you go in Summer be prepaired for it to be roasting!
The hotel we stayed in was called Eurostars Plaza Mayor which is a 4 star hotel. This hotel was modern and lovely. It is in an ideal location as you are in walking distance to Sol and Gran Via, actually if you don’t mind walking it was in walking distance of everything! I would really recommend this hotel as it was very reasonably priced.
One bit of advise I would give is to have a list of places you would like to see or things to do as you would need to plan ahead on city breaks as you may need to get up early to squeeze the things in and do as much as you can. Before I went I had an idea of the main things I wanted to do but I actually watched travel vlogs on youtube, read travel blogs on Madrid and searched hastags on Instagram to just get more information and to see different things.
Things to see and do:
Madrid is full of amazing buildings from the monuments, architecture, culture and amazing views!
- El Templo de Debod
This Egyptian temple was giving to Spain in the late 1960s as a thank you present. The temples is a stunning three piece that rises above a reflecting pool. This area is beautiful at any time of the day, I have heard that it is most impressive at sunset. We didn’t see the sun set this time but that leaves us with a good reason to come back! There is a small walking area around which was a nice stroll and there is one spot where the view is lovely. Admission is free so this should totally be on your list!
- El Parque del Retrio
When you come up to the gates of Retrio Park you are amazed and will be in love with the area. It stretches across 330 acres and is just so pretty. In the park there is a lot of amazing monuments, sculptures, fountains, green areas aswell as a boating lake and includes the glass Palacio de Cristal which hosts free exhibitions. This is a escape from the busy city. The park is so big that we didn’t even get to see it all which I am going mad about as it was stunning. Its a lovely spot in the summer to bring a picnic and relax!
My favourite part about the park is the boating lake, you can hire out a paddle boat and relax in the lake while taking in the area. I see this on a few peoples instagrams and this was top on my list! It was so cheap, €6-8 euro for the boat depending on time of year you go at and you have it for 45 mins! There was only 2 of us but about 4 or 5 would fit on it!
- Circulo de Bellas Artes
The city has a lot of rooftop areas but this building has one of the citys best views! The view from the top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes arts and cultural centre is famous and now I understand why! It costs €4 each, you take a lift to the 7th floor which brings you to a rooftop terrace bar overlooking the city. This is one famous area to watch the sunset as it opens until 1.30am (2.30am weekends) but it was breath taking and a you needed to be there moment. This was one of my big highlights of the holiday.
I would recommend going here but be prepaired to be in a que for a while depending on time of the year, drink is a reasonable price, I got a cocktail for €10 but it was so yummy! I would also recommend to stay there for a while and take it all in as it is amazing up there.
- Real Madrid Football Stadium
Even if your not into football, exploring Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is an interesting experience. Tickets cost about €25 and the tour includes access to the stands, pitchside views, through out its like a museum full of historic items and moments in the clubs history. You get to see old jerseys, awards and trophies since the early 1900s.
- Gran Via
This area is one of the best streets for shopping in Madrid. Everyone who knows me know how much I love shopping so I was excited when I seen all the shops! We visited Primark (Penneys for us Irish girls) which is the biggest one I have seen, 5 floors!! Madrid has a great range of shops for woman and men! If you go off this main street to the side streets you come across a lot of shops also.
- Plaza Mayor
Take a stroll through the square itself and try out some of the many restaurants that are hidden just behind the plaza itself. We done this a few nights, as it was just a sort distance from our hotel, for drinks and just relax and people watch. If you go off the side streets from the courtyard you get a few nice places to see and eat. This large area used to be used for bull fighting
The centre of Madrid is very walkable, but if you’re travelling further afield the Metro is a faster way and runs across the city from 6am to 1.30am. A single Metrobús ticket (which you can use on the Metro or buses) costs €1.50, or you can get a 10-journey ticket for €12.20. Now we done the metro, so handy but got confussed when going to buy tickets as the machine has no back button so if you make mistakes (which we done a lot) you have to go back to the start of it..
- City Tour Bus
These are a hop on hop off service which is so handy to see a lot of the area. These cost €21 for 1 day and €28 for 2 days. In Madrid there is 2 routes which is brilliant to see all the sites, like everywhere I know you wont want to visit every site so this is a great way to see it but pass by quickly! When getting o the bus you get headphones to stick in and pick your language to listen to the history tour.
- Cereal Hunters Cafe
I spotted this on Instagram and I just had to go there.. I loved it I went twice!! This café is known for having such a mixture of cereals from all over the world, mixture of milks and toppings. I would recommend going here, it is about €10 for two larges bowls and also to go early if you don’t want to be in a line.
You Can’t Visit Madrid Without Eating …
Spain means tapas but you need to try:
- A runny tortilla de patatas (Spanish potato omelet)
- Pimientos de Padrón (small green chiles fried in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt)
- Chocolate con churros (piping hot churros with hot chocolate)
If you enjoyed this post and either you are going, thinking of going or would like to go, here is my vlog I took of the trip. Click link below and let me know what you think 🙂