Apologies for the lack of posts recently, but I have been away visiting the lovely city of Madrid! We were away for four nights and in that time we experienced some amazing places/foods/shows etc. James researched pretty much everything before we went, so we knew of the most popular places to visit, but I would also always recommend chatting to the locals to find places to go when you are there. You will never find the best places if you don’t ask! More often that not, they will lead you to the places which are not full of tourists and you can really experience the culture and the way they live. The video below will show you some of the things we got up to!
Like I said, we found some great restaurants from just asking bar staff or locals when we were actually in Madrid and then going from there. Like in any City, avoid the main area or square and instead wander down (safe!) side streets to find cheaper restaurants and bars. One amazing restaurant we found was called Tabernia Antonio Sanchez. Click here for its location. Here, we ate some great food, spoke to some really friendly staff and also were lucky enough to watch a Flamenco show! If you are going to watch a Flamenco show (which I recommend), try and pick one like we did which is smaller and more personal. There couldn’t have been more than 20 of us watching the show, everyone spoke Spanish only and we really felt like we were spending time enjoying their culture.
San Miguel Market
In the center of Madrid, there is an amazing market called San Miguel. It is situated right across from the main square Plaza Mayor. It was definitely one of my favourite places in Madrid. The market had a complete renovation (I believe in 2009) and it has held its historic, authentic structure but with a modern twist. You really feel like you are walking into the Spanish community as soon as you walk through the doors. The market holds mainly food and drink stalls, featuring every different wine and tapas dish that you can think of. There are stalls from cheese to oysters, and the locals will cook the food fresh in front of your eyes for you to enjoy! There are staff which come around to pick up any empty glasses, so you can literally walk around the stalls with an alcoholic (or non alcoholic!) drink of your choice as you taste all the different foods of Spain. Truly a great experience. The market is open pretty much all day and until quite late, so you can add it on as a day or evening event within your trip.
City Sightseeing Hop on Hop Off Bus
I am so glad that we decided to buy tickets for this. With 37 stops and a choice of a one or two day pass, it meant that we could visit parts of the City which we probably wouldn’t have visited by foot. For example, James and I are not one for museums usually, but we couldn’t visit Madrid without taking in some culture. Museo Del Prado is one of the leading art galleries in the world and the bus stopped right outside of it, making it easy for us to visit (and no excuses not to!) We also got a chance to pop into the Titanic Exhibiton also, which just happened to be in Madrid whilst we were there (it is there until March 6th). It was so emotional and eye opening and I would definitely recommend going if you ever are lucky enough to be in a place where it is near you! (Click here for details of the exhibition.)
Using the bus meant that we also managed to stop off to Madrid’s cable car which was probably one of my favourite experiences of the whole trip! The cable car gives you a bird’s eye view of Madrid, starting on the Paseo del Pintor Rosales strees (near the Arguelles Metro Station) and taking you over to the River Manzanares and into the Casa de Campo Park. The cable car can be set to your language, and it explains what you are seeing when you are going passed. It only takes about 10 minutes (each way) and only costs about 6 euros each…definitely worth a visit.
Royal Palace of Madrid
Our hotel was situated just opposite the Royal Palace, so we could not go to Madrid without visiting it. It did not disappoint. It is truly breathtaking from the interior, to the history to the views… amazing! I won’t say too much here as I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who want to visit and learn about it’s history. What I would recommend is booking onto to an audio tour if you want to really understand the culture and history. I was in awe of it, and was quite happy walking around, admiring the interior and experiencing the views. Although there are signs and plaques with English translations, they do not go into too much detail, so it may be worth additional guidance if you are after some knowledge of your surroundings.
Santiago Bernabeu Stadium
I have to admit, going to watch a football game on my trip took a bit of persuading by my husband…but I am so glad I did it! The atmosphere in Bernabeu Stadium and the surrounding area before the game was electric and like nothing I have ever experienced before. We bought tickets to watch Real Madrid v Sporting Gijon (Real Madrid won 5-1!). We bought the tickets for 35 Euros each and were pretty much right at the back, but the stadium is so large and the rows so steep, that it really didn’t matter and we were still very much within the atmosphere. If you are going to do this, I would recommend leaving the game 5-10 minutes early if you can. We did and getting out of the stadium and on the tube was packed at that time, so I can’t imagine how bad it was at the end of the game.
So that’s it!
Thanks for reading!